Pistachio cupcakes recipe

(727 ratings)

Our pistachio cupcakes are easy to make and only take 20 minutes in the oven.

pistachio cupcakes
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories390 Kcal20%
Sugars31.1 g35%
Saturated Fat11.3 g57%
Protein5.4 g11%
Fat21.7 g31%
Carbohydrates42.8 g16%

These pistachio cupcakes are ready in under 40 minutes and can be enjoyed with or without the buttercream decoration. 

If you’re looking for an elegant and sophisticated cupcake recipe, you’ve come to the right place. Rose and pistachio is a classic, chic flavour combination and it works brilliantly in cupcakes. You can colour the buttercream if you like but an extra scattering of chopped pistachios is a simple and effective way to inject some colour to the decoration. 


  • 120g butter, softened
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 50g roasted pistachios, roughly chopped

For the buttercream:

  • 120g butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 50g roasted pistachios, roughly chopped




  • Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases.
  • In a separate large, clean bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the rosewater.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together in a large, clean bowl and set aside.
  • Fold in half the sifted flour, then the milk, then the rest of the flour, gently folding well to combine after each addition.
  • Fold in the chopped pistachio nuts then divide the cake mixture between the cases.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and put on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the buttercream, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Gradually add and stir in the sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the rosewater and milk.
  • Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes or spread on using a spoon or palette knife. Garnish the cupcakes with the remaining pistachios.

Top tips for making pistachio cupcakes

For the most intense flavour it’s best to use roasted pistachios. You can do this yourself by add the whole nuts to a baking tray and cooking for 10-15 minutes at 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Shake the tray occasionally and once fragrant and lightly golden leave to cool.

You can do this in bulk so you always have some roasted pistachio nuts to hand. For more useful tricks and tips, continue reading below. 

Can you freeze pistachio cupcakes?

Yes, the un-iced pistachio cupcakes can be frozen once cooked and cooled completely. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and defrost fully before icing. 

How to make pistachio cupcakes with pistachio paste?

For an extra flavour boost we recommend swirling a tablespoon or two of pistachio paste into the buttercream. It will give an intense flavour and adds another layer of decadence to what is ordinarily a very simple cupcake. 

What flavours go well with pistachio?

If you don’t like the flavour of rose you could add a couple of raspberries to the cake batter instead. When you fill the paper cases simply press a raspberry or two into the mixture and cover with more cake batter. It will give the sponge a delicate fruity flavour and provide a pop of colour too. 

This recipe requires a couple of mixing bowls. Consider investing in this 29cm bowl from Mason Cash and one of the smaller sizes which can stack inside too.

Mason Cash Mixing Bowl - View at M&S

Mason Cash Mixing Bowl - View at M&S

The large 29cm bowl is a great size for cooking and baking. The cream colour is nice and neutral which means it can seamlessly fit into most kitchen colour schemes. The bowl is made from chip-resistant earthenware so you can stack it in cupboards and into the dishwasher without worrying. You can also use the bowl in your microwave. There are smaller sizes available which can stack inside if you’d like a set of new bowls. 

For a more traditional flavour, try our vanilla cupcake recipe. You could also bake this recipe as mini cupcakes or for something bright and colour, make a batch of rainbow cupcakes. 

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.