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Pistachio Gelato (Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste)


Pistachio Gelato (Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste)

The secret to outstanding pistachio gelato is homemade pistachio paste. Learn how to make it and churn an amazing Italian frozen treat!

Pistachio Gelato Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste //

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure is at the bottom of the article.

A few years ago, I published an entire video class dedicated to the art of making authentic gelato from scratch. That’s how passionate I am about the Italian treat! 

I created this pistachio gelato recipe for the class and it’s probably the one I was most excited to share. Pistachio gelato is undeniably one of the most popular gelato flavors, but unfortunately, it is also the most counterfeited ones. The reason is simple: pistachio nuts are so darn expensive! Many gelato makers take shortcuts and use artificial pistachio flavorings instead of the real thing. But when you’ve tasted authentic pistachio gelato, you can really tell the difference. I still dream of the one I had in Sicily a few years ago!

Sicilian pistachio gelato–served in a brioche…!–at I Dolci di Nonna Vicenza, in Catania, Sicily.

Sicilian pistachio gelato--served in a brioche...!--at I Dolci di Nonna Vicenza, in Catania, Sicily. //

The key to making outstanding pistachio gelato is to make your own pistachio paste from scratch. Not only will you save on buying the store-bought variety, but you’ll fully control the quality of the nuts you use—and of the gelato you churn. This pistachio recipe provides instructions to make pistachio paste and explains how to use it to make gelato.

Homemade Pistachio Paste //

To see me make this pistachio gelato on video, make sure to check out Lesson 7 of my How to Make Gelato class.

Pistachio Gelato Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste //

Helpful Tips for Making Pistachio Gelato

Don’t skip soaking the pistachios

Making the pistachio paste requires you to soak the pistachios. Don’t skip this extra step: soaking the nuts makes them tender and easier to blend into a super-smooth pistachio paste, which is the very foundation of this silky-smooth pistachio gelato.

Peel the pistachios—if you have the patience for it!

Most shelled pistachios come partly peeled. If you look closely, the nuts still have a thin skin over them. After soaking, that skin becomes more obvious, and it’s actually super easy to peel the pistachios by squeezing them between two fingers. Removing those skins makes for an extra-smooth pistachio paste, and it produces a more vibrant color, too. So if you have the time and patience for it, remove those skins. It’s worth the extra effort!

Use and reuse that luxurious pistachio paste

Homemade pistachio paste is so delicious and versatile: you can use it to make semifreddo, puddings, croissants, and so many other treats! Once you know how to make pistachio paste from scratch and taste how incredibly delicious it is compared to store-bought products, you’ll want to come up with dessert ideas just to use it in!

Refrigerate that pistachio gelato custard overnight before you churn it

A very cold custard is key to creating the smoothest, creamiest gelato. Refrigerating the custard for several hours (at least 4!) is good, but an overnight stay in the fridge is even better. This requires some planning ahead, but it also breaks down the process of making pistachio gelato from scratch, making it easier on your schedule.

A Generous Serving of Homemade Pistachio Gelato //


Never made gelato before? Curious about what makes gelato different from ice cream? Check out my colorful masterclass! In it, you’ll find out what makes gelato different from ice cream, how to make a versatile gelato base you can turn into various flavors, and all my secrets and tips to churn and serve outstanding gelato. I even share how to make dairy-free, vegan gelato! In short, it’s a very thorough, colorful class that will quickly turn you into a gelato master.

This masterclass was previously hosted behind a paywall on an educational site where thousands of students rated it 5 STARS! It’s now available to all gelato lovers worldwide, absolutely free. Watch Now!

More Delicious Homemade Gelato Recipes

Love gelato? Then you need to give these irresistible gelato recipes a try.

Mandorla e Arancia Gelato // Almond and Orange Gelato // Raspberry Rose Gelato // Gianduja Gelato (Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Gelato) //

Pistachio Gelato Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste //

Pistachio Gelato (Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste)

The secret to outstanding pistachio gelato is homemade pistachio paste. Learn how to make it and churn an amazing Italian frozen treat!
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:10 minutes
Churning/Freezing Time:4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 1 quart (4 cups/1L)


For the Gelato Base

For the Pistachio Paste


  • For the gelato base: Make the gelato base of your choice, then strain into an airtight container. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The gelato base must be very cold before churning: this will produce the smoothest, silkiest texture.
  • To make the pistachio paste: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the shelled pistachio nuts and simmer for two minutes. This is going to blanch the nuts and make them easier to peel and grind later on. After two minutes, drain and rinse the nuts under cold water to cool them completely.
  • Dry the nuts with paper towels. If the nuts still have their skin on, you need to peel them because using the nuts with the skin on will change both the color and texture of the gelato. To peel a pistachio, simply pinch it between your fingers: the skin should come right off. This steps take a bit of work, but it's worth it. Alternatively, you can look for peeled pistachios, which are going to save you the extra step (it is still necessary to blanch peeled pistachios).
  • Put the blanched and peeled nuts in the bowl of a food processor, then add the sugar. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground, stopping from time to time to scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the whole milk and the pistachio or almond extract, if using, and process until the mixture is as smooth and creamy as the food processor will make it (some tiny pistachio bits will remain but that’s ok). If you want an even smoother texture, transfer the pistachio paste to a mixing bowl and puree it further using a stick blender.
  • To make the pistachio gelato: Whisk the pistachio base into the cold gelato base. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is icy but still soft.
  • STORAGE: Transfer the pistachio gelato to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about two hours.
    Pistachio gelato is at its creamiest and best if enjoyed within 2 weeks. Past that, some ice crystals will inevitably start forming (especially if the gelato is kept in the freezer section of a regular fridge, as opposed to a chest freezer) and the texture won't be quite as smooth. The gelato will still be perfectly edible for up to 2 months, but my advice is: enjoy it as quickly as possible after churning.
  • SERVING: Always take pistachio gelato out to room temperature 20 minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop. This will also allow you to enjoy the treat at its ideal temperature and texture.
  • MAKE IT DAIRY FREE: Substitute lactose-free milk or oat milk for the regular milk.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Churning/Freezing Time: 4 hours 30 minutes


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Recipe Rating

  1. 4 stars
    Hello! I really enjoy your recipes. I made your pistachio gelato recipe (using the classic gelato base) but mine doesn’t really taste like pistachio. It just tastes like custard. Any suggestions on what I may have done wrong or what I could do to improve the flavor? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Tracia! Pistachio is quite a gentle flavor to begin with so the intensity of the flavor you’ll get when making homemade pistachio paste–and pistachio gelato–highly depends on the quality of the nuts you’re using. Pistachios are pricey but if you’re treating yourself to this homemade gelato, it’s worth hunting for top-quality nuts, such as Sicilian pistachios. If you can’t find them, you can boost the flavor a little by adding a drop or two of pistachio extract. Be careful not to use too much or it’s going to overpower the flavor of the gelato. I recommend tasting the custard before churning it. If you think the flavor needs a bit of a tweak, you can work on it now before your precious custard gets into the churner!

      I hope these tips will help, Tracia!

    • Homemade gelato is at its best if you enjoy it within 2 weeks. Past that, ice crystals start to form, especially if the gelato is kept in the freezer section of a standard fridge (as opposed to a chest freezer, for example), which means the texture isn’t as smooth as when it’s freshly churned. Gelato certainly is still good past the 2-week mark! But my advice is to enjoy it as quickly as possible after churning 😉

    • Hello Frances! You can store the pistachio paste in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. Just make sure to choose a container that stores the pistachio paste as tightly as possible to make it last as long as possible.

  2. Hello, first of all i love your recipes, I want to ask you about the sugar in this recipe, do i need to also add the sugar marked in the base recipe or only with pistachio putee?

  3. Hello, looking forward to making this ice cream.
    I’ve cheated a little and have managed to get some pistachio paste from Italy. How many grams of the pistachio paste would you use in the in the sicilian gelato base?

    Thank you

    • Since store-bought pistachio paste is super concentrated, I would recommend mixing in 1/4 cup (50 g) pistachio paste right before churning. Taste it before you churn to see whether the pistachio flavor is to your liking. You could add up to 2 tbsp more, if you’d like the flavor to be slightly more assertive, but keep in mind that pistachio will always be a smooth, gently flavor, much like vanilla is.

      I hope this helps!

  4. I notice that besides cups and teaspoons, etc, you give ingredients in ml. I assume this means millilitres. These are all volumes. Is there any reason you do not list quantities by weight, like ounces or grams? That would be especially helpful as most people these days have good digital food scales. Thanks.

    • Hi Ed! I agree with you that metric measurements are handy and more precise. I live in North America and I’ve been raised using volume measurements in the kitchen, and this is what most North American still use today. However, as a professional recipe developer, I do use metric measurements on a daily basis! I just completely updated my site and I’m currently in the process of updating all hundreds of my recipes to include metric measurements. It’s a long process but I’ll get there! Thanks for your comment and patience as I go through this transition! :)

    • Hello Iryna! I recommend using raw pistachios because they’re easier to peel and the green color is more intense. If you only have unsalted, roasted pistachios on hand though, feel free to use them! The pistachio gelato will be delicious just the same.