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Watergate Salad Recipe

Is it a side salad or a dessert salad? It’s either! Watergate Salad breaks all the rules. It’s a crazy delicious concoction of pistachio pudding, Cool Whip, pineapple, and marshmallows. This retro dessert is both fun and tasty.


Bowl full of Watergate Salad.

Set some pistachio-favored dessert salad out at your next Potluck and watch it disappear. It’s also a great salad to include for your Easter Meal.

Large bowl full of green fluff.


Most people either grew up with Watergate Salad or they don’t know what in tarnation it is. If you grew up in the south, you probably had a grandmother who made it for every special occasion or church luncheon. Watergate Salad was originally developed by Kraft under the name Pineapple Pistachio Delight in 1975 when they first introduced pistachio pudding.

The pistachio pudding gives it its characteristic mint green color and a good bit of its flavor. It is affectionately known as “Green Stuff” to many people.

If you’ve never had Watergate Salad, be prepared. It has a wild and crazy texture with tons of contrasts. The cool whip makes it a little airy and light, but there are small chunks of pineapple and a crunch from the pecans, giving your teeth a little something to sink into. And of course the marshmallows really stand out with their completely distinct soft but a little chewy texture. Once your senses get over the craziness of it all, you’ll discover that it is really quite delicious.

Watergate Salad is a dessert salad that tends to be appealing any time of year. Its light texture lends itself to the warm weather months, but throw a cherry on top and you have a perfectly festive red and green treat for Christmas. And of course its pastel color is fantastically fitting for Easter.

Try These Other Pistachio Flavored Desserts:

Watergate Salad in a alrge white bowl.


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Bowl full of Watergate Salad.

Watergate Salad

Is it a side salad or a dessert salad? It's either! Watergate Salad breaks all the rules. It's a crazy concoction of pistachio pudding, Cool Whip, pineapple, and marshmallows.
PREP: 1 hour 10 minutes
COOK: 0 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 (8-ounce) cans crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package pistachio instant pudding
  • 1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped


  • In a medium bowl, stir together the full contents of the pineapple cans and the pudding mix until smooth.
  • Fold in whipped topping and marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  • Sprinkle pecans on top before serving.


Calories: 223kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Dessert, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert salad, Easter

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Originally published April 8, 2014.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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88 thoughts on “Watergate Salad Recipe”

  1. Nicholas Valverde

    When you put the marshmallows we like putting the multicolored one’s,kids will eat it up .

  2. I didn’t know this recipe even went out of style. Been making it
    for years….nothing has changed. This is the real deal.

  3. Jeanie Murphy

    I have used this recipe, but I have also altered it like this;
    make the pudding as directed with about 1/2 as much milk as directed.
    THEN add the other ingredients.

    BUT you need to drain the pineapple as you don’t need as much liquid since you use milk for that.

    My family loved it this way as it is thick and creamy !

  4. Marleah Simons

    So good and everyone loves it! This is like a special treat at our family get togethers. I also make the water Gate bunt cake, I add a little green food coloring to it, just to make it a little more greener for St. Paddy Day. Love them both.

  5. I have made this Watergate Salad many times but I add 1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut to it and it makes it even better. I call it Green Fluff! I make this quite often. I sometimes make it for dessert and serve it with some type of blond cookie like Snickerdoodles or Pound Cake. Yum!

    Thank you for this delicious recipe.

  6. I remember this dessert from when I was a child and decided to make it for a church potluck. It is very good and my kids really like it too.

    1. Jo Ann Livingston

      I had this before and loved it. I didn’t know this was so easy to make. Making it for Easter Brunch!
      Thank you!

  7. Ours is a little different. We use the sugar free pistachio pudding, small curd cottage cheese, sugar free non-dairy topping (cool whip), unsweetened crushed pineapple in pineapple juice and a cip of minature marshmallows. Wish I could figure out the calories!

  8. Back in the 1980’s I learned of a salad similar to this one. Only it was using Peach Pudding (similar to the Pistachio Pudding), Cottage Cheese, Whipped Cream, Mini Marshmallows, and the canned Fruit Salad (drained I think). It was such a pleasure to eat also. Haven’t made it in years but this Watergate Salad sounds heavenly…must try it soon! Thanks!!

    1. Not being a fan of pecans, I use chopped walnuts. I also us pineapple tidbits instead of crushed. My family loves it. But my favorite add in is sweetened shredded coconut.

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