By Special Request

It was an innocent enough question- A simple query, with no ulterior motives. Muffins, pistachio muffins, to be precise, were the object of one good friend’s desires, and no recipe could be found. Might I possibly have one, hidden away some place by chance? Despite the volumes of unshared recipes and ideas stashed away in various notebooks and files buried deep within my hard drive, I hadn’t yet thought to make such a breakfast cake… And yet all of a sudden, it felt imperative that I did.

After all, pistachios are one of my all-time favorite nuts, and they get so little attention, it’s just pitiful. So much praise and love is lavished on almonds, cashews, and the like, but this darling green gem is all but forgotten in the corner of the bulk bin. Though it would be impossible to accommodate all baking requests, this one quickly became much less of a favor for a friend, but a treat for myself!

Adopting the project in a blink of the eye, I set about plotting how I could make mine better than the average, neon-green and highly artificial bakery-style pistachio muffins. Instead of abandoning the traditional albeit exaggerated coloring altogether, it seemed a fun challenge to preserve it in a more natural fashion.

Matcha, my beloved green tea powder, fit the bill perfectly. Contributing both a vibrant hue and delicate flavor, this is a mix far more complex than the typical plain old nut muffin. Richly flavored with both ground and whole pistachios, those green kernels definitely steal the show, but leave enough room for a delicious cameo by the subtle sweetness of maple syrup, the bitterness of the green tea, and the gentle acidity of the lemon, creating one well-balanced baked good.

Yield: Makes 6 Large Muffins

Pistachio Matcha Muffins

Pistachio Matcha Muffins

Richly flavored with both ground and whole pistachios, those nuts are the clear headliners, but leave enough room for a delicious cameo by the subtle sweetness of maple syrup, the bitterness of the green tea, and the gentle acidity of the lemon, creating one well-balanced baked good.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 Cup Shelled, Toasted Pistachios, Divided
  • 1 1/2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour, Divided
  • 2 Teaspoons Matcha Powder*
  • 1 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest (Optional)
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat your the oven to 400 degrees, and either lightly grease or line 6 standard muffin tins with paper wrappers. Set aside.
  2. Pull out your food processor or blender and place half of the pistachios, along with 1/2 cup of the flour and all of the matcha in the bowl. Pulse the mixture until you achieve a coarse but even meal. Transfer the dry goods into a large mixing bowl.
  3. To that, add the remaining flour and whole pistachios, plus the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Stir to evenly distribute all of the ingredients.
  4. Separately, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, apple sauce, and vanilla before pouring these wet ingredients into the bowl of dry. Use a wide spatula to bring the batter together, stirring as little as possible to make sure you don’t overwork it and end up with tough muffins; A few errant lumps are just fine.
  5. Mound the batter up nice and high into your prepared muffin tins (I used a large cookie scoop – About 3 – 4 tablespoons – and placed two full scoops inside each indentation.) Slide your muffins into the oven, and immediately reduce the heat to 375 degrees.
  6. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack.


*To make a purely pistachio muffin that’s still green, substitute 1 tablespoon of spinach powder for the matcha. Otherwise, you can omit it entirely.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 367mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 18gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.


52 thoughts on “By Special Request

  1. That’s a great photo…looks just delicious. I have Matcha tea which I love but, dang it, it’s back home in Minnesota. I won’t be home for another month. I might just try this without it, first.

  2. Mmm… these look tasty! I am a huge fan of pistachios. In fact, when my boyfriend makes apple crumble (he’s the cook maker in our relationship), he uses pistachios instead of whatever other kind of nut the recipe calls for, and it’s frickin’ amazing. I think they should be featured in more recipes, for sure!

  3. Yum! I’ve been looking for a new muffin recipe, as I’m getting tired of my old standbys. This looks like it would be extra healthy with the green tea powder. Can’t wait to try it!

  4. Interesting, they look very tasty!

    Strangely enough I ended up gatecrashing a conversation with the brilliant Shuna fish lydon, and bea of bloomsbury, who were discussing how Nigella Lawson had dissed bea’s pistachio cupcakes, assuming they werent real pistachios. Apparently the majority of ‘pistachio’ in baked goods is actually almonds with a pistachio flavor, since it is very hard to impart enough pistachio flavor that these lower fat nuts have, it is cheaper just to use fake.

  5. super creative combination- I could never think up something like that! and your pictures are beautiful- love how the purple background contrasts the greenish color of the muffin- looks very yummy!

  6. i just made a lemon and green tea marbled pound cake with blueberries (i couldn’t help myself.) So i guess this is on the list of what to make next. I’ve got matcha and i’ve got pistachios, hmmmmm…

  7. I think these may have to go on my to do list this week. My mom likes pistachios and sweets so I will not have to eat them all by myself. :)

  8. This is one dessert I am bookmarking that I am going to try. I called the supermarket today for them to bring in this powder but failing that I will try the health food store. I had matcha cream in Paris a few months ago and I fell in love with this flavour.

  9. OMG. Do you have any leftovers? SEriously. I’m not kidding. I would PAY for these. Holy shikes!
    I LOVE pistachio, and that touch of matcha powder? Pure genius. Oh gosh, you are just so fantastic!!!

  10. Oh My Goodness! This is the most beautiful muffin I’ve ever seen! I love pitachios too and I can’t wait to try this recipe, it sounds so yummy:)

  11. I think you have just created heaven in muffin form. Seriously, these look like the tastiest things ever! I love pistachios SO much, packaging them in a soft, slightly sweet muffin can only make a good thing better.

    Hannah, your pictures are stunning, that rich purple is the perfect background color.

    Oh! I got the tofu press! I’m so excited to try it, thank you again so much.

  12. mmm I love pistachio muffins! Last time I tried to make them I realized too late I was almost out of nuts haha. I need to make them again soon though, so good!

  13. Hehe, I once tried to make pistachio muffins and they didn’t turn out very good. I know yours won’t disappoint, so I’m adding this recipe to my “to-bake” list! :)

  14. Pistachios are actually quite popular here, or maybe just in our house… lol… I actually don’t really know but they are easily available almost everywhere. These muffins look delicious!

  15. Your photos are just so beautiful! And your muffins look amazing – not too cakey, not to dense – they look just perfect. I love pistachios and have never thought to have them star in a muffin. I’ll have to give these a shot!

  16. How intriguing. You’re definitely right about pistachios being overlooked. My boyfriend is a huge fan and this might make a pleasant surprise!

  17. I didn’t know spinach powder existed! How interesting. Anyway these muffins look truly awesome. Pistachios are the nuts I used to like when I didn’t like nuts, and anything with matcha is irresistible to me.

    1. When a recipe calls for “shelled” pistachios, it means that the pistachios should have the shells removed before being measured. Thus, you’ll need 1 cup of nutmeats for this recipe- Nutmeat just doesn’t sound as nice, now does it?

      1. Thank you! I can’t wait to make this now. And yes nutmeat sounds disturbing almost…..

      2. thank you! and last question i really want to make these perfect when it calls for toasted nuts does that literally mean i have to toast it in the oven? and if so for how long?

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