Watergate Salad aka Pistachio Pineapple Delight

One of my all-time favorite desserts is the deliciously creamy green Watergate salad, often called Pistachio Pineapple Delight or Green Fluff dessert salad, made from about 7 ingredients such instant pistachio pudding, juicy pineapple, whipped topping, chopped pecans, colored mini marshmallows, topped with coconut flakes, and Maraschino cherries.

There are several myths behind of the history of the famous green Watergate Salad aka Pistachio Pineapple Delight making their way around the web these days. When the archivist at The Kraft headquarters was asked to tell the real story behind the history of the Watergate Salad she spilled the beans on this popular Urban Food Myth we call Watergate Salad aka Pistachio Pineapple Delight and the story behind it isn’t what you think it is.At some point during, 1985 or maybe 1986, a recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight was featured on the back of the Pistachio Pudding package. The ingredients were basically the same minus the JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows.

In about 1993 the name of the recipe was changed to Watergate Salad and the JET-PUFFED Miniature marshmallows were added to the dessert. When she was asked about the Watergate issue, she stated that none of the Urban Legends could remotely be substantiated. Pretty cut and dry is what I would call that history. Maybe it’s a Watergate coverup? One will never know.

However, Did you know…
  • In 1922 Helen Keller published a similar recipe, calling for canned diced pineapple, nuts, marshmallows, whipped cream and other ingredients. Helen called the recipe “Golden Gate Salad”; the recipe had been published sometime in the 1910s, and “Golden Gate Salad” was served in some US hotels.
  • The Denver Post, in the Empire Magazine of June 27, 1976, published a recipe for Watergate Salad. Rumor had it at the time that Watergate salad was a concoction thought up by a sous chef at the famous Watergate Hotel.
  • Watergate Salad took off in popularity during and after the presidential scandal which shares the same name. However, the Denver Post article does not verify this rumor, citing that like most sources that the origins of the name are obscure.
  • Advice columnists Anne Adams and Nan Nash-Cummings, in their “Anne & Nan” column dated October 9, 1997, stated that the name came from the  “Watergate Cake” The recipe came out during the Watergate scandal. The cake has a ‘cover-up’ icing and is full of nuts.” Both the cake and salad were part of a Watergate trend for recipes such as Nixon’s Perfectly Clear Consomme and Liddy’s Clam-Up Chowder.

I was hoping for a tad more juicy history behind one of my favorite desserts, however, I’ll settle for mediocre I guess and just enjoy eating my Watergate Salad aka Pistachio Pineapple Delight and sharing the delicious recipe with you all today.

Watergate Salad aka Pistachio Pineapple Delight

  • 1 can of 20-ounce crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 1-3.4- ounce JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 1 cup JET-PUFFED colored Miniature Marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1-1/2 cups whipped cream
  • Coconut flakes, optional
  • Maraschino cherry, optional


  1.  Combine crushed pineapple in juice,  JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding, JET-PUFFED colored Miniature Marshmallows and chopped Pecans.
  2. Stir in the whipped cream
  3. Refrigerate for about 1 plus hours before serving.
  4. Top with coconut flakes and Maraschino cherries before serving.

© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch 2017- 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or photos without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You may not copy and paste recipes to share on Social Platforms.

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