Creamy Watergate salad is a quick and easy dessert made with whipped cream, pistachio pudding, pineapple, and marshmallows. A crazy combination that's a real hit at parties and gatherings.
Watergate salad is a sweet and creamy, and unexpectedly tangy dessert, despite the fact that it's called a "salad."
Watergate salad, a.k.a. fluff salad or pineapple pistachio delight, is SO easy to make, and cheap too. You'll want to bring it to every gathering. My kids beg for it every time they see marshmallows at the store!
This version of Watergate salad uses fresh homemade whipped cream instead of whipped topping, making it even more creamy and delicious. Pistachio pudding gives it its distinct mint green color, pineapple gives it a tangy citrus kick, while marshmallows add an extra hint of sweetness. Plus, a handful of pecans give it a little crunch.
It sounds like such an odd combo, but it actually comes together and is really delicious.
Why Is It Called Watergate Salad?
How Watergate salad got its name is still somewhat of a mystery.
Some say that it was originally supposed to be Pineapple Pistachio Delight, but before it was printed, an editor changed the name to go with current events.
Others think it's named after a Watergate cake that has pistachio pudding in the cake itself and the frosting. The cake is said to have gotten the name from all nuts in it, and in the political scandal itself.
The most likely explanation is probably a combination of these two theories, and has actually nothing to do with the scandal itself.
What's in Watergate Salad?
Watergate salad has just a few simple ingredients that you can find at any grocery store.
- Instant pistachio pudding mix
- Crushed pineapple
- Whipping cream
- Mini marshmallows
I was shocked the first time I saw the ingredient list. It seemed a very strange combination to put together to make something that actually tastes good. But trust me. They actually do work together and taste good too!
More Recipes You'll Love
- Ambrosia Salad - a creamy, sweet, and tangy dessert salad with whipped cream, oranges, pineapple, maraschino cherries, and coconut.
- Berry Cheesecake Salad - a creamy, tangy marshmallow salad with fresh berries.
- Easy Homemade Fruit Salad - fresh and easy to make with a secret ingredient that makes it amazing.
- Pomegranate Pineapple Slushies - tangy and fresh with citrus flavors and just 5 ingredients!
- Easy Homemade Whipped Cream - super easy to make at home, and delicious on everything!
- 1 package instant pistachio pudding (3.4 ounces)
- 1 can crushed pineapple in juice (20 ounces)
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- ½ cup crushed pecans
- In a large mixing bowl, add pudding mix and crushed pineapple. Stir to combine, and set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, add whipping cream and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.
- Fold whipped cream into pudding mixture, along with marshmallows and crushed pecans.
- Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or up to 48 hours before serving.
- Serve cold. Garnish with maraschino cherries, coconut, and more pecans.
- Be sure to use pineapple in juice, not syrup. The syrup will make it way too sweet.
- To make this even quicker, substitute an 8-ounce container of Cool Whip for the whipping cream and vanilla.
- You can also used chopped walnuts or pistachios instead of pecans, if you like them better or just want to change it up.
- Use a glass bowl. Metal bowls or utensils will turn the salad brown. If your salad turned brown, just add a couple drops of green food coloring to bring it back.
- Storage: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
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Love this dessert - it's so easy and takes me right back to my childhood. It was one of the treats I could make all by myself when I was little. Thanks!
Sharon Maddix says
I have been making Watergate salad since the recipe came out after Watergate.gate. I do make a few substitutions. I use cool whip and add drained canned mandarins and halved red grapes for color. I leave out the marshmallows and just before serving I add sliced banana.
Love these colors and how festive it is, great recipe!!
michele h peterson says
I love the addition of the fresh homemade whipped cream - that really vaults this stunning salad aka dessert into company's coming territory. I can think of lots of grandkids who'd also clamour for this!
Andrea Metlika says
Wow, this salad sounds fantastic. Yummy pistachio pudding with pineapple, marshmallows and whipped cream is just awesome.
I've never had this before but it looks so yummy!
Justine Howell says
Was looking for something new to add to our Friday night dinners and this was a hit.
I was so interested with this dessert and tried making it for the very first time. It's super easy, with pretty color, and so delicious. Definitely will keep on making this. 🙂
Love this "salad" 😉 Great flavors and always a hit with the kids!
Krissy Allori says
This is a classic dessert in our family. We have it at many family gatherings. It's so good!
Megan Ellam says
Oh wow this reminds of an Ambrosia Salad as well. Love the use of the pistachio pudding mix though. Thanks for sharing
I love this - it reminds me of growing up and all the potlucks we would go to.
Andrea Metlika says
Love this classic so much. Reminds me of holidays and family.
Oooh such a great dessert for the upcoming holiday season. Love the addition of that whipped cream.
Made today. Not crazy about pineapple. Saw diced mango in a can. Used that instead. Tasted Very good. Have made before.
I love this recipe - I ate it as a kid all the time and we would joke that we really were eating salad and not dessert. My kids love it!
Let's be honest; I have never seen anything like this before! And what that magic reaction when you pour pineapple on pistachio pudding??? You made my morning, I don't I can get these ingredients here in France, but thank you so much.
Sadia Malik says
I still cant understand how a dessert can be called a salad but I love pineapple and pistachio so love this combination, delicous
Love Watergate salad. It is a holiday tradition.
This reminds me of my childhood. A flavor packed salad that is perfect for any occasion.
Such a fun treat that reminds me of my childhood! I can't wait to make this again! It has been years. Delicious just like I remembered.
Eileen Kelly says
We made this salad for our family party and it was a hit. It was light and refreshing. Traveled well to my sister's house. Everyone loved the recipe.
My husband is OBSESSED with the pistachio pudding, so I know that he would go crazy for this!! Bookmarked so that I can surprise him with it tomorrow, thanks so much for the recipe 🙂
Pomegranates make a lovely addition as well, anytime but especially around the holidays.
Edited it for you! 😉 And yes, pomegranate would be beautiful and tasty in this! Great suggestion!