Easy Watergate Salad Recipe

Easy Watergate Salad Recipe is a simple and delicious dump-and-mix salad that has been around for years. This salad is a classic recipe that’s delicious, cool, and creamy—the best for backyard BBQs, tailgating, holidays, and dessert tables. A retro dessert that never goes out of style.

What is Watergate Salad?

Watergate salad is a super easy dessert made with just 5 ingredients. It comes together in minutes and is quite tasty. Instant pistachio dry pudding mix is added to crushed pineapple and mixed with mini marshmallows, pecans, and cool whip. It’s light, fluffy, and perfect for an appearance on holiday tables. 

Watergate Salad in glasses and steps to make recipe with text overlay.

Recipe Origin- Why Do They Call It Watergate Salad?

It has been said that a chef at the Watergate Hotel invented this salad and served it to guests on the weekends, and I’ve also been told this salad was named after the presidential scandal. But no matter the name or its origins, the end result is the same -tasty.

Growing up, we called this salad the green stuff. It has many names and is also known as green goop, pistachio fruit salad, green fluff salad, pistachio dump salad, and pistachio pineapple delight. Regardless it’s the perfect combination for a fluffy salad with a beautiful green color. Plus, you are mixing a handful of ingredients and creating a super fast and delicious dessert. 

I first had this salad in the late 70’s. My mom made this during an ice storm. It’s funny how certain smells and tastes will bring back childhood memories.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • There is no cooking!
  • Only 5 ingredients.
  • Takes minutes to prepare.
  • Perfect for any time of the year.
  • A Make Ahead Recipe.
  • Very inexpensive to make.


This pistachio salad recipe uses simple ingredients found at your local grocery store.

Ingredients shown for Watergate Salad with text overlay.
  • instant pistachio pudding mix
  • crushed pineapple in juice (or pineapple chunks)
  • cool whip
  • mini marshmallows
  • pecans or walnuts

How to Make Easy Watergate Salad

Add the ingredients to the bowl, stir, and refrigerate. That’s it! One of the simplest salads you could make.

  1. Add the pudding mix to a bowl, then the pineapple with the juice. Stir until mixed well.
  2. Stir in marshmallows, pecans, and cool whip.
  3. Chill.
Steps for making Watergate Salad with text overlay.

Expert Tips and Variations

  • You can use more Cool Whip if desired. 
  • Pistachio pudding is traditional; if you don’t like pistachio, swap it out for vanilla.
  • Stir together the pineapple (and pineapple juice) with the dry instant pudding mix. No other liquid is needed. 
  • Swap out the nuts. Use walnuts or crushed pistachios instead of pecans.

For more Side Salads, be sure to check out Classic Macaroni Salad, Strawberry Spinach Salad, Greek Pasta Salad.

How to Store Leftovers

Store any leftovers wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I hardly ever have leftovers; if I do, they don’t last longer than 3 days. 

How to Serve Pistachio Fluff Salad

This dish is mostly served as a dessert but would work as a side dish. It looks nice served in a pretty serving bowl or individual bowls with a sprinkling of toasted nuts and a little more cool whip.


These toppings are optional but make a pretty presentation. Add more cool whip to the top, toasted coconut, crunchy pecans, and maraschino cherries to each serving. 

Watergate Salad on a green table with nuts and marshmallows.

Recipe FAQ’s

Yes. This dessert is better if you can allow it to chill for several hours before serving. I like to make this dish a day before, but at least an hour of chill time is recommended.

Marshmallows are an ingredient in this recipe. If you don’t like the texture of the marshmallows, leave them out. I have always made this recipe with marshmallows.

Although they are both delicious salads, Ambrosia salad usually contains mandarin oranges and no pistachio.

Easy Desserts

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

Buttermilk Pie

Chocolate Cobbler

Easy Watergate Salad Recipe

Easy Watergate Salad Recipe

Gina Abernathy
Easy Watergate Salad Recipe is a simple and delicious dump-and-mix salad that has been around for years. This salad is a classic recipe that's delicious, cool, and creamy—the best for backyard BBQs, tailgating, holidays, and dessert tables. A retro dessert that never goes out of style.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Refrigerate for an hour before serving 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 (3.4oz.) box instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 (20oz.) can crushed pineapple juice or syrup DO NOT DRAIN
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 (8oz.) tub cool whip


  • Add pudding mix and pineapple with the juice to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Stir in marshmallows and pecans. Then fold in whipped topping.
  • Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.


This salad is best refrigerated before serving.
Chill for at least an hour before serving.
Do not drain the juice/syrup from the canned pineapple.
Keyword Easy Watergate Salad Recipe


  1. 5 stars
    This is one of the best desserts in the world. I actually have always called it “green stuff”, too. LOL. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Oh gosh – I remember this recipe from childhood potlucks. (We called it the Green Stuff, too!) It’s always popular, easy to make, and so darn tasty! What’s not to love‽

  3. 5 stars
    I have not heard of this dessert before, but I’m so glad I found your recipe because my kids love any treat with marshmallows. We love the creamy, sweet, fruity, nutty flavors in this fruit salad!

  4. 5 stars
    My mom used to make this all the time but with vanilla pudding because of a nut allergy. I always loved it. I’m definitely going to have to try it with pistachio!

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