There are dozens of stories about the history of the Watergate Salad floating around the web. We asked our archivist at Kraft headquarters in Northfield, Illinois to tell us the real story of the history of the Watergate Salad, and here’s what she had to say.
As everyone knows, JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Pudding comes in a box, and like all pudding boxes, there are JELL-O recipes on the side. At some point in the mid 80s, 1985 or 1986 to be almost exact, a recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight was featured on the package. The ingredients were what are currently in the recipe, minus the JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows. In 1993 the name of the recipe was changed to Watergate Salad and the marshmallows were added. There are several urban myths regarding the name change, but we can’t substantiate any of them.
The Watergate Salad recipe is hugely popular. In November, when readers are looking for recipes to serve at Thanksgiving dinner, over 50,000 people are searching for the recipe. We even have a version that’s perfect for the fall holiday: Cranberry Watergate Salad. It’s also quite popular at Easter Brunch and Easter Dinner. Interestingly, cooks in North Carolina search for the recipe more than any other state.
The flavor combo in Watergate Salad is so popular it pops up in several other recipes. We have a Watergate Cake that features the JELL-O Pistachio flavor pudding and nuts in a yellow cake mix, and layered version: Pistachio Pineapple Mallow Dessert. No matter which you choose, every delicious bite contains a bit of history.