What Are Red Pistachios & Where Can You Get Them?

Remember red pistachios? Up until the 1970s, it was almost impossible to find pistachios that didn’t leave fiery-red powder on your fingers.

So what happened to red pistachios? And where did they come from in the first place? Read on to find out.

Who was the first to make red pistachios?

There are two competing stories that explain why pistachio shells used to be red.

In one version, the crimson hue originated with a pistachio vendor named Zaloom in Brooklyn, New York, around the turn of the 20th century. He decided to dye his nuts to make his products stand out from the competition. According to the tale, Zaloom’s dyeing process quickly took hold and became the standard for pistachios in the United States.

What makes the pistachios red?

Do red pistachios taste different?

The red dye might leave a vibrant trail, but it doesn’t affect the flavor at all. The pistachios we all eat today aren’t missing out on any extra flavor without the added dye.

What happened to red pistachios?

Can you still buy red pistachios?

Most pistachios are left undyed these days, so red pistachios are hard to find on grocery store shelves. But don’t worry: If you find yourself craving a serving of vibrantly-red nostalgia, it’s still possible to buy red pistachios online.

Anjali Prasertong


Anjali is a former private chef who is currently a full-time nutrition student, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and toddler. You can read more of her writing at Eat Your Greens.

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