How to Make Pistachio Buttercream Frosting (video)

a glass bowl of pistachio frosting on a table with pistachios

The most delicious pistachio buttercream frosting recipe ever! I love this creamy and nutty flavored frosting for cakes, cupcakes, macarons and other desserts! It’s made with butter, salted pistachios, cream, vanilla extract and confectioner’s sugar. Plus, it’s super easy to make! This recipe is part of my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series. Use these basic recipes for creating your own cakes and desserts! I use this pistachio frosting for my ‘Pistachio Honey Baklava Cake’, made with honey cake layers and loads of pistachios!

My Pistachio Buttercream Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube video tutorial for step-by-step instructions for making this pistachio buttercream! Want to stay up to date on new recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!

Ingredients for Pistachio Frosting

I love how easy and delicious this pistachio frosting is to make! You’ll need just a few ingredients to make this nutty frosting!

  • Unsalted Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since you’ll be able to adjust the amount of salt much easier. Most salted butters are quite salty and this will affect the flavor of the frosting.
  • Pistachios: use roasted salted or unsalted butter for this recipe.
  • Vanilla Extract: adding a few teaspoons of vanilla makes this frosting taste incredible!
  • Heavy Cream: I add a little bit of cream to the pistachio paste to make it easier to mix it into the butter.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: sift the powdered sugar before using it to ensure the frosting is smooth and creamy. I also recommend using a fresh bag of sugar since it absorbs moisture very quickly. Old powdered sugar can cause the frosting to be grainy and sandy in texture.
dollops of green pistachio frosting on a tray

Using Salted or Unsalted Pistachios

This pistachio buttercream frosting can be made with both salted and unsalted pistachios. I personally really like it with roasted and lightly salted pistachios. Having a little bit of salt in the recipe helps balance the sweetness from the powdered sugar. It creates a really delicious frosting that’s not overwhelming sweet!

Softening the Butter Properly

The most important step to making any buttercream is softening the butter properly! If you’ve ever had a flat and greasy frosting, that means the butter was too soft or melted.

  • The butter should be just barely soft to touch! Not melted or too soft!
  • Soften the butter at room temperature for best results.
  • If you forgot to soften the butter, use this microwave trick to quickly soften butter. Place the butter sticks right side up and microwave in 10 second intervals, rotating and turning the butter each time. Make sure you don’t overheat the butter!
a tray with dollops and piped pistachio buttercream frosting

How to Make Pistachio Buttercream Frosting

You’ll love how easy it is to make this incredible pistachio frosting! It’s a perfect option for cakes, cupcakes, desserts and even for filling macarons! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Prepare the pistachio paste first. Place the shelled pistachios into a food processor, or a blender, and pulse until the pistachios are very well ground. Add in the heavy cream and pulse again until a thick paste forms. Set this paste aside.
  2. Soften the butter at room temperature until it’s lightly softened. Place the butter into a mixer bowl and attach a flat beater. Beat the butter on medium to high speed for 7 to 9 minutes, until the butter is fluffy and white in color. Scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl often to ensure all the butter is well mixed.
  3. Add in the pistachio paste and vanilla extract next. Beat for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl, until the butter and pistachio paste are well combined.
  4. Add the confectioner’s sugar next. Mix on low speed for, until the sugar is incorporated. Continue to beat on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
  5. If your buttercream is flat and doesn’t become fluffy, place it into the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Once chilled, beat the frosting again until it’s fluffy.
  6. Keep the frosting refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.
a bowl of frosting on a table

How to Store Buttercream

If you’re not going to be using the frosting immediately to frost your cake or cupcakes, I recommend keeping it refrigerated. The pistachio buttercream will start to soften at room temperature when it’s kept out for a long time.

  • Keep the frosting well covered with plastic wrap. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. When you’re ready to use it, allow the buttercream to soften at room temperature.
  • For freezing the buttercream, place it into plastic container and seal it well. This frosting can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then at room temperature.
a close up of piped pistachio buttercream on a tray

Try It With These Recipes!

This delicious pistachio buttercream frosting is delicious with many different cakes and cupcakes! Here are a few different recipe ideas for you to try!

  • Pistachio Honey Baklava Cake– if you love baklava, you’ll love this incredible honey cake with pistachio buttercream and crunchy pistachio filling!
  • Chocolate Pistachio Cake – I love this rich, decadent chocolate cake with pistachio buttercream and chocolate ganache!
  • Pistachio Pomegranate Cake – use this pistachio buttercream in place of the whipped cream frosting in the original recipe to add even more pistachio flavor!
  • Pistachio Carrot Cake – replace the cream cheese frosting in my original cake recipe with this frosting for more pistachio flavor!
a slice of baklava cake on a plate, with a cake on a cake stand
Pistachio Honey Baklava Cake

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this amazing buttercream frosting? Check out my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series for more simple and basic recipes you can mix and match!

Share it on Pinterest!

a close up of green frosting, with text overlay 'Pistachio Buttercream'

Supplies & Tools

Need some supplies to make this frosting recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):

  • Salted, Shelled Pistachios – get a large bag of these pistachios and use the rest of them to make my Baklava Cake!
  • Green Food Coloring – I recommend using concentrated gel food coloring for the best results. Americolor is my favorite brand.
  • Disposable Pastry Bags – never wash another pastry bag again with these disposable bags! They come in a bulk roll that will last you a while!
  • Jumbo Cake Decorating Tips – this collection of large decorating tips contains most of my favorites!
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a glass bowl of pistachio frosting on a table with pistachios
5 from 1 vote

How to Make Pistachio Buttercream Frosting (video)

25 mins prep + 0 mins cook
5 cups
Learn how to make the best pistachio buttercream frosting for frosting cakes and cupcakes and for filling macarons and desserts!

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, salted or unsalted
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 3 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar

Instructions

  • Prepare the pistachio paste first. Place the shelled pistachios into a food processor, or a blender, and pulse until the pistachios are very well ground. Add in the heavy cream and pulse again until a thick paste forms. Set this paste aside.
  • Soften the butter at room temperature until it’s lightly softened. Place the butter into a mixer bowl and attach a flat beater. Beat the butter on medium to high speed for 7 to 9 minutes, until the butter is fluffy and white in color. Scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl often to ensure all the butter is well mixed.
  • Add in the pistachio paste and vanilla extract next. Beat for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl, until the butter and pistachio paste are well combined.
  • Add the confectioner’s sugar next. Mix on low speed for, until the sugar is incorporated. Continue to beat on high speed for 3 to 4minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
  • If your buttercream is flat and doesn’t become fluffy, place it into the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Once chilled, beat the frosting again until it’s fluffy.
  • If you’re not going to be using the frosting immediately to frost your cake or cupcakes, I recommend keeping it refrigerated.

Storing Buttercream:

  • Keep the frosting well covered with plastic wrap. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. When you’re ready to use it, allow the buttercream to soften at room temperature.
    For freezing the buttercream, place it into plastic container and seal it well. This frosting can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 1514kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 124g | Saturated Fat: 73g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 35g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 301mg | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 96g | Vitamin A: 3594IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg