Watergate Salad

5 from 4 votes

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Watergate Salad takes 5 minutes to put together and it is so yummy! Bring this salad to a potluck and I promise people will be begging you for the recipe!

Watergate Salad in a green bowl, topped with pecans and a cherry.

Watergate Salad

Have you ever forgotten that you’re supposed to bring a side dish to a potluck until a few hours before? Well this is the dish for you! You seriously throw the ingredients together, leave it in the fridge for a couple hours and ta-da! Your friends and neighbors will love this creamy salad filled with pineapple, marshmallows, pecans, and pistachio pudding. You won’t have to worry about leftovers either – I guarantee the bowl will be licked clean!

Why is it called Watergate Salad?

This salad is known by several names – Pistachio Salad, Pistachio Delight, Green Stuff, and the most popular, Watergate Salad. But where did that name come from? There are several urban legends about where the name of this salad came from. However, the most common story is that a sous chef at the Watergate Hotel came up with this recipe. It was served at brunch most weekends and eventually gained popularity after the Watergate Scandal. People say that its the perfect name because the cool whip is the perfect “cover-up” for all the ingredients and it is full of nuts!

Two bowls of Watergate Salad topped with cherries.

Ideas for Serving

This Watergate Salad is AMAZING just by itself. However, if you are wanting to jazz it up a little bit, there are some things you can do. First, you can top it with chopped nuts – I like to use either pistachios or pecans. You can also lean into the sweetness and top it with whipped cream and maraschino cherries. Some people like to add more fruit like mandarin oranges or bananas. However you want to serve it – your guests will love it! Let us know in the comments if there is another way that you like to serve this salad!

Watergate Salad in a white bowl with a cherry on top

Other Potluck Side Dishes Your Friends and Neighbors Will Love

Hopefully the weather will be warming up soon and you and your friends and neighbors will be planning your spring picnics and potlucks. I get tired of bringing the same old thing, so I like to try something new every once in a while. Check out some of our other potluck favorites for you to try out next time!

Watergate Side Dish in a white bowl with a cherry on top

Watergate Salad

5 from 4 votes
Watergate Salad takes 5 minutes to put together and it is so yummy! Bring this salad to a potluck and I promise people will be begging you for the recipe!
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8



  • Combine ingredients in the order given.
  • Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  • To serve, top with Maraschino cherries and extra chopped pecans.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1gCalories: 165kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 219mgPotassium: 74mgFiber: 1gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Kelsey Crist

Kelsey lives in Washington with her husband, Alex, and two cats, Diana and Nova. Her happy place is in the kitchen listening to an audiobook and trying new recipes. When she's not in the kitchen you can find her hiking, shopping at Trader Joe's, or playing Animal Crossing. Her favorite food is pasta and Alex loves when she makes Homemade Oreos.

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