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Watergate salad is an American classic. This delightful side dish salad or dessert is made with pistachio-flavored instant pudding mix, canned pineapple, mini marshmallows, nuts, and whipped topping. It comes together in minutes and after one to two hours in the refrigerator, this chilly treat will impress your dinner guests with it's light and fluffy texture and colorful appeal. Garnish with crushed pistachios and maraschino cherries.

Recipe Summary

5 mins
1 hr
1 hr 5 mins

This Watergate salad recipe is proof you can't go wrong with a classic. Full of nostalgic flavor, there's a reason this simple treat has stood the test of time. 

What Is Watergate Salad?

Watergate salad, or Pistachio Delight, is a dessert salad or side dish made with pistachio pudding, canned fruit, whipped topping, and other ingredients. The original recipe was originally published by General Foods under the title "Pistachio Pineapple Delight." 

A Chicago food editor renamed it "Watergate Salad" when she printed it in her column in 1975, presumably to pique readers' interests after the presidential scandal that shared the same name. 

Watergate Salad Ingredients

You'll need just five ingredients to make this tried-and-true Watergate salad: 

· Pudding mix: This sweet salad starts with a package of instant pistachio pudding mix. 
· Canned pineapple: A can of crushed pineapple (with the juice) adds sweet, fruity flavor. 
· Marshmallows: You'll need a cup of miniature marshmallows for flavor and fluff. 
· Nuts: This recipe calls for walnuts, but you can use pecans if you'd like. 
· Whipped topping: Frozen whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, brings the dessert salad together. 

How to Make Watergate Salad

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make this top-rated Watergate salad: 

Simply combine the first four ingredients in a bowl, then fold in the whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate until set. 

How to Store Watergate Salad

Transfer the Watergate salad to a shallow, airtight container and store in the refrigerator for three to four days. 

Can You Freeze Watergate Salad? 

You can freeze Watergate salad for up to three months in a freezer-safe container. However, it's important to note that the texture of the marshmallows will change during the thawing process. 

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I freeze mine and it makes a wonderful summer treat," according to Sissy. "Just spread in a lightly greased pan, freeze, and cut into squares. Everyone loves it!"

"I could eat Watergate salad three times a day everyday," says Lee. "I love adding coconut. Everyone loves it."

"I used to make this years ago and forgot all about it until I came across it on this website," says Golf buddy. "Great taste, very refreshing and so easy to make. My family loves it."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine crushed pineapple with juice, instant pudding mix, mini marshmallows, and walnuts in a large bowl. Mix until well combined, then fold in whipped topping.

  • Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts

173 calories; protein 1.2g; carbohydrates 24.6g; fat 7.4g; sodium 179.6mg. Full Nutrition