Pistachio Gelato Recipe

Updated on February 23, 2018
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I love cooking and sharing my recipes. I make homemade gelato for my friends and family and love inventing crazy flavors!

Creamy pistachio gelato
Creamy pistachio gelato

There's nothing like gelato made at home, and that is especially true if it is pistachio gelato. Many pistachio gelato recipes use pistachio paste from the store to flavor the dessert. This is possible and will probably give a pretty good taste. But if you are looking to achieve the rich, nutty pistachio flavor that a dessert like gelato deserves, made from scratch is the only way to go.

Cast your vote for Homemade Pistachio Gelato Flavor

Triple Pistachio Flavor

I use actual pistachios all throughout this recipe so that the end result is packed with rich, nutty flavor, and there are actual nut pieces in each bite. I add pistachios to the standard gelato flavor in three places:

  1. the milk used to make the custard,
  2. the paste added to the custard, and
  3. the pistachio bits added directly to the gelato while it is churning.

This recipe is instructions to add flavor to the gelato's custard before it goes in the ice-cream maker. Before you begin, make sure you have a good understanding of how to prepare a custard and how the flavoring fits into the overall gelato process.

Total Cook Time

Prep time: 9 hours
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 9 hours 30 min
Yields: approx 1 quart gelato


  • 2 1/2 cups pistachios, raw
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cup cream
My homemade pistachio gelato
My homemade pistachio gelato


  1. Peel pistachios.
  2. Make pistachio milk.
  3. Make pistachio paste.
  4. Make custard for gelato with pistachio milk, add in paste in flavoring step.
  5. Chill custard for at least 6 hours.
  6. Crush and (optional) roast pistachios.
  7. Churn custard in ice cream maker to create gelato!

In-Depth Instructions

Step One: Peel the Pistachios

Peeling pistachios can be a tedious process. To make it easier first blanch them by adding all of them to boiling water for 1 minute and then immediately transferring them to an ice bath. Take them out nut by nut and peel off the skins. I highly recommend throwing on a movie while you do this or at the very least guilting someone into helping you. The promise of fresh gelato at the end should be enough of a bribe!

Step Two: Make the Pistachio Milk

Next, we will make a pistachio nut milk. Take 1 cup of the pistachios and soak in water for at least 6 hours. Ideally, just leave them overnight. When they are ready, drain the nuts and put them in the blender with 2 cups of warm water. Blend until evenly mixed. Pour through a fine sieve and save the milk. This should yield almost 2 cups of pistachio milk. You only need 1 cup for the gelato. We will use this nut milk instead of cows milk in the rest of the gelato recipe.

Step Three: Make the Pistachio Paste

Now is when we will make our own pistachio paste with the remaining 1 cup of pistachios. This is pretty simple. Add the remaining pistachios to a blender and blender until smooth. I have to add a bit of the pistachio milk to get my blender to emulsify everything.

Step Four: Make Custard

  • Bring sugar and pistachio milk to 165 °F on the stove.
  • Pour into a mixing bowl with 5 egg yolks.
  • Add pistachio paste and bring the mixture up to 172 °F on the stove.
  • Pour into a mixing bowl with 2 cups of cream.

Step Five: Chill Custard

The custard needs to thoroughly cool before it can be ran through the ice cream maker. This takes at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. I want to remind you to be careful here and make sure the custard is covered such that no air can get in. This does not require a vacuum seal, a carefully placed saran wrap over the custard bowl will work fine.

Step Six: Crush and Roast Pistachios

While you are waiting for the custard to chill in the fridge, now is the perfect time to prepare the nuts that we will sprinkle into the gelato as it is being churned.

Take the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts and crush them. I would not recommend using a blender unless you are feeling very lazy. Using a blender will result in a mush like you did in the pistachio paste step, which is not what we are going for. We want pieces that are still big enough to give a bit of a crunch when eating. One way to crush the nuts is to arrange them on a cookie sheet, cover with a clean cloth and smash with a meat tenderizer. The cloth keeps the nut shrapnel contained but be ready for some loud noises. It's a great exercise to alleviate aggression!

You might want to roast the pistachios before they are added. They are totally fine raw because they are small enough the gelato has enough sweetness to balance out the rawness. But if you want to get add a roasted flavor to the dish i really recommend giving this a try. Put the oven on 400F and add the nuts evenly spread on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes. Stir at least once during the 20 minutes or they will burn on one side.

2-3 scoops of gelato is the perfect serving size
2-3 scoops of gelato is the perfect serving size

Step Seven: Churn in the Ice Cream Maker

Once the custard has cooled for a least 6 hours it is ready to go in the ice cream maker. Pour in the custard with the paddle and give it at least a few inches of room at the top to account for fluffing up as it is processed. No problem if you have to use multiple batches.

After the custard starts becoming thick, added in the crushed pistachios. Make sure they are portioned out so if you are running half the custard now you are saving half the nuts for the next batch.

Run the ice cream maker until it stops turning or the resulting gelato is the right, creamy consistency. It is pretty hard to over churn it so if you are not sure if it is done yet, leave it in for another 10 minutes.


Fresh gelato is best enjoyed right away. It has a lower melting point than ice cream, making it melt immediately in your mouth. Mmm!

The rest can be saved in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.


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