Best Watergate Salad Recipe

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Watergate salad is a cool and creamy classic that has been around for generations. It’s a retro, dump-and-go salad that’s just as easy to make as it is to eat it. The perfect blend of pistachio pudding, whipped topping, pineapples, marshmallows, and chopped pecans make for a delicious dessert or a potluck side dish.

original watergate salad recipe

Watergate salad, pistachio dessert salad, green stuff, or pistachio fluff – whatever you decide to call it, it’s a deliciously sweet and satisfying salad that takes a tiny amount of effort to make.

All you have to do is mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill. Not only that it’s easy to make, but it’s surprisingly cheap as you pretty much already have all the ingredients on hand.

It’s the winner for all fluff lovers. You can make it for every occasion, parties, holidays, potlucks, etc. And, do not expect any leftovers. People simply love it.

The incredibly sweet, nutty, and tangy salad can perfectly round out any meal. The best thing about it is that it’s pretty light so it won’t make you feel guilty.

This dessert has been a classic in some households ever since it was first created in 1975. Namely, Kraft Kitchens first called it Pistachio Pineapple Delight. But, when the recipe was printed in the newspaper column in Chicago, the columnist has renamed it Watergate Salad to attract more attention. That’s because the presidential scandal at that time was known as Watergate. So, the name stuck, and the salad is now popular across the country.

You can make Watergate salad in advance as it stays good for days. Make sure you double or even triple the ingredients if you prepare it for a crowd. Some people prefer it without pineapples, and others like to add some cottage cheese.

The choice of ingredients really depends on the taste, but it’s not difficult to make a change. Still, in this article you’ll find out how to make the traditional version of the salad.

How to Make Watergate Salad

This is one of the easiest salads to make as it only requires stirring the ingredients in a bowl and chilling. The pistachio pudding gives the salad the characteristic green color and the amazing flavor.

Even though there are many different versions of Watergate salad, the recipe in this article is our favorite. Of course, you can make some changes if you want, such as adding some cottage cheese or coconut or omitting the pineapple.

Soft and fluffy, this salad is utterly irresistible. The pecans and pineapple with the fluffy marshmallows and cream whipped topping make a salad that’s both tasty and fun.

It’s a little airy and light because of the cool whip and your teeth have something to sink into due to the chunks of pineapple and pecans. The soft but little chewy marshmallows only add to the crazy texture of the salad with tons of contrasts.

After making the salad, you need to let it chill before serving so that the marshmallows can soak up any liquid and give the salad a thicker consistency, while all flavors are blending.

Watergate Salad Recipe

4 from 35 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Become one of the lucky people that know how to make this popular vintage Watergate salad recipe. Perfect dessert for any occasion and will be finished in no time.


  • 1 can 1 crushed pineapple undrained (20 oz)

  • 1 package 1 instant pistachio pudding mix (3.4 oz)

  • 1 mini 1 mini marshmallows

  • 1 container frozen whipped topping (8 oz), thawed

  • ½ cup walnuts or almonds, chopped


  • Stir crushed pineapple with juice, pudding mix, nuts, and marshmallows in a large bowl.
  • Add in the whipped topping.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Garnish with chopped nuts.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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Nutrition Facts

Here is the nutritional information of Watergate salad per serving:

Nutrition Facts

8 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories179
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 5g 8%
    • Cholesterol 2mg 1%
    • Sodium 220mg 10%
    • Potassium 128mg 4%
    • Total Carbohydrate 33g 11%
      • Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
      • Sugars 29g
    • Protein 1g 2%

    • Vitamin A 10%
    • Vitamin C 6.7%
    • Calcium .03%
    • Iron .4%

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    Tips & Tricks

    Here are a few tips and tricks to take into consideration:

    • Add a cup of cottage cheese to the salad for a subtle salty experience. You can get the same salty surprise by combining whipped cream and cream cheese.
    • For an extra burst of flavor, use some sweet and juicy maraschino cherries as a topping. Besides, the red color of cherries goes excellent with the green fluff, so you’ll get a stunning salad.
    • Chilling the salad for at least two hours allows the pudding to set, so Watergate salad is the perfect make-ahead dessert. That’s why it’s best served and eaten chilled.
    • Instead of using a can of crushed pineapples in juice, use crushed pineapples in water as well as a low-fat whipped topping for a lighter version.
    • If you serve the salad on a graham cracker crust, you can turn it into a faux-pie.
    • In case you drain the pineapple juice by accident, use water.
    • If you don’t like pistachio pudding mix, you can use any other pudding mix such as chocolate and coconut pudding.
    • Don’t use canned pineapple in syrup because of the thick consistency of syrup which doesn’t go well with the pudding mix. Besides, it’ll make the salad too sweet.
    • To make your salad more colorful, use rainbow marshmallows instead of regular ones.
    • Great options for toppings include banana slices, shredded coconuts, ice cream, crushed pistachios, and chocolate chips.
    • If you refrigerate your salad covered with plastic wrap without leaving it at room temperature longer than two hours, it can last for two days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.
    • Don’t put too many marshmallows because they can make your salad too stiff.
    • Instead of Cool Whip, you can use homemade whipped cream, in which case your salad won’t last too long.
    • Use mandarin oranges or canned fruit cocktail instead of pineapple for a different flavor.


    Make this incredibly easy and delicious salad as a dessert for every occasion. Your family and friends will love it. Watergate salad is an easy to make recipe that you should now be able to make from home yourself.

    Did you make this recipe at home? Leave a comment down below and let us know how you got on.


    One Comment

    1. We made this for Thanksgiving. It was super easy and very good

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