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