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Pistachio Cake (+Video)

This easy Pistachio Cake recipe starts with a boxed cake mix and it is transformed into a super yummy cake that tastes homemade!

AN EASY PISTACHIO CAKE RECIPE

This particular cake has a very mild pistachio flavor. To me, pistachios have a very light flavor, kinda like almonds. They aren’t a very nutty nut. If ya know what I mean. The raw nut itself almost tastes sweet. I like them raw but I know a lot of folks may prefer them roasted and salted.

slice, easy green pistachio cake on a white plate.

TIPS FOR MAKING PISTACHIO CAKE:

  • The green color makes it perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. The green is optional if you aren’t a fan of food colorings.
  • Natural food colorings can be used.
  • Many pistachios puddings have very tiny chunks of pistachios added to the mix so please skip this recipe all together if there are any nut allergies.
  • Vanilla, white, butter or yellow cake mixes can all be used for this recipe.
  • The pudding must be instant – not cook and serve.
  • This can be made in a bundt pan or as a layer cake.
  • Please note: As with most baked goods, oven times can vary. Many factors play into oven baking. Whether the oven is older or new or if it is a convection oven. Also, it depends on what rack it is baked on and whether you are using a Pyrex, ceramic or metal baking pan. In addition, many ovens are not heating to the exact temperature. I have a brand new oven and when I put in an oven thermometer, it still is 15 degrees off. All of these can affect baking times. So you need to go by doneness not necessarily time. Use the time below as a starting point and go from there. In addition, cake mixes keep changing sizes. They used to be 18 ounces and they just continue to keep dropping in sizes. This recipe still works, but bear in mind, as manufacturers keep adjusting the sizing, it can also affect bake times and this recipe will not be necessarily updated each time to reflect possible change in baking times.
a fork holding up a serving of Pistachio Cake.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • vanilla cake mix
  • instant pistachio pudding
  • large eggs
  • oil
  • milk
  • green food coloring (optional)
  • whipped topping (Cool Whip)
vanilla cake mix, instant pistachio pudding, large eggs, oil, milk, green food coloring, milk, whipped topping (Cool Whip).

HOW TO MAKE PISTACHIO CAKE:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, combine dry cake mix with dry instant pistachio pudding. Mix those together until combined. Then add in eggs, oil and milk. Stir just until combined. This next part is optional but I like to make this cake a bit more green. I add in a few drops of green food coloring. About 6 to 8 drops. It just depends on how green you would like it. Stir until the food coloring is totally incorporated.

green food coloring stirred into cake batter in a glass bowl.

Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

green pistachio cake batter poured into prepared baking dish.

Check around the 25 minute mark. If you insert a toothpick into it, it should come out clean when done. Now, it will look brown when you take it out. Don’t panic. It is green inside and the frosting is gonna cover that top anyway. Allow cake to cool completely before making frosting. To make frosting, put instant pistachio pudding mix into a mixing bowl. Add in 1/2 cup cold milk. Stir until combined.

instant pistachio pudding whisked together with milk in a glass bowl.

Now stir in the thawed whipped topping. Once again, I put in a few drops of green food coloring to really bring out that green color. About 5 drops or so.

whipped topping added to pistachio pudding mixture in bowl.

Spread frosting onto cooled cake. If you didn’t let the cake cool completely, the frosting is just gonna melt into cake. And no one wants that!

finished, Pistachio Cake with slices removed (in baking dish).

Slice and serve. If you like, sprinkle with some crushed pistachios or green sprinkles. This cake needs to be kept refrigerated.

bite taken out of Pistachio Cake.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Originally published: March 2013
Photos updated & republished: February 2020

Easy Pistachio Cake

Pistachio Cake (+Video)

This easy Pistachio Cake recipe starts with a boxed cake mix and it is transformed into a super yummy cake that tastes homemade!
4.92 from 142 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix (or white/yellow cake mix)
  • 3.4 ounce box instant pistachio pudding
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • green food coloring

For the frosting:

  • 3.4 ounce box instant pistachio pudding
  • ½ cup milk
  • 8 ounce tub frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)

Instructions

To make the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • In a medium bowl, combine 1 box vanilla cake mix with 3.4 ounce box instant pistachio pudding. Mix those together until combined.
  • Then add in 3 large eggs, 1 cup oil and 1 cup cold milk. Stir just until combined.
  • Stir in about 6 to 8 drops of green food coloring until fully incorporated.
  • Pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes (see my not below, oven times may vary.) If you insert a toothpick into it, it should come out clean when done.
  • Allow cake to cool completely before making frosting.

To make frosting:

  • Pour 3.4 ounce box instant pistachio pudding into a mixing bowl. Add in 1/2 cup milk. Stir until combined.
  • Stir in 8 ounce tub frozen whipped topping, thawed.
  • Put in a few drops of green food coloring to really bring out that green color. About 5 drops or so.
  • Spread frosting onto cooled cake.
  • Slice and serve. If you like, sprinkle with some crushed pistachios.

Video

Notes

  • Please note: As with most baked goods, oven times can vary. Many factors play into oven baking. Whether the oven is older or new or if it is a convection oven. Gas ovens can heat slightly different than an electric oven. Also, it depends on what rack it is baked on and whether you are using a Pyrex, ceramic or metal baking pan. In addition, many ovens are not heating to the exact temperature. I have a brand new oven and when I put in an oven thermometer, it still is 15 degrees off. All of these can affect baking times. So you need to go by doneness not necessarily time. Use the time above as a starting point and go from there. In addition, cake mixes keep changing sizes. They used to be 18 ounces and they just continue to keep dropping in sizes. This recipe still works, but bear in mind, as manufacturers keep adjusting the sizing, it can also affect bake times and this recipe will not be necessarily updated each time to reflect possible change in baking times.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 344mg | Sugar: 20g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




121 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My mother used to make this for me as a child. It’s so moist and delicious. We like to top it with coconut and cherries! Delicious!

  2. I’m making this a day earlier than I need. Should I keep in refrigerated until it’s ready for the frosting or before eating? I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be served cold?

  3. Hi, can I use buttercream frosting on this cake? I think the Cool Whip would be too runny after a while, is this true?
    Thank you

  4. My mother loves “pastachio” (almond) flavored deserts so I make this for her birthday every year, this April ill make it for the 3rd time and ill try not to mess it up this time. even though I’ve messed up twice she has loved it nonetheless, great recipe.

  5. I have a question I Work at an assisted living facility as a server,I often make desserts as well. My question we use a bulk cake mix that you only ad water to. Occasionally when I don’t have time to bake the desserts from scratch they have me use the cake mix. The problem with this particular cake mix is the cake turns out super crumbly and falls apart easily. Does anyone have any suggestions for me to help it stick together better? I mainly bake from scratch and don’t have a ton of experience with mixes.

    1. Have you tried using 1/2 water 1/2 milk? With the big bulk industrial mixes that helps sometimes. The milk adds more moisture.

  6. 5 stars
    My mom has been making this cake for my sisters birthday ever since i can remember. It is absolutely the best homemade cake i have ever had. Every one loves it and there is rarely any left. If you make extra icing it is good to put on individual slices. And serve it cold. Try it.. it will be a favorite

  7. I remember this cake from when I was a kid. We’re trying it, substituting applesauce for the oil because, in our calculations, the cake and frosting come to 273 calories per serving, without the oil. With the oil would be more like 500 calories per serving, in the interest of full disclosure. Please let me know if I’m wrong, but I did the math.