This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide recipes to you. Read my disclosure policy.

This pistachio pudding salad is a super easy and delicious dessert made with only 5 ingredients!  Sweet and simple and bursting with pineapple, pistachio and marshmallow flavors, you will have a new favorite dessert salad after you try this recipe!

Pistachio is so unique but has that unforgettable flavor! For more pistachio flavored dessert ideas, try Pistachio Cream Bars or No Bake Pistachio Cream Pie.

Pistachio pudding salad in a bowl topped with whipping cream and a cherry on top.

The Best Ever Pistachio Pudding Salad

It has been warming up around these parts!  I feel like my life has been so busy trying to get ready for friends and family to get here on their visits. My family and I are so excited and I can’t believe it is just a little over a week until my best friend arrives!  You know what also comes with warmer weather right? Barbecues!! It is my favorite time of the year and I absolutely love grilling season.  Especially when I know I will be cooking delicious treats like this pistachio salad for those I love so much!

We had our first real family BBQ last Sunday to kick the season off. The first recipe I knew I had to make was this pistachio pudding salad.  It has been a part of my family for years. I remember my mom would take it everywhere when I was little. I’m pretty sure you could go to any family reunion in Utah and this salad is guaranteed to be there. It is clearly amazing! The pudding is so delicious and creamy and the flavors combined with the pineapple and marshmallow are awesome. It makes such a cool summer dessert. If you give it a try it will become a favorite in your house as well!

What is Pistachio Pudding Salad or Watergate Salad?

This dessert salad is a delicious side that is so easy to make and fall in love with!  It is a simple combination of 5 tasty ingredients.  The classic recipe calls for pistachio pudding, canned pineapple, whipped topping, crushed pecans, and marshmallows. It Is also known as a Watergate Salad.  There are actually many nicknames for this creamy dessert such as: Pistachio Delight, Shut the Gate Salad, Green Goop, and Green Fluff to name just a few.   Although the origin of the name is debated, one thing is for sure, this is a very popular and highly favored dessert!  It is very similar to an Ambrosia Salad with the fruit and marshmallow combination.

What’s in Pistachio Pudding Salad?

This pudding salad is made of only 5 simple ingredients…Wow!  I love it when I don’t have a long list of ingredients where I am digging around my pantry for 5 minutes before I can even begin a recipe.  That is definitely not the case here.  Five things, most of which I have on hand a great majority of the time or I can find easily in the store.  I love it!

  • Crushed pineapple: Use canned and do not drain the liquid.
  • Instant pistachio pudding: Do not make the pudding, sprinkle the mix in until combined with the pineapple juice.
  • Whipped topping: Thawed to room temperature until it can be easily folded in to pudding mixture.
  • Mini marshmallows: Fold in to pudding mix with whipped topping for instant sweetness.
  • Pistachios: Chop up some salty pistachios (or pecans) for garnish (optional, but amazing!)

How to Make Pudding Salad Recipe:

Making this Pistachio pudding is fun for the whole family.  My kids love it when I make it because it is so easy for them to help! They pour in the can of pineapple and sprinkle the pudding mix in.  Then they help me fold in the whipped topping and marshmallows (some may get eaten in the happens!).  Finally, we sprinkle on the crushed pistachio (sometimes we leave this out if we are in a hurry or don’t have any on hand).  The hardest part is letting it set for a few hours before eating.

  1. Combine fruit and pudding mix: In a large mixing bowl combine the crushed pineapple and pistachio pudding mix.
  2. Gradually mix in other ingredients: Fold in the whipped topping and marshmallows.
  3. Garnish: Sprinkle with crushed pistachios.
  4. Chill: Allow to chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours before serving, then enjoy!

Pistachio pudding salad ingredients in a glass bowl being stirred with a white spatula.

Storing Watergate Salad a.k.a. Pistachio Cream Pudding:

This pudding salad is best served chilled 1 hour to 1 day after preparing.  However, it can be stored as follows:

  • Refrigerator: Tightly wrap and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
  • Freezer: Freeze for up to 3 months.  Then, serve frozen (Think of it as an ice cream of sorts).  For best results do not thaw.

Up close photo of pistachio pudding in a bowl with a silver spoon on the side.

More Cool and Creamy Pudding Recipes:

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It

Pistachio Pudding Salad

5 from 6 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
A cool and delicious pistachio dessert that will be a hit at any gathering!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings


  • 1 can crushed pineapple 20 oz., drained
  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding 3 oz.
  • 1 container whipped topping 8 oz., thawed
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup pistachios chopped for garnish (optional)


  • In a large mixing bowl combine the crushed pineapple and pistachio pudding mix. Fold in the whipped topping and marshmallows.
  • Garnish with crushed pistachios and enjoy!


Updated on June 17, 2020
Originally Posted on May 22, 2014


Calories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 209mgPotassium: 156mgFiber: 1gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 72IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
16 Quick & Easy 30 Minute Recipes!
(Plus weekly recipe updates)

About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

More Ideas

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


    1. No, you will just use the powder. That is a great question and good to know for this recipe. Thanks for following along with me! XOXO

  1. Alyssa,
    Thanks for the Pistachio Pudding Salad. Your recipe reads and sounds like what our mother made for us for years. And we look forward to trying your other items as well!

  2. I make this for every family get together. Our family just calls it green s@#t. LOL because one time someone couldn’t remember what it was called and called it that. Never enough left overs for more than a snack. We also add coconut to ours.

  3. 🙂 This is my family’s required salad at Christmas – we just call it Christmas Salad! Mom made it for years and years and years! And with her gone, we take turns making it each year. Any possible left overs are gone in a day!!

  4. I love this recipe. I use one like this from a church cookbook I have that my mother-in-law gave me a few years ago. I don’t make it often though since I am the only one of 5 in my family that eats it. Better to make it when I have company. Pinning this.

  5. I remember this from my childhood either from my mom or a church potluck. Thanks for the recipe. We have a BBQ at our home next Saturday and just maybe this will be on the table.

    My mom also made ambrosia which is another favorite of mine.

    Happy long weekend!!

  6. My mom used to make this pudding all the time when I was a kid! It’s also known as Watergate Salad because it became popular in the 1970’s at the Watergate Hotel 🙂

    1. Just the powder, & if you want to make a lighter version, I use fat free/lite cool whip with diet instant pudding. I also use crushed pecans instead. Delicious!

      1. thank you. I was looking for the same answer to the pudding, mix or just add dry.