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Watergate Salad, pistachio pudding fluff, that green stuff, no matter what you call it, this classic dessert is a year round favourite! If you love pistachio pudding this is the dessert for you! I first published this recipe when we were staying in Phoenix a few years ago and it was time for new photo and a how-to video as well!

Watergate Salad
Watergate Salad

Classic Pistachio Pudding Watergate Salad Recipe

It actually took me until 3 years ago to make Watergate Salad myself. When we were at the Phoenix House (which is what it is referred to in our house) I turned over a package of my beloved pistachio pudding in my hands and read the recipe which was on the box. I can’t believe that I had never read the package and made Watergate Salad.   How could I have been ignoring a fabulous retro recipe all those years? Granted, I do only allow myself the pistachio pudding indulgence every few months, otherwise it might get out of control and you’d start seeing pistachio pudding chicken, pistachio pudding beef…it might get a little crazy on here.

Watergate Salad in Vintage Turquoise Sorbet Glasses
Watergate Salad in Vintage Turquoise Sorbet Glasses

How to Make Watergate Salad Video

Photographing Watergate Salad
Photographing Watergate Salad

My little Rose was my photography assistant that day many years ago and while her brother definitely loves helping me, she has always been the one who loves getting behind the camera. Sometimes it’s nice to take a moment in the flurry of working on everything and see the joy in what I do, through her eyes. The Rose loves to tell me how she wants to do what I do when she grows up and I’m unsure all the time on what to tell her -other than “sure honey, after you go to University and get a degree”.


Her photo is SO cute and not bad at all for a 9 year old little girl!

Watergate salad in a clear parfait glass
Watergate salad in a clear parfait glass

Why do they call it Watergate Salad?

It has been guessed that when this was debuted by Kraft as “Pistachio Pineapple Delight” a smart and wily editor for a Chicago newspaper called it “Watergate Salad” instead, as this recipe came out in the 1970’s. It is thought that he/she was trying to grab the public’s attention as the Watergate scandal was in all of the news at the time. Apparently they reprinted the recipe with the new name of Watergate Salad – and it has stuck ever since!

What is Watergate Cake?

Watergate Salad Cake is an amazing concoction that uses pecan cake mix, pistachio pudding mix and pineapple to bake up what is honestly one of my favourite cakes ever – because pistachio pudding, amiright? My recipe has a decadent pistachio pudding icing recipe to top the cake as well but you can always make my Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Icing for another delicious frosting.

Watergate Salad topped with a maraschino cherry
Watergate Salad topped with a maraschino cherry

Karlynn’s Tips & Tricks for Making Watergate Salad

  • This is best when left in the fridge for a few hours, but not overnight! The pineapple juice will eventually make everything watery instead of jelled together. Aim to make it the morning of an event or a few hours beforehand.
  • You can switch the pecans to another type of nut if wanted.
  • Top with extra whipped cream, maraschino cherries, whatever you desire!

This is definitely an evil recipe that I can only make every once in a while, as I could eat it for a week straight, no regrets. (Ok fine, I am sure I would regret it.)  It’s up there with my Pistachio Pudding Cookies as one of my favorite pistachio treats!

Love you more than chocolate  pistachio pudding,


Pin this recipe to your DESSERTS BOARD and remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST! 

Watergate Salad, pistachio pudding fluff, that green stuff, no matter what you call it, this classic dessert is a year round favourite! If you love pistachio pudding this is the dessert for you! #watergate #dessert #pistachio #pudding #recipe #recipes #picnic #bbq # #marshmallows #pineapple

5 from 11 votes
Watergate Salad Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Watergate Salad, pistachio pudding fluff, that green stuff, no matter what you call it, this classic dessert is a year round favourite! If you love pistachio pudding this is the dessert for you! 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Watergate Salad
Servings: 5
Calories: 241 kcal
Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • 1 oz can crushed pineapple in juice undrained 20 .
  • 1 oz pkg. JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding 3.4 .
  • 1 cup Miniature Marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1-1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping OR homemade whipped cream
Homemade Whipped Cream
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine the crushed pineapple and pudding mix in a large bowl. Stir until the pudding mix is dissolved into the juices. 

  2. Stir in the marshmallows and pecans.

  3. To make the whipped cream if you are using it, combine the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

  4. Stir in the Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream and refrigerate for at least one hour. Scoop out and serve in bowls, topping with cherries or more whipped cream if desired. 

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You can mix and match the nuts or leave them out entirely!

Nutrition Facts
Watergate Salad Recipe
Amount Per Serving (6 g)
Calories 241 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 21mg 1%
Potassium 71mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 13g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 8g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 10.5%
Vitamin C 0.3%
Calcium 3.1%
Iron 1.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



Hey guys, I'm Karlynn! Welcome to The Kitchen Magpie, my website full of family friendly recipes, cocktails & homesteading tales of chickens & cows from the family farm! Make sure to check out my bestselling cookbook, Flapper Pie & a Blue Prairie Sky ,stay tuned for info on my second cookbook!


  1. Norma (Davis) Cook Reply

    Could you please clarify the amounts of the ingredients? There seems to be a typo in the first two lines.

  2. Love that you used homemade whipping cream! So much better than that oil stuff.

  3. Lana Moffatt Wilmot Reply

    Have made this for over 35 years ! So quick & easy .

  4. Dianne Trenaman Zarrelli Reply

    Used to make it all the time! Maybe this weekend

  5. Lorianne Ward Reply

    Not at all! With you in the business and your children taking an interest it’s incredibly smart, supportive and forward thinking of you!

  6. Lorianne Ward Reply

    I agree completely and know several people that have purchased websites for their kids.

  7. thespiritedthrifter Reply

    Done.  Good advice and I too love pistachio pudding ever since reading The Pistachio Prescription as a kid!  

  8. Melody Wike Reply

    I think it’s great advice. Who knows what the online/ business world will be like in 15 years; we certainty couldn’t have predicted 15 years ago where we are now.

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