Homemade Pistachio Ice Cream

One of the ways to recognize ice cream with natural ingredients is by the color of pistachio ice cream. You see, the natural color of pistachio ice cream is brownish green, so when it looks bright green it means that food coloring has been used. The ice cream will be greener if the skins around the pistachios have been removed meticulously (for which I was too lazy). Making your own pistachio ice cream is very simple if you own an ice cream maker and a food processor. For this recipe I’ve used half the quantities of the recipe that ChgoJohn posted, but an even simpler preparation without heating the milk. The resulting ice cream had a very deep pistachio flavor and an interesting texture (a bit like semifreddo) as I had not ground the pistachios to a very fine powder. Thanks for the inspiration, John!


For about 400 ml (1 1/2 cups) ice cream

80 grams (1/2 cup) pistachios

75 grams (3/8 cup) caster sugar

175 ml (3/4 cup) whole milk

150 ml (2/3 cup) heavy cream

1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence

pinch of salt

additional pistachios for garnish


Roast the pistachios for 7 minutes at 180ºC/350ºF on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to cool.

Put the pistachios in the food processor with the sugar.

Process to a fine powder.

My food processor didn’t get it any finer than this, which meant that small grains of pistachio could be noticed in the ice cream.

Turn on the food processor and slowly add the milk, cream, and vanilla.

Allow the resulting mixture to cool in the refrigerator.

Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

When the ice cream is ready, transfer it to a plastic container and freeze for a couple of hours. If frozen for longer, allow to warm up a little for half an hour in the refrigerator before serving.

Roughly chop the pistachios for garnish.

Serve the pistachio ice cream garnished with chopped pistachios.

Wine pairing

This pairs well with a sweet dessert wine with notes of nuts and citrus, such as passito di pantelleria or vin santo.


Fresh homemade focaccia alla Genovese is wonderful, even without toppings.


9 thoughts on “Homemade Pistachio Ice Cream

  1. Stefan, great post. I love pistachio ice cream. It was one of my favorite ice creams growing up and still is. When I first started the blog I did an Orange Honey Ice Cream with Pistachio that was killer. When I use pistachios, however, I cheat and buy ones that have been shelled and skinned. They still don’t help much on the green color but you don’t have to mess with the skins. 😉


  2. Great recipe, Stefan, and thanks for the shout out. You’re right about the green color of pistachio gelato and it’s my “test” to see if a gelateria is a good one.
    Just last weekend, I came across some of Mom’s recipes in an old book. One of them, for cookies and cream ice cream, also used scalded milk. I googled it and found that most thought that scalded milk changed the milk’s flavor a bit and made it more likely to thicken. Others, though, said that is something needed when using raw milk. According to them, modern day pasteurization negates the need. I guess the only way to find out is to make a batch of each and taste my way to the answer. What I won’t do for science! 🙂


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