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Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

Serving a big bowl of fluffy pistachio Watergate Salad reminds me of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the retro recipes in the 1970s.  But this creamy light delicious side dish (you could say snack dessert) refers to the Washington DC hotel and not the scandal of the nation. Rich, creamy, and fluffy a super light dessert that the whole family will love.  If the kids do not like the actual nut in the desert, you can make the recipe without the nuts.

Created by Kraft foods as a summer dish to showcase their pistachio pudding mix developed in 1975 and was called “Pistachio Pineapple Delight’.  It is said that a newspaper changed the name, but I have heard it was named after the Washington DC hotel that made this side dish as a luncheon regular.  But no one knows for sure.

Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

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If you love Watergate Fluff Salad you may also be interested in Cranberry Fluff Dessert Recipe and Pina Colada Fluff Dessert Recipe!

Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

When to Serve Watergate Fluff Salad

Enough of the history lesson.  Let’s get back to parties and family events. Watergate Salad Fluff was popular in the ’70s and ’80s and has many varieties of recipes.  I remember Watergate Salad at potluck dinners and holiday parties.  The salad is perfect for the holidays as it has that big bright green color that brightens up the Thanksgiving or Christmas buffet table.

I have tried to lower the sugar in our foods nowadays, I use a sugar-free pudding. I have also at times used the light or sugar-free Cool Whip. You can serve this in one big bowl on a serving table. On holidays it would be served in a decorative bowl and passed around the holiday table.   When I have a dinner party I like to serve it in parfait glasses. It is an easy low sugar dessert.

Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

Watergate Fluff Salad is perfect for a kids’ movie night treat while watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “The Polar Express”. The traditional moves are so much fun to watch each year. There is nothing like getting all the family together to watch the moves that starts all the excitement of Christmas. Each move needs a special treat and the Watergate Fluff would be a perfect green snack for the Grinch.

Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

Tips for Making Watergate Salad Fluff

Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

While the pudding flavor is pistachio, the crushed pineapple gives the fluff a milder flavor. The pineapple adds a sweet tang and the Cool Whip makes it light and creamy.  When I make the fluff I put the pudding in the bowl first and then add the pineapple.  This mixes the pudding with the liquid of the pineapple to combine the flavors and make sure there are not any lumps of pudding.  If you mix everything at once you can get lumpy pudding spots.  I then add the mini marshmallows and the nuts and add the Cool Whip last with a folding motion. 

Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

After the recipe is all mixed make sure you give it a taste for yourself as it is irresistible.

Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert
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Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

Watergate Salad Pineapple Pistachio Dessert

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  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: refrigerated
  • Cuisine: American


Light Fluffy Low Sugar Dessert or Side Dish, Watergate Fluff


Units Scale
  • 1 Can Crushed Pineapple with the juice (20 oz)
  • 1 Sugar-Free Instant Pistachio Pudding (1 oz)
  • 3 cups of Mini Marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup of Chopped Nuts (Pecans)
  • 1 Cool Whip regular size, thawed (8 oz)


  1. In a large bowl mix the pudding and the pineapple along with the juice. Mix well as this is the only liquid to add to the pudding. (do not add milk).
  2. Stir in the marshmallows and the nuts. (you can make this without the nuts)
  3. Fold in the Cool Whip.
  4. cover with plastic wrap and up in the refrigerator for an hour or two.


  • You can make this recipe with sugar jello also if you do not want to use sugar free


  • Serving Size: 8
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  1. I haven’t made this in a long time. Will now that I’ve seen how good it looks again!

  2. I haven’t had watergate salad in so long! This looks amazing! Thank you for sharing with us over at Fiesta Friday! Happy Fiesta Friday!

  3. This is such an easy and quintessential holiday dessert! It’s always a big crowd pleaser. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us at Merry Monday this week.

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