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.

watergate salad recipe

What is a watergate salad?

Watergate Salad, also known as Pistachio Dessert Salad, Green Stuff, or Pistachio Fluff, is a delightfully sweet and easy-to-make dish. This no-fuss recipe involves simply mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and chilling it, making it not only effortless but also budget-friendly, as it typically uses common pantry items.

Perfect for fluff enthusiasts, Watergate Salad is a versatile choice for various occasions, including parties, holidays, and potlucks. Its popularity is such that it often leaves no leftovers, as guests tend to relish every spoonful. The salad’s sweet, nutty, and tangy flavors make it an excellent complement to any meal, and its lightness means you can enjoy it without any guilt.

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.


  • Crushed Pineapple (Undrained, 20 oz): Provides a sweet, tangy flavor and juicy texture. The juice helps to blend and set the other ingredients.
  • Instant Pistachio Pudding Mix (3.4 oz): Gives the salad its characteristic green color and pistachio flavor.
  • Mini Marshmallows: Add a soft, sweet texture, contributing to the salad’s fluffy consistency.
  • Frozen Whipped Topping (8 oz, thawed): Creates a creamy base, adding lightness and sweetness to the salad.
  • Chopped Walnuts or Almonds: Provide a crunchy contrast to the soft textures, adding a nutty flavor.


  1. Stir together the crushed pineapple with its juice, pistachio pudding mix, nuts, and marshmallows in a large bowl.
  2. Fold in the whipped topping.
  3. Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld and the pudding to set.
  4. Garnish with additional chopped nuts before serving.

Watergate Salad Recipe

4 from 37 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

    1. Cottage Cheese for a Twist: For a unique texture and a hint of savory flavor, try adding a cup of cottage cheese to your salad. It’s a simple addition that can elevate the overall taste experience.
    2. Cherry on Top: Garnish your salad with sweet and juicy maraschino cherries. Not only do they add a burst of flavor, but their vibrant red color beautifully complements the green fluff, making your salad visually stunning.
    3. Chill for Best Results: Refrigerating the salad for at least two hours allows the pudding to set properly. This chilling time is crucial for achieving the perfect consistency and blend of flavors.
    4. Lighter Version Tips: If you’re looking for a lighter version, opt for crushed pineapples in water instead of juice and use a low-fat whipped topping. These small changes can make a big difference in the overall calorie count.
    5. Graham Cracker Crust Idea: Transform your Watergate Salad into a faux-pie by serving it on a graham cracker crust. It adds a delightful crunch and a pie-like experience.
    6. Pudding Mix Variations: While pistachio is traditional, feel free to experiment with other pudding flavors like chocolate or coconut for a different twist.
    7. Marshmallow Balance: Be mindful of the amount of marshmallows used. Too many can make the salad stiff. Aim for a balanced, fluffy texture.
    8. Homemade Whipped Cream Option: For an even richer taste, use homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip. Keep in mind, this might shorten the salad’s shelf life.
    9. Fresh Fruit Alternatives: Fresh pineapple pulsed in a food processor can be a great alternative to canned pineapple. You can also try mandarin oranges or canned fruit cocktail for different flavors.
    10. Storage Tips: If stored covered in the refrigerator and not left out for more than two hours, your salad can last for two days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.


    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.

    original watergate salad recipe


    One Comment

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

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