Pistachio Delight dessert was a childhood favorite in our house and it’s the one no-bake dessert that my friends will request that I bring to parties. Our family’s version is made with a pistachio pudding, unlike other Pistachio Delight recipes which are also known as a Watergate salad.
It’s a pistachio dessert with a Ritz cracker crust. It’s so simple, no-bake and so very good. I still get texts from old friends asking me for my mom’s recipe. Just like my chili and chicken soup, this dessert is super nostalgic for me. It’s spring in a 9×13 pan. It’s a great treat to bring for an Easter or Mother’s Day brunch, a festive St. Patty’s Day dinner, or just a summer BBQ.
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Pistachio Delight – No-Bake Dessert Tips
This dessert is really easy to put together but does take some planning. You need to give the ice cream a little time to partially thaw. The pistachio pudding mixture should set for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, and if you are using Cool Whip for the topping, it needs time to defrost.
Since we don’t have air conditioning in our house, I’m always appreciative of no-bake desserts during the hot months – which for us lately has been almost all year round. This dessert is something that both of the kids can help with, Little Nugget loves to smash the Ritz crackers and Big Nugget can whisk the green pistachio pudding together.
The (not so) secret ingredient to this dessert is the partially melted vanilla ice cream. I usually buy the rectangular quarts of ice cream so it’s easier to split it in half.
If you don’t have ice cream, you can leave it out and just use the full amount of milk needed and make sure you keep it refrigerated overnight though to get it nice and firm.
Updated Whipped Cream Recipe
We have always used Cool Whip for the topping on this dessert but recently, I’ve been making my own whipped cream for the top. It’s SO easy to make and I can control the ingredients. I’ve added my whipped cream recipe below but here’s a quick rundown on how to do it.
- Place your bowl and your whisk attachment in the freezer for at least a half-hour.
- Make sure all of your ingredients are cold when you start.
- Whip the 2 cups of cream with the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons of flavor (I use vanilla but you can experiment with any extract or flavored water).
- Don’t over whip! It doesn’t take long to get soft peaks so keep an eye on it, mine usually takes about 4 minutes on high with my KitchenAid stand mixer.
My nieces are allergic to nuts so we just swap out the pistachio pudding for a nut-free flavor (vanilla or strawberry are favorites) and it’s just as good. There is no reason you have to sacrifice flavor just because of a food allergy.
No bake pistachio dessert.
- 2-3 tbsp butter, melted
- 1.5 sleeve Ritz crackers, smashed into crumbs
- 2 packages pistachio pudding
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
- 1 container Cool Whip or use homemade whipped cream, recipe below
- 2 cups Heavy whipping cream cold
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Line a 9x13 pan with Ritz crumbs and drizzle with melted butter. Make sure all the crumbs are coated and press down into the bottom of the pan to make your crust.
Whisk milk and pudding until just set and then fold in softened ice cream. Spread evenly over the top of the cracker crumbs - careful not to lift the crumbs into the pudding mixture.
Cover pan with cling wrap and let set in the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight). Top with Cool Whip or whipped cream and serve immediately or refrigerate.
Place your mixing bowl and whisk attachments in the freezer for at least 3 minutes
Combine all the ingredients in the cold bowl and whip on high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.