Here’s How to Pry Open a Fickle Pistachio

Pistachios can be a tough nut to crack. Follow along to learn how it's done.

Picture yourself happily cruisin’ and crackin’ your way through a big bowl filled with semi-opened pistachios. As you thumb off the shells and munch the nutmeats–yes, that’s the real name–you grab a pistachio sporting a slim gap, or worse, one that is locked up tight. Don’t throw in the towel just yet. We’ve found the best techniques for opening a fickle pistachio.

Option 1: When There’s a Tiny Crack

For pistachios with petite gaps that accommodate neither thumb nor tooth, use a spare shell to pry the nut open. Simply slip the thin end of the single shell into the crack and give it a sharp twist—this should pop open the pistachio shell. Other good pistachio levers include a clean coin, a small computer-size screwdriver, a pocket-knife blade or a scissors’ tip.

Psst! There’s even one specially designed tools for such a task.

Option 2: When the Nut Is Locked Tight

Go nutty on the nuts. Place the fickle nuts on a cutting board. Cover them with a kitchen towel and tap them with a weighty item such as a meat tenderizer, rolling pin or small cast-iron frying pan. Hit them just hard enough to open the shells; you don’t want to mash the nutmeats. You’ll want to save them for this tasty snack.

Taste of Home

Using these pistachio-opening techniques ensures that nary a pistachio goes uneaten. With patience and perseverance, you’ll find there’s not a pistachio nut you can’t crack.