10 of the best sweet pistachio recipes

Treat yourself to something sweet with our 10 most enticing pistachio recipes. Pistachios’ biscuity, mild flavour and striking colour makes them a wonderful addition to all sorts of cakes, bakes and desserts. No wonder that the creamy nuts are a mainstay of sweet dishes in many countries, including Lebanon, India, Italy, Turkey and Japan.

Our 10 best sweet pistachio recipes include easy no-bake treats like chocolate and pistachio tiffin and Indian barfi. You’ll also find some more challenging recipes below, like choux buns filled with a pastel pistachio cream. And if you love pistachio gelato, check out our salted pistachio and lime ice cream for a taste of Mediterranean holidays. Add in some traditional pistachio sweets from around the globe and you’ve got enough nutty treats to keep the most devoted of pistachio lovers happy…

10 of the best sweet pistachio recipes

Pistachios in a nutshell

The pistachio is a popular culinary nut that originates from the Middle East and Central Asia. They’re now grown in many sunny spots around the world, including California, Italy, Greece, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

Pistachios are a member of the cashew family. They are usually sold in their shells, which crack open to reveal a milky green kernel with violet streaks. Discard the shells and use the kernels in dozens of sweet dishes (and savoury ones, too).

Pistachios are sometimes called ‘the smiling nut’ in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries, because the cracking shell resembles a smile.

Why do pistachios work so well in sweet recipes?

Pistachios have a biscuity, creamy taste. The nuts’ subtle flavour happily rubs along with all sorts of stronger ingredients you find in sweet dishes; chocolate, fragrant rose, lemon, caramel, raspberries and rhubarb all make great partners for pistachios. Their creamy flavour means they enhance buttery, milky dishes like fudge or rice pudding, too. It’s no wonder they show up in iconic sweets and desserts around the globe – think silky pistachio gelato, crisp baklava and creamy barfi. You’ll find takes on some of these famous sweets below, along with cakes, biscuits, iced desserts and more irresistible pistachio confections…

Our 10 best sweet pistachio recipes

Pistachio layer cake with cream cheese frosting

Introducing the ultimate birthday cake for pistachio lovers. This triple layer cake has an airy sponge dotted with finely crushed pistachios. The bake is sandwiched and topped with cream cheese frosting and finished with a circle of pistachio crumb.

Pistachio cake

Salted pistachio and lime ice cream

If you always make a beeline for the pistachio gelato on holiday, this recipe is for you. Adding a touch of salt opens up your palate, intensifying the biscuity flavour of the pistachios and the zesty lime.

Pistachio ice cream

Lemon and pistachio shortbread biscuits

Creamy pistachios are a clever addition to classic shortbread. These moreish, crumbly biscuits also have a hint of lemon, thanks to the zest in the buttery biscuit dough.

Pistachio biscuit

Coconut, saffron and pistachio barfi

Chef and author Maunika Gowardhan makes batches of these fragrant coconut and pistachio barfi to share at Diwali. The creamy Indian sweets are similar to fudge – Maunika makes hers with condensed milk and threads of delicate saffron.


Choux buns with raspberry, rose and pistachio

A project bake for pistachio stans, this rewarding recipe uses several patisserie techniques. Top homemade choux buns with a biscuity craquelin, fill with roasted pistachio crème pâtissière, then – just to be extra – serve them with a hot pink raspberry coulis.

Pistachio choux

Lebanese syllabub with pistachio biscuits

Food writer Angela Zaher gives syllabub a Lebanese spin by adding the Levantine spirit arak (which has anise notes), orange blossom, pomegranate and – of course – pistachios. Pair the delicate dessert with pistachio ghraybeh, traditional Lebanese shortbread biscuits.


Pistachio and rose ice cream cake

Clear some freezer space to stash this fabulous make-ahead dessert. Think giant pistachio ice cream sandwich, topped with a thick layer of melted dark chocolate and crystallised rose petals. It’s easy, colourful and your guests will love it.

Ice cream cake

Chocolate and pistachio tiffin

Biscuity pistachios make a great addition to this simple chocolate fridge cake, made with rich tea or digestive biscuits and finished with a white chocolate drizzle. Hold back some nuts to scatter over the top.


Rhubarb and pistachio syrup cake

Tart rhubarb and creamy pistachios join forces in this fragrant springtime bake. Serve with generous dollops of crème fraîche for an informal dessert.

Rhubarb and pistachio cake

Rose and pistachio gulab jamun

Gulab jamun is a cherished dessert in many South Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and often enjoyed at Diwali, Eid and other celebrations. These sweet fried dough balls are soaked in rose syrup and can be garnished with pistachios or other nuts.

Gulab jamen

Hungry for more? Browse all our pistachio recipes, including plenty of savoury ideas. 

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