The Best Homemade Pistachio Ice Cream

It’s been a little while since I’ve made & shared homemade ice cream. So today I thought I’d change that. My husband has been asking me to make pistachio ice cream for years now, and I finally got around to it! I’m kicking myself for not making this sooner- it’s probably my new favorite flavor (although my chocolate thin mint & toasted coconut are hard to beat). I love how creamy and flavorful the base is and the salty crunchy bits of pistachio that are scattered throughout. It’s heavenly.

The Best Homemade Pistachio Ice Cream

So what makes this ‘the best’ homemade pistachio ice cream? Well, a few things. Both the method and the ingredients are huge factors in creating the perfect scoop. To start, you’re going to need ¾ of a cup of roasted salted pistachios. I prefer the unshelled kind (just to save time) and have spotted them at my local grocery store in the produce section and at both Costco and Target. You can also buy them online too. Since pistachio paste/butter are expensive and hard to find, we’re going to make our own makeshift version. You’ll grind some of the pistachios with a portion of the sugar and then cook them along with the milk and cream to help steep them and release their flavor. This, along with chilling the base is key in developing that nutty flavor.

The Best Pistachio Ice Cream

Like I mentioned above, you boil a portion of the pistachios to help release their color and flavor. You’ll temper some eggs (I like adding whole eggs to help keep the ice cream from getting too hard) and cook the mixture until it reaches a safe temperature. Then you’ll pour it through a mesh sieve and into a mixing bowl. DONT SKIP THIS STEP or you’ll end up with an incredibly coarse base instead of a smooth and creamy one. Just make sure to press the pistachios for a few minutes to remove any and all of the liquid you possibly can. Add in some almond and vanilla extract (or paste) and you’re ready to chill it/prepare it for the big freeze.

The Best Homemade Pistachio Ice Cream

If you’re in a time crunch, you can totally get away with chilling the base in the refrigerator for just 2 hours. But… for crazy good flavor, make this base before you go to bed and let it rest in the fridge overnight. It’ll help intensify the pistachio flavor. When your base is cold, pour it into an ice cream machine or bowl and churn until it’s nice and thick- it took about 20 minutes in my KitchenAid Ice Cream Attachment. Coarsely chop and fold in the remaining ¼ cup of pistachios and place in a freezer-safe container in the freezer to firm up for 3-4 hours before serving.

The Best Pistachio Ice Cream

Enjoy as soon as possible, trust me, you’ll want to. I hope you’ll enjoy this ice cream as much as we did!

4.7 from 7 reviews
The Best Homemade Pistachio Ice Cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is hands down the BEST homemade pistachio ice cream you'll ever eat! It's thick, creamy and loaded with chunks of pistachios.
Author:
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. shelled pistachios, divided*
  • ½ c. sugar, divided
  • 1½ c. whole milk
  • 1½ c. heavy cream
  • 3 eggs + 2 yolks
  • ¼+ 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract or paste
Directions
  1. In a large heavy bottom saucepan bring the milk, cream and ¼ c. sugar to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, grind ½ c. of the pistachios along with ¼ c. of the sugar until fine, taking care not to make a butter. Pour into the milk mixture, and allow it to continue heating to a boil, whisking every minute or so.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks. Temper the eggs by gradually pouring a cup or so of the hot milk/pistachio mixture in, whisking vigorously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until it thickens and reaches 170 degrees on a thermometer, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat pour through a mesh sieve and into a large mixing bowl. Press hard to remove any remaining liquid from the sieve, you may want to take a few minutes to get everything you can out. Add the almond and vanilla extract, whisk to combine. Place over an ice bath and chill until cool. Then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably over night.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator and pour into an ice cream machine or attachment bowl. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions (about 20 minutes if you're using a KitchenAid bowl). When the ice cream is firm, coarsely chop the remaining ¼ c. of pistachios and fold in. Place in a freezer-safe container and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.
Notes
-I used roasted and salted pistachios, however you can use raw too, just make sure to add a pinch or two of salt to your base.
-I didn't use food coloring. The base will be a brownish green but as it churns it will lighten up and look more like homemade vanilla does.


Recipe source: Life Made Simple

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About the Author

Natalie

Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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Comments:

  1. The weather is getting hotter every day and this pistachio ice cream are melting my heart. Love the creamy and flavorful base and the pistachio top. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Hi, I’m getting ready to make this and curious to know if one batch of this recipe is equal to 1-Quart? My ice cream maker is a 2-Quart Cuisinart, so I would like to know if I should double it or not. If you’re not sure, maybe you could tell me how large each serving size is? (1/2 cup?) Thank you!

    1. Hi Erika! It makes just under 2 quarts. You might be able to get away with 1.5x the recipe, but I haven’t tried it in my bowl and it’s a 2 quart one as well.

  3. I made this after allowing the mixture to refrigerate overnight. It’s incredible! It’s rich, creamy, nutty, not-too-sweet, and full of pistachio flavor. If you’re cooking with an electric stovetop, extra care should be taken with heating the custard mixture so it doesn’t curdle. (The heat can be a little trickier to control.) I followed the recipe and it made about a little over a quart. I’m so grateful to have this recipe! Pistachio is my favorite! Thanks so much for perfecting it!

  4. in my search for a recipe for outstanding pistachio ice cream, i came upon a few such as this one, with very good reviews. i am confused, however, as to why, after paying such attention to detail, as this recipe shows, you would not use PISTACHIO extract, instead of almond? it just seems wrong…i know it isn’t readily available, but i found mine online, as i wanted to have it on hand for when i tackled making pistachio ice cream for the first time, as i am about to do…

    1. You could definitely use pistachio extract! I personally like the addition of almond extract because that’s what I am familiar with and I think it tastes enough like pistachio on its own. I will add a note to the recipe 🙂

  5. I have a bowl of the base in the fridge as I type this. Assuming almond extract is what’s most commonly used In the pistachio ice creams I’ve had over the years, I made sure I had some on hand. However, I found some pistachio essence from my local cake decorating shop. So the mad scientist in me came out and I started by adding a few drops of the pistachio and stuck my finger in. Added a couple more drops. It was good but was missing something so I added a couple drops of almond and stuck my finger in. I finally got the right taste with 1/4 tsp of almond extract, 6 drops of the pistachio essence and 1/8 tsp of vanilla extract. Now it’s taking all my will power to not go drink the stuff ????

  6. Seriously the best recipe I’ve ever tasted. I have to admit, I’m lazy, so I skipped the mesh draining part (sorry!) but it turned out just fine! I’ve tasted every pistachio gelato available from almost every city between Rome and Venice and this blows away even the best. Thanks, Natalie! BTW, I just used a cheapy $20 ice cream maker from Hamilton Beach!

  7. Making this for the first time tonight and wondering if you do anything with the pistachio and custard mix that’s left in the sieve. It seems like such a pity to throw it away!

    1. There shouldn’t be much left in the sieve, you’ll want to press as much as you can through. Hope that helps!

  8. I made this recipe and used unsalted pistachios and omitted the pinch of salt – I never add salt to any of the ice cream recipes that I make, and they come out so much better that way (at least for me). I saved the pistachio/custard mix from the sieve, refrigerated it, and ate it as a snack – no reason to throw it out, and it doesn’t need anything else. I also used Noce liqueur instead of almond extract instead of the almond extract and vanilla. I’ve also noticed that if you grind the pistachios too finely, particles can get through the sieve and make the ice cream gritty. I wait 40 minutes before putting the mixture through the sieve, to let the pistachios steep a bit more and give more flavor.

  9. What if I don’t have the ice cream attachment? Can I use my actual kitchenaid bowl and just put that in to the freezer? ThanK you Brooke

  10. Made this a week ago.. LOVE it! can’t wait to make other flavors!!! Added Chai powder from King Arthur Flour and it made this even more AWESOME!!!

  11. I have never made or heard of an ice cream base made this way 170 seems a little to high so for sure filter.  And my favorite filter / strainer is a one gallon bucket filter / strainer from the paint store – done and toss. 
    ******************************
    Well we just ate it and everyone loved it but for me it was OK.  It doesn’t seem to make much difference in custard / smooth quality the mixing and tempering order of milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla. 

  12. I wrap the sieved Pistachios in cheesecloth. . I I weigh down the cheesecloth in the base overnight.

    In the morning, I squeeze the liquid from the cheesecloth into the base which adds incredible Pistachio flavor.

  13. The explanation before the listed recipe sausa you’re using salted pistachios, but in your comment to Dave right above, you wrote unsalted.. I also clicked on the link above to buy online pistachios and that one is salted… which is it? The ice cream won’t be too salty?

    1. I’ve used both, if you use salted, you’ll want to skip or reduce the salt in the recipe.

  14. I just made this for my boyfriend’s birthday, pistachio is his favorite ice cream. O. M. Gosh. This is the best recipe!! I found quite a few others that used pudding mix for the flavor and didn’t want to go that route! Thank you so much for this awesome recipe! He is going to flip out when he tastes it!! Btw, this is the perfect amount, I got one quart, we try to not eat a lot of sweets! 

    1. I am so happy to hear that! I am glad to share it 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me know that!

  15. Would this recipe work with non-dairy milk? Is there a way to buy or make a non-dairy cream? My daughter has been asking for a brownie cake topped with pistachio ice cream, and she can’t have dairy.

    1. I personally have not tried, but I am sure it would. I have not made a non-dairy cream. Have you looked on Pinterest?

  16. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing. I can’t eat sugar due to a medical condition, but I made this recipe using erythritol in its place and WOW. Pistachio ice cream is my fave and this recipe yielded some of the best I’ve ever had. Thank you!

    1. 5 stars
      I made this today and it is amazing. I left the pistachios in the custard I the fridge overnight to intensify the flavour and it is so smooth and creamy and delicious I’m not sure we’ll make another flavour for a long time. Thank you for the recipe.

  17. 5 stars
    I tried this today and it came out great! I would probably increase the sugar by a few more tablespoons next time I make it to bring a little bit more of that salty/nutty/sweet dimension into it!

  18. Hello,
    Definitely going to give this a shot this week. I was wondering why you use 3 eggs + 2 egg yokes? I am wondering if you can just use egg yokes only and skip the whites? I have read that the whites change the texture but have never tried so just trying to learn. Thank you!