Vintage Pistachio Fluff salad

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Try this pistachio fluff salad if you love simple, delicious, no-bake desserts! This classic recipe is a crowd-pleasing favorite, perfect for any occasion, from Easter brunch to Christmas dinner to a family dinner.

With just 5 ingredients, this simple dessert is effortless to make. Simply combine the ingredients, chill, and serve for a refreshing and flavorful dessert salad with a subtle green color. It’s smooth, creamy, and sweet, with a well-balanced pistachio pineapple flavor and a subtly nutty background.

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Whether hosting a party or simply looking for a sweet treat to enjoy at home, this retro dessert is a must-try recipe. Get ready to impress your family and guests with this simple and delicious dessert!

In this article, we’ll share how to make pistachio fluff salad, some of the best variations of this classic dish, why it is also called Watergate salad, and expert tips for success.

Love fluff desserts? Try my other tasty dessert salads, including Orange Fluff, Cherry Salad, and Lime Jello Salad.

🍍Ingredient Notes

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

  • Instant pistachio pudding mix
  • Crushed pineapple (undrained)
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Cool Whip, thawed
ingredients for pistachio fluff.

🥣How to Make Pistachio Fluff

  1. Combine the pistachio instant pudding mix and undrained crushed pineapple in a medium bowl and mix.
  2. Add the marshmallows and pecans to the pudding mixture and stir until well combined.
  3. Fold in the whipped topping gently.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate this pistachio dessert for at least 1 hour before serving.
mixing the pineapple and pudding mix.
Mix pudding and pineapple
add marshmallows and nuts.
Add marshmallows and nuts
stir in cool whip.
Fold in Cool Whip

🍴Serving Ideas

Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Serve it for the holidays: Whether it is Thanksgiving dinner or Easter brunch, this easy-to-make salad is the perfect addition to a holiday meal.
  • Serve it as a side dish: This pistachio salad is a family favorite side dish for any meal. It pairs well with grilled meats, sandwiches, and burgers.
  • Make it a dessert: It is sweet enough to be served as a dessert. Top it with whipped cream and chopped nuts for an extra treat.
  • Use it as a topping: Pistachio delight is excellent for other desserts, such as ice cream or pound cake.
  • Bring it to a potluck: Pistachio fluff salad is a crowd-pleaser and is perfect for potlucks and parties. It’s easy to transport and can be made ahead of time.
serving the pistachio fluff at a cookout.

💭How to Store

To store the salad, keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should be consumed within 3 days for the best taste and texture.

Why is it called Watergate Salad?

Watergate Salad was named after the Watergate hotel in Washington D.C., which was the site of the infamous political scandal that led to President Nixon’s resignation in 1974. There are several theories about how the dessert got its name.

One theory suggests it was created at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. In contrast, another theory suggests that it was named after the scandal because it was a “cover-up” for the other things happening at the time.

Regardless of how it got its name, Watergate Salad has remained a popular dessert for over four decades and is often served at potlucks, picnics, and other family gatherings.

small serving of pistachio fluff salad.


Feel free to get creative and experiment with different ingredients!

  • Swap out the pecans for walnuts or almonds. Or follow the name of the dessert and add pistachio nuts.
  • For a lower-sugar dessert, choose sugar-free pudding and whipped topping.
  • Try a different flavor of pudding mix, such as vanilla or chocolate, for a unique twist on this classic recipe.
  • Add different fruits to the mix, such as strawberries or peaches.


  • Mixing the pineapple and the pudding first helps evenly distribute the instant pudding mix. If you dump everything all at once, you may get clumpy pudding powder areas. Combining these two ingredients first is worth it and will make for a smoother pudding with better consistency.
  • Use crushed pineapple rather than chunks for a smooth texture.
  • Do not drain the pineapple. You will need the juice to help the pudding set.
  • Be careful adding the whipped topping. Stirring too much can cause it to collapse.


Can you make pistachio fluff without pineapple?

Yes. Substitute the crushed pineapple with canned mandarin oranges, fruit cocktail, or fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries. However, remember that the salad’s texture and taste may vary depending on the fruit used.

Is this fluff salad a side dish or a dessert?

Who cares! Pistachio fluff salad can be served as a side dish and a dessert. As a side dish, it pairs well with grilled meats or sandwiches. As a dessert, it can be served on its own or topped with additional whipped cream or chopped nuts.

Can you make pistachio delight ahead of time?

Yes, this dessert salad can be prepared in advance, making it a convenient option for holiday gatherings. You can make it up to a day before serving it, giving one less thing to worry about on the event day.

What other names is pistachio fluff known by?

It is also called Watergate Salad, Pistachio Delight, Green Goop, Green Fluff, Pistachio Pudding Salad, and Pistachio Pineapple Salad.

Did You Make This? Leave a Star Rating!

Pistachio delight dessert ready for serving.
4.82 from 50 votes

Pistachio Fluff Salad Recipe

Published By Anne
Pistachio fluff salad has just 5 ingredients and is effortless to make. Also known as Watergate salad this is an ideal make-ahead holiday dish for Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.
Prep Time10 minutes
Chilling Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Print Save Rate Pin


  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding 4 ounce
  • 1 can crushed pineapple 20 ounce, undrained
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup chopped nuts walnut or pecans
  • 1 ¾ cup whipped topping thawed Cool Whip
  • Optional Toppings: Extra whipped topping extra chopped nuts, cherry on top


  • Stir the pistachio pudding and crushed pineapple in a medium bowl until well combined.
    1 package instant pistachio pudding, 1 can crushed pineapple
  • Add the marshmallows and nuts and stir until evenly distributed.
    1 cup mini marshmallows, ½ cup chopped nuts
  • Gently fold in the whipped topping until well combined.
    1 ¾ cup whipped topping
  • Refrigerate the Watergate salad tightly covered until ready to serve.
  • Garnish with additional whipped topping, nuts, or a cherry if desired.
    Optional Toppings: Extra whipped topping


  • Mixing the pineapple and the pudding first helps evenly distribute the instant pudding mix. If you dump everything all at once, you may get clumpy pudding powder areas.
  • Use crushed pineapple rather than chunks for a smooth texture.
  • Do not drain the pineapple. You will need the juice to help the pudding set.
  • Be careful adding the whipped topping. Stirring too much can cause it to collapse.

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Nutrition Information

Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0.3mg | Sodium: 273mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 51IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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top view of pistachio fluff salad.

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

7 thoughts on “Vintage Pistachio Fluff salad”

  1. my mom used to make this at christmas time with the colored marshmallows. She never wrote the recipe down. Thank you for the recipe. I’ve missed this goodness.

  2. 5 stars
    This has been a favorite of our families for years. I always get requests for it when having a family dinner. I leave out the nuts when making it though. I have never had a complaint.

  3. 5 stars
    When my mother was alive, she would make this. It was called watergate salad or congealed salad. It is a light, delicious salad which enhances a turkey dinner with a contrast of flavor and texture to the table. Try it!


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