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.

A close up of a pistachio salad

Pistachio Salad Recipe

Many years ago during one of our church dinners, I tried this pistachio salad recipe. Although I don’t usually like pistachio pudding, I fell in love with this sweet pudding salad that isn’t really a salad at all. Marshmallows..pineapple…cool whip…what’s not to love?

Why do they call it a Watergate Salad?

This pistachio salad is sometimes called Watergate Salad. From my research, it was created in the 1970’s by Kraft Foods. Supposedly a newspaper published it as “Watergate Salad” instead of Pistachio Salad to try to drum up interest in the recipe. The tactic worked and we are still enjoying this salad today!

bowl of pistachio salad

How do you make pistachio salad?

What I love most about this recipe is how easy it is to make. It takes just 5 minutes to mix up.

  • Drain the pineapple.
  • Mix in the dry pudding mix.
  • Fold in the whipped topping and marshmallows.
  • Add pistachio nuts if you’d like. Or walnuts. Or pecans. Or leave the nuts out!
  • Refrigerate the pudding salad until you’re ready to serve it.

Boom. Done.

Low Sugar Pistachio Salad

If you’d like to lower the sugar in this recipe, use sugar free pudding, pineapple packed in juice instead of syrup and fat free whipped topping. It won’t be completely sugar free, but you’ll save a few calories!

A close up of pistachio salad

Pistachio Salad with Cherries

At Christmas time we like to serve this pistachio salad with maraschino cherries. It turns out looking like a Grinch salad. We like to add the cherries to the top of the salad rather than mixing in. The red from the maraschino cherries might bleed into your salad if you mix it in.

Other Jello Salad Recipes

A bowl of pistachio salad
A bowl of pistachio salad

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
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 6 minutes


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


  • In a large bowl, combine the drained pineapple and dry pistachio pudding mix.
  • Fold in thawed whipped topping, marshmallows and nuts until well mixed.
  • Refrigerate until chilled and serve.
  • Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, plus additional nuts if desired.



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.**


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
Author Julie Clark
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 212
Keyword easy jello salad, fluffy jello salad, green jello salad, jello salad with marshmallows, pudding salad

A close up of pistachio 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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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!

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.

1 year ago

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