This Pistachio Cheesecake Recipe features a delicious Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust, with a creamy Pistachio Cheesecake filling, topped with Pistachio Ganache. It has the perfect balance between the nutty flavor and a rich and creamy texture.
For our Pistachio Cheesecake we will use real pistachios, no instant pistachio pudding mix is used in this recipe. The taste of the real pistachios shines through each layer of the recipe, from the crumbly buttery crust, to the smooth velvety filling, the sweet ganache topping, and the crushed pistachios on top of the cake.
How to make Pistachio Cheesecake
I am going to show you step-by-step how to make pistachio cheesecake at home, everyone will love it.
The ingredients you will need are:
- Pistachio nuts (and/or pistachio paste): you can make your own paste or use store-bought pistachio paste, but you will also need the pistachio nuts for the crust and to top the cheesecake.
- Graham crackers
- Granulated sugar
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Almond extract: it’s optional, but really helps bring out the pistachio flavor.
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy cream
- White chocolate
Let’s begin by learning how to make the crust.
Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust
To make the Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust, add the pistachios and graham crackers to the food processor, and process until you obtain a fine powder.
Place the crushed pistachios/graham crackers in a bowl and add sugar, and melted butter. Mix to combine.
Press the crust mixture on the bottom of a cheesecake springform pan. I used a 8-inch deep cheesecake pan. You can also use a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake the crust in the 325ºF for ten minutes. Remove and let it cool down while you finish making the cheesecake batter.
To make the cheesecake batter, you will need pistachio paste, or pistachio butter if you will.
You can use store-bought or make your own. It’s way cheaper to make your own. It will take about 40 minutes of prep time or so, but it’s worth it.
There are a few options when it comes to making the paste. You can buy the pistachios that are already out of the shell, but you won’t be able to skin them in order to make a bright green paste. If you want a bright green paste, you will need to skin the pistachios.
You will need 2 cups of pistachios, shelled. I just get the pistachios in the shell that are roasted and salted. It’s very hard for me to find raw pistachios, so roasted will be fine as long as they are still in the shell.
You can skin the pistachios by blanching them. I have details below in the recipe on how to skin the pistachios, or find instructions with images here as well. Basically dunk the nuts in a pot of boiling water for one minute, drain the nuts and you will be able to easily peel them.
Once the pistachios are skinned, (or just out of the shell in case you decided not to skin them), place them in a food processor with water, and process until you obtain a smooth paste.
Pistachio Cheesecake Batter
To make the Pistachio Cheesecake Batter, first make sure you are using room-temperature ingredients. The cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs should be at room temperature.
Start by beating the cream cheese in a large bowl using a mixer. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. I used a hand mixer to make this recipe. Beat the cream cheese for about 3 minutes until creamy and fluffy.
I prefer using full fat cream cheese for maximum creaminess, also my trusty brand is Philadelphia cream cheese.
Add the pistachio paste, sugar, and sour cream to the bowl. Beat again to combine.
Make sure to scrape the bowl every now and then while making the cheesecake, to avoid lumpy cream cheese in the batter.
Now it’s time to add the almond, and vanilla extract. The almond extract is not really mandatory in case you don’t have it. It really just helps bring out the pistachio flavor.
Actually it’s well known that they put almonds in pistachio pudding mix to help bring out the pistachio flavor.
A little bit of almond extract will go a very long way, you don’t want to overpower the taste, and almond extract can be very potent, so stick to 1/4 teaspoon.
Add the eggs along with the extract. If using a stand mixer, add one egg at a time, mixing on low speed until incorporated before adding the next egg. Since I am using a hand mixer, and my mixer is not very powerful, I can get away with adding all the eggs at once.
You want to avoid over mixing the batter once the eggs get added, otherwise it can make the cheesecake crack.
I always bake my cheesecakes in a water bath.
Make sure to wrap the bottom of the pan with lots of layers of heavy duty foil, and then place the cheesecake pan in a larger roasting pan. I use one of those disposable ones from the store (I actually reuse it many times since only water is going in the pan).
Fill the roasting pan with hot water and bake the cheesecake in the oven for 60 to 70 minutes, until it still jiggles a bit in the center, but looks set around the edges. Check the video on this page to see what it’s supposed to look like.
Once the cheesecake is done baking, turn the oven off, and leave the cake in there for 1 hour. This will also prevent the cheesecake from cracking, because the sudden temperature change can cause it to deflate and break.
Once the cheesecake cools down, place it in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.
To decorate the cheesecake, I chose to top it with a delicious Pistachio Ganache. Not only it is extremely delicious, but also makes for a beautiful decoration.
Making the ganache is super easy and quick. You can make it a couple of hours before you decide to decorate the cheesecake.
To add an extra layer of sweetness and crunch to the cheesecake, chopped pistachios are added into the mix and on top of the cheesecake as a garnish. This adds a satisfying crunch and beautiful green color to the finished product.
Simply mix the pistachio paste with heavy cream and heat it up.
Whisk the mixture before pouring over the white chocolate through a sieve. The sieve will help retain the bits of pistachio nuts in the paste in order to make a smooth ganache. If you don’t care about the ganache being smooth, add it without straining.
Let the ganache thicken for a couple of hours at room temperature. To speed up the process, place it in the fridge and stir every 10 minutes or so, until thick enough to spread.
To decorate the cheesecake, use an offset spatula to spread the ganache on top of the pistachio cheesecake.
Then top the ganache with some pistachio flour (sifted chopped pistachios) to give the top a velvety look. And I also sprinkled some chopped pistachios around the edges.
Pistachio Cheesecake Variations
There are many ways to change up this recipe. One of them is to stick to a graham cracker crust, or do an oreo crust instead for example.
You can also change up the toppings of the cheesecake, by topping it with whipped cream, or fresh fruit, such as raspberries. To top the cheesecake with whipped cream, simply whip heavy cream for a couple of minutes until it has stiff peaks, place it in a piping bag and pipe on top of the cheesecake.
Another fancy option is to swirl some raspberry jam or strawberry sauce with the batter before baking. This not only adds a beautiful pop of color to the dessert but also provides a refreshing tanginess that perfectly balances the nutty sweetness of the pistachios.
Tips when making Pistachio Cheesecake
- Make sure to use room temperature ingredients.
- Use full-fat cream cheese.
- Once the eggs are added to the batter, don’t over mix to avoid cracking.
- Also, to prevent the cheesecake from breaking, leave it in the oven for 1 hour once it’s done baking. The sudden temperature change can make the cheesecake deflate.
- Bake the cheesecake over a water bath.
- To prevent the water from getting into the pan and making the crust soggy, wrap it tightly with lots of layers of heavy duty foil. You can also get a cheesecake sleeve online, which is a silicone piece to wrap the bottom of the cheesecake pan in order to avoid this from happening.
- The cheesecake can be frozen for up to 2 months. Simply place it in the freezer for about 1 hour. Once the outside is frozen, wrap it in plastic tightly, then place in a large bag, or if freezing slices, place them in an air-tight container after being wrapped in plastic.
If you like this recipe, check out these other recipes:
- No-bake Pistachio Pie
- Cannoli Cheesecake
- Lemon Cheesecake
- Biscoff Cheesecake
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake
- Apple Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
- Cranberry Cheesecake
I hope you enjoyed this recipe, let me know if you make it! Tag me on instagram or comment down below.
Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust
- 180 grams graham crackers about 12 full crackers
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts 62.5 grams
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar 37 grams
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter melted (85 grams)
- 2 cup shelled pistachios* 250 grams
- 4 tbsp water or more as needed
Pistachio Cheesecake Batter
- 907 grams cream cheese softened (4 packages of 8 oz.)
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar 250 grams
- 1/2 cup sour cream room temp
- 1 cup pistachio paste
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 120 grams white chocolate scant 3/4 cup chopped chocolate
- 60 ml heavy cream 1/4 cup
- 3 tbsp pistachio paste 45 grams
Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust
- Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF.
- Place the graham crackers and the pistachios in a food processor and process to obtain fine crumbs.
- In a bowl, mix together the graham crackers and pistachio crumbs with sugar and melted butter.
- Press the mixture on the bottom of an 8” or 9” cheesecake pan. If using an 8” pan, it must be deep.
- Bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove it from the oven and let it cool down.
- Start by skinning the pistachios if you want to obtain a green paste. If you don’t care about the paste being bright green, skip this step and move on to step 8.
- Bring a pot with 1 quart of water to a boil.
- Once it starts to boil, add the pistachios to the water. Turn the water off the heat, and let the pistachios soak in the boiling water for 1 minute.
- Drain the pistachios onto a sheet or plate lined with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
- Spread the pistachios on top of the towel, and rub them gently to help peel the skin.
- Then you might have to individually continue to peel the skins off the pistachios. This can take about 20 or 30 minutes.
- Discard the skins.
- Place the pistachios in a food processor or blender.
- Process for a couple of minutes.
- Add one tablespoon of water at a time, processing in between, until you find a smooth consistency. For me, 3 tablespoons did the trick, you might need less, or maybe a bit more.
- Add water just as necessary to obtain a smooth paste.
- Scrape it into a bowl and it’s ready to be used.
- You will need 1 cup of the paste for the cheesecake batter, save the rest for the ganache topping.
Pistachio Cheesecake Batter
- Beat the cream cheese for 3 minutes with a mixer at medium speed, until creamy.
- Add the pistachio paste, granulated sugar, and sour cream to the cream cheese and beat for another 2 minutes at medium speed.
- Scrape the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds.
- Add the almond and vanilla extract, and mix.
- Make sure to scrape the bowl a few times during the mixing process, to avoid the cream cheese from forming lumps in the batter.
- Add the eggs to the batter, mix just until combined. It’s best to add one egg at a time, waiting for one egg to be incorporated before adding the next one.
- Avoid over mixing once the eggs are added, to prevent cracking of the cheesecake.
- Pour the cheesecake in the pan, over the baked and cooled crust. Some cheesecake pans, such as my own, require the sides to be greased before adding the batter in, or the cheesecake sticks, so I always spray the sides of my pan with oil before pouring the cheesecake batter in.
- Wrap the bottom of the pan with a few layers of foil.
- Place the pan in a larger roasting pan, and add hot water to the roasting pan, to form a water bath. This is very important so the cheesecake doesn’t crack.
- Bake the cheesecake in the pre-heated 325ºF oven for 60 to 70 minutes.
- To check if the cheesecake is done baking, give the pan a little wiggle, it should jiggle slightly in the center, but the edges should look set.
- Turn the oven off, and leave the cheesecake in there for 1 hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
- Mix the heavy cream and pistachio paste together.
- Heat up the mixture until 175ºF, or until very hot in the microwave, before it comes to a boil.
- Pour the cream into the white chocolate through a strainer, to retain any bits of pistachio nuts in order to obtain a smooth ganache. Squeeze the mixture well to ensure only the bits of nuts are being retained by the strainer. Mix with a whisk until the chocolate melts entirely.
- Let the ganache cool down at room temperature for about 2-3 hours, or place it in the fridge. If you place it in the fridge it should take about 1 hour to thicken, make sure to give it a stir every 10 minutes or so.
- You can leave the ganache in the fridge for longer or make it ahead, if the ganache gets too hard, let it sit at room temperature until it softens up.
- Spread the thickened ganache on top of the cheesecake. Use an offset spatula to smooth it out.
- I sifted some ground pistachio nuts all over the cheesecake.
- Sprinkle chopped pistachio nuts around the edges of the cheesecake.
- Store the cheesecake in the fridge for up to 5 days, in a sealed container. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
- Place the whole cheesecake, or slices of it in the freezer for 1 hour, or until the cheesecake is frozen solid at least on the outside. Wrap it in plastic wrap, doing a few layers will be better. Then find a large bag if freezing the whole cheesecake, or place the slices in an air-tight container.