Pistachio Pudding Salad

This pistachio salad is the delicious sweet, creamy and fruity dish like your grandma used to make! Bursting with pineapple and creamy pistachio flavors this will be your new favorite fluffy dessert salad!

Made with just 4 ingredients, instant pudding mix, a can of pineapple, sour cream, and coconut this classic recipe is a super easy dessert! If you love pistachio you need to try this amazing recipe!

A close-up of a large glass bowl of pistachio pudding salad topped with crushed pistachios.
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The word salad is funny. If you say salad to me I think of leafy greens, fresh veggies, maybe some shredded cheese and croutons and dressing. It’s a standard side dish at most restaurants, or throw in some chicken, or steak and it’s a dinner.

However, I have recently been perusing my Grandma’s recipe box and I have realized that back in the day salad meant something entirely different. In the “salad” section of Grandma’s recipe box there are a ton of recipes that involve cool whip, pudding, marshmallows, and jello…. quite different from the salads that we think of!

But let’s face it, these old fashioned “salads” are delicious, they are a fantastic addition to holiday meals, potlucks , parties, anywhere a delicious sweet and creamy dish would be appreciated. This easy pistachio salad recipe has a beautiful green color that makes it perfect for St. Patrick’s day, Easter, or even Christmas. It will become one of your favorite side dishes for any occasion!

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An overhead view of a small white bowl filled with pistachio pudding salad topped with crushed pistachios and a spoon on top of a dish towel and marble countertop.

This pistachio dessert salad is a little different from some recipes that are floating around out there. Often pistachio salad is called Watergate Salad and it has chopped nuts, whipped topping and marshmallows in it. This recipe doesn’t have marshmallows or nuts and it’s made with sour cream… which I know sounds weird.

But the sour cream combines with the pudding mix to create a deliciously creamy texture that is smooth and sweet and perfect.

You might have also heard this recipe called pistachio delight, pistachio fluff salad, pistachio pineapple delight, green fluff salad, or even the very flattering names green stuff or green goop! Whatever you call it this simple salad will become one of your favorite family recipes!

A close-up of a large glass bowl of pistachio pudding salad topped with crushed pistachios.

Additions & Variations for Pistachio Pudding Salad –

This creamy dessert is perfect the way it is but if you want to mix it up a little there are several ingredients that make delicious additions.

Mini marshmallows – These are a classic in pistachio pudding salad or watergate salad recipes and they make a great addition to this one. If you are adding them don’t drain the pineapple, they will absorb the excess liquid and delicious flavor. Allow the salad to sit for at least 2 hours before serving. For a fun twist colored mini marshmallows are a great addition!

Maraschino Cherries – Cherries make a great topping for this salad or a delicious addition. They are also great for making it a festive red and green addition to holiday tables! Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of drained cherries that have been patted dry. Or arrange cherries on top of your salad.

Chopped Nuts– To add a bit of crunch to this creamy fruit salad you can add some extra nuts! Chop shelled pistachios, walnuts or pecans and add about 1/3 cup to add some texture to this salad!

Use Pineapple Chunks- If you want bigger pieces of pineapple in your salad you can swap out the crushed pineapple for canned pineapple chunks.

Add additional fruit- If you want to add more fruit to this recipe to make it more like an ambrosia salad you can! You can add in mandarin oranges, fruit cocktail, or chopped canned pears. If you are using different fruit I suggest substituting it for half of the pineapple. Or you can double the recipe and use multiple canned fruits.

Make it with less sugar – If you’d like to make this recipe with less sugar you can use sugar free pistachio pudding you can also use unsweetened coconut if you’d like. There is still natural sugar from the pineapple but you can make this tried and true salad with less added sugar!

How to Store This Pistachio Salad-

This pistachio pudding salad recipe is great for making ahead of family gatherings or parties. It keeps beautifully and having it ready in advance can free up time in the kitchen for other things. Store it refrigerated in an airtight container or cover the bowl with plastic wrap to store.

An overhead view of a can of crushed pineapple, a large white bowl of shredded coconut, a cup of pistachio pudding mix, and a white bowl of sour cream on a marble countertop.

Here’s What You’ll Need to Make Pistachio Salad-

1- Box Instant Pistachio Pudding Mix

2- Cups Sour Cream

1- Can Crushed Pineapple

1 1/2- Cup Shredded Coconut

A small white bowl filled with pistachio pudding salad topped with crushed pistachios and a spoon on top of a dish towel and marble countertop.

Here’s How to Make this Creamy Pistachio Fluff Salad Recipe

In a large mixing bowl mix together your dry pistachio pudding mix and sour cream until well blended.

Drain your crushed pineapple but reserve the juice. Mix the pineapple and coconut in the pudding mixture until well blended.

A collage of four images showcasing the process of making pistachio pudding salad. In the first panel is a large glass bowl of sour cream and pistachio pudding mix with a wooden spoon on a marble countertop. In the second panel, they have been mixed together. In the third panel, crushed pineapple has been added. In the last panel, shredded coconut has been added.

Now if your pistachio salad is a little too thick you can gradually add in the pineapple juice until you get the consistency you’d like, or you can just leave it as it is.

You can serve it immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to eat!

You can serve it as is or add a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios and coconut as a tasty and beautiful garnish!

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A close-up of a large glass bowl of pistachio pudding salad topped with crushed pistachios.

Pistachio Pudding Salad

This pistachio salad is rich, creamy and delicious! The perfect mix of pistachio, pineapple, and coconut it is sure to be a hit!
5 from 35 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert salad, pistachio salad
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 223kcal
Author: Krista


  • 1- Package Instant Pistachio Pudding
  • 2- Cups Sour Cream
  • 1- Can Crushed Pineapple
  • 1 1/2 – Cup Coconut


  • Mix together sour cream and pudding mix.
  • Drain pineapple and reserve liquid.
  • Add pineapple and coconut to the pudding mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • If salad is too thick gradually add in pineapple juice until desire consistency is reached.


Marshmallows and chopped pecans can be added to make this a traditional Watergate Salad


Serving: 1g | Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 83mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g

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  2. I’ve been making this recipe for almost 40 years. I believe I found it on a jello pudding ad in a women’s magazine. The original recipe called to put in a loaf pan and freeze then partially thaw and slice. I preferred just to refrigerate and serve with spoon. I have 3 sons too and they had this with every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner while growing up. It was eaten with the meal not as dessert.

  3. I’ve been looking and looking for this recipe! I know I have the Jello recipe pullout booklet that called it Pistachio Surprise Loaf?? I knew what was in it, how much sour cream and pineapple I couldn’t remember…but I know it wasn’t Cool Whip like all the other recipes we’re using!
    This is sooo good with the sour cream and my recipe does use coconut and mini marshmallows. Some extra nuts would be good and will add 1/3 cp next time I make this.☘️

  4. This looks delicious. Anyone ever try substituting greek yogurt for the sour cream?

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