Pistachio Ice Cream: A Recipe

Posted by:
Susan Rooke
May 9, 2019

In the summer of 2017 I shared two of my recipes for homemade ice cream: Coffee Cinnamon and Chocolate Pecan Brickle. Both are uncooked, meaning they require no eggs or standing at a hot stove on an August day when your air conditioning struggles to blow tepid air and you have to keep stirring the custard until it thickens. They’re super easy to make and also fast, since you don’t have to wait for the hot custard to chill before you can churn the ice cream. These uncooked versions are endlessly variable, and so rich and delicious that I’ve seen no reason to make a custard base in decades.

But also in that post I promised that one day I’d share a method for making equally delicious "custard" ice creams without actually cooking a custard. So here’s what I do if I ever miss that custard flavor, that extra creamy sweetness: I use a trick my mother Eloise taught me.

I cheat.

Mother, God rest her soul, was kind of a snob about custards and puddings. Never under any circumstances was it okay to take shortcuts. Not by buying pre-prepared puddings in the dairy case, and certainly not by using boxed pudding powders. (She considered instant mashed potatoes another abomination.) She passed these convictions on to me, with the result that all the custards and puddings (and mashed potatoes) served in my house are scratch-made. However, when she bought a kitchen countertop ice cream maker (in the days when even those small electric models still needed ice and salt), it came with a little recipe booklet suggesting the option of using instant pudding mixes as an alternative to spending the effort and time homemade custards required. Since she didn’t enjoy waiting around for a hot custard base to cool any more than I did, she deep-sixed her scruples and gave convenience a whirl. The resulting ice cream was a huge success with both of us.

After a little experimentation [The Ice Cream Trials. Such a daunting, thankless task, but somebody has to eat all that test ice cream], I came up with the sublime recipe I’m sharing today, the one that makes Glen’s eyes roll back in his head. (Literally. You should have seen him last night when he put the first spoonful in his mouth.)

So here it is, the cheater’s version of:


In a large mixing bowl, place:

1 c. sugar
5 Tbs. instant pistachio pudding powder, straight from the box (see photo above)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
3 drops green food coloring


2c. half-and-half

Beat together until the dry ingredients are mostly dissolved. A hand mixer is fine for the job. Then add:

2c. heavy cream

Stir all together until thoroughly blended and pour into the cream can of your ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer’s instructions for most of the allotted time. Then, 5 minutes before the end, add:

½ c. (rounded) coarsely chopped salted pistachios

Finish processing and then transfer to a suitable container to finish hardening the ice cream in the freezer. Makes a bit more than 1 ½ quarts.

And if you’re craving some Chocolate Shell to top your Pistachio Ice Cream (it’s a spectacular pairing!), you can find that recipe here.


12 comments on “Pistachio Ice Cream: A Recipe”

  1. OK, I'm finally going to post a comment - first time ever!

    This ice cream is the best! Thank you for sharing the recipe with me many years ago!

    La 'P 😉

    1. I'm so glad to see you here!! Isn't it just the most wonderful stuff ever? My mission is to convert the whole world into pistachio ice cream-lovers!

  2. Yummy! And now, you've given me a great hobby to introduce the kids to this summer. They're going to love this.

    1. I think it had something to do with Wesley? 🙂 But I keep telling you that y'all should've let us buy you an ice cream maker for Christmas!

  3. Ice cream has to be my favourite food! This ice cream looks amazing - I've never made my own before but I'll have to give it a go! xxx

    1. It's SO delicious, Ashley, I highly recommend it! It's great even if you leave out the instant pudding altogether! <3

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