Pistachio Ice Cream

two ice cream cones with pistachio ice cream

This post has been updated as of July 2021

As pistachio gelato is my favourite to buy when in an ice cream shop, I knew I’d love a homemade version too. There’s something magical about making ice cream at home, the process of making a custard and watching it transform into a creamy, stretchy emulsion as it’s frozen and stirred.

a tub of pistachio ice cream with a spoon

The flavour of real pistachio ice cream

Have you ever had a faux pistachio ice cream before? The stuff that is bright green and strongly flavoured with extracts? Ok so THAT stuff is definitely not the real deal. It’s actually usually flavoured with something similar to almond extract and coloured with green food colouring. Still tasty but deffo not what we’re after here.

Real pistachio ice cream/gelato will be flavoured/coloured purely with pistachio paste. It has a rich, nutty, toasty flavour that is divine. It has more of a dark olive-green colour (thanks to the carotenoids & chlorophyll in the nuts) so the ice cream comes out as a more pastel-y green. It is a lot more expensive than just using almond flavouring so you can understand why faux pistachio ice cream is so common.

Pistachio paste

Now, you *can* make your own pistachio butter at home by blending up raw pistachios until they become a paste in a food processor. A better thing to do is to buy the paste ready made – it’ll be MUCH smoother and have a better flavour & colour in my experience. It’s also very easy to get online and isn’t any more expensive than buying shelled pistachios anyway. So go on, treat yoself to some pistachio paste! I bought a 250g tub and used it bit by bit, storing it in the freezer between uses to prevent it going rancid.

Ageing your ice cream base

I learnt a bit about the process of making ice cream for my Food science degree. An interesting takeaway was how ageing your ice cream base (i.e. chilling it for at least 4 hours) actually improves the texture of your ice cream a lot by allowing the globules of emulsified fat to become more stable. This helps the ice cream hold in air and retard the growth of ice crystals when being churned. Cool huh!?

melted ice cream and some ice cream cones on a tray
a tray with 2 scoops of pistachio ice cream and 2 ice cream cones

This ice cream base is a super simple, egg-free one. I usually prefer eggless ice creams as they are easier to make and have a much cleaner flavour that allows the flavours you’re adding to SHINE! As pistachio can be quite a gentle flavour, I wanted as little distraction from it a possible, hence the egg-free base. I also added xanthan gum which stabilises the ice cream and improves mouth feel (more of that food science degree coming in handy). I know most people won’t have it around in their kitchens though so don’t worry about leaving it out.

More Ice Cream Recipes:

two ice cream cones with pistachio ice cream

Pistachio Ice Cream

This simple egg-free ice cream base means the flavour of the pistachio isn't masked at all. It is also very easy to make!
4.41 from 27 votes
Print Pin
Course: Ice Cream


  • 110 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1 tbsp corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 625 ml (2 1/2 cups) whole/semi-skim milk (or non-dairy milk)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup or corn syrup
  • 250 ml (1 cup) double cream (heavy cream) or coconut milk
  • 100 g (~1/2 cup) pistachio paste


  • Combine the sugar, xanthan gum (if using), cornstarch and salt in a medium pot. Whisk to combine well. Pour in a bit of the milk and stir together to combine until smooth. Pour in the remaining milk and the golden syrup and whisk together.
  • Place the pot over a medium-low flame on the stove and heat, stirring often with a whisk, until the mixture is hot and has thickened slightly. Stir in the pistachio paste until smooth and remove from the heat. Stir in the double cream.
  • Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Either churn it now (see next step) or chill the mixture overnight ('ageing' the ice cream base overnight like this improves the texture of the ice cream).
  • When ready to churn, pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. You want to stop it churning once it reaches the texture of soft-serve ice cream. Scoop all the churned ice cream into a plastic tub, seal with a lid and chill for at least 2 hours before scooping and serving.


- To make vegan: use full-fat coconut milk in place of the double cream. Also use a non-dairy milk (I like Oatly's barista milk for this as it's creamier).
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!

7 thoughts on “Pistachio Ice Cream”

  1. I have everything already at home. Am I weird? I also developed a frozen yogurt recipe last week so I needed to stabilize it 😛
    By the way – I’m not getting any posts from your page on my feed/mailing list. Did you make any changes?
    Just came to visit and saw like 5 new posts…

  2. Also, I don’t know if it’s intentional or not but it’s hard to keep track on posts when you can’t see their date. I had to use my technical knowledge to find out when they originally posted – so I missed more or less an entire month. Ahhh, damn you social media…

  3. 5 stars
    I made thisvegan and used Bonsoy soy milk, which is the creamiest soy milk I’ve ever met. I used the Bonsoy for all of the milk/cream. Anyway, it was AMAZING. Then (because the first batch did not last long), I made a second batch using coconut milk and oat milk. Good, but not amazing, as the coconut competed with the pistachio for flavour, and… I think the extra stabilizers in the soy milk helped the texture – the combo of coconut and barista Oatly was not as smooth as the Bonsoy. Now … I have just enough pistachio paste left for another batch (with the Bonsoy, which had everyone, including my non-vegan ice cream obsessed friends, swooning and demanding seconds). At any rate, thank you so much for the explanations of what all the different ingredients and steps do for the ice cream – it made it so much easier to veganize the recipe!

    • Ooh yes I’ve had bonsoy a couple of times – spenny but SO delicious! Thanks for letting me know how your experiments went with the different milks, I’ll have to try it out with Bonsoy myself 🙂

  4. Hiya. When ageing the mixture in step 3, is that to be chilled in the fridge or freezer overnight?

    Thank you!

  5. Hiya. When ageing the mixture in step 3, is that to be chilled in the fridge or freezer overnight?

    Thank you!

Comments are closed.