Pistachio Coquito Recipe: Try This Puerto Rican Christmas Tradition

Kalelys L. Calero, Dietetic Intern| View Author Bio
coquito with cinnamon and holly

Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas celebration, beginning Thanksgiving Eve and continuing into the middle of January.

Puerto Rico festivities are famous for singing carols called “parrandas” where friends gather late in the evening and visit different houses to sing and celebrate. At every house you visit, the host will welcome you and offer you a drink of “coquito”, which means little coconut. Coquito is a traditional Christmas drink that is so creamy and delicious, you will want another glass. The origin of coquito is not clear, however it is said that is an adaptation of eggnog.

The main ingredients of coquito, regardless of the recipe, are evaporated milk, coconut milk (for the coconut flavor), sweetened condensed milk, and rum. However, the recipe can be made without alcohol to include kids in the celebration. To add more flavor to the coquito, you can make it with strawberry, Nutella, pumpkin, almond, or pistachio. My mom is a master of making coquito, and during Christmas, her duty is to bring coquito to family gatherings. Additionally, she makes batches of pistachio and almond coquito as gifts for family and friends. I have included my favorite recipe, pistachio coquito, for you to make at home and get a taste of the island Christmas spirit!

If you are looking for more traditional Christmas dairy recipes from Puerto Rico, I encourage you to try the “flan de queso”.  Everyone will love this dessert made with cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla.

Recipe: Pistachio Coquito

Servings: 12 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ¾ pistachios
  • 1 cup pistachio ice cream
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Add the pistachios into a blender at high speed for a few seconds.
  2. Blend the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, pistachio ice cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla on low speed until all ingredients mixed well.
  3. Pour into large bottle and refrigerate.
  4. Serve cold in small glasses and garnish with cinnamon.
  5. Enjoy!


Nutrition Information per serving (½ cup): 260 calories, 7 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 24 mg cholesterol, 1 grams fiber, 100 mg sodium

You should also try… yogurt truffles!

While yogurt truffles aren’t a traditional Puerto Rican dessert, we gave them a try this year for a delicious dairy dessert. I suggest rolling the yogurt truffles in chopped pistachios and dried cranberries. The main ingredients for this recipe are white chocolate and plain yogurt.

Recipe: Yogurt Truffles

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serving: 8 small balls


  • 4 oz white chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup pistachio


  1. Add two tablespoons of water to sauce pan and melt the white chocolate chips on low heat.
  2. Mix the plain yogurt with the melted chocolate and stir continuously to avoid a lumpy texture.
  3. Once combined, place mixture in the freezer for four hours.
  4. Chop pistachios and place in a bowl. Put dried cranberries in a separate bowl.
  5. Remove mixture from freezer. With your hands, shape mixture into small balls and then roll them in the chopped pistachios and dried cranberries.
  6. Chill the yogurt truffles on a pan or plate for an one hour, or leave overnight in the fridge for a firmer consistency.


Nutrition Information per serving (one yogurt truffle): 98 calories, 2 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 0.5 grams fiber, 31 mg sodium

No matter how short or long your Christmas celebration, you can create this simple, traditional Puerto Rican recipe for family and friends. Your kids may also enjoy making these fun and delicious yogurt truffles. ¡Felices Fiestas!

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