Pistachio ice cream served in a bowl with a spoon.

Pistachio Ice Cream | Table for Two® by Julie Chiou

Pistachio Ice Cream | Table for Two® by Julie Chiou

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Pistachio ice cream served in a bowl with a spoon.

This pistachio ice cream is about to win your heart. Thick, creamy, and loaded with sweet, nutty flavor from homemade pistachio paste and a hint of almond extract, it’s rounded out by a smattering of dark chocolate pieces, making it a supremely crave-able dessert.

If you’re a pistachio ice cream fan, this is the recipe for you. Made with homemade pistachio paste and a thick, creamy custard base, it’s incredibly rich and creamy and bursting with the subtly sweet nutty flavor its namesake is known for. I decided to add a kick of almond extract as well to complement the pistachio and, wow, does it do the trick. For texture, I mixed in some dark chocolate pieces. Their subtle crunch and bittersweet flavor take the whole shebang to the next level. Grab a giant bowl and a spoon. You’re going to go gah gah over it.

Why You’ll Love This Pistachio Ice Cream Recipe

Wondering why you should put in the effort to make your own pistachio ice cream? Here’s why this recipe deserves your attention.

  • The perfect combination of flavors. I can’t get enough of the way the mild sweetness of the pistachio paste mingles with the subtle almond flavor from the almond extract. It’s the perfect nutty combination. Then stir in some bitter, yet sweet dark chocolate pieces to round it all out. Delicious!
  • So creamy. Oh goodness is this ice cream creamy. It melts over your tongue in a thick, luscious blanket of chilly sweetness. It’s 100% addicting.
  • Surprisingly easy. Making ice cream from scratch may sound intimidating but it’s really not all that bad! It will only take you about 20 minutes of active time and the steps you’ll be following are quite simple. Try it! You’ll see.
Ingredients for pistachio ice cream.

What You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delightful pistachio ice cream recipe. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.

For the pistachio paste

  • Unsalted pistachios – You could use another nut here. Just note that the ice cream would no longer be “pistachio ice cream”.
  • Heavy cream

For the ice cream custard base

  • Half and half – Do not attempt to use a lighter dairy product here. You’ll end up with an icy ice cream.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg yolks
  • Heavy cream – Again, don’t try to use a lower fat dairy product.
  • Almond extract – The almond extract is optional but I love the dual-nut action it brings to this dessert. You could also use vanilla extract instead.
  • Dark chocolate – I chopped up a chocolate bar but mini chocolate chips would work here too. Not a dark chocolate fan? Try milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or even white chocolate.
Scooping pistachio ice cream out of a loaf pan.

Tips for Success

Stop right there, ladies and gentlemen. You didn’t think I’d let you go into this recipe without some tips and tricks, did you? Here are some bits of wisdom from my kitchen to yours that will help you achieve the best results possible.

  • Think ahead. Before beginning, have a good read through your ice cream machine’s instructions. You may need to take some steps (such as freezing the bowl of the machine) that you need to plan ahead for.
  • Go full fat. Whatever you do, do not try to replace the half and half or the heavy cream with something lighter. Ice cream needs fat to develop a rich, creamy texture. Lower fat dairy products will end you with icy ice cream.
  • Whisk, whisk, whisk. It is important to whisk the egg yolks until they have thickened substantially and have significantly lightened in color. This process incorporates air into the yolks, which will improve the texture of your ice cream and help stabilize it.
  • Careful with heat. Throughout the whole process of making the custard base, you want to be very careful not to use too much heat. Cranking the heat up past medium-low can cause the eggs to curdle, leaving you with a lumpy ice cream.
  • Keep it moving. When cooking the custard, be sure to stir continuously. Failing to do so will likely cause the mixture to curdle, ending you with a lumpy finished product.
  • Be patience. You’ll need to cook the custard for about 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s good to go when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Failing to cook the custard for long enough will end you with a runny ice cream.
  • Don’t skimp on chill time. Chill the ice cream for at least 6 hours. Anything short of that and your ice cream won’t freeze or churn properly.
  • Add the mix-ins at the end. Do not add the chocolate to the ice cream until just before it has finished churning. The ice cream needs to be frozen/thick enough to suspend the mix-ins in its creamy goodness. If it is still quick liquidy (as it will be early on in the churning process), the mix-ins will sink to the bottom and clump together.
Pistachio ice cream served in bowls.

Serving Suggestions

I love serving a scoop of pistachio ice cream with a warm slice of bread pudding (my Pumpkin Bread Pudding is to die for) or a slice of cake. I have especially been enjoying it with my famous Orange Pound Cake but it would be awesome with this Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake as well.

Want to make the ice cream the main character? Drizzle a scoop of pistachio ice cream with chocolate sauce and/or top it with fresh whipped cream. Grab some from the store or try the whipped cream from this Boozy Peaches and Honey Cream Shortcake Recipe.

Proper Storage

It’s best to store homemade pistachio ice cream in a freezer-safe, airtight container that is either plastic or ceramic (storing ice cream in glass can cause the dessert to develop freezer burn). I like to lightly press a film of plastic wrap or wax paper into the top of my ice cream before I seal the container to help prevent ice crystals from forming on the top. You can store pistachio ice cream in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Overhead image of pistachio ice creamin a loaf pan.

More Ice Cream Recipes To Try

Is your curiosity about homemade ice cream piqued? I have a few other super yummy, surprisingly easy ice cream recipes for you to try. Some require an ice cream maker and some don’t (no churn). I hope you like them!

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For the ice cream custard base

Serving: 1serving (218 grams), Calories: 729kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 54g, Saturated Fat: 29g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 268mg, Sodium: 70mg, Potassium: 480mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 45g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.


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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.