Pistachio Salad is a creamy fruit salad made with Jello pudding mix, Cool Whip, crushed pineapple and mini marshmallows. An easy recipe and a family favorite dessert salad perfect for holidays and family gatherings.
Easy pistachio salad is super simple to make, and it only consists of 4 ingredients, or 5, if you decide to add nuts. The original recipe for Watergate Salad called for chopped almonds or walnuts. But my kids hate nuts in their food, so I leave them out.
You may know this vintage Jello salad recipe as Pistachio Pineapple Delight, Pistachio Fluff salad, Green Goop or Green Stuff. Bonus points if you know why it's called Watergate salad!
Like Strawberry Jello Salad and Orange Jello Salad, I got this retro recipe from my grandma's collection -- This easy dessert salad was super popular in the 70's. As I recall, pistachio fluff fruit salad was usually reserved for holiday dinners, church potluck dinners or parties. I don't think we ever had it as part of an ordinary dinner.
The first time I made Watergate Salad for my family, my kids almost didn't try it. But, they loved it, and my youngest daughter insists on making it herself for holidays and St. Patrick's Day. And sometimes, just because!
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this pistachio salad recipe. They should be easy to find in your grocery store.
- Jello pudding mix -- instant pudding mix, generic is fine
- Crushed pineapple -- a can of crushed pineapple, not pineapple chunks. Don't drain -- you need the pineapple juice, as well
- Mini Marshmallows -- makes this pistachio fluff even fluffier!
- Cool Whip -- make sure it is thawed!
How to Make Pistachio Fruit Salad (Watergate Salad)
First, you combine crushed pineapple and a small box of instant pistachio pudding mix in a large bowl
This looks pretty wild, and you can see that the ingredients gave off kind of a weird glow.
But remember, this is from the 70's. So, I suppose that's normal, right?!
Then, you mix a small container of whipped topping into the pineapple mixture, using a rubber spatula. And, the weird yellowish-green color disappears!
If you want more of a crunch, go ahead and add some nuts. But, I think I'm going to agree with the kiddos on this recipe and say that it's fine without the nuts.
Finally, you fold some mini marshmallows into the pudding mixture. And that's all, folks -- you're done!
Traditionally, you use regular marshmallows. But, we think the fun-colored fruity marshmallows make this fluffy dessert salad extra fun.
Fluffy pistachio salad is one of those recipes that instantly takes you back. After one bite, you'll be thinking, Yes -- I remember this!
Like most mid-century recipes, every family has their own version of old fashioned pistachio salad. Top it off with maraschino cherries, use sour cream or cottage cheese instead of Cool Whip.
Stir in shredded coconut or add cream cheese instead of marshmallows. Pistachio fruit salad tastes great with mandarin oranges. The possibilities are endless here!
We like to make pistachio pudding salad with pastel marshmallows in the spring!
How to Store Pistachio Salad
Store this pistachio delight in the refrigerator. Cover the serving bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container.
It keeps for about 4 days when covered in the fridge.
You can make pistachio salad up to a day in advance or an hour before serving. It just needs time to set and cool down.
Want to know where Watergate Salad comes from? Truth is, nobody really knows now. Grandma always said it came from a chef at the Watergate Hotel, which became famous after the Watergate scandal. Some say it came from Kraft and got the nickname from a reporter looking to promote the recipe.
- 1 3.4-ounce box of instant pistachio pudding mix
- 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple not drained
- 1 8-ounce container whipped topping thawed
- 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
- Mix the pineapple with the pudding mix in a medium bowl
- Fold in the whipped topping
- Stir in the mini marshmallows
- Refrigerate until ready to serve
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
I hope you enjoy this old fashioned pistachio fluff salad as much as we do. It's a great recipe for any holiday meal or family event. If you try this green fluff salad, please leave a star rating and/or comment.
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This post was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2023.
My kid loves pistacchio flavor and he will love this salad for sure!
I remember this one! Just as I loved it before. The kids found this and made it right away. Simply the best.
So glad you liked the pistachio salad, Robert!
One of my favorite salads during holidays! Great for any occasion!
This Pistachio Salad looks absolutely delicious! Yummy! Definitely a must try!
Oh wow! I'm so excited to make this for the weekend! So excited to try this recipe! Everyone is going to love it! Looks great and so delicious!
It turns out so great! Everyone in my family loved this dessert!
I haven't had this in forever. Perfectly light and sweet just like I remember.
I love anything pistachio flavored, I cannot wait to try this!
This totally reminds me of every family reunion we had when I was growing up. It was a staple and I remember my Mom trying to stop me from eating just the marshmallows, haha! Going to make this for my kids this weekend to have the tradition live on.
Yes! That's exactly why I made this again!
Cathy @ Lemon Tree Dwelling says
Looove pistachio! This would be perfect for summer picnics!
Allyson Zea says
I've never even heard of this! It looks so good!
Katerina @ diethood .com says
This looks and sounds incredibly delicious!! Perfect for summer!!
I Heart Naptime says
This looks so light and refreshing!
Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says
Looks so perfect! Definitely a must try!
Thanks, Erin. It's so easy, too!
Dorothy at Shockinglydelish says
This recipe takes me back! I remember eating this all the time as a child. I have to introduce my kids!
I have a soft spot for vintage recipes, so I felt the same way! 🙂
This was always on the table during the summer. We're from upstate NY, my mom added a tub of sour cream and no marshmallows.
That sounds good, and I love that there are so many different variations.
Miz Helen says
We just love this salad, it is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a fantastic day!
Come Back Soon!
This salad sounds yum!
The kids absolutely loved it! 🙂
JANET VINYARD says
Hi Dee, This is so good - being from the South, we always added chopped pecans. I believe it was called Watergate Salad because President Richard Nixon supposedly liked this! Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Janet
I wondered why it was called that. Thanks, Janet! 🙂
Ginger Wroot says
Watergate salad? Never heard it called that before, but I like the retro name and look of this dessert! Pinned this one for a pudding to try soon, maybe this summer...the pale green looks so cool and refreshing!
Thanks! This is perfect for warm weather. 🙂