What Is Marshmallow Salad?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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Marshmallow salad is a kind of sweet salad that incorporates marshmallows along with other ingredients. This type of salad is not a conventional salad, but a dessert salad that uses a lot of sugary elements instead of the greens and other healthier foods that many associate with the word “salad.” This type of dessert is relatively obscure, and often prepared for informal occasions like church suppers or family reunions.

In terms of its culinary history, marshmallow salad is not a traditional kind of salad in any world food culture. This has to do with the marshmallow, which is a mass manufactured food, rather than a natural plant-based or agricultural food. Marshmallow salad is part of the range of sweet dishes that use the term “salad” in a technical sense, to refer to combinations of bite-sized ingredients.

Many forms of marshmallow salad require some kind of bonding agent or smooth ingredient for texture. Many of these recipes use sour cream, where others might use whipped cream or other ingredients. In addition to these, these salads also frequently uses different kinds of fruits. Orange slices are a common ingredient, where some recipes may also use apple, pineapple, grapes, cranberries, or other fruits. Cranberries may be artificially sweetened; the same is true for maraschino cherries, which are also sometimes added to this type of dessert salad.


Other marshmallow salads may be made to provide a specific visual result. Bright green elements such as kiwi or gelatin might be added. Colorful marshmallows also provide a more vibrant look for this type of recipe. Some other recipes resemble a somewhat traditional dessert mix that many refer to as “ambrosia.” Ambrosia often contains sweet cream, along with grapes and other pieces of fruit.

The method for making this salad is not terribly involved. The fruit pieces are cut up if necessary. Marshmallows do not often need to be cut up since many makers of this salad use small, bite sized varieties. In many cases, the salad is chilled for several hours in order to make sure that it is cold when presented for consumption. Typically, marshmallow salad is not a finger food, but requires a serving spoon, small plates, and spoons for eating. In some cases, this type of recipe might be used as a spread or be sandwiched between wafers or other items, making it a finger food or snack.


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Post 3

@fify-- That's a good point. Kids could make this themselves if the ingredients are prepared for them. They love eating it too which is a great way to get kids to have fruit.

I can't say I make marshmallow salad frequently. This is usually something I make when I have too much canned fruit at home and don't know what to do with them. I have never made marshmallow salad with fresh fruit but that sounds amazing. I will have to try it sometime. We have a picnic coming up in a few weeks, maybe I will make it for that!

Post 2

@burcinc-- It's not necessary but it works very well in this sweet dish. If you don't like sour cream, you could replace with whip cream or coconut milk. It's really up to you.

I make my marshmallow salad with sour cream, lots of fresh fruits and lots of mini marshmallows. You can decide which fruits and ingredient to include or leave out. I have a friend who loves this salad with coconuts and will include shredded coconuts and coconut milk in hers. I'm not fond of coconut, so I don't use it.

Be imaginative and try different things with your marshmallow salad. I think that this is a great treat to make with kids and you can have them decide what to include for a fun activity.

Post 1

I came upon this while looking for options for fruit salad. I love fruit salad and I love marshmallows as well, so this sounds like a great dessert idea for my get together. I'm a bit surprised about sour cream as an ingredient however. I've never considered using sour cream in a sweet dish. Is the sour cream really necessary?

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