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Watergate Salad

Watergate salad is an incredibly refreshing dessert that you can whip up in just 5 minutes. The combination of pistachio pudding, canned pineapples, whipped topping, chopped pecans, and marshmallows makes for a beautiful symphony of flavors and textures.

It’s a stunningly sweet, tangy, and nutty dessert that’s perfect to round out any meal. But light enough that you don’t feel guilty.

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Apart from its yummy goodness, what I love most about Watergate salad (also known as Pistachio Fluff, Green Stuff, and Syracuse Cake) is that it’s insanely easy to prepare. Simply dump all the ingredients in a bowl, mix and chill!

It’s perfect for potlucks, parties, and holidays. And did I mention, it’s super affordable. Just don’t expect any leftovers. This surprisingly simple salad is a crowd-pleaser!

Watergate Salad

Tips & Tricks For the Best Watergate Salad

  • Give your Watergate salad a subtle salty surprise by mixing in a cup of cottage cheese. A combination of cream cheese and whipped cream will also do the trick.
  • Top the salad with some sweet and juicy maraschino cherries for an extra burst of flavor. Plus, the color combination of the green fluff and red cherries just looks gorgeous!
  • Watergate salad is best served and eaten chilled. Refrigerating it for a few hours helps the pudding to set, which is why it’s a great make-ahead dessert.
  • Want a lighter version? Use low-fat whipped topping and a can of crushed pineapple in water instead of juice.
  • Turn the salad into a faux-pie by serving it on a graham cracker crust. Delish!
  • Do not get rid of the pineapple juice. This ingredient is crucial in turning the dry pudding mix into actual pudding. But, if you drain it by accident, you can use water instead.
  • Not a fan of pistachio pudding mix? No problem! Use whatever pudding mix you prefer. Some good alternatives include coconut and chocolate pudding.
  • When shopping for canned pineapple, pick the one in water or juice. Pineapple with syrup is way too thick and won’t combine well with the pudding mix. The syrup will also make the salad way too sweet.
  • Instead of regular mallows, use rainbow marshmallows to give your salad a splash of color! Pick out color combinations to suit every occasion. 
  • You can also add whatever toppings you want to make your salad more exciting and flavorful. Some great options include chopped walnuts, shredded coconuts, sliced bananas, crushed pistachios, ice cream, and chocolate chips. Yum!
  • Store your salad properly for maximum freshness. Do not leave it out at room temperature for over 2 hours. Cover it well with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. It will last for 1-2 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • Not a fan of pineapple? You can use canned fruit cocktail or mandarin oranges instead.
  • No matter how much of a fan you are of marshmallows, don’t put in too much. The mallows will soak up all the pineapple juice, making your salad super stiff.
  • People normally use Cool Whip for this recipe, but you may also use homemade whipped cream. Be sure to whip the cream until it becomes medium stiff. That way, it has the right level of fluffiness. Just keep in mind that salad with homemade whipped cream won’t last as long because the cream will deflate much faster than Cool Whip.
  • While canned pineapple is a lot more convenient, you can also use fresh pineapples for this recipe. Slice pineapples into chunks and pulse in a food processor to crush them.

Looking For More Quick & Easy Side Dishes?

Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Trisha Yearwood Grape Salad
Grandma’s Macaroni Salad
Picnic Side Dishes
1905 Salad Recipe

Watergate Salad



Prep time






  • 1 (3.4 oz) package instant pistachio pudding mix

  • 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple (with juice)

  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or almonds)

  • 1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping (thawed)


  • In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, crushed pineapple with juice, marshmallows, and nuts. Mix well. Fold in whipped topping. Chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Watergate Salad

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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