Easy Watergate Salad (5-ingredients)

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with a delightful and easy-to-make side dish that will leave your guests asking for seconds? Our Pistachio Pudding Delight is a perfect addition to your Christmas or Thanksgiving table, bringing a burst of flavors and textures that complement the festive spirit. This recipe is not only delicious but also a nod to nostalgia, as it has been a crowd-pleaser since 1976.

Who is this Recipe For?

This Pistachio Pudding Delight is for anyone looking to add a touch of sweetness and crunch to their holiday feast. Whether you’re the designated dessert guru or just someone who wants to contribute a memorable dish to the family gathering, this recipe is a perfect fit. Its simplicity makes it accessible for all skill levels, and the end result is so impressive that your guests will think you spent hours in the kitchen.


To create this Pistachio Pudding Delight, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 box of pistachio pudding
  • 20 oz can undrained pineapple
  • 2 cups of mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 container of thawed Cool Whip (8 oz)


1. Mixing the Magic

Start by combining the dry pistachio pudding mix, undrained pineapple, mini marshmallows, and chopped pecans in a bowl. Mix them together until the ingredients are well incorporated.

2. Whipping it Up

Next, fold in the thawed Cool Whip, ensuring that everything is beautifully combined. This step adds a creamy texture that perfectly complements the crunch of the pecans and the sweetness of the marshmallows.

3. Chill and Thrill

Once mixed, let your Pistachio Pudding Delight chill until serving time. This step not only enhances the flavors but also gives you the flexibility to prepare it ahead of the festivities.

4. Presentation Perfection

Serve your Pistachio Pudding Delight in a large bowl as a delightful side or in individual clear glass mugs or cappuccino cups for a stunning dessert presentation. Top it off with a maraschino cherry for that extra festive touch.

Pro Tip: Watergate Salad Trivia

Did you know that this dessert is sometimes referred to as “Watergate Salad”? It earned this nickname because Jell-O introduced the pistachio pudding flavor in the same year as the Watergate scandal—1976.

Kitchen Equipment

To whip up this Pistachio Pudding Delight, make sure you have the following kitchen equipment ready:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon or spatula for folding
  • Clear glass mugs or cappuccino cups for individual servings
  • Optional: Festive decorations for serving

Leftovers and Storage

If you happen to have any leftovers (which is rare given how quickly this dessert disappears), store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The Pistachio Pudding Delight can hold up well for a day or two, making it an excellent make-ahead option for your holiday preparations.

Pairing Suggestions

Wondering what to pair with this delightful creation? Consider serving it alongside your main dishes as a sweet side or as a standalone dessert. For an extra touch, pair it with a cup of hot cocoa or a festive holiday cocktail.

Recipe Swaps and Variations

Feel free to get creative with this recipe! Here are a few ideas for swaps and variations:

  • Nut-Free Version: Omit the pecans for a nut-free option that’s still bursting with flavor.
  • Fruit Additions: Experiment with adding different fruits like sliced strawberries or kiwi for a fresh twist.
  • Chocolate Drizzle: Drizzle some chocolate sauce over the top for an indulgent touch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can I use sugar-free pudding mix for a lighter version?

A: Absolutely! Feel free to swap the regular pudding mix for a sugar-free alternative to reduce the overall sugar content.

Q: Can I prepare this a day before serving?

A: Yes, indeed! In fact, preparing the Pistachio Pudding Delight a day in advance allows the flavors to meld together even more, resulting in a more delicious outcome.

Q: Can I use fresh pineapple instead of canned?

A: While canned pineapple is recommended for this recipe, you can experiment with fresh pineapple if you prefer a slightly different texture. Just make sure to drain any excess juice to maintain the desired consistency.

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