Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Frosting

Decadent pistachio pudding buttercream frosting! This delicious frosting combines my two favorite foods.
Close up of Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Frosting
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A slice of cake in a white plate with Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Frosting

Are you ready for this? Are you ready for the best frosting ever? My new Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Frosting is a dream frosting for pistachio lovers!!! Yes, I had a pistachio pudding problem. You know this, I know this. We’re good.

So of course, when I whipped up my Homemade Pistachio Pudding Cake, I knew that there wasn’t going to be any plain frosting on top of that beauty. Nuh-uh. We were going full-bore, pedal to the metal, kick the tires and light the fires pistachio overload.

Now this recipe took me a while to get it right. There’s a certain method you have to use, so please follow my instructions carefully. If not, you end up with a gritty icing.

I don’t want to see you have any temper tantrums like I did. I swear, I’m in the wrong business some days. When I ruined my first batch of icing, the air was blue, smoke was coming out of my ears and I was just mad. This is why I do my baking while the kids are at school. Mama has a potty mouth when she ruins recipes.

But hey, that’s what happens when you develop recipes. Sometimes you have enough knowledge that you nail it every time and others you have to completely fubar the method only to learn a lesson and do it differently next time.

I’ll try to remember I said that next time I’m having a temper tantrum over wasted ingredients.

When you use this buttercream icing, make sure that you have some fresh pistachios to smash up and scatter over the top of the cake. It is just perfect when you do.

Oh and salted pistachios are the best of course! Add that little zip of salt to this via the butter in the icing and the pistachios and it seriously takes it over the top!

Close up of Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Frosting

There are other pistachio pudding icing recipes that use Cool Whip and pudding mix. I so wasn’t having any of that. I needed a pistachio pudding frosting that was based on my famous Best Buttercream Icing Ever recipe. I wanted something buttery and good and eat-off-the-spoon amazing.

Now this is an icing that you can literally eat off the spoon, it’s so evil. The whole cake is evil!

I like evil.

Happy baking everyone!

Make sure to check out all of my other buttercream frosting recipes!:

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Frosting

Candy Bar Buttercream Frosting

How to Make Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

Love you more than pistachio pudding,


Pistachio Buttercream Frosting

Decadent pistachio pudding buttercream frosting! This delicious frosting combines my two favorite foods.
4.91 from 41 votes
Close up of Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Frosting
Prep Time
5 minutes
Total Time
5 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons instant pistachio pudding powder
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  • Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
  • In a measuring cup, combine the milk and the pudding mix until it’s completely dissolved. If you do not dissolve it all at this point, you will have gritty icing!
  • Beat the pudding mixture into the butter completely.
  • Add in the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, beating in completely.
  • Chill the icing for approximately 20 minutes, to allow the jello and the butter to set more completely.
  • Use to ice cakes and cupcakes.
  • Yield: Approximately 1 1/2 cups of icing. This will frost one standard sized bundt cake perfectly.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 87kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 125mg, Potassium: 13mg, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 255IU, Calcium: 14mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Pistachio Pudding Buttercream frosting, a gorgeous, melt in your mouth buttercream icing that's flavored with pistachio pudding. To.Die.For.

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Sandy says

    This buttercream recipe did not work out. It broke, was gloopy, and ultimately was cloyingly too sweet. As an experienced baker, I was a little skeptical of the directions, but gave it a shot. Normally, I would cream the butter and powdered sugar first, as you would with any other buttercream recipe. Then incorporate a liquid/flavoring. I’m truly surprised it works for anyone.1 star

  2. Donna L says

    My family is a “icing” family— so I made 1 1/2 (3/4 cup of butter) of the recipe. Before I creamed my butter, I measured the milk (3/4 cup) and pudding mix (4 1/2 Tabl) in a 2-cup measuring cup and whisked it well, until it started to thicken. After beating in the powered sugar (4 1/4 cups) it was perfectly creamy and also almost perfect spreading consistency—- but something was not quite sitting right with me. It just seemed really sweet — but not much of the pistachio flavor was coming through. So I added just 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract and then it was perfect. Usually I don’t do anything different to a first time try of a recipe— so, I’m sorry I changed your recipe. But— maybe you might want to give it a try too— but if you are making the “original” measurements of the recipe— just use 1/8 of a teaspoon. The 20 minute chill time made it PERFECT for spreading! Now— I’ve only tried the icing for now— the cake will be cut tomorrow— but I will say if the finished cake is as good as the batter— I know it will be great! My cake rose high —and stayed high when it came out of the pan— also perfectly. I will be posting a picture to Facebook after it’s done! I’m exciting to take this to my son’s house tomorrow. They love “anything pistachio”!5 stars

  3. Elizabeth says

    I doubled the frosting recipe and followed the recipe exactly, but mine also broke and I was very disappointed.
    I added about 2 more cups of sugar to get a soupy mess I could at least use, but I threw the recipe away. No time to get more gradients for Mother’s Day for my family. Disappointed.
    Definitely not what I would call a buttercream.

  4. Beverly Mendoza says

    Can you add the pudding mix to canned frosting? Would it be gritty & overly sweet?

  5. Diana Frausto says


    Thank you. For four years now, I have celebrated my son’s birthday with your cake. I love it, he loves it, everyone, from the first bite, loves it. Know that you are now a part of our family traditions. As he grows up, he will associate his birthday with pistachio pudding cake lovingly made by his mama. That just fills my heart with joy.

    Mil gracias (a thousand thank yous)5 stars

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Awww Diana that made me all teary eyed this morning. I’m so glad that the cake has become a family tradition! ❤️ Thank you for letting me know!5 stars

  6. Matt says

    Amazing. Just follow the recipe and perfection. I never have success with bundt pans coming clean out. I used butter all over and almond flower. Flawless! If you have one, a magic bullet mixed the milk and pudding mix perfectly in about 5 seconds for beautiful creamy butter cream icing. Thanks for this recipe.

  7. gail mcnairnay says

    Your cake recipe was very good, however, the recipe for the icing was not good. Didn’t taste like any buttercream icing I make, too thin, to sweet and not buttery like it should be. I made the cake in a spring form pan and it turned out perfect. Took a long time to bake.

  8. Darlene says

    The cake came out great!!
    The icing was too liquid not like buttercream at all, I’ll try a different one next time.

  9. Brett says

    I made this frosting but, unfortunately, the buttercream broke. In other words, the fats separated from the liquids and I was left with a frosting that resembled curdled milk (quite fitting that it was even slightly green thanks to the pudding). It was off-putting enough that I lost my appetite for the cake I was baking–I didn’t think that was possible!

    Having only tried this once, I’m not comfortable blaming the recipe, so I won’t be leaving a starred rating one way or the other. It’s possible temperatures were off on my part– perhaps my milk was too cold, or perhaps my kitchen was too hot. I’d safeguard against either if you decide to try this: bring your milk to room temp and keep the kitchen cool. I won’t be making this recipe again, but wishing luck to all who do!

  10. Karen L says

    I am wondering if I can use salted butter in the cake and omit the teaspoon of salt the recipe calls for?

  11. Kari says

    Perfect icing… Also, I used a whole box of pudding mix for the icing, added some icing sugar and a bit of veggie shortening for macaron filling for anyone who is curious.5 stars

    • Angel says

      Right on, I’ve been looking for a pistachio filling for my Macrons! Thank you for the tip..gonna give it a go!

  12. Angela says

    I just bakgot d this gorgeous cake and it came out perfectly!
    However, I won’t be able to frost the cake for 24 hrs….so I have to questions:
    Can I make the frosting and frost the cake tomorrow before the party or…..
    Can I make the frosting right now, refrigerate it until tomorrow and frost it then? (Once it’s come to room temp, right?)

  13. Dominick Auci says

    This was a truly amazing cake…truly delicious and visually striking. I made a simpler icing, which really gives me a ton of ideas.. I just mixed a box of Jello Brand Pistachio pudding with 8 oz of Cool Whip. Simple.. and delicious.

    Thanks for this Karlynn!5 stars

  14. Katie says

    It took me forever to find this but I’m sure glad I kept looking. The best frosting recipe I have ever made by far. Thank you so much

    • Katie says

      I forgot to show my star rating but I give you all the stars you can get ?

    • Kimberly says

      I love this recipe. I tweaked it a little bit by adding pistachio crumbs and a pinch vanilla. But either way it was to die for. Thanks again!

  15. Debra says

    This all sounds good but I am looking for a cake from scratch and with homemade pudding mix. I don’t like the artificial flavor in packaged pudding. Anyone have a recipe where the “whole cake is from scratch”. ??

  16. Gramma Kaye says

    HI Karlynn, I’m wondering if this pistachio butter cream is ok for piping. Nothing delicate, just some big swirls with a medium or large star tip (shamrocks for St Pat’s day). Thanks in advance.

  17. Jen says

    Hey! Could I use this as a filling for macarons? Or would the moisture content be too high?

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      You’d have to make it slightly drier but I would guess it would work!5 stars

  18. boldtruth11 says

    The buttercream got pretty gluey. Wish they didnt make commercially prepared products so salty (e.g., pudding). i used unsalted butter and it was still too salty thanks to the pudding.

  19. BrittShea says

    I really had to play with this buttercream to get it to work. I’m a very experienced baker and I was testing it to potentially use on a pistachio wedding cake, which definitely calls for a good smooth buttercream. I doubled the recipe and I’m doing so, the buttercream broke. So after sitting it in an ice bath in the fridge for about an hour, I still just couldn’t get anything but a soupy mess. It ended up taking about 4 times the recommended sugar to get this to a true buttercream consistency that you can actually frost a wedding cake with. It’s got a great flavor, but it definitely requires some playing with if you’re doubling the recipe.

  20. V says

    Is there any coming back from the icing becoming gritty?

  21. newrboyn says

    I was a bit short on powdered sugar so I just put the whole box of pudding mix in the frosting.  It came out super yummy and people commented on how much pistachio flavor they had…..then again, I rolled the tops in crushed pistachios, too.

    • AngeliQue says

      Please share your exact recipe. I can’t wait to try it this way.

  22. muscle3332007 says

    I love this cake recipe! I reduced the butter to 1 stick (8 T). I omitted the oil and salt. I used 2 tsp baking powder. It came out superb in muffin tins!!! I like my cupcakes small and find they are less likely to sink if I use smaller amounts of batter like muffin pans instead of cupcake pans.

    I used traditional butter cream icing but will try the pistachio icing next time. 

    Thankyou for this recipe as the internet is full of Watergate cake recipes that use boxed cake mixes but few for scratch recipes.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      muscle3332007 Yes, I really wanted a from scratch cake!

    • Katie says

      You have me lost , it calls for 1 stick of butter also there is no oil or salt. I think your on the wrong recipe. This is just for frosting

  23. Jackie says


    Did you have to buy another box of pistachio pudding mix or did you save 3 tablespoons of the mix from the cake recipe.

    • muscle3332007 says

      @Jackie You need 2 boxes because 3 tablespoons is like half the box of pudding mix. 

  24. Danielle says

    Does the icing have to

    Come to room temp before icing a cake?

  25. roadkil57 says

    My cake came out high and then sank like a rock. The frosting was not a hit. Liked taste of the cake before it sank ( I snuck a piece of the overhanging part) Frosting was not a hit at all!.

  26. Lauran says

    Does this need to be refrigerated? I would love to make it, but the cottage I’m taking it to doesn’t have fridge space

    • newrboyn says

      @Lauran  My guess is it would be fine unrefrigerated for a couple of days as long as it is fairly well sealed in a container.

  27. PattiCake says

    Everything about this cake and the buttercream icing is outstanding. It’s just awesome!!!!

  28. linda prout says

    would have loved to make your pistachio buttercream icing, but we don’t have the mixes you use in America. any ideas for an alternative

4.91 from 41 votes (34 ratings without comment)

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