Watergate Salad, with its distinctive color and flavor, is a classic and a hit at every event. This salad couldn’t be easier, and it’s ready in a jiffy, making it the perfect pick whenever you’re in the mood for a light, sweet, and delicious salad!
I love this salad. I love serving it at potlucks, BBQs, and family events, but it’s also an amazing Christmas salad thanks to its pretty green color and with a cherry on top, it has all the holiday colors.
I also love how quick and easy it is to make this tasty salad. It’s a dump-and-go dish, meaning everything goes into one bowl, and the whole dish is mixed until creamy and perfect. Plus, it’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, so make it ahead of time and then just grab it when you’re ready to serve.
Another great thing about this recipe is that I can keep the ingredients on hand for a long time, so I can whip it up when I need a last-minute salad or dish. Everything is shelf-stable, and you can pop the Cool Whip into the freezer and thaw it before using it.
With flavor, crunch, and deliciousness in every bite, I’m sure you’ll love this salad!
Why Is It Called Watergate Salad?
The story goes that this salad was created and served at the Watergate Hotel, and it gained in popularity during the political scandal of the same name. It has also been suggested that Kraft created this salad recipe to promote their pistachio pudding and called the recipe Pistachio Pineapple Delight.
Watergate Salad is also known by various other names, including Pistachio Delight, Green Goddess Salad, Shut The Gate Salad, and I’ve even heard it called Green Goop and Green Fluff. No matter what you call it, it’s a fun and tasty dessert salad recipe!
- Cool Whip – Or another kind of whipped topping. See my notes below for substitutions.
- Pistachio instant pudding mix – A 3.4-ounce package.
- Canned crushed pineapple – Drain it well!
- Pecans – Toasted and chopped.
- Mini marshmallows
- Shredded coconut – Optional.
- Maraschino cherries – For the garnish.
- Whipped cream – For the garnish.
How To Make This Easy Watergate Salad
- Combine the pineapple, pudding mix, mini marshmallows, pecans, and coconut in a large bowl and mix well.
- Fold in the whipped topping and mix to combine.
- Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
- Garnish with drained cherries and whipped cream, and enjoy!
Recipe Tips & Substitutions
- Use homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip but note that it won’t keep as long in the fridge if you do.
- Use sweetened or unsweetened coconut shreds.
- Try multicolored mini marshmallows for an extra colorful salad.
- Skip the pecans if you want a nut-free Watergate Salad.
- Make sure to drain the canned pineapple really well. Pour it into a strainer and then press down lightly on the pineapple with a small plate to squeeze out excess liquid so your salad isn’t runny.
- Keep the salad chilled until ready to serve.
Watergate Salad will keep in an airtight container (or cover the bowl with plastic wrap) in the fridge for 5-7 days. If you use fresh whipped cream instead of Cool Whip, it’ll only keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- 8 Oz whipped topping such as Cool Whip
- 3.4 Oz package pistachio instant pudding mix
- 20 Oz crushed pineapple drained
- 1/2 Cup chopped pecans
- 1 Cup mini marshmallows
- 1/2 Cup shredded coconut optional
- maraschino cherries
- whipped cream
- Combine the pineapple, pudding mix, mini marshmallows, pecans, and coconut (if using) in a large bowl. Mix until well combined. Fold in the whipped topping.
- Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish, if desired, before serving.
- *Note – homemade whipped cream may be used instead of the cool whip, however it will only keep for 2-3 days with the homemade whipped cream. With the whipped topping, it will last for 5-7 days.