I honestly don’t know when my love for pistachios started. When I was a kid, my mother adored chocolate. My father, who wasn’t a sweet eater, would reach for vanilla–if he reached for anything at all. My grandmother was all strawberry all the time.

My love of the nut may have started on The One’s and my first trip to Italy way back in 1994. (Who can resist gelato, right?) And, of course, some of the finest pistachios in the world come from Sicily.

Since then, I’ve been all about the green. But mostly in sweets. Pistachio cakes, cookies, shortbread, and frosting–especially frosting.

If you’re crazy for pistachios, you have to try my incredible pistachio buttercream (at the very bottom). Slather it on my dear friend Rose Levy Beranbaum’s delicate White Chocolate Whisper Cake. It’ll change your life. (Ok, fine. I exaggerate. But it will make your day.)


The word "David" written in script.
A pistachio lover's pound cake on a wooden cutting board with a mesh bag of pistachios beside it.
Philip Ficks
1 of 6

Pistachio Pound Cake

This pistachio pound cake with a confectioners sugar glaze is a dense, moist, nutty pound cake with a tight crumb that will satisfy any and all pistachio lovers. And it makes an ample amount so you’ll have plenty to share. Although beware, it disappears quickly.

I made this pistachio pound cake, and it was amazing! My one mistake was not putting an extra slice on the side for myself, as you recommended. It was moist, not too sweet, and the pistachios took it over the top. I am making two loaves this weekend and taking one to a party. Great, great recipe.

clara f.
Three plates topped with pistachio-crusted chicken cutlets, arugula salad, and lemon wedges, with forks and knives on the side.
Aubrie Pick
2 of 6

Air Fryer Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Cutlets

For these air fryer chicken cutlets, thin pieces of chicken breast are dredged in a nutty lemon coating, then air fried until crispy and golden. It's an easy, healthy weeknight meal.
A single apple spice muffin with streusel and pistachios on an inverted metal cake tin.
Michael Spain-Smith
3 of 6

Apple Spice Muffins with Pistachio Streusel

These apple spice muffins with streusel and pistachios are flecked with grated apple to make them crazy moist and flavorful. And they’re topped with a buttery brown sugar and pistachio streusel. Perfect as breakfast or an on-the-go nosh.
A few green cups filled with pistachio gelato with five pistachios beside.
Emily Brooke Sandor
4 of 6

Pistachio Gelato

Pistachio gelato, made properly, relies upon nothing but pistachios, milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar, and salt for its flavor and color. That's why true pistachio gelato isn't Frankenstein green. Spoons at the ready!

This is the BEST pistachio gelato recipe! I totally agree with most of the comments in the instructions–such as the extra cup for snitching. However, I had a problem tossing the soaked nuts after the infusion. I ended up using them in Baklava Babka, and they were the perfect touch!

tilly g.
Several plates with slices of pistachio-lime polenta cake topped with confectioners' sugar and chopped pistachios
Mowie Kay
5 of 6

Pistachio-Lime Polenta Cake

This cake is moist, delicate, light, gently nutty, and zesty all at the same time. It is the perfect tea cake, or serve as a dessert with a dollop of Greek yogurt on the side. The olive oil pairs very well with the lime and pistachio and makes for a very moist crumb.
Five round pistachio shortbread cookies with a few broken pistachios on the side.
Jim Henkens
6 of 6
These pistachio shortbread cookies are tender and crumbly like shortbread, yet subtly flavored and sweet like cookies. So which are they? Who cares when they taste this lovely!

I’ve been making these cookies for Christmas for the last few years, and I’m always asked for the recipe. This year, I added a couple of tablespoons of dried cranberries to make them even more Christmas-y. I highly recommend it.

linda b.

Pistachio FAQs

What’s the best way to store pistachios?

Store your pistachios in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Shelled pistachios will have a shorter shelf life than unshelled ones.

Are pistachios a tree nut?

Yes, pistachios are harvested from trees, making them a tree nut. Persons with tree-nut allergies should avoid pistachios.

How can I tell if a pistachio is ripe?

The shell should be beige and firm with a slight opening at one end. The pistachio nut inside the shell should be plump and green in color. Discard any pistachios that are discolored, shriveled, or have a rancid flavor.

Still looking for ways to enjoy pistachios? Try sprinkling them over your morning oatmeal or your lunch salad. Stir them into rice or couscous, or add them to your favorite trail mix. Let us know your favorite way to enjoy them in a comment below.

A large amount of pistachio buttercream frosting, swirled with a knife laying across it.

Our 7 Best Pistachio Recipes

5 from 1 vote
It's obvious that I love pistachios in almost everything. Perhaps my favorite use of the nut is on desserts, which is why I developed this silky smooth ☞ PISTACHIO BUTTERCREAM FROSTING.
David Leite
Servings12 servings | 3 cups
Calories381 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 4 sticks (1 lb) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup roasted unsalted pistachio butter or paste


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the yolks until light in color, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the water, sugar, and salt, stir constantly to dissolve the sugar.
  • Once the sugar mixture comes to a boil stop stirring. Continue to boil until the mixture registers 240°F (115°C) on a candy thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Turn the mixer on low, and carefully–carefully, I say!–slowly dribble in the sugar syrup, avoiding the spinning beater. Once the sugar syrup is incorporated, bump the speed up to medium-high and continue beating until the mixture is completely cool, about 5 minutes.
    ☞TESTER TIP: If the egg mixture is even the least bit warm, it'll melt the butter, and you'll be staring at a puddle–of frosting and your tears.
  • Once the mixture is cool, add the butter, a knob at a time, beating until the buttercream is luscious and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Spoon in the pistachio butter and whir to combine until silky smooth, about 1 minute.


Check out the full recipe post for our testers’ reviews, more info, and tips on making the creamiest pistachio buttercream frosting.


Serving: 0.25 cupCalories: 381 kcalCarbohydrates: 18 gProtein: 2 gFat: 34 gSaturated Fat: 20 gMonounsaturated Fat: 10 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 173 mgSodium: 12 mgFiber: 0.4 gSugar: 17 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
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About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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