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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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bowl of fluff with cherries on top
Table of Contents
  1. Easy Watergate Salad Recipe
  2. What is Watergate Salad?
  3. What ingredients are in Watergate Salad?
  4. How to make Watergate salad Fluff
  5. Substitutions
  6. Making Fluff Salad Ahead and Storing
  7. Tips for making Easy Watergate Fluff Salad:
  8. Pistachio Salad FAQ
  9. Other Fluff Recipes
  10. Watergate Fluff Salad Recipe

Easy Watergate Salad Recipe

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.

ingredients in Watergate salad photo: marshmallows, nuts, cool whip, pudding box, pineapple can

What ingredients are in Watergate Salad?

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: be sure to get instant pudding
  • Crushed pineapple: a 20 ounce can
  • Cool Whip: an 8-ounce container
  • Pecans: you can use your favorite nut
  • Marshmallows: mini marshmallows are best

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

How to make Watergate salad Fluff

1. First, add pineapple and pudding to a very large bowl. Don’t drain the pineapple – the liquid will make the pudding. Note: if you want a thicker salad, drain the pineapple first. This is personal preference.

bowl of crushed pineapple with pudding mix

2. Once those are combined, add the whipped topping and stir it together.

bowl of green pudding with cool whip

3. Add the nuts and marshmallows and stir together, then chill.

bowl of pudding with marshmallows and nuts

Substitutions

Can you make easy 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 1/2 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.

Making Fluff Salad Ahead and Storing

You can make Watergate salad up to 2 days in advance. In fact, it’s better the longer it sits. Store in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

bowl of fluff with cherries on top

Tips for making Easy 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.

Pistachio Salad FAQ

Do you put coconut in Watergate salad?

Traditionally no, but you can add 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut to the recipe.

Do you add milk to Watergate salad?

No – you do not need to make the pudding recipe. Instead, the pineapple juice makes the creamy pudding.

Can you make Watergate fluff with cream cheese

Yes if you want a cheesecake fluff salad, mix cream cheese into the smooth pudding mixture.

Other Fluff Recipes

Have you made this recipe?

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bowl of fluff with cherries on top

Watergate Fluff Salad

5 from 8 votes
Watergate Fluff Salad is an easy dessert salad recipe made with pistachio pudding, pineapple, marshmallows, and cool whip.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 12 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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

Recipe Nutrition

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
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword fluff

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bowl of fluff with cherries on top

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.

Last Updated on June 3, 2022

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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19 Comments

  1. I always had this salad before the internet was a thing but never knew what it was called. I loved this recipe, very nostalgic for me.