Pistachio Macarons – Nutty, fancy little French macarons made with freshly chopped pistachios and filled with an homemade pistachio buttercream
Welcome to March everyone!
When thinking of the first recipe that I wanted to feature this month, my mind kept thinking “green.” Without fail, once March comes around, I start thinking about green recipes. I must subconsciously associate march with St. Patrick’s Day. Do you do that too?
I didn’t really want to do anything minty because, frankly, I haven’t been inspired to do anything minty since this killer mint cookie ice cream. How could I possibly top that?! So I went to my next favorite green treat – pistachios!
I’ve been asked to make pistachio macarons ever since I posted about these nutella macarons. But I just kept putting it off because I was intimidated about making pistachio flour for the macaron shells and had no idea what kind of filling I would fill them with.
Well, I finally bit the bullet and tested out some recipes and found the PERFECT recipe for pistachio macarons. I swear…I think this is my best macaron yet!
How to make macarons
Macarons can seem intimidating, especially if you’re not an avid baker. But if you do your research and properly prepare yourself, you have nothing to worry about!
Lucky for you, I’ve done the research for you. Years ago, I failed my first macaron attempt so I decided to take a course on macarons so I could learn the technique first-hand. I detailed my experience and everything I learned in this post for nutella macarons. I highly recommend reading that post to get everything you need to know about making macarons.
What makes pistachio macarons unique
In most situations, you can use a basic macaron recipe and make little adjustments to the color and the flavor of filling to make an entirely different flavor of macaron. For example, for my raspberry macaron hearts, I used my basic recipe, added pink food coloring, made them in the shape of hearts, and used raspberry jam as the filling instead of buttercream.
However, pistachio macarons are slightly different because pistachio flour is used in the macaron shell, along with the traditional almond flour. To make the pistachio flour, you simply grind the pistachios in a food processor with the almond flour and powdered sugar. That’s it!
As for the filling, I was under the impression that pistachio paste was necessary. I’d seen pistachio paste in fancy gourmet food shops and specialty stores and even some recipes for pistachio macarons and pistachio gelato had pistachio paste listed as a ingredient.
But in my research I realized that pistachio paste is not necessary. I found this incredible pistachio buttercream recipe that just uses crushed pistachios, powdered sugar, butter, cream, and a hint of almond extract for a little punch. And the resulting buttercream is INCREDIBLE. I think it’s my favorite part of these macarons. It’s not too rich but man, is it flavorful!
Tips and tricks
In addition to the tips I mention is my Nutella Macarons post, I have a few more that I learned while making macarons since then and especially for these pistachio macarons:
- It is super important to age your egg whites before you make the meringue. This means that you let the egg whites sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours. This will help the meringue get to the consistency you need. I’ve skipped this step once and the result was super wet macarons that cracked on top. I’ve never skip it again!
- I used very very little food coloring in the macaron shells. I took the end of spoon handle and scraped out very little yellow gel food coloring and half as much green gel food coloring and it gave me this beautiful pistachio color. On my first attempt, I used 1/4 teaspoon and it was wayyyy too much color. The shells looked electric green!
- I’ve made the mistake of buying pistachios still in their shell because I thought “Hey, I can shell these myself. Why would I pay extra for shelled pistachios?” Oh did I learn my lesson! The tips of my fingers were raw after shelling almost 2 cups of pistachios. I will never do that again. So please, do yourself a favor and buy pistachios that are already shelled.
- I highly recommend weighing all your ingredients. Macarons are a finicky cookies so if you don’t have the correct measurements, it could really affect the cookies.
For the pistachio macarons:
- 3.5 ounces powdered sugar
- 0.4 ounces pistachios shelled
- 2 ounces almond flour
- 2 ounces egg whites (about 2 large egg whites), room temperature
- 1 3/4 ounces granulated sugar
- 1 pinch cream of tartar (less than 1/8 teaspoon)
- 1 pinch yellow gel food coloring
- 1/2 pinch green gel food coloring
- pistachio buttercream (recipe below)
For the pistachio buttercream:
- 1.6 ounces pistachios
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup butter unsalted, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
For the macarons:
- Prepare one baking sheet by placing two macaron templates on the sheet. You can print the templates here. Place parchment paper or silicone mats over the templates. Set baking sheet aside.
- Place oven rack in the lower half of the oven, but not all the way to the bottom. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Add powdered sugar, pistachios, and almond flour to the bowl of a food processor. Process the ingredients for about 30 seconds so that the mixture is super fine. Sieve the flour and sugar mixture three times and discard leftover bits of pistachios. Set mixture aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar and begin to beat on medium-high until it begins to foam. Once it starts to get foamy, begin to slowly sprinkle the granulated sugar into the egg whites until it's all been incorporated. Increase the speed to high to whip the meringue into stiff peaks. The meringue should have the consistency of shaving cream, NOT soft serve. Add food coloring and mix to combine. If you want a deeper color, add a little bit more coloring. But a little goes a long way.
- Once the meringue is done, add one-third of the sifted flour mixture to the meringue and fold with a spatula. Do this step very carefully and slowly, cutting the mixture down the middle and swooping around. Once it's incorporated, add a second-third and gently fold in. Then, add the final third. Mix just until it's incorporated. Do not over mix. The consistency should be like slow-moving lava. To check for consistency, the batter should flow from your spatula like thick lava and hold a ribbon for a couple seconds. If it falls into clumps and doesn't fall slowly, it is not mixed enough. Keep mixing slowly so that the batter deflates a bit and the proper consistency is reached.
- Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a smooth, round 1/2 inch tip. Holding the bag in two hands directly over the parchment, pipe a small amount of batter into the first circle stencil. Stop pipping right as the batter reaches the edge of the circle. The batter will spread so don't add too much. Move on to the other circles until all the batter is gone. When you get to the end of the batter, a lot of it will stick to the bag. To push it down, use the edge of a bench scrapper.
- After you've pipped all the circles, smack the baking sheets on the counter a couple times to release air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop all the air bubbles. If you don't do this step, the air bubbles will release steam while baking and crack the shells.
- Let them sit to dry out until the tops are smooth to the touch, about 30 minutes. They are done when you rub your finger over the top and your finger doesn't stick.
- Bake macarons in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes. Make sure to rotate the sheet halfway through, for even baking. Remove from oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring parchment sheet to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- While the macarons shells cool, make the pistachio buttercream. (see recipe below)
- Lay half of the macarons flat side up on a baking sheet. Cut a little corner off the bag with the buttercream and pipe a small circle of buttercream in the center of one shell. Top with the other shell and gently press just enough to push the filling out to the edges. Do this for all the macaron shells until done.
- Once filled, macarons can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days. Or you can freeze for up to five months.
For the pistachio buttercream:
- Add powdered sugar and pistachios to food processor. Process for 30 seconds so that the mixture is fine.
- In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar mixture, heavy cream, and almond extract and beat until well combined. Turn mixture to medium high and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Scrape buttercream into a plastic storage bag without a piping tip. Cut off a small corner off the bag and begin macaron assembly above.
Pin for later:
More recipes you’ll love:
Pistachio Cream Doughnuts
Raspberry Heart Macarons
Thanks for sharing! Do they keep long?
Not more than a few days (3 max)
This looks so good! What a fun and unique flavor for a macaron!
Kristen Wood says
These were so very tasty! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Made it in dinner everyone like it .
It supper easy and easy to made it .
Thank you so much
Nicoletta De Angelis Nardelli says
Pistachio must be my most favorite green “thing”! Love these macarons so much! Also, thanks for all the tips, very much appreciated.
I loved reading your tips for this recipe! I love that you got the PERFECT color on the first try! That never happens to me! haha!! These look so amazing!
Moop Brown says
I’ve always loved eating macaroons but appreciate how this recipe gives me the opportunity to try and make them on my own. Thanks for sharing!
Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer says
Sharon these are GORGEOUS!!! I love pistachios and have never thought to incorporate them in macarons! Yours look amazing and now I’m totally craving some! I cannot wait to make these!
Pistachio macarons are my favorite! We often buy them from a local French bakery, but I think it’s time for me to learn how to bake them myself!
Perfect Macrons and awesome flavor. Pistachio sounds unique and delicious and nutty too.
These look amazing! Can’t wait to try making them.
This is so good!! My kids couldn’t really stop eating these delicious treats!
Neli Howard says
Oh Sharon – these are gorgeous! My daughter has been asking me to make pistachio macaroons for the longest times so I cannot wait to try this!
Julie Menghini says
What a fantastic flavor for a macaron. They look and sound absolutely divine.
The last two times I tried to make macarons I failed miserably! Maybe third times a charm?! Saving this recipe!
Jessica Formicola says
Oh I love macarons but I’ve never tried making them at home! Your recipe is so easy to follow and I can’t wait to try them!
I love your easy recipe! I’ve never made macaroons before and your recipe looks so delicious (and easy) I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing, I love all of your macaroons!
Girl, you know the way to my heart! I love pistachio everything and these are no exception!
I love divine intervention! I was JUST talking with a friend about trying my hand at macarons (again) now that I’ve upgraded to my KitchenAid mixer, and then I see this! The first time I tried was well over 10 years ago and I didn’t fully understand the concept of whipping to a foam-like consistency… Whoops! I can’t wait to give these beauts a try!
Deborah Brooks says
my hubs love pistachios! I am going to make these for him!
Helen Little says
Oh wow, I drooled a little when I saw these! Would make a perfect gift!
Farrukh Aziz says
My kids loved these so much! The macarons were really good, and definitely my favorite flavor! I need to make this again, to fulfill my cravings!
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
I love everything about these treats! Thank you for all the tips! I’m promising myself that I WILL make these, especially since I’ve never made macrons before!
Adriana Lopez says
I have not dared to make macaroons but now I need to make your recipe as these pistachio bites look incredible.
Making macarons is something that I always avoid; however, you show us how easy to bake these little gems. Now I can’t wait to try this recipe.
Patricia Villalobos says
My family loved them ❤
When you age the egg whites on the counter, do you cover it with Saran Wrap or uncovered? Thanks!
I cover it to prevent loose particles from touching them. Good question!
Hi! These look amazing. I was going to give it a try this weekend. I have pistachio flour for the shells, how much should I use?
I made macarons for the first time and used this recipe and they came out amazing!!! Thank you so much for this recipe
Hi!! I have to comment because they look delectable and I want to try but I cannot for the life of me find unsalted, roasted pistachios. What do you suggest?? should salted work fine or should I buy them unshelled? xx
Yeah I think that’s your best bet!
Not sure where you live but I did find them at Trader Joe’s ( Southern California).
Patricia Villalobos says
Hi, I used slightly salted and they came out real good
Chef Markus Mueller says
I love making macarons! They are literally, a blank slate for any combination of flavors you can dream up! Sticking to the basics though and flavoring them with nuts is my favorite though. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ll need to try and make these this week!
Kylie | Midwest Foodie says
Pistachios AND macarons together?!?!? This might be my most favorite recipe! Can’t wait to make this for my family!!
These are SO perfect! Macarons are my achilles heel. The feet on these macarons are to die for, I can’t wait to try your recipe!
These are such a perfect color! I rarely bake with pistachios because I find shelling them to be annoying, but this looks 100% worth the effort. And the pistachio buttercream you filled them with is just perfect!
Kelly Anthony says
A friend of mine just brought a box of macaroons to a party recently and I can only imagine how much better they are made from scratch! Especially with the best nut ever! Ha! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
Jenni LeBaron says
First, the color on these is out of this world gorgeous! I also love that the insides look perfectly creamy. I can’t wait to make these pistachio macarons!
These macarons are so good!! Love pistachio anything!!!
Nicoletta De Angelis Nardelli says
Beautiful pictures and color for these lovely macarons! I took a course on making macarons although not fond of making them or eating them. Yours look perfect!
Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen says
These macarons look just perfect!! I love pistachio in baked goods, so look forward to making and eating these!
Such a creative twist on macarons! Pistachio lovers will def appreciate this treat and I love the bright color! These look perfect 🙂
What exactly is a macaron?I always think merenge’s.
Chef and Steward says
I LOVE pistachios and this is just such a great use of it! Really great tips especially about aging the eggs for meringue!
these macarons look so exquisite! The colour is just fantastic, and that filling looks so heavenly! If I wouldn’t know any better, I would think they came out of some fancy french patisserie!
Oh my goodness these look soooo yummy!
These are definitely a unique macaron! I love it!!! I’m sure they taste AMAZING!!
These look amazing! I have never made these, but your recipe looks like something I could attempt. This may be a date night for Hubs and I to do!
Uhm this is something I’d love to make, but I need to find a good vegan option because your recipe (looks great) is not vegan. Great pics x
I love pistachio anything! These macarons look amazing!
I love the flavor of pistachios, and if ever there was a delicious green dessert — it’s this! These are both pretty and delicious. Win-win!
Haley D Williams says
Gotta get these on my baking list! Love the color and the flavors! Can’t wait to try them!
Tayler Ross says
I made these yesterday and they turned out perfectly! Definitely making them again for St. Patrick’s Day!
I’m a huge fan of macarons but I’ve never had the courage to try to make them. I bet pistachio is so yummy!
My favourite dessert in my favourite flavour… I want to make it