Watergate salad is a classic fluff salad recipe that’s a hit at any holiday or party! It’s quick and easy, only requiring about 5 minutes of time to throw it together. If you love pistachio you are going to love this! Tons of flavor from the pineapple, pistachios, marshmallows, pistachio pudding and Cool Whip!
The BEST Watergate Salad!
What’s great about Watergate Salad is that you only need five ingredients and five minutes to make it. Seriously, it’s that easy! Watergate Salad salad recipes have been around for over 40 years and once you try it you’ll see why it’s so beloved.
Pistachio and pineapple is such a great combination with the whipped topping plus it feeds a crowd! It’s fluffy, light and made with pistachio pudding which is what gives it it’s green hue. So festive!
Here in Minnesota, we consider this Watergate Salad a side dish or salad and serve it right alongside other side dishes like Potato Salad and Broccoli Salad, but you can serve it as a dessert, too. Whatever makes you happy! Let’s not overthink it, friends!
What is it made of?
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
- crushed pineapple
- instant pistachio pudding
- Cool Whip
- mini marshmallows
- chopped pistachios
How do I make it?
- Combine the pineapple and pistachio pudding in a large mixing bowl.
- Gently fold in the whipped topping and marshmallows.
- Chill for at least two hours.
- Garnish the salad with chopped pistachios before serving.
Why is pistachio pudding green?
Pistachios have tan-colored shells and the nut inside is green, which is what gives pistachio it’s green color. Sometimes green food coloring is added to packaged pudding to enhance the color.
Why do they call it a Watergate salad?
So, this is a little complicated! I read all about the origins of this salad on wikipedia because I was curious where it came from. Some people believe the salad was developed at the Watergate Hotel and then it gained popularity after the Watergate political scandal, but this has never been proven.
Kraft Foods actually claims the recipe as theirs after they developed it to promote their pistachio pudding that came out in 1975. Apparently they named it “Pistachio Pineapple Delight”. They sent the recipe out to newspapers around the country and a Chicago newspaper published it with the name Watergate Salad, although the original article has never been found to confirm this!
So, I guess it’s still somewhat of a mystery!
Can I use homemade whipped cream to make Watergate Salad?
I like to use Cool Whip for this fluff salad because it makes it really easy and Cool Whip is very stable which means the salad holds up better. Of course, you can make your own Homemade Whipped Cream and use it for this recipe, too.
I recommend whipping the cream to a medium stiffness so it’s still fluffy but with plenty of air incorporated so it will keep well. If you use homemade whipped cream, the leftover salad may not keep as long because the whipped cream will sort of deflate as it sits. If you try it, let us know in the comments how it went!
Can I use fresh pineapple for this fluff salad?
Canned crushed pineapple is super convenient, but you can use fresh pineapple but you will need to crush it first before adding it to the pudding. To do this, just place fresh pineapple chunks in a food processor and pulse them a few times to break them down. Drain off the liquid and add the crushed pineapple to the salad.
How do you store it?
Once you mix up the Watergate Salad you will want to store it in the refrigerator and serve it chilled. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Creamy pistachio pudding, fluffy whipped topping and sweet pineapple – you’ll be glad you made a big batch because I guarantee it will disappear fast! Of course, I’ve got even more fluff salad recipes for you to try, so be sure to check them out!
More Fluff Salad recipes!
Love fluff salad? They are quick, easy and perfect for entertaining. Here are a few more twists on fluff salad!
- Strawberry Tapioca Salad – Light and fluffy strawberry Jello salad with tapioca!
- Snicker Salad – Light and fluffy from the Cool Whip and vanilla pudding mixture. Then it’s loaded with your favorite Snickers candy bars and apples!
- Cookie Salad – Made with Cool Whip, Buttermilk, Mandarin Oranges, Instant Vanilla Pudding and Fudge Striped Cookies!
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Try it and love it? Rate it, please!!!? Seriously though a five-star rating below will make my day! If you snap a photo, please be sure tag me on Instagram at @julieseatsandtreats or #julieseatsandtreats so I can see your yummy treat!!
- 20 oz can crushed pineapple drained
- 3 oz package instant pistachio pudding
- 8 oz container whipped topping (Cool Whip) thawed
- 2 c. mini marshmallows
- ¼ c. chopped pistachios chopped for garnish
- In a large mixing bowl combine crushed pineapple and pistachio pudding mix. Gently fold in whipped topping and marshmallows.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with pistachios.