Watergate Salad is an absolute classic recipe! Pistachio fluff is mixed with fruit and turned into a classic dessert in 5 minutes! Ambrosia Salad and Watergate Salad will take you on a super tasty trip down memory lane!
Make this decadent and creamy Watergate Salad! It’s guaranteed to be the talk of your meal! Everyone will start telling stories of their family memories and this classic recipe!
Watergate Salad is one of those classic recipes that have made a real comeback in the last few years. Everyone has a memory of their grandmother or mom making it for special dinners or during the holidays. I think a lot of us are feeling nostalgic for our childhood.
I know as my kids get older I feel like sharing more and more of my childhood with them. I love telling them the stories about my grandmother and the incredible person she was while I serve up the dishes she made for us!
Watergate Salad isn’t just any salad, it’s dessert too! Festive desserts like Chocolate Covered Cherry Brownie Cheesecake Bars are surefire crowdpleasers at just about any event. Watergate Salad is no exception!
This green fluffy stuff is full of sweet pineapple, creamy whipped topping, mini marshmallows, crunchy walnuts, and green pistachio flavored pudding. How could you go wrong with all of that?!
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What is Watergate Salad?
Watergate Salad is very similar to Ambrosia Salad. It’s a combination of pistachio pudding mix stirred into whipped topping, along with crushed pineapple, walnuts, marshmallows, and maraschino cherries.
This classic pistachio pudding salad is best served cold. You can fill individual sundae dishes with salad, or serve it in a large bowl and let your party guests scoop out as much as they like. Everyone will love this pistachio pineapple delight!
Why is it called Watergate Salad?
You might be curious about its name – Watergate Salad is a blast from the past! It’s likely that it originated during the Watergate scandal at the Watergate hotel in the 1970s. At this same time, Jell-O brand pudding and gelatin mixes were all the rage at Midwest family dinner tables.
This vintage concoction of whipped pudding filled with tasty treats has been around for a long time, and for good reason! It’s made with ingredients that have become staples in every home cook’s pantry.
Ingredients for this Pistachio Salad Recipe
- Canned crushed pineapple
- Instant pistachio pudding mix
- Miniature marshmallows
- Chopped walnuts
- Maraschino cherries (sliced in half)
- Whipped topping
You’ll want to choose the canned crushed pineapple that is packed in 100% juice for this recipe. No need to drain it, because you’ll stir the pistachio pudding mix into it. The flavors combine to create that gorgeous green color that makes this dish so fun!
I like to use Homemade Cool Whip for this recipe, it’s a stabilized whipped cream, but store-bought whipped topping works just fine too. It helps save on prep time, and sometimes I need that. You know me, the more I can prep or make ahead of time when I’m entertaining the better!
You can refrigerate this classic dessert salad in advance (up to overnight) too. In fact, it tastes better when you have the time to let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour.
Feel free to add mandarin oranges if you love them. You can also use chopped pecans instead of walnuts if you’re not into walnuts, or even pistachios! Just go wild with it! 😂
How to Make Watergate Salad
It doesn’t get much easier than Watergate Salad. In fact, I love to let the kids make this recipe. They get a sense of confidence from being able to help with family dinners or during the holidays! It’s also a great way to build MORE family memories with them!
- First, combine the crushed pineapple in juice with the pistachio pudding mix in a large bowl.
- Next, add in the mix-ins: chopped nuts, mini marshmallows, and maraschino cherries. Stir to distribute all of the ingredients evenly.
- Last, gently fold in the whipped topping until just combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour before serving, or overnight if you’re making it it a day in advance.
- To serve, scoop into individual dishes and top with more whipped topping and maraschino cherries.
How simple and easy is that? Watergate Salad is one of the easiest, most delicious ways to treat your family. Nobody will ever know just how little effort it took to create this vintage pistachio pudding salad!
More of my favorite no bake desserts!!
- Pistachio Cheesecake Dip
- No Bake Peach Chiffon Pie
- Cranberry Fluff
- Pistachio Icebox Cake
- Frog Eye Salad
- More DESSERT recipes…
Tools used to make this Watergate Salad recipe
Mixing Bowl: I couldn’t live without these large mixing bowls. They’re the perfect size for holding lots of ingredients and whipping up treats for a big crowd.
Silicone Spatula: A silicone spatula seems to be in my hand every time I’m in the kitchen! This spatula set is great for mixing up your favorite holiday desserts.
*This post originally posted on 04/15/2015.
- 20 ounces crushed pineapple in 100% juice, DO NOT DRAIN!
- 3.4 ounces pistachio instant pudding mix
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup maraschino cherries cut in half
- 1 1/2 cups whipped topping thawed
- Combine the undrained crushed pineapple with the dry pudding mix until smooth and creamy.
- Mix in the mini marshmallows, chopped walnuts, and maraschino cherries.
- Fold in the whipped topping until completely incorporated.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Top with a dollop of whipped topping, chopped walnuts, and a cherry for serving.