Pistachio Nut Ice Cream
In the interest of full disclosure, I am sharing the whole story about how this pistachio ice cream came to be. Developing this ice cream recipe has been a couple months in the making. Back when I made the pistachio gelato that kicked off National Ice Cream Month in July my Chief Culinary Consultant tasted it and wasn’t really blown away. And since he is always 100% honest in his reviews of my concoctions (which I totally love since I know when something is REALLY good or still needs work), I know if he tells me my pistachio gelato needs an overhaul to become great pistachio ice cream, I need to head back to the kitchen with my mad scientist cap on. Since pistachio is one of his favorite ice cream flavors, I set out to perfect homemade pistachio ice cream.
I should note that some other people did try the pistachio gelato and liked it. It doesn’t have the same consistency as ice cream and is chock full of finely chopped pistachios so it is different than store-bought pistachio ice cream, so you can use your own judgment based on your personal preferences to determine which you’d like to try. Or try both and come back and let me know what you thought!
Now the problem that I ran into is that I couldn’t actually find many recipes for pistachio ice cream that were what I was looking for. So I set out on creating my own. I knew a few things from the start:
#1: Lots of little chunks of nuts = no good. I needed to get the pistachio flavor in the ice cream without all the ground up nuts in order to preserve a creamy ice cream consistency.
#2: Egg yolks. I knew that using egg yolks as the base of my custard would greatly enhance the texture of the ice cream.
#3: But where are the nuts? Even though I wanted to get rid of the ground nuts we still needed nuts in the recipe because, well, it’s pistachio nut ice cream.
Okay, so here’s how it all came together. I started reading cookbooks and looking at recipes online, even though I knew I wouldn’t use any of them in their entirety. I was looking for how the flavor was developed, and how ingredients and methods were used. I remembered back when I made vanilla ice cream, that the vanilla bean and seeds were steeped in the milk and cream to extract a lot of the flavor. Bingo! I still ground up the pistachios, but then steeped them in the hot milk/cream mixture, and then strained them out so that all of the flavor remained, but the ice cream wasn’t full of ground pistachio chunks. I basically proceeded with the rest of the recipe has I had with the vanilla, adjusting the flavors slightly and then folding in coarsely chopped pistachios at the end.
I am happy to report that I developed a winner. I used this ice cream as the pistachio layer in my Italian spumoni, which also got rave reviews from everyone who tasted it.
I Scream, You Scream…
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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 Nut Ice Cream
- 1 ⅓ cups (164 g) shelled pistachio nuts
- ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
- 2 cups (476 ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup (244 ml) whole milk
- Pinch of salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) almond extract
- ¾ cup (92.25 g) pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 1. Grind the 1 1/3 cups of pistachios in a food processor until finely ground, but not to a paste. Set aside.
- 2. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the ground nuts. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep for at least 30 minutes.
- 3. Strain the warm nut mixture, pressing on the nuts to extract as much liquid as possible, and discard the solids. Return the milk and cream mixture to the saucepan. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
- 4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the vanilla extract and almond extract and stir until combined.
- 5. Refrigerate until cold. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once finished churning, fold in the ¾ cup pistachios with a rubber spatula.
- **You’ll notice this pistachio isn’t bright green like you find in stores. I didn’t use any food coloring, so this is all natural, but you can add a couple drops of green food coloring if you’re looking for a deeper green shade.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I LOVE your recipes, but this one was a disaster. Everything was fine until I put in Kitchenaid churn. Contents froze on sides before it turned once. So, this recipe does not work with Kitchenaid ice cream attachment. I have used it dozens of times…never had this happen before.
looks wonderful and I love to make icecreams…. the calorie count is 2784.. wow, is that for the whole recipe? do you have the count for a cup or part of a cup?
Yes, the whole recipe :) I don’t have it broken down, but you could always portion it out and divide.
My 87-year-old mother has been asking for pistachio ice cream and of course you were one of the first sites I headed to. Only problem is I have a 1 quart Krups ice cream maker. Do you think your recipe would work if I cut the recipe to two thirds?
Yes, that would work! I hope your mom enjoys it :)
Since I just wrote another comment, I realized I had never followed up on this. I DID make the ice cream and my mother was thrilled as were the others I shared with.
You’ve knocked it out the park again, Hana! Just amazing. Pistachio ice cream is one of the bests but I don’t make it often enough so you’ve inspired me now… MasterCakes
Do you use raw pistachios or toasted?
Hi Sunny, I used roasted/salted.
I made this for my husband for his birthday and it was a HIT!
He is very discerning and can be hard to please, but he went CRAZY for this ice cream. He was actually sad I served it at his party because everyone loved it and it was almost gone after (and was gone by breakfast the next day!). His father requested it for his birthday a week later.
I’m actually making it for my husband again for Christmas (we’re doing homemade gifts this year) and I know he’s going to be so excited b/c he keeps asking me when I’m going to make it again.
Worth noting though – shelling that many pistachios does a number on your fingers. OUCH!
I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for all the hard work in getting this recipe together years ago. This is actually the recipe that helped me find your wonderful site back in ’09, and you’ve always been the source of me making these wonderful treats for wonderful memories. Just being thankful, and I hope you’re here always with us.
Aww thank you so much for sharing! xo
Just made your recipe of the pistachio ice cream. It’s amazing! I made it for a ice cream cake with a chocolate sponge cake as a base. :)
I was just wondering what I can do with the leftover marinated pistachios. Someone mentioned you can make tart filling with it. Can I made pistachio pesto sauce with it?
Hi Janice, You could definitely try making the pesto!
Have you made this with caramel added in?
Hi Aggie, I have not.
I ordered some raw organic pistachios , very expensive. while i was making this i googled recipes for egg whites, and I had just picked Blueberries. A recipes came up from Australia, called a friand. Like a muffin, but made with almond flour and egg whites. I thought that I didn’t have almond flour, but had ground pistachios. So made the recipe with pistachios left over and egg whites, it was OUT OF THIS WORLD DELICIOUS! was able to use 2 byproducts from this ice cream. PLUS PLUS!
I recently bought an ice cream maker and have been trying different recipes. This was wonderful and creamy with an excellent rich pistachio flavour. Like a previous poster I was loathe to discard the ground pistachios. I found a good recipe for pistachio muffins on http://scarlettabakes.com/pistachio-muffins/ and used 3/4C of the leftover ground pistachios as well I used one cup each of brown and white sugar rather than 2C white. Thanks for all the research to develop such a great ice cream recipe.
Just made the pistachio ice cream for my husband. I’ve never had pistachio ice cream, although I love eating pistachio nuts. I can honestly say I love this ice cream. My husband just asked for seconds and said, “now this is pistachio ice cream”. Thanks for the recipe.
What to do with the discarded pistachio., hate to waste a pretty expensive nuts. Any recipe suggestion? Thanks!
Hi Mags, Here all of the recipes on this site that use pistachios: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/tag/pistachios/. Happy Baking! :)
Is it ok to use pistachio paste? If it so how do I substitute?
Hi Sybil, I have never worked with pistachio paste; I’m not sure where you would use it in this recipe. The first part is infusing the milk, then you do want actual chopped nuts in the finished product. I would probably forego the paste and use regular nuts.
My parents don’t eat eggs, would this recipe still work well if I skipped the eggs step?
Hi Jay, This would not work if you just skip the eggs. You’ll need to look for a non-custard ice cream recipe (sometimes referred to as “Philadelphia-style”). Simply omitting the eggs here wouldn’t give you the desired result.
Pistachio is my all time favorite ice cream/gelato. I searched lots of recipes & finally settled on yours. The steeping part really infuses the pistachio flavor into the base perfectly. Along with the nuts added at the end, it is wonderful. I do add a bit of amaretto to the base to keep the texture softer, but otherwise the recipe is spot on. I look forward to trying the same infusion method for dates and also for figs (separately). Thanks!
Thank you for this recipe! My bf and I are big fans of pistachio and this one takes the cake!
This was my first try making any kind of ice cream and because I’d had homemade pistachio before, I wanted to give it a shot. I found your site yesterday and just the photos alone had me hooked. I just started my blog and included your recipe…of course providing your link and giving you 100% credit. Thanks so much for sharing.
Can anyone tell me how long this ice cream will keep? :)
Hi Paige, It should keep for a good couple of months in the freezer before it would develop any ice crystals.
OMG! I think this will also be a winner in my book! I love pistachio ice cream. I rarely find it here in our area. Did you really grind the shell of the pistachios as well? It’s a bit odd for me but maybe I have to trust you for that :) And another question, as much as possible I don’t want to use eggs in my ice creams, is it ok to leave it out or do I have to replace it with anything or do I really have to use it just for the texture? Thank you so much for this!
Chel, No, you don’t grind the shells in the food processor. You’ll see that the recipe calls for shelled pistachios, not in the shell. You really do need to use the eggs in this particular recipes and there are not any substitutes for them. It’s what gives ice cream that thick, creamy custard-like texture. There are ice cream recipes known as “Philadelphia-style” that do not use eggs, however they are generally not as creamy as ice creams made with a custard base.
this was a seriously amazing recipe! I just made it and it was better than any gelato I had in Italy!
The B&J Pistachio ice cream is my girlfriend’s favorite. My belief is that homemade food (and desserts) are always better tasting and better for you. So I am doing what any great boyfriend would do. I decided to make her some Homemade Pistachio ice cream for her birthday. After searching through a number of recipes and due to your due diligence with doing your homework and purposely creating the taste you wanted, your recipe is my first choice. Will let you know how it turns out!
My bf made me this pistachio ice cream for my b-day! I loved it! He made me close my eyes so I couldn’t see whether it was homemade or not, and when I did taste it, I couldn’t tell! In fact, it taste even better than B&J’s! Thanks for the recipe, it made my b-day even sweeter!!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the ice cream! Happy birthday to you!
I made your “Vanilla Bean Ice Cream” recipe and it turned out great! Now off to try this one! Just picked up a big bag of Pistachios on sale.. just gotta go pick up some almond extract because I have none.
thank u for the recipe my friend made it for me but i couldn’t because of the ice-cream maker part but still its deli-sh
Mr. Rosemary and I both love, love, love pistachio ice cream and since I just got the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment, I’m anxious to make this. Thanks so much for doing all this experimenting and legwork. Hope I don’t screw it up!
Yum! I am excited to make this! What type of pistachios did you use? Roasted and unsalted or??
Hi Julia, I believe they were roasted and unsalted.
I had some leftover cream and thought of ice cream and happened upon this recipe. YUM! Although I didn’t have pistachios on hand, I made it anyway. It was so creamy and delicious. Will definitely make it again! Thank you!
I tried this 2 days and it turned out brilliantly! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Cheers.
ummmmm i thought you were supposed to eat those :)
My husband stated that this is the best ice cream that he has ever had!!! Thank you! Do you have a recipe for re-using the soaked pistacio nuts? I hate throwing them away…
Your receipe is so much like the one my family has always used for pistachio gelato my favorite! I’m glad you didn’t add food coloring to it either. King Arthur Flour carries a pistachio flavor in it’s essential oils great in cookies and cakes very delicate.
my friend & i just inherited an ice cream maker & used your pistachio recipe as a test run…success! absolutely delicious! i will be making it again soon (but i will need to triple it :) thank you
I have enjoyed Spumoni Ice Cream since I was a child in Brooklyn NY Italian Restaurants. Safeway Select Brand carried a fairly tasty replica, but delivery is spotty and think it is somewhat seasonal. I can’t wait to gather up ingredients for your Spumoni Without an Ice Maker recipe and gorge away. At 80 yrs old, I’m allowed to gorge, you know and still love to cook.
I asked a friend traveling to Italy to see if she could find a recipe for Spumoni during her travels and she returned with only an imported can of Rollands French Roasted Pistachio Oil but alas, no recipe
I used some on mashed potatoes and some on grilled vegetables and it is very tasty
Wonder if I could intensify the ice cream flavor with it?
Thank you for your excellent site.
Thank you for this recipe, I have just finished making it and it is delicious, although I think I was a little heavy-handed with the almond essence and so it has a bit more marzipaniness than pistachioness about it – luckily not a problem for me! It’s 9.30 am and I have just finished churning it, and have scraped out the ice cream machine for breakfast!
I thought I would pass on a little tip for the leftover ground and marinated pistachios. They can be used in a bakewell tart, replacing some of the almonds in the filling. My favourite recipe here:
I’ve just made a fabulous caramel ice cream in the last few days. It took 8 egg yolks, 250g of very caramelised sugar, 250ml cream and 350ml milk, and some vanilla essence – that’s all, no butter, although I added a pinch of salt. The recipe came from the Bibendum restaurant cookbook and it is truly great – a strong, grown-up caramel flavour, like creme brulee. Method was, melt and caramelise the sugar, until almost burnt, mix in cream. Warm milk, mix into eggs, add this to caramel and heat til thickened, then strain, cool and freeze.
Luckily I have hens so this ice cream splurge has helped to use up a backlog of eggs! The whites are batched in the freezer for pavlovas, meringues, or Raymond Blanc’s chocolate mousse:
Thank yo for all the great recipes. Your soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies were a big hit.
Wow! I made this for a dinner party tonight, it’s gonna be a hit. I replaced the chopped pistachios with pieces of pistachio brittle. Now I just need to guard the freezer till dinner!
oh my goodness… my friend made this for us and we’re still daydreaming about it the next day… you are genius!!
Elin and Kendra – Thanks so much for the reviews, and so happy that you both enjoyed the ice cream! :)
Oh! I made this today and it is oh so yummy! I’m in heaven . . . . .
Love how you’ve developed the recipe!! I love pistachios, I’m going to try this soon!
Pistachio ice cream would be so good!
This is a winner alright. Love this pistachio ice cream. thanks for sharing this with me.
Oz – You are so right! My apologies! The milk quantity is 1 cup of whole milk; I have edited the recipe so it’s included now. Thanks for catching that for me!
salted or unsalted pistachios??
Hi Laura, You can use either, but I prefer salted.
Am I missing the milk quantity somewhere???
Otherwise, love the idea and your site.
Looks and sounds delicious- and I am just blown away by your photos!
THANK YOU!!! I picked up pistachios last week because I was going to take a stab at your gelato recipe but now i think im going for the ice cream! Great recipe & photos!
Gaby – That’s not wrong at all, it’s all kinds of right! :)
Ashley – I just got one for Christmas last year, and I’m so thrilled to have one now!
your blog is making me really want to buy an ice cream maker!
is it wrong that I want to eat a pint of this for breakfast?
Nope it’s not! Consider it a basic breakast with eggs and dairy and nut protein…LOL
I love the photos! I rarely eat ice cream in a cone. I need to and soon! This looks so yummy!
I’m so making this! I have some pistachio nuts so I’m set! Thanks for sharing!
My fav ice cream! Wow this looks so good!
I have been craving pistachios this week…and then you share this delicious-sounding (and looking) ice cream! Great idea, to steep the pistachios in order get the nut flavor in the cream. And yes, egg yolks are a must to create that super-creamy texture in ice cream. Yum!
Looks like you have come up with a winning recipe! Pistachio is one of my favorite gelato flavors…the problem is we have an amazing gelato shop down the street, which led to my decision to donate my ice cream maker.
Oh wow! I think I’m going to pick out the pistachios first and savor them one at time and then chow down on the ice cream!
Great photos! Your ice cream looks terrific and I enjoyed hearing how you developed the recipe :)
I think you did an amazing job recreating the gelato into a winner of an icecream!!! Its sounds amazing to me, Ive not had this kind before!!! BEAUTIFUL pictures!