Watergate Salad Recipe

Watergate salad is an easy dessert salad made in 5 minutes with just 5 ingredients! This dump-and-go recipe uses crushed pineapple, whipped topping, mini marshmallows, and instant pudding mix to whip up the perfect retro dessert.

two glass dishes of watergate salad topped with cherries

I was looking through old recipes of my grandmother’s like her strawberry stuffed angel food cake or Southern pecan pie and I found this classic Watergate Salad and instantly craved it!

What is watergate salad?

For those not in the loop, this is a classic 1970s-era dessert similar to ambrosia salad. It is full of marshmallows, crushed pineapple, pudding mix, and whipped cream. Legend has it that it was invented by a chef at the infamous Watergate hotel.

I have also heard it called a myriad of other names: green goop, pistachio fluff, green fluff, pistachio pineapple delight, green fluff salad, pistachio delight, the list goes on and on. Whatever you call it, I think you’ll love it!

Why I love this recipe

  • easy enough the kiddos can make it
  • it tastes better after time in the fridge so it is perfect to make ahead of time
  • great sweet side dish or dessert for potlucks and parties
  • the green color makes it perfect for St. Patrick’s Day but we also like to serve it at Christmas or Easter too
watergate salad ingredients in metal bowl from overhead


  • instant pistachio pudding mix
  • crushed pineapple (with juice-do not drain!)
  • mini marshmallows
  • Cool Whip
  • chopped pecans

Traditionally watergate salad is served garnished with a maraschino cherry, but that is totally optional.

Step by step

To make this easy recipe simply fold together all the ingredients in a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.

close up of watergate salad topped with chopped pecans and a maraschino cherry


  • substitute chopped walnuts or almonds for the pecans
  • omit the nuts altogether
  • add shredded sweetened coconut
  • some versions mix in a block of cream cheese but I prefer this recipe without it to keep it light and fluffy

If you try this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
close up of watergate salad topped with maraschino cherry in a glass dish

Watergate Salad Recipe

  • Author: Melissa Riker
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: none
  • Cuisine: American


Watergate Salad is a 1970s era dessert with pistachio pudding, whipped cream, marshmallows, pineapple, and pecans and while it sounds like a crazy mix, it’s absolutely delicious!


Units Scale
  • 3.4-ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 8-ounce container Cool Whip
  • 20-ounce can crushed pineapple (with juice)
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans


Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill for at least one hour before serving.


Keep covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 249
  • Sugar: 38 g
  • Sodium: 258.7 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.7 g
  • Protein: 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.1 mg

Keywords: watergate salad

So tell me, have you tried Watergate Salad? Do you love it as much as I do??

Want more great recipes?

Join our community of over 20,000 everyday cooks and I'll send you an eCookbook with 13 of my favorite desserts as a welcome gift!

Powered by ConvertKit

Similar Posts


  1. One of my favorites. We make this every Thanksgiving and Christmas. The kids love it. My mom made this when we were growing up and has stayed in the family.

    1. I love the Watergate Salad… I also make it every holiday… It’s my tradition and it is usually gone almost when
      my dinner’s are over.. Almost gone but I save some for me to have later’s… My mother made it when I was a little girl.. So I’ve been eating it for many years.. Thank You Melissa for your recipe.. Yumm!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star