Watergate Salad

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Watergate Salad is a delicious retro recipe that can be whipped up in just 5 minutes! This easy pistachio fluff recipe is a classic recipe made with pecans, pineapple, and pistachio pudding! It can be served as a potluck side dish or even a dessert!

overhead view of Watergate Salad made with pecans, pineapple, and pistachio

What is Watergate Salad?

Watergate Salad might be just as classic as apple pie in some households. This retro dessert salad had been around for generations, dating back to 1975 when Kraft launched its pistachio pudding and called the dish Pistachio Pineapple Delight. The dessert blended pineapple and pistachio together with whipped topping and marshmallows for a sweet and fluffy dish.

How did Watergate Salad Get Its Name?

I love a dish with a little bit of fun history!  The famous dish got the name “Watergate Salad” when a Chicago column renamed it to garner interest. Given that the Watergate Scandal was just a year prior, I’m sure it caught several people’s attention when flipping through the newspaper. But this salad isn’t as scandalous as the Nixon administration and being downright delicious is the only crime it’s committing. And those crimes are against my waistline… “sorry, pants”.

Watergate salad topped with a red maraschino cherry in a clear bowl

How to Make Watergate Salad

Watergate Salad is super easy to make, simply stir and chill! Similar to an ambrosia salad, this easy Watergate Salad recipe contains both pineapple and coconut.  It also has pistachio pudding which adds amazing flavor and gives it its characteristic pretty green color!

Like most retro recipes, there are different versions of this salad (some containing cottage cheese or cream cheese) but this easy version is always a favorite! Soft and fluffy and just simply stir and serve! The tart pineapple and sweet coconut and pecans and that cream whipped topping and fluffy marshmallows, this dish is utterly irresistible. Plus, it only takes 5 minutes to whip up.

This recipe needs to chill before serving. The chilling part allows the flavors to blend but most of all allows the marshmallows time to soak up any liquid giving it a thicker consistency.  This simple, old fashioned dessert is perfect as a side or dessert at summer BBQs, everyone will be begging you for the recipe! Serve it up with my Strawberry Peach Slushies and these Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs.

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overhead view of Watergate Salad made with pecans, pineapple, and pistachio
4.42 from 12 votes
Review Recipe

Watergate Salad

Prep Time 5 minutes
Refrigeration time 6 hours
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Rebecca
This Watergate Salad is a delicious retro recipe that can be whipped up in just 5 minutes! It’s loaded with classic flavors like pecans, pineapple, and pistachio!


  • 20 ounces crushed pineapple in juice NOT SYRUP
  • 3.4 ounces instant pistachio pudding mix 1 box
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
  • 8 ounces whipped topping
  • maraschino cherry for topping
  • pecan chips for topping

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  • Drain the crushed pineapple juice into a large bowl, reserving the pineapple in the can.
  • Stir the pudding mix into the pineapple juice until fully combined.
  • Stir in the crushed pineapple, coconut, pecans, and marshmallows until combined.
  • Fold in the whipped topping.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 48 hours.
  • Garnish with pecan chips and a cherry when serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 242, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 173mg, Potassium: 153mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 50IU, Vitamin C: 5.4mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 0.5mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword watergate salad
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American


side view of Watergate Salad topped with a maraschino cherry, overhead view of the salad
side view of Watergate Salad topped with a maraschino cherry

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About the author


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I’m Rebecca, and Sugar & Soul is where I blend my traditional roots and millennial imagination. I’m a self taught baker, photographer and traveler with a business degree and a dream. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Matt, and currently reside in Central Maine. I’m so glad you stopped in and I hope I can inspire you to bake a batch of cookies or head off on a new adventure!

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