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Watergate Salad (The BEST Pistachio Delight)

Watergate salad combines pistachio pudding, juicy pineapple, miniature marshmallows, and whipped cream. It’s a sweet and creamy treat that’s perfect for potlucks and family get-togethers.

Plus, you can whip up this crowd favorite in just 5 minutes!

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Sweet and Creamy Watergate Salad with Pistachio Nuts

Watergate Salad

This creamy dessert salad is often referred to as Pistachio Fluff, Watergate Salad, Pistachio Dessert Salad, and Syracuse Cake.

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.

Best of all, it’s insanely easy to prepare. Simply dump all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and chill!

You only need a handful of ingredients for this fluff salad.

  • Pistachio Pudding Mix
  • Crushed Pineapple
  • Miniature Marshmallows
  • Chopped Walnuts
  • Whipped Topping

It’s perfect for potlucks, parties, and holidays. And did I mention that it’s super affordable?

Just don’t expect any leftovers. This surprisingly simple salad is a crowd-pleaser!

Watergate Salad Ingredients - Pistachio Pudding Mix, Crushed Pineapples, Miniature Marshmallows, Chopped Walnuts and Whipped Toppings

Can You Make Watergate Salad Ahead of Time?


In fact, this dessert salad is best served chilled, so you should make it at least a few hours in advance.

Let the salad chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. This will give the pudding time to set and also allow for the flavors to marry.

Tips & Tricks For the Best Watergate Salad

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 pineapple? You can use canned fruit cocktail or mandarin oranges instead.
  • 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.
  • Want a lighter dessert salad? Use low-fat whipped topping and a can of crushed pineapple in water instead of juice.
Watergate Salad with Pistachio Nuts in a Bowl

Toppings and Variations

  • 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!
  • Add whatever toppings you want to make your dessert salad more mouthwatering. You can’t go wrong with chopped walnuts, shredded coconuts, sliced bananas, crushed pistachios, ice cream, and chocolate chips. Yum!
  • Instead of regular marshmallows, use rainbow marshmallows to give your salad a splash of color! Pick out color combinations to suit every occasion. 
  • Turn the salad into a faux pie by serving it on a graham cracker crust. Delish!

How to Store Watergate Salad

Store your dessert salad properly for maximum freshness. Do not leave it out at room temperature for over 2 hours.

Cover 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.

Looking For More Quick & Easy Side Dishes?

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

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Watergate Salad



Prep time






  • 1 (3.4 oz) package instant pistachio pudding mix

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

  • 1 cup 1 miniature marshmallows

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 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 (The BEST Pistachio Delight)

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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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