The Best Tool To Crack Open A Pistachio Is A Second Pistachio

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Whether you're enjoying them as a delicious savory snack or adding them to one of your favorite recipes like Watergate cake or pistachio-amaretto Jell-O shots, pistachios can prove quite tricky to open. According to a 2022 publication in the journal Plants, these tiny little nuts are full of nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They can positively affect your health, that is if you're not cursing them out while you grab a frying pan to try to smash the shell open. 


You may have bent back a nail trying to open pistachios in the past or even thrown away pistachios with stubborn shells, not wanting to waste time trying to pry them open. As it turns out, there is actually a foolproof and genius way to open pistachios that won't sacrifice a fingernail or cost you any money in the way of a fancy tool. You can easily crack open one pistachio with the shell of another pistachio.

How to open pistachios with a shell

Of course, before you can open a pistachio with the shell of another pistachio, you have to get at least one of them open, which shouldn't be a problem. When pistachios are mature and ready to eat, the shell will pop open partially, making it easy to slip a finger in and pop the shell off. Sometimes, when the nut isn't quite mature yet, however, the shell will only pop open slightly, and it will be very difficult to remove. Inevitably, some of these not-quite-mature nuts get harvested and end up in your bag of pistachios. The nuts without fully opened shells might not taste quite as flavorful, but they are still safe to eat, so you don't need to waste all of those pistachios that are tricky to open.


If you're able to pry just one pistachio open, you have the ideal tool to open the rest. Take a spare shell and push it into the small opening in your stubborn pistachio. Once it's wedged in there, twist the shell firmly and quickly, and the closed shell should pop right open.

Other ways to crack open pistachios

Using the shell of another nut isn't the only way to open pistachios, and you might find that you like one of the more traditional ways better. A handy pistachio nut opener is a good tool to have in your kitchen, especially if you eat them a lot. This one works by putting the hook into a crack and applying pressure. Other nut openers like this one work by applying pressure all the way around the shell to crack it open. 


When you find a pistachio nut that isn't cracked open at all, you might have to resort to the tried and true frying pan method. Place a clean dish towel over the pistachio and smash it with something heavy like a frying pan or rolling pin. And of course, if you don't have any other tools at your disposal, you can always pick up an empty pistachio shell.