Easy Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

Who can resist this twist of the Ambrosia fruit salad? The Easy Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff is another fruit salad that takes us way back to those childhood days. Marshmallows, Cool Whip, and pecans make their appearance in this salad too, making it a plethora of flavors and textures.

You’ll love how easy it is to prepare this pistachio ambrosia salad for it comes together quickly with just a few ingredients.

watergate salad with pecans

Looking for other summertime no-bake dessert treats? Try this easy Easy Pioneer Inspired Ambrosia Salad Recipe or this Easy Lemon Icebox Pie.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

  • Variety of textures and flavors
  • Comes together quickly and easily
  • Only one bowl required
  • Takes you back to those childhood days 🙂

Equipment You Need To Make Watergate Salad

  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoons
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Serving bowls and spoons

Easy Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

  • 1 – 8 oz. Cool Whip, room temperature 
  • 1 – 3oz. Pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 – 15oz. Can Crushed Pineapple, drained or undrained
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup mini marshmallows 
ingredients close up

How To Make Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

Serving size – ½ cup
Number of Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1-hour chilling time

Step 1: In a large bowl, mix the Cool Whip and Pistachio pudding together.

mixing ingredients

It’s fun to watch it turn bright green!

mixed watergate salad

Step 2: Combine the remaining ingredients by folding them into the cool whip pistachio pudding mixture.

watergate salad ingredients

Step 3: Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 

Step 4: Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and add a few fresh whole pecans to the top as a garnish. Serve cold and enjoy!

pecan closeup

Step 5: Store any fruit salad leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

top view of watergate salad

All About Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

This easy Watergate Salad has many different names including Watergate Salad, Pistachio Delight, Green Goop, Green Goddess Salad, and Green Ambrosia Salad just to name a few.

The origin of the name ‘watergate’ is still uncertain but the recipe rose to popularity during the presidential scandal that rocked the United States.

Whereas the Ambrosia Pioneer Fruit Salad was popular in the American South, this Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff is most popular in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. 

Variations of Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

  • Use vanilla or another flavor of pudding instead of pistachio flavored
  • Change up the nuts from pecans to almonds or cashews
  • Add chopped seeds like sunflower or pumpkin
  • Use mandarins or clementines instead of pineapple
  • Use fruit-flavored mini marshmallows
  • Top with maraschino cherries
final watergate salad

Tips & Tricks for making Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

  • Take the Cool Whip out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature
  • Get all your ingredients ready before you start to assemble them
  • Make sure to let the fruit salad sit in the fridge for 1 hour so the flavors can come together

How to Store Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

Store Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

side view of watergate salad


What is a Watergate Salad?

Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff is an American fruit salad that contains pistachio pudding, Cool Whip, pineapple, pecans, and mini marshmallows. This green ambrosia fruit salad rose to popularity in the United States in the 1970s and is still popular today.

How is Watergate Salad different from the Ambrosia salad?

The main difference between the Ambrosia salad and the Watergate salad is that the Ambrosia has more variety of fruit as it contains mandarins, pineapple, and grapes whereas the Watergate salad just has pineapple.

How does Watergate Salad get its green color?

Watergate Salad gets a green hue from the pistachio-flavored pudding.

Why does Watergate Salad need to be refrigerated for one hour?

Watergate Salad needs to be refrigerated so that the flavors can blend together.

Should the pineapple be drained in Watergate Salad?

Yes draining the pineapple will keep the salad from being too runny.

What kind of pistachio pudding does this recipe call for?

I used instant pistachio pudding for this recipe.

watergate salad with spoon

Is this Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff gluten-free?

Yes this recipe is gluten-free as it does not contain any ingredients with gluten. However, it is always a good idea to read the labels on the packaging to be 100% certain none of the ingredients contain any gluten-containing ingredients.

How can I make this Watergate Salad dairy-free?

If you want to remove the dairy from this recipe you can substitute non-dairy Cool Whip. These non-dairy alternatives are usually coconut-based. Note the flavor and texture may be slightly different with substitutions.

How can I make this Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff vegan?

It is possible to make this fruit salad vegan by substituting a non-dairy option for Cool Whip as stated above and using vegan marshmallows. Read all the packaging ingredient lists to make sure they do not contain any ingredients that are not suitable for vegans.

Can I make this Watergate Salad nut-free?

It is possible to make a version of this fruit salad nut-free however you would have to use vanilla pudding instead of pistachio-flavored pudding and use seeds instead of the pecans. Note by making these kinds of substitutions the flavor will be different from the original recipe.

Is it possible to substitute fresh pineapple for the canned pineapple?

Yes, you can substitute fresh pineapple though make sure it is ripe so the sweetness comes through. Cut the pineapple into small, bite-sized pieces.

overhead view of pistachio fluff

Can I use frozen pineapple instead of canned pineapple?

Yes, frozen pineapple chunks can work well in this recipe. Depending on the size of the chunks it may be a good idea to cut the chunks in half or in quarters.

watergate salad pistachio fluff PIN

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Look for more recipes that come together quickly and easily? I’ve got you covered. Try this Best Banana Pudding Recipe in a Mason Jar or these No Bake Cookies With Nutella.

If Meal Planning has got you down, don’t forget to grab a copy of my FREE Easy Meal Planning For Beginners Guide.

watergate salad with spoon

Easy Watergate Salad Pistachio Fluff

Reminiscent of those long-gone childhood days, this fruit salad will take you back at the first spoonful.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 8 oz Cool Whip at room temperature
  • 1 3 oz package Pistachio Pudding Mix instant
  • 1 15 oz can Crushed pineapple
  • ½ cup pecans chopped
  • ½ cup mini marshmallows


  • Step 1: In a large bowl, mix all the recipe ingredients together.
  • Step 2: Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Step 3: Remove the bowl from the refrigerator, serve and enjoy!
  • Step 4: Store any fruit salad leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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