Pistachio Salad Recipe

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Fluffy and sweet, this pistachio salad recipe is great as a dessert or a side dish for holiday dinners. This easy pudding salad mixes up in 5 minutes and is a great make-ahead recipe.

Today, we’re revisiting a classic recipe that’s sure to bring back fond memories and create new ones: our easy Pistachio Salad. This creamy fruit salad, also known as the Watergate Salad recipe, is an easy pistachio fluff salad that will bring sweet smiles. 

With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can whip up this pistachio delight in just 5 minutes. Perfect as a light dessert or a unique side, it’s a welcome addition to any family gatherings, especially holiday dinners. 

closeup of pistachio salad in a bowl

About this Pistachio Salad Recipe:

This old-fashioned recipe is over 50 years old and goes by many different names: pistachio pineapple delight, pistachio fluff, and even names as simple as green fluff, green goop or green stuff. I’m sure families around the United States lovingly named this salad just as we named our cinnamon thing.

This pistachio salad is also sometimes called Watergate Salad. It was created in the 1970’s by Kraft Foods. A newspaper published the original recipe as “Watergate Salad” instead of Pistachio Salad to drum up interest in the recipe. The tactic worked and we are still enjoying this salad today.

Ingredients

This fluffy pistachio salad has 5 simple ingredients.

ingredients for pistachio salad
  • Crushed Pineapple. The pineapple should be drained so that the salad doesn’t end up soupy.
  • Pistachio Instant Pudding Mix. This takes 1 small box which is 3 ounces. 
  • Mini Marshmallows. These make it a fluffy dessert salad.
  • Cool Whip. You can make your own homemade whipped cream, but Cool Whip whipped topping keeps the recipe quick and easy.
  • Pistachios. Chopped pistachios add a slight crunch to the top of the salad. Crush the pistachios finely so that the textures blend well.
  • Maraschino cherries are a bonus ingredient. They are optional, but it makes a beautiful contrast, especially during the holiday season.

​How to Make Pistachio Salad in 4 Steps

  • In a large bowl, combine the drained pineapple and dry pistachio pudding mix.
  • Mix in marshmallows and pistachios.
  • Fold in the whipped topping.
  • Transfer to a pretty serving bowl. Garnish with more whipped cream, additional chopped nuts and maraschino cherries if desired.
collage of how to make pistachio salad

The cherries on top with the pretty green jello salad makes a cute Grinch salad for your holiday table.

Make It Lighter

Watching added sugar? Use sugar free instant pudding and low fat Cool Whip to lighten up this delicious dessert.

pistachio fluff salad in a bowl with crushed pistachios on top

Make It Ahead

Planning ahead? This pistachio fluff recipe is a fantastic make-ahead option.

To store it, just cover your salad bowl with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. It will stay fresh and delightful for up to 2 days in the refrigerator

pro tip

Hold off on adding the chopped pistachios and maraschino cherries until right before serving. This way, you’ll keep that nice crunch of the nuts and the bright pop of the cherries as fresh as possible.

a small bowl of pistachio salad with a dollop of whipped cream and cherry on top

Serving Suggestions

While it’s absolutely lovely on its own, you can add a few touches to make it even more special. 

  • Try serving it in individual cups or parfait glasses for an elegant presentation.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, make a layer salad with additional crushed pineapple or even some coconut flakes for an extra tropical twist. 
  • This salad is a great side dish to a savory Christmas dinner, adding a sweet balance to ham and potatoes. 
  • Serve it at a family reunion or summer barbecue for a refreshing contrast. The simple salad with its light green color will be a huge hit.

Love sweet salad recipes?

Try a few of our favorite recipes: cranberry fluff salad, strawberry pretzel salad, cottage cheese fluff, or ambrosia salad. You may also be interested in our pistachio watergate cake.

a small bowl of pistachio salad with a dollop of whipped cream and cherry on top
a small bowl of pistachio salad with a dollop of whipped cream and cherry on top

Pistachio Salad Recipe

4.75 from 4 votes
Fluffy and sweet, this pistachio salad recipe is great as a dessert or a side dish for holiday dinners. This easy pudding salad mixes up in 5 minutes and is a great make-ahead recipe.
Servings 8
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

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Ingredients
 

  • 20 ounces crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding mix (3 ounces )
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • ¼ cup chopped pistachios

Optional toppings:

  • maraschino cherries
  • extra whipped cream
  • extra chopped pistachios

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine the drained pineapple and dry pistachio pudding mix.
  • Mix in marshmallows and pistachios.
  • Fold in the whipped topping.
  • Transfer to a pretty serving bowl. Garnish with more whipped cream, additional chopped nuts and maraschino cherries if desired.
  • Store in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 8, with 1 serving being ⅛ of the salad. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 157mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 6.8mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 212
Keyword easy jello salad, fluffy jello salad, green jello salad, jello salad with marshmallows, pudding salad

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Jennifer
4 years ago

5 stars
My family loves this recipe, but we have never drained the pineapple, you really don’t need to and it comes out perfectly every time. Typically we have this on holidays…like, every single holiday…haha… but now that I saw this, I think I’ll make it today…just an ordinary Tuesday made special with a loved holiday treat!

Robin
1 year ago

5 stars
I made this with sugar free pudding. The pudding mix with the juice was thick like a paste and would not dissolve very well. Tasted good but clumpy.

Suz
2 years ago

Can you use whipped cream instead of cool whip???