Icings, Frostings & Sauces/ Recipes

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!!!
Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Frosting

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!

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


5 from 1 vote
Pistachio Buttercream Frosting
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs 21 mins
Decadent pistachio pudding buttercream frosting! This delicious frosting combines my two favorite foods.
Course: icing
Servings: 4 cups
Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp instant pistachio pudding powder
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
  2. 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!
  3. Beat the pudding mixture into the butter completely.
  4. Add in the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, beating in completely.
  5. Chill the icing for approximately 20 minutes, to allow the jello and the butter to set more completely.
  6. Use to ice cakes and cupcakes.
  7. Yield: Approximately 1 1/2 cups of icing. This will frost one standard sized bundt cake perfectly.
Nutrition Facts
Pistachio Buttercream Frosting
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  • Reply
    Gramma Kaye
    February 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    nancy palombo
    September 1, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Do you have to refrigerate this cake?

  • Reply
    August 20, 2017 at 8:08 pm

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

    • Reply
      Karlynn Johnston
      August 22, 2017 at 8:11 am

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

  • Reply
    April 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2016 at 12:04 am

    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.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Is there any coming back from the icing becoming gritty?

  • Reply
    March 26, 2016 at 1:01 am

    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.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      March 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      muscle3332007 Yes, I really wanted a from scratch cake!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm


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

    • Reply
      March 10, 2016 at 11:07 pm

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

  • Reply
    January 20, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Does the icing have to

    Come to room temp before icing a cake?

  • Reply
    October 4, 2015 at 1:47 am

    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!.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    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

    • Reply
      March 26, 2016 at 1:02 am

      @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.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm

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

  • Reply
    linda prout
    May 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    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

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