The Original Watergate Salad

By March 31, 2022 No Comments

A delicious light and fluffy salad or dessert made with pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, miniature marshmallows, nuts and cool whip. Perfect for potlucks! A taste of heaven on earth.

It’s been a while since I’ve made this vintage salad that was popular back in the mid 70’s. 

This salad brings back happy memories of Sunday’s Dinners at my grandmother’s house. 

She fell in love with this salad and I don’t think I ever remember a time that she didn’t have it on the table for any family gathering. We all loved it and still do!

Today, I’m giving you the original Watergate Salad recipe that my Grandmother made. 

So What in the world is Watergate Salad?

All I remember is that it was popular during the time the Watergate scandal was going on in Washington D.C. around 1975. 

Here are some theories floating around the web on how it got its name. Kraft claims credit to be the creator because they developed a recipe called Pistachio Pineapple Delight and that same year 1975 pistachio pudding mix came out. Then, a Chicago food editor renamed it Watergate Salad in her column to draw interest to the recipe because of the Watergate hearings. Anyway, who knows the real truth! 

All I know is that it is good, really good! Plain and simple!

Watergate Salad is also called other hilarious names like Funeral Salad because it was brought to so many funeral gatherings, Green fluff, Green Goddess, (I love that one!) Watergate Fluff and this one is so funny. Shut- the-Gate- Up Salad because it could be whipped up and ready to go as soon as Dad came home from work! My, how times have changed! Lol!


Ingredients that you will need to make this heavenly salad (Be sure to see the complete printable recipe at the bottom of this post.)


  • Pistachio pudding mix (instant) Jello Brand
  • Crushed pineapple 
  • Chopped pecans
  • Miniature marshmallows 
  • Cool whip
  • Stemmed cherries to garnish, optional but makes it beautiful!

That’s it! Can you believe it! How can anything so easy be so good! 

No wonder this salad was so popular at funerals and potlucks! 

How to make Watergate Salad

  • The first step is to mix the crushed pineapple with juice and pistachio pudding together. Be sure not to drain the pineapple. The juice will dissolve the pudding. Stir until the pudding is completely dissolved and smooth.
  • Fold in the thawed cool whip.
  • Next, add the miniature marshmallows and nuts. It should be all billowing and fluffy! Once combined, cover and chill until ready to serve.
  • Garnish with stemmed maraschino cherries, please!🍒😀 

Watergate Salad can be made up 2 days in advance. Just keep it refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container until ready to serve.

For something different, you can use other flavors such as orange jello. Walnuts or almonds in place of pecans. 

I hope this Watergate Salad brings you as much happiness as it has to our family throughout the years. 

Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions about the recipe. I would love to hear from you and if you make it, be sure to use #deliciouslysouthern and let me know how you like it. Lastly, please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

I’ll be back soon with more delicious Southern recipes!




The Original Watergate Salad

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


A delicious light and fluffy salad or dessert made with pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, miniature marshmallows, nuts, and cool whip. It can be whipped up in a snap. Perfect for potlucks! A taste of heaven on earth.


  • 1 (3.4-ounce) box instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 (8-ounce) container of cool whip thawed 
  • 1 (heaping) cup of miniature marshmallows 
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • Stemmed maraschino cherries for garnish if desired


  1. In a glass serving bowl, mix crushed pineapple and juice with pistachio pudding mix. Stir pudding is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth. 
  2. Next, fold in the thawed cool whip. Gently fold until pudding and cool whip is completely blended.
  3. Add miniature marshmallows and pecans. Cover and chill until salad is set. About 25 minutes or until ready to serve.
  4. When ready to serve, garnish with stemmed cherries and extra chopped pecans if desired.


Do ahead tip: Watergate Salad can be made up 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.




Hi, my name is Aletia. I am a true blue Southern girl, cookbook author, entrepreneur, self-taught food photographer and lover of chocolate.