Watergate Salad Fluff Recipe

5 from 2 votes

Watergate Salad is an easy dessert salad recipe made with pistachio pudding, pineapple, marshmallows, and cool whip. It’s a heavenly retro dessert!

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Watergate fluff salad in white bowl

If you need an easy last minute dessert or side dish for the weekend, this is the one you should make! I mean it’s a fluff SALAD and it’s green which makes it healthy! (HA)

This retro dessert will bring back memories at your family table: a Watergate Salad! Have you ever tried this fluff?

I’ll be honest: I’d never heard of it until I started blogging. Fluff wasn’t something we ate growing up. I think it’s more of a mid-western or southern thing because I’d never even seen dessert salad until apple salads started showing up in my Pinterest feed.

What is Watergate Salad?

In researching this salad recipe I found that it’s called by several funny names: Watergate, Green Goddess, Pistachio Delight, or Shut The Gate Salad or colloquially as Green Goop, Green Fluff or Green Stuff. I mean, I’m partial to Green Goop, aren’t you? LOL

(Why is #shutthegatesalad not a hashtag? SHUT THE GATE! LOL)

Watergate Salad got it’s start back in the 70s when Kraft Jell0-O came out with pistachio pudding mix. Can you imagine the conversation the Kraft kitchens chefs had?

“Dude, WTH do we do with PISTACHIO pudding mix?”

“I know, let’s mix it with pineapple and marshmallows and call it a SALAD!”

However it was developed or whatever it’s called, Watergate salad aka Pistachio Fluff is an iconic dessert that brings back so many family memories.

Watergate fluff salad in white bowl

What’s in Watergate Fluff?

I have seen recipes all over the internet for making Watergate salad with cottage cheese or other fruit or even how to make Watergate salad with lime jello, but this is the traditional pistachio fluff recipe:

  • Pistachio pudding mix
  • Crushed pineapple
  • Cool Whip
  • Pecans
  • Marshmallows

That’s it! You can have pistachio fluff in just 5 minutes!


Like I mentioned, there are lots of different ways to make this recipe.

Can you make Watergate salad without pineapple?

You can if you want, but it changes the recipe a bit. I suggest making the pudding as called for on the box then adding the other ingredients. If you want the flavor of pineapple without the chunks, make it with 1 cup milk and ½ cup pineapple juice.

Can you make pistachio fluff with cream cheese?

Yes, but again that changes the recipe a bit. You can just add an 8-ounce block of cream cheese to the recipe. Make sure it’s room temperature and mix it into the pudding and pineapple before folding in the cool whip.

Easy Watergate Pistachio Fluff Salad Recipe

Tips for making Watergate Fluff Salad:

  • Make sure to use INSTANT pudding mix.
  • If you find sugar-free pudding mix you can also use sugar-free cool whip but remember that the pineapple has sugar in it.
  • Use walnuts in place of pecans if you prefer.
  • Don’t skip the marshmallows or your fluff will be too wet.

Other Fluff Recipes

Watergate Fluff Salad

Watergate Fluff Salad is an easy dessert salad recipe made with pistachio pudding, pineapple, marshmallows, and cool whip.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 20 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 12 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 3.4 ounce box instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 8 ounce container cool whip
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  • Add pudding mix and pineapple with the juice to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Fold in Cool Whip. Then stir in marshmallows and pecans.
  • Chill 30 minutes before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 33mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword fluff

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Watergate Salad is an easy dessert salad recipe like ambrosia with pistachio and pudding! This is such an easy no bake and simple recipe for a crowd.

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7 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. You say add the puddin mix and pineapple together in a large bowel, do you mix the pudding as instructed on package first or just mix the dry pudding mix with the pineapple?

    1. Just mix the pudding mix with the pineapple – the wetness from the pineapple will help make the pudding.

  2. I have been making this for years as my go to potluck BBQ dish. Delicious! But now I need to try the pie version.

    1. You can try whipped cream (about 3 cups) but it won’t keep as long and will get watery after a few hours, most likely.

  3. I like making this and it’s so easy and delicious. Take it to office party and other gatherings with friends – this is a hit everyplace I take it.