Scoop of cream Italian Pistachio Gelato with ingredients


It’s the holy grail of gelato and it took over a year of following the pistachio trail to get to this point.

Real Sicilian pistachio paste is green gold – rare and expensive AF. There’s no getting around it. Bronte Pistachios have a distinctive flavor, grow in a very small area, and are only harvested every two years. They are prized by chefs all over the world and to say that demand outpaces the supply is an understatement.

I tried every shortcut possible, from making pistachio butter to steeping nuts in milk (plus a few ‘weird’ experiments) Nothing matched the flavor and texture found in old school gelaterias. Authentic pistachio paste was needed.

the search

Buying the real thing proved to be next to impossible. The majority of pistachio pastes are actually mostly almonds. Pistachio cream sounded promising but the best of them have a ton of sugar and the worst contain oil and fillers.

I spent 10 months hunting and the only discovery I made was a $500 chef’s size bucket of the stuff (not an option) As with all epic adventures, just as all hope was lost the solution presented itself.

Pariani 100% Pure Sicilian Pistachio Paste turned up at my local Italian importer. There were only two jars, my only regret is that I didn’t buy both of them. And no, this is not an ad.

the method

Wasting the hard-won paste during recipe development wasn’t a big concern. The nut fat, oil, and solids are very similar to the proportions found in Peanut Butter Gelato. Same method, a few tweaks and it was good to go.

the result

To say it was worth the effort is an understatement. The result was that elusive pistachio flavor with that slightly elastic texture that sets true Italian gelato apart from ice cream.

Recently Pariani 100% Pistachio Paste has popped up on Amazon for around $27 per jar (making this one of the most expensive gelatos I’ve made at home) It’s not available all the time. If there are other brands or sources out there I’d love to know about them!!!


Italian Pistachio Gelato

Real Pistachio Gelato is the ultimate Italian gelato experience.  This recipe made with Sicilian pistachios is based on techniques used actual gelaterias.  Finding authentic pistachio paste is key – this is not the time for shortcuts!   The extra effort is worth it,   one bite will instantly transport you to the sunny coast of Sicily! 

  • Author: MJ



  •   70g water
  •   43g sugar 
  •   37g organic corn syrup
  • 100g 100% pistachio paste*


  • 627g whole milk
  • 125g cream 
  • 159g sugar
  •   49g non-fat milk powder
  •     6g tapioca starch
  •   34g organic corn syrup



Make the pistachio cream.  Put the pistachio paste into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally.  As soon as the mixture reaches a boil (or 212 degrees on a candy thermometer)  immediately pour it into the mixer. 

Start on low for 30 seconds then mix on high until the pistachio cream is thick and completely cool (when you touch the sides of the bowl it should be close to room temperature)  Cover and refrigerate. 


Combine sugar, non-fat milk powder, and tapioca starch. Mix the milk and cream in a large bowl.  Whisk in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps. Thoroughly incorporate the corn syrup, being sure to scrape all of it into the bowl.  


Place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Heat until bubbles start forming around the edges but do not let it come to a full rolling boil.  Keep stirring the mixture while it cooks.  In the last few minutes mix a bit faster as the mixture begins to thicken. 

Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.

Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the gelato to prevent a skin from forming. Put the bowl of hot gelato into an ice bath.


After the gelato has cooled, remove from the ice bath and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.


Mix pistachio cream and gelato together with an immersion blender until completely incorporated. Process the gelato in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

When it reaches the consistency of soft-serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes on most machines) Scoop into a container, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface and freeze until firm (4 hours minimum)


  • 100% pistachio paste – make sure the only ingredients are pistachios and perhaps pistachio oil.  Products to watch out for:  pistachio ‘cream’ which has added sugars and flavorings, pistachio paste that isn’t 100% pistachio, and pistachio ‘butter’ which has a coarser texture. 


  • David Bryant

    I follwed this recipe and the resuts were excellent. As good as my local gelateria. I didn’t bother with the “cure” stage (too impatient!).

  • Sigrún Erla

    I loved this recipe. I’ve searched for a long time for a great pistachio gelato recipe with the right texture.
    However it’s a bit too sweet for my preference. Would it throw off the whole texture and softness in the freezer if the sugar was cut a little?

    • MJ

      I’m so glad you liked the recipe, it’s one of my favorites. If you want to play around with decreasing the sugar, I would recommend experimenting with the amount in the gelato but not in the pistachio cream. Reducing a little sugar in the gelato recipe will make it firmer (take out too much and it will be hard as a rock) Another option would be to reduce the sugar and increase the corn syrup (corn syrup basically just another sugar – it keeps the gelato soft but without adding as much sweetness as regular sugar). Please let me know how it goes!

  • Caroline

    This is sooooo good. Thank you for such an awesome recipe. I had only ever made pistachio gelato before by skinning the nuts and it was super time consuming. This gelato absolutely kills it in terms of texture, taste, colour, the whole package 🙂 And I only was able to source pistachio paste from Iran, not even the ‘ducks nuts’ of pistachio pastes from Sicily. If I ever do lay my hands on a jar of the Bronte paste, I wonder how much better this gelato could possibly be?! FIVE STAR GOLD!!

  • Lord Dima

    By far, the best gelato I have made in two months of trying various receptors. Followed this to the T, the base seemed a bit liquidy and even once I mixed everything and started churning, it didn’t look promising at first. But it turned out great, froze great, and was very scopable, very pleasant/not icy, and extremely flavorful. This will be my go-to recipe when I aim to impress!

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