This Watergate Salad recipe combines juicy pineapple, creamy pistachio pudding, fluffy marshmallows, and cool whipped topping. It’s a sweet and delicious retro dessert salad that’s perfect for the holidays, warm summer months or any time of the year.
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Classic Watergate Salad
This pistachio fluff salad, sometimes called pistachio pineapple delight, is so flavorful, creamy, and delicious. It’s a wonderful vintage recipe that has been on holiday tables at family gatherings for years. But one of the things that makes this such a great dish is that you can serve it for any occasion as a sweet side dish or as a light and airy dessert.
This easy dessert recipe starts with a couple of boxes of instant pistachio pudding mixes that are mixed with canned crushed pineapple with the juice that gives the mixture a tasty, tangy pop of flavor. Fluffy marshmallows are added and as the salad chills, they soak in all the pistachio and fruit flavors. It’s the ultimate light and creamy fruit salad that’s always a crowd favorite.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Easy – You just mix and chill a few simple ingredients you get from any grocery store
- Versatile – You serve this creamy dessert salad as a side dish or a cool and refreshing sweet treat.
- Portable – It’s easy to pack up a bowl of this fluff salad to take to parties, picnics, backyard barbecues or potluck dinners.
Ingredients Needed to Make Pistachio Salad
- Pistachio Jell-O instant pudding mix
- Crushed pineapple in juice (do NOT drain)
- Cool Whip (homemade whipped topping)
- Mini marshmallows
- Chopped pecans
- Maraschino cherries for topping
How to Make Easy Watergate Salad
Step One: Mix Instant Pudding with Fruit
- In a large bowl, combine the juice from the crushed undrained pineapple with the instant pistachio pudding mix. Whisk it well until there is no dry pudding mix visible.
Step Two: Add the Cool Whip
- Gently fold in the thawed Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream until just combined.
Step Three: Add the Remaining Ingredients
- Next, with a rubber spatula, fold in the canned crushed pineapple, the mini marshmallows, and chopped pecans. Mix gently until the ingredients are well distributed.
Step Four: Chill, Serve and Enjoy!
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the salad chill in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours, or overnight for a more flavorful fruit salad. This will allow the marshmallows to soften and really soak in all of the flavors.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Marshmallows – Make it extra colorful by substituting the white marshmallows with the multi-colored pastel-colored ones. If you like an extra fluffy texture, you can use a whole 10-ounce bag of mini marshmallows in this recipe.
- Add other fruits – Switch it up and add some fresh fruits if you like. Instead of using 2 cans of crushed pineapple, you can use one along with a can of fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges. cherries or fresh berries.
- Nuts – Switch up the pecan and use chopped walnuts, macadamia nuts or pistachios.
- Whipped Topping – You can use a low fat or light Cool Whip or make your own whipped topping.
- Tangy twist – If you like a little tangy flavor you can fold in a little sour cream to the pudding mixture.
- Other add-ins – Make it your own with any add-in’s you’d like. Shredded coconut and cottage cheese are great choices.
How Long Does Watergate Salad Keep?
You can store leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The juice from the fruit will continue to produce so any longer than that the marshmallows will become soggy and mushy from sitting in the cream and fruit juices.
Why is it Called Watergate Salad?
While the origin of the name isn’t known, we do know that this delicious green fluff made its debut around the time of the Watergate scandal at the Watergate Hotel.
The Watergate salad recipe is actually a spin off from the popular 1970’s Watergate cake, which was made with pistachio pudding mix, white cake mix, club soda, eggs, oil, nuts, and coconut.
More No Bake Desserts
- No Bake Cherry Cheesecake
- No Bake Peanut Butter Pie
- No Bake Banana Split Cake
- No Bake Reese’s Peanut Butter Dessert
- Kool-Aid Pie
- 2 3.4 ounces pistachio Jell-O instant pudding mix 2 boxes
- 40 ounces crushed pineapple in juice do NOT drain, 2 cans
- 8 ounces whipped topping we used Cool Whip
- 3-4 cups mini marshmallows (Use a 10 ounce bag of mini marshmallows for extra fluff if desired)
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- Maraschino cherries for garnish
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the pistachio pudding mix with the juice from the crushed pineapple. Whisk it until fully incorporated and there is no more powder.
- Fold in the Cool Whip or homemade whipped topping until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Add the crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows, and chopped pecans. Fold it in gently with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed.
- Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours, or overnight for a more flavorful salad.
- This will allow the marshmallows to soften and really soak in all of the flavors. Enjoy!
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