Watergate Salad

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Did you grow up eating a Watergate Salad? This recipe is truly a vintage recipe because it’s from my mom’s recipe card box. I’m pretty sure this salad recipe was passed around at church functions in the 1970s.

This Watergate Salad has pineapple, Pistachio pudding, mini-marshmallows, pecans, Cool Whip, and coconut. Then you top it off with a few more pecans and of course, Maraschino cherries are optional.

It’s creamy, a little sweet and a little bit tart at the same time. The reason I love this fruit salad is that I usually have the ingredients in my pantry and the Cool Whip in the freezer. Therefore I can make this one at the last minute and let it set up in the refrigerator.

Why We Love The Watergate Salad

  • The green color comes from the Pistachio Pudding mixed with the pineapple juice.
  • The Cool Whip gives it the creamy texture.
  • The mini-marshmallows give it that fluffy fruit salad taste.
  • The crushed pineapple gives you that first sweet yummy bite.
  • The chopped pecans and Maraschino cherries are frostings on the salad.

Watergate Salad

Step One

What’s really great about this Watergate Salad is that you have most of these ingredients in your pantry and freezer. We can make this salad for a party, church activity, or neighborhood get-together.

Watergate Ingredients Ready To Make The Salad

Step Two

All you do is stir the ingredients together and refrigerate it for a few hours. You can sprinkle with chopped pecans and garnish it with a few Maraschino cherries. You will love it!

Watergate Salad Ingredients

Watergate or Pistachio Salad

5 from 1 vote
Watergate Salad
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Watergate Salad by Food Storage Moms
Prep Time
2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
  • 1 can 20-ounce crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 package 3.4-ounce box Pistachio Instant Pudding
  • 1-1/2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 1-1/2 cups Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • maraschino cherries (optional)
  1. Drain the pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple pieces. Combine the pudding with the pineapple juice and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pineapple, coconut, and mini marshmallows. Now, fold in the thawed Coolwhip and thoroughly combine the ingredients. Chill for at least 2 hours, 4 hours preferably. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top and garnish with a Maraschino cherry. 

You may be wondering why this is called the Watergate Salad. Often times people try to capitalize on current events to draw attention to their authored work. As the story goes, the individual or company that created the recipe felt it would gain more appeal if it referenced Watergate, a scandal at the time of the recipe’s first publication. See below the quote from Wikipedia for a reference to events in the 1970s that prompted the name.

“The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States during the early 1970s, following a break-in by five men at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972, and President Richard Nixon’s administration’s subsequent attempt to cover up its involvement.”

Watergate Cake Recipe

Final Word

I love sharing recipes like this Watergate Salad so we can teach the world how fun it is to eat at home. Please stock your pantry and your freezer as you can afford it. I believe hard times are coming, let’s teach the world to be prepared today, not next year.

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Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. Please keep prepping! May God bless this world, Linda

6 thoughts on “Watergate Salad

  • December 24, 2018 at 8:49 am

    5 stars
    I LOVE this stuff, except without pecans (allergy). I seem to remember hearing that a chef at the Watergate Hotel came up with this recipe but I’ll be 73 next week & sometimes I just make up stuff in my head & it falls out of my mouth. People think I’m brilliant! Hahaha

    • December 25, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      Oh Linda, it’s an age thing! I will be 69 in January!! LOL! I love it! I made it for Christmas and di not put the pecans either! Happy New Year! Linda

  • December 24, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    I have eaten my fair share of Watergate salad. Did you ever have the recipe for
    Watergate Cake? If not let me know and I will see if I can dig my copy of the recipe up and send it to you.
    Thank You for sharing this recipe it brings back memories.
    Merry Christmas and happy new Year

    • December 25, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      Hi June, oh my gosh, I just bought the ingredients for the Watergate Cake! I will be making that one very soon! great minds think alike! I love it! It really does bring back memories! Happy New Year! Linda

  • April 2, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    How long can this stay in the refrigerator before serving

    • April 2, 2021 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Debbie, the recipe says a minimum of 2 hours before serving. You could make it the night before, but fresher is better. Linda


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