Pistachio Pudding Dessert is an old-fashioned, tasty treat, made with pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, pistachios, marshmallows, and Cool Whip.
This old-school, lime-green wonder first debuted in the ’70s. Depending on where you are from, you may have also heard it called Watergate Salad, Pistachio Salad, Pistachio Fluff, Pistachio Jello Salad, and even Seafoam Salad.
Why you will love this recipe:
- It takes less than five minutes to put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up.
- There are only five ingredients and one bowl to wash.
- There are only two steps! This means pretty much anyone in your family can make it, including your spouse or kids!
- It can be made up to 24 hours ahead.
Is it a dessert or salad?
I’m not sure how in good conscience, this dish can ever be called a “salad.” The only thing even slightly healthy about it is the pineapple. It’s like a friend of mine trying to convince me ketchup is considered a vegetable!
Nevertheless, healthy or not, like the jello salads our mothers used to make, this Pistachio Pudding Dessert has stood the test of time! And, if it makes you feel better, by all means, call it a salad.
Pistachio Dessert is still a favorite dish at potlucks and church socials, especially in the South, and it is a must at backyard summer barbecues.
Here’s what you will need:
The only thing better than the taste of this fantastic dish is the short ingredient list. You will need a box of pistachio instant pudding mix, mini-marshmallows, crushed pineapple, frozen whipped topping (I used Cool Whip), and shelled pistachios.
Optional, a maraschino cherry, makes a nice garnish.
Here’s how to make this recipe:
To get started, set the scene by putting on your bellbottoms, and playing some disco music.
Then, combine the pineapple, pudding mix, marshmallows, and pistachios in a medium-size bowl. Mix well.
Add the whipped topping and combine.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Optional, garnish with a maraschino cherry, and a few whole pistachios and serve.
Sharon’s Expert Tips:
No pistachios, no problem. You can easily substitute chopped toasted pecans or other nuts.
You can save a few calories by using the “lite” version of Cool Whip.
Leftovers, if there are any, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. I don’t recommend freezing leftovers.
You can make this pistachio dessert up to 24 hours ahead of time. Keep it tightly covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.
If you are adding a maraschino cherry for a garnish, wait to add it until right before you serve the pudding. Otherwise, the cherry juice will drain all over your dessert.
This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. if you are feeding a lot of folks!
More old-fashioned dessert recipes:
If you like old-fashioned dessert recipes like this, you might also like Make-Ahead Frozen Fruit Salad, Easy Grape Salad with Cream Cheese, Classic Southern Strawberry Shortcake, Old-Fashioned Southern Ambrosia, Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pie with Jello, and Minnie Lee Croley’s Sour Cream Pound Cake.
You can find all of my dessert recipes here if you need more menu ideas.
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give it a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones. I hope you come back soon!
Pistachio Pudding Dessert Recipe
- 20 ounces crushed pineapple in juice do not drain the juice
- 3.4 ounces instant pudding mix, pistachio flavor package
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1/2 cup pistachios roughly chopped
- 8 oz frozen whipped topping thawed, I used Cool Whip
- optional garnish maraschino cherries
- Combine the pineapple and juice, pudding mix, marshmallows, and pistachios in a medium-size bowl. Mix well.
- Add the thawed whipped topping and stir until everything is combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Optional, garnish with maraschino cherries and serve.
**This recipe was originally published on April 25, 2018. It was republished on August 19, 2020, with the addition of tips and new images.