Pistachio Gelato


July is National Ice Cream Month. As if I needed an actual excuse to eat more ice cream, I am embracing the holiday and bringing you a new ice cream recipe each Friday during the month of July to celebrate. And lucky for us, July has not four, but five Fridays this year. Woohoo! I also needed a good excuse to use my ice cream maker more often. Ironically, I used it more over the winter than I have so far this summer. I am kick-starting the month of ice cream with a Pistachio gelato. I’ve had this recipe in the back of my head for some time, for it was either after I received my ice cream maker or I found out I was no longer allergic to nuts that my Chief Culinary Consultant suggested I make pistachio ice cream. I never forgot, but just never got around to it. Me being lazy about ice cream? Totally ridiculous, and I needed to right this wrong.


The first thing I did when searching for a pistachio ice cream recipe was, of course, to flip open The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. Surprisingly, it doesn’t have a regular pistachio ice cream recipe (although it does have a dried apricot and pistachio ice cream that looks wonderful!). So then, I Googled. I found this recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini that was adapted from a recipe that David actually provided on his blog. Called a gelato because it uses the traditional Sicilian technique of thickening the custard with cornstarch, rather than egg yolks, this is truly magnificent. Creamy, flavorful and a little crunch of pistachio in each bite. It makes me want to do nothing but sit at a sidewalk cafe in Italy and eat gelato all summer long!

If you can’t imagine ice cream without a true-to-form, egg-based custard, then I would recommend this recipe from Use Real Butter. It’s very similar to the one below, except that it uses egg yolks to thicken the custard.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

More frozen goodness:
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo

Don’t forget! If you’re dying to make homemade ice cream and cursing yourself for not having an ice cream maker, head straight to this tutorial on how to make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker!

Pistachio Gelato

Yield: 3 cups

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active) 8 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 9 hours


1ΒΌ cup untoasted, unsalted, shelled pistachios
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Amaretto


1. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the pistachios and sugar and process in short pulses until the mixture is reduced to a fine powder. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine ΒΌ cup of the milk with the cornstarch, and stir with a spoon to dissolve. Set aside.

3. Combine the rest of the milk (1ΒΎ cups) with the pistachio mixture in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon.

4. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring continuously as the mixture thickens. The custard is ready when it coats the wooden spoon, and you can trace a path on the back of the spoon with your finger.

5. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

6. Stir in the honey and liquor and whisk to blend. Let cool to room temperature on the counter, whisking occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled (overnight is best).

7. Whisk the chilled custard, and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

*If you don't wish to use liquor, you can substitute lemon or lime juice. This will help keep the gelato soft and scoopable in the freezer.

(Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini, which was adapted from David Lebovitz)


20 Responses to “Pistachio Gelato”

  1. VeggieGirl on July 3, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Pistachio ice cream is DEFINITELY a prime flavor choice for this month’s ice cream celebration πŸ™‚ Holy yum!


  2. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) on July 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Pistachio ice cream! Yumm! Looks great! And its a David Lebovitz recipe, so it must taste awesome too! πŸ˜€


  3. erika on July 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Looks great! I love that you can see so many pistachios!


  4. veggie wedgie on July 3, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Good pistachio ice cream is my favorite!yummyyyy


  5. Katie on July 4, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Oooooh! SINFULLY delicious! I love it!


  6. Kevin on July 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    That pistachio gelato looks so good! Pistachios are my favorite nut and and ice cream with them sounds perfect!


  7. Erin Brooks on July 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    MMM looks really yummy! One day I want a ice cream maker and make my dream flavors of ice cream.


  8. Katie on July 5, 2009 at 8:37 am

    One thing I would like to see for a tutorial would be how to make your fondant bows!


  9. me on July 5, 2009 at 10:41 am

    For the past few years, i’ve looked for any excuse to make ice cream, frozen custard, gelato, frozen yougrt…. you name it . Pistachio is my absolute favorite flavor, so i was very excited to see this recipe posted. I had all the ingredients hanging around the house, so i didn’t hesitate to try it. For the first time, however, i was disappointed in a recipe on brown eyed baker. The texture was nice, but the flavor was just not right. Something is missing. Anyone have any ideas?


  10. elly on July 5, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Yep, I am definitely making this now that I have an ice cream maker. Pistachio gelato is my favorite! Mmm.


  11. Kerstin on July 5, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I haven’t tried making ice cream yet because I’m scared of the egg part, so maybe I’ll start with this recipe to ease into things – I love pistachio!!

    Also, your super helpful sugar cookie decorating tutorial inspired me to buy everything I need to make cute sugar cookies for an upcoming baby shower – I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out πŸ™‚


  12. Michelle on July 6, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Hi Kerstin,

    Definitely let me know what you think of this egg-less recipe if you give it a go!

    Also so glad to hear I inspired you to give cookie decorating a shot. I think you’ll just love it. I think it becomes fairly addicting once you get the hang of it and you think of all the fun things you can do! Please definitely keep me posted on how they turn out!

    -Michelle πŸ™‚


  13. ang on July 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    THANK YOU for posting a pistachio-anything recipe. I love all things pistachio, and have been looking for a good pistachio ice cream recipe. Gelato will definitely do just fine!


  14. Amber on July 12, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I have never had Gelato before but this recipe looks amazing. I might just have to give it a try.


  15. jessiev on July 22, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    i LOVe gelato, and i LOVE pistacios. we’ll be making this this week. THANK YOU!


  16. Jen Moore on January 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Searched for a pistachio gelato recipe and should have known to come here first. Delicious and loved by all. Thanks!


  17. Pingback: INDIVIDUAL ICE CREAM DISH | Kitchen Appliances & Accessories

  18. Pingback: Zucchini Cornbread | Brown Eyed Baker

  19. Maya on December 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Hello, I was wandering if it was possible to make the gelato the same without the Amaretto. Thanks, your dear reply and tips would be much appreciated.


    • Michelle on December 22nd, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Hi Maya, Yes, you can make this without the Amaretto.


Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)