Emerald Isle Pistachio Cupcakes

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Hands-on time:
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Yield: 12 cupcakes

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Looking to bake something green for St. Patrick's Day? These pistachio-flavored cupcakes rely on instant pudding mix for both color and pistachio flavor. If you're not a fan of pudding mix, check out our traditional recipe for Pistachio Cupcakes.

Emerald Isle Pistachio Cupcakes

star rating (4) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Published: 02/01/2013



  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pistachio flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 1/8-ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix or 1-ounce package sugar-free pudding mix*
  • 2 tablespoons Cake Enhancer, optional; for increased moistness
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pistachios, optional
  • *Use a national brand, for deepest green color.


  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream*
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows (3/4 standard-size bag)
  • 3 1/8-ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix or 1-ounce package sugar-free pudding mix
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon pistachio flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor
  • chopped pistachios, to garnish; optional
  • *For a stiffer icing suitable for piping (rather than spreading), use 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, and omit the milk.


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1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of a standard muffin pan; or line the pan with muffin papers, and grease the papers (for best release).

2) To make the cupcakes: Beat together the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, pistachio flavor, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until thoroughly combined.

3) Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, and Cake Enhancer. Whisk together the yogurt and milk.

4) Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternately beat in the flour and yogurt/milk: 1/3 of the flour, half the yogurt/milk, 1/3 of the flour, the remaining yogurt/milk, and the remaining flour. Beat gently to combine after each addition. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat briefly.

5) Stir in the chopped nuts, if you're using them.

6) Spoon the batter into the wells of the pan.

7) Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 22 minutes, until they appear set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center cupcakes comes out clean.

8) Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and as soon as you can handle them, transfer them to a rack to cool.

9) To make the frosting: Combine the cream, milk, marshmallows, pudding mix, confectioners' sugar, and pistachio flavor in a microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring often, until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth.

10) Remove from the heat, and chill until completely cold. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, whip the frosting until it's smooth and creamy. If you've used all cream, it'll be quite stiff, which makes it perfect for piping.

11) Spread the icing (or pipe the all-cream version) atop the cupcakes. If you pipe it, you probably won't need the optional garnish of chopped nuts; if you spread the icing, chopped nuts help dress the cakes up.

Yield: 12 cupcakes.


  • star rating 04/15/2015
  • Rachael from LA, CA
  • I'm making these a little late, planned to make pistachio cupcakes for St Patty's day. But I was searching high and low for a from scratch pistachio cupcake that used the pudding mix for the flavor. I've never added pudding mix to a from scratch cake before so I wasn't sure how it would effect it if I just used a basic cake recipe and added pudding. I'm glad I found this recipe! I made these cupcakes yesterday. I'm reviewing just the cupcake as I frosted them with my usual vanilla bean buttercream, I doubled the recipe and since I used plain greek yogurt I added 1 tsp vanilla extract to the egg mixture. I didn't use the pistachio flavoring or the cake enhancer, and these came out with the right amount of flavor and moistness. I did add 1/2 cup finely chopped raw pistachio, any more and I feel it would be too many nuts in the batter. My only problem with the recipe is when I used my usual cupcake/ice cream scoop to fill the liners the cupcakes became so large on the top, too large for my liking. For the next half of the batter I filled my cupcake liners less ( 3 tablespoons/cupcake) and they came out the right size for me. So be warned, this recipe really puffs up and unless you want big top cupcakes fill your liners less than usual. I'll probably make these again, the flavor is perfect and I love the moistness!
  • star rating 03/18/2014
  • Donna from NC
  • Made these yesterday. The cupcakes were fantastic. Great texture, very light and moist. Still not sure of the frosting. It was good, but had a texture that we weren't crazy about. I think I will try a buttercream next time.
  • star rating 03/24/2013
  • jtee4short from KAF Community
  • I made these cupcakes for St. Pat's at my cousin's house, although I frosted them with a simple buttercream because I don't like marshmallows. The crowd went wild! My cousin's granddaughter said they were the best cupcake she's ever tasted! I never even got to taste them!
  • star rating 02/15/2013
  • Jim W from Toronto, Ontario
  • Interesting recipe. It's a quibble, but it's worth pointing out that the Kelly green seen on St. Patrick's Day in North America has little to do with the green worn in Ireland. It's darker, not pastel and much more on the blue side: Emerald Green, in fact, just like the fields of Irish clover. How could I get there in this recipe?
    You will need gel colors: leaf green with yellow and baby or sky blue. Use 6 parts green, 3 parts lemon yellow and 1 part blue. If you would like to mute the color at all, you can use a drop of orange. I hope that helps! ~Amy

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