Watergate Salad (Pistachio Pineapple Pudding – From Scratch)


Watergate Salad is not a salad at all but rather pistachio pudding mixed with pineapple, coconut, cherries, mini marshmallows, and walnuts. This version is made from scratch without boxed pudding.

Watergate Salad (Pistachio Pineapple Pudding - From Scratch)

Remember two weeks ago when I made Pistachio Pudding from scratch? I took it one step further and turned it into my favorite pudding dessert – Watergate Salad. If you’ve never heard of it, its non-nickname is Pistachio Pineapple Delight and originated back in the 1970s from Kraft Foods. There are several stories as to how it earned its nickname. One story is the recipe was created at the Watergate Hotel. Another story is a reporter named it after the Watergate scandal to draw more attention. Whatever the origin, this pudding has almost a mousse-like texture from the whipped cream and marshmallows folded in. Serve it in cups like I did, and now you have a fancy parfait on the go.

Watergate Salad (Pistachio Pineapple Pudding - From Scratch)

I first tried Watergate Salad at a work potluck. Sitting on the table was a big bowl of bright green pudding. When I asked about it, the guy who made it said it was pistachio pudding mixed with pineapple, coconut, marshmallows, nuts, and maraschino cherries. He must’ve added the coconut and cherries himself because as I looked up the recipe, it only called for pineapple, marshmallows, and nuts.

Watergate Salad (Pistachio Pineapple Pudding - From Scratch)

My intention was to make this without food coloring. However, as you can see in the photo above, the pudding went from its natural pistachio color to brown when I folded in the whipped cream. Since there is a bit of nostalgia tied with the color of this recipe, I added a few drops of green coloring, which makes it perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. You can decide how you want to serve it.

Watergate Salad (Pistachio Pineapple Pudding - From Scratch)

Yields 2

Watergate Salad (Pistachio Pineapple Pudding - From Scratch)
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1 cup already-made pistachio pudding (homemade or boxed)
1 cup cold whipped cream + more for garnish (homemade or store bought whipped topping)
1/2 cup crushed pineapple (juice drained)
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries (plus 4 whole cherries for garnish)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Green food coloring (optional if using homemade pudding)


  1. In a large bowl, add pudding. Fold in whipped cream, pineapple, marshmallows, coconut, cherries, and walnuts. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring. Spoon into serving dishes or bowls and garnish with some whipped cream and a cherry.

Source: Inspired by Kraft
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  1. This look soooo yummy! I have never made anything like this but I think it is going to be a must-make! Thanks for the recipe! <3

  2. I’ve never heard of this, but the colour alone is fantastic! The food colouring was worth it this time :)

  3. I love this! It reminds me of my Aunt Betty. She made this for every family dinner!

  4. Oh, a couple drops of food coloring isn’t gonna hurt anyone :-) And I bet the green ones tasted better!

  5. Tamara H. says:

    Next time I am going to try from scratch…just made with Cool Whip forgetting to look at the ingredients label to see that it is made from high fructose corn syrup…which helped me figure out why I am been in so much pain ever since Thanksgiving. My arthritis pain spikes like crazy whenever I consume anything with HFCS.

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