Pistachios have got to be my favorite nut ever! I would go as far as saying that this vegan pistachio ice cream recipe is the ultimate vegan frozen dessert.

Made using real pistachios and coconut milk for a thick and creamy consistency. It's fragrant and sweet, with a full-on pistachio flavor.

I've always been a firm lover of pistachios, in particular pistachio ice cream. The vibrant color, the sweet nutty flavor, and the fragrant aroma. What's not to love? Besides the fact that here in Ireland anyway, it's near impossible to find a good vegan one. But fear not, because this easy pistachio ice cream recipe will have you in pistachio heaven.

close up of pistachio ice cream with chopped pistachios in a porcelain ramekin.Pin

What to expect from this recipe:

  • Made with just 6 main ingredients.
  • Eggless and dairy-free.
  • Thick and creamy texture.
  • Easy to make.
  • Made without cashews.
  • Refined sugar-free.
  • Gluten-free.

Ingredients needed

ingredients to make dairy free pistachio ice cream on a metal tray.Pin

Ingredients notes and possible substitutions

  • Pistachios, if possible it's best to get them already shelled as this saves you a step in the preparation!
  • Full-fat canned coconut milk adds creaminess and a thick ice cream consistency to the recipe. The cans of coconut milk need to be chilled overnight, then you'll only use the thick part from the top of the cans. You can reserve watery coconut from the bottom of the cans and add it to smoothies or soups. You can also use coconut cream in place of coconut milk.
  • Pure maple syrup as a sweetener keeps this pistachio ice cream refined sugar-free. The maple flavor also complements the pistachio and almond flavor really well.
  • Almond milk is added to help with the ice cream consistency, seeing as coconut milk and pistachio create a very thick ice cream base texture on their own. If your coconut milk isn't quite as thick, you can get away with leaving out the almond milk, or just using less of it. Of course, if you have an allergy to almonds you can use another plant-based milk of your choice.
  • Coconut oil adds to the creamy ice cream texture due to its fat content. Remember, a good ice cream recipe is predominantly composed of fats as this is what creates that thick consistency and keeps it from melting too fast. If you want to avoid coconut oil, you can leave it out. Just bear in mind that this will give you a slightly more watery consistency. 
  • Vanilla extract adds another layer of flavor and enhances the pistachio flavor of the ice cream.
  • Almond extract and sea salt are optional additions that will elevate the flavor of this vegan pistachio ice cream to the next level.

How to prepare pistachios

Now, it does take a little bit of effort to prepare the pistachios. Especially if you can only find them with the shells still on them. They need to be de-shelled, soaked (preferably overnight), and the skins removed in order to reveal that beautiful vibrant pistachio green hue. Trust me, it's worth the effort!

  • Deshell: If your pistachios are still in their shells, the first step will be removing them.
  • Soak: Add the pistachios to a large bowl, cover with water and refrigerate for 4 hours. You can alternatively soak them in boiled water for an hour.
  • Remove the skins: Rinse the pistachios with clean water and remove as many of the skins as possible. They should come off easily using your fingers as the water will have loosened them.
vegan pistachio ice cream in a metal container with vintage ice cream scoop.Pin

How to make pistachio ice cream

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)

To make your pistachio ice cream mixture, simply add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. In this case, that's soaked pistachios, coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, plus almond extract, and sea salt if you're using them.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to the device's instructions (the one I use needs to churn for about 30-40 minutes).

Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, or a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Garnish with pistachio slivers or chopped pistachios.

You can use plastic wrap to cover the ice cream before freezing to make sure it doesn't come in contact directly with the air whilst in the freezer.

How to make ice cream without an ice cream maker

This particular recipe does call for an ice-cream maker, which I highly recommend using if you can (they retail for around €20 and are a great addition to your kitchen if you tend to make a lot of homemade desserts).

However, if you don't own an ice cream machine but can't wait to get started on making this dairy-free pistachio ice cream (I don't blame you) here are my tips:

  • Ensure the ice cream container is completely airtight whilst freezing to prevent ice crystals from forming.
  • After an hour of freezing or as it begins to freeze around the edges, transfer the mixture back into the blender to blend down any ice crystals before pouring it back into the loaf pan and into the freezer.
  • Continue to check the ice cream every 30-45 minutes, using a spatula to stir it vigorously by hand.

Alternatively, another interesting method for making ice cream without a machine is with a plastic bag as shown on Delish. I haven't personally tried this method yet, so I can't vouch for how good it works!

Storage instructions

This vegan pistachio ice cream will keep for a couple of months in an airtight container in the freezer.

Recipe tips

  • Quick soak your pistachios in boiling water for 30 minutes to an hour if you're in a rush and can't leave them soaking overnight.
  • Thaw before serving for 10 minutes to allow the ice cream to become scoopable.
  • Heat your ice cream scoop in hot water before scooping to get perfect scoops every time.
homemade pistachio ice cream in a bowl with a waffle cone.Pin

More vegan pistachio desserts

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ★★★★★ rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!

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Vegan Pistachio Ice Cream

4.83 from 56 votes
PREP TIME: 1 hr
COOK TIME: 4 hrs
TOTAL TIME: 5 hrs
Servings: 8
PRINT RECIPE PIN RECIPE

Description

The vibrant color, the sweet nutty flavor, and fragrant aroma of pistachios shines through in this ice cream. This recipe will have you in pistachio heaven. The texture is incredibly creamy, thanks to a combination of the soaked pistachios and coconut milk.

Ingredients

  • 200 g (1 ⅔ cups) pistachios, shells removed
  • 400 g (14.11 oz) chilled full-fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream, *see recipe notes, use only the thick part from the top of the can
  • 180 ml (¾ cup) pure maple syrup, more or less to taste
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) almond milk, or other plant-based milk
  • 60 g (¼ cup) coconut oil, solid
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, optional, but recommended
  • pinch (pinch) sea salt, optional, but recommended
  • 30 g (¼ cup) pistachios, shells removed, for garnish

Instructions

  • To soak the pistachios, add them to a large bowl, cover with water and refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours. Alternatively, you can quick-soak them in boiled water for 30 mins to an hour.
  • Rinse the pistachios with clean water and remove as many of the skins as possible. They should come off easily using your fingers as the water will have loosened them.
  • Add all the ingredients to your high-speed blender and blitz until completely smooth and creamy without any lumps.
  • Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to the device's instructions (the one I use needs to churn for about 30-40 minutes).
  • Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, garnish with chopped pistachios and freeze for 4 hours.
  • Allow it to defrost for 10 minutes before serving. Heat your ice cream scoop in hot water before scooping.

Storage

  • This vegan pistachio ice cream will keep for a couple of months in an airtight container in the freezer.

Notes

  • Chilled coconut milk: Refrigerate the tins of coconut milk overnight, then only use the thick cream from the top of the can. Depending on the brand you use, you may need more than one can. I find Nature's Charm and Biona to yield the best quantity of thick coconut milk per can.

Nutrition

Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 458mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 3mg
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28 Comments

  1. Hi Christina,

    Did you record yourself making this ice cream? I would love to watch a video of you making it. I am more of a visual person. I really want to try this ice cream. Also, I want to make an ice cream sandwich using this ice cream, what flavor cookie would be best with the flavors from the ice cream? chocolate (Oreo cookie)

    1. Hi Meerah,

      I don't have a video of this one, but there are step-by-step images in the blog post if this helps. It would be amazing in an ice cream sandwich! Oreo would be great, or my tahini chocolate chip cookies!

  2. Hi Christina,
    First of all congratulations. I have made two ice cream recipes and both are really good. I recieved your book as a gift and I am ansious to try some recipes. Which almond extract do you use?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Helia,

      Thank you so much, I'm so glad to hear! I use Neilsen Massey pure almond extract.

  3. Hello Christina! Can I use roasted pistachios for this recipe, and if so, do I still have to let the pistachios sit in water? Thanks!

    1. Hi Serena,

      Yes absolutely, roasted unsalted pistachios would add a lovely flavor. I would still soak them to make it easier to blend them 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Hi, made this ice cream and it tastes wonderful! However, I feel it definitely needs more than 1 can of cream; can I defrost, add more cream, blend then churn again?
    I know this because the paddle on my ice cream maker kept jamming; thought it was broken but turns out it just couldn’t churn properly because it was too thick.

    1. Hi Josee,

      Thanks for checking in! Hmm, it should be enough coconut milk. Did you measure the coconut milk in grams? Depending on the brand you use it may need more than one can, it needs to be 400g (see recipe notes). Did you also add the full amount of the other liquids, the maple syrup, and almond milk?

      I'm sure it would be fine if you blend it with more almond milk/coconut milk. But from a food safety perspective, I can't advise you on defrosting it and refreezing 🙂

  5. Can i use coconut milk (that is not full fat) instead of full fat coconut milk? If so what is the difference?

    Thank you
    Sehar

    1. Hi Sehar,

      You can if you don't mind the ice cream being less creamy. The more water in the coconut milk, the more watery the ice cream will be, that's why I always recommend full fat.

  6. So excited to make this. Wondering if i can skip the almond extract? Or will that elimination make it taste bland?

    1. Hi Denise, you can skip it although it does enhance the flavour of the pistachio which is why I always include it. But it won't be bland, you can add an extra teaspoon of vanilla to balance it out.

  7. Can I make this vegan ice cream with coconut cream or it has to be coconut milk?

    Kindly
    Valencia

  8. Hi Christina! Is there any way I can replace the coconut milk and oil? I really am not too crazy about the taste and guessing you will taste the coconut as well right? Thanks or your help ☀️

    1. Hi Jennifer, unfortunately no as this is what gives the ice cream it's creamy consistency and mouth feel. You could probably get away with leaving out the coconut oil, but the coconut milk is essential. I don't notice the taste of coconut personally in the recipe, as it predominantly tastes like pistachio. Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Christina! Can i skip the almond milk or replace it with the liquid part of the coconut can?

      1. Hi Lucy,

        If you don't have an ice cream maker, you could freeze the mixture for 1 hour, then blend it in your blender/food processor after 1-2 hours and freeze again for a couple hours. This should help to prevent ice crystals from forming! Would love to hear how it works out for you if you try it 🙂

      2. Oh, thanks, Christina! I was afraid about ice crystals, but I will definitely try this way and let you know 🙂