Green and red Pistachio cupcakes topped with a vegan buttercream frosting made into a Santa Hat! Naturally vegan and gluten free, these Christmas cupcakes are perfectly Grinch-like and festive!

grinch cupcake with liner pulled off

One of my all time favorite Christmas movies growing up was the classic animation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I mean, that movie is just iconic. The music, the art, everything.

So I made cupcakes based off of my favorite Christmas movie! Grinch cupcakes to be exact. It’s a vegan pistachio cupcake with a Santa hat shaped vegan buttercream frosting!

pistachio cupcakes on wooden board

Aren’t they so cute?! I was going for the after-the-Grinch-gets-his-heart-fixed kind of vibe. You know, when he’s nice and gives everyone their presents back!

And naturally, me being me, I’ve included a few twists in these cupcakes that will leave you speechless and bamboozled because they just taste so good!

vegan pistachio cupcakes with pink buttercream frosting

Perfect for kids, adults, and those with gluten and dairy allergies, you’ll love these festive holiday cupcakes!

The most festive Christmas cupcakes!

Can you tell that these cupcakes are a little Grinch-like? But don’t worry, they won’t steal your Christmas presents 😉

These naturally vegan Pistachio cupcakes are just sweet enough, filled with fresh pistachios, and slightly tinted green with matcha powder!

vegan pistachio cupcakes on marble plate

Of course, if you’re having these the night before Christmas, and you’re not looking to stay up at all hours, you can swap the matcha out for natural green food coloring (I found one at Whole Foods that’s made from spirulina!).

Then, of course, we have the red Santa hat, because the Grinch can’t be the Grinch unless he’s trying to be Santa! The Santa hat is made of a deliciously vegan buttercream tinted red with beet powder (but don’t worry- you can find a natural red food coloring in stores as well if you don’t want to use beet!), and topped off with white dollops to complete the Grinch-y look 🙂

eaten Christmas cupcake with bite missing

The flavor of these pistachio cupcakes is absolutely delicious. The real pistachios (yes, real, we’re not going for that fake flavor you buy at the grocery store haha!) sweetened with just a little coconut sugar make for the most decadent cupcake, yet…

These Christmas cupcakes are naturally vegan, gluten free, Paleo (if you swap in coconut sugar for the powdered sugar in the frosting!), dairy free, and oil free!

AND they still taste good?! My friend, they taste more than good 🙂

vegan pistachio cupcake with liner pulled off

How to make pistachio cupcakes

Now, before we make these vegan pistachio cupcakes, let’s go over what goes into them to make them so green and festive!

For the cupcake base, you’ll need:

  • Pistachios
  • Cassava flour (or any gluten free or all-purpose flour if you don’t want them to be GF!)
  • Coconut sugar
  • Coconut milk with apple cider vinegar (this makes a vegan buttermilk)
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Ground flaxseed with water
  • Matcha powder or natural green food coloring

Not too bad, right? These cupcakes are completely oil free, yet you’d never know by how moist and fluffy they turn out. These Christmas cupcakes are seriously some of my fave!

But don’t worry, they won’t turn you into the Grinch 😉

Christmas cupcakes lined up

Now for the vegan butter cream frosting, you’ll need:

  • Vegan butter (I use Miyoko’s, which is also Paleo friendly!)
  • Powdered sugar (if you want to do a completely vegan and Paleo pistachio cupcake, simply swap in powdered coconut sugar)
  • Natural red food coloring or beet powder

Again, while festive and fun, these Grinch cupcakes are easy, which makes them the perfect holiday activity for kids too! And a good healthy Christmas treat 🙂

line of pistachio cupcakes

Okay onto making these pistachio cupcakes. It’s seriously so simple. What you’ll need to do is the following:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, pistachios, and leavening agents).
  2. Combine the wet ingredients.
  3. Fold the dry into wet (crucial here!).
  4. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners.
  5. Bake!

Once the pistachio cupcakes are baked, make sure they cool completely before frosting. You don’t want the Santa hats to fall off your Grinch cupcakes!

christmas cupcakes with lights around

Now to make the frosting, simply:

  1. Beat the vegan butter and powdered sugar together until thick and fluffy.
  2. Separate 2/3 cup of the vegan buttercream frosting from the big bowl and place into a separate small bowl. This will be the frosting that lines the Santa hats and makes the pompom on top.
  3. Add in the red food coloring or beet powder and beat together until the color is evenly distributed.
  4. Place the frosting into separate piping bags, the red frosting with a big tip and the white frosting with a small tip.
  5. Pipe the red on first, then decorate with the white frosting.

And there you go! Your Grinch-y vegan pistachio cupcakes are complete!

christmas cupcake on marble plate

These Christmas cupcakes are perfect for any holiday party or as a fun activity for the kids…and adults!

I hope you love these pistachio cupcakes as much as I do! If you make this recipe, let me know how it goes down in the comments section, and of course, I absolutely love seeing your beautiful creations so be sure to tag me on Instagram and Pinterest!

Happy Baking and Holidays!

bite missing from cupcake

More healthier Christmas recipes:

Paleo vegan monkey bread

Vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Gluten free vegan gingerbread man cookies

Paleo vegan peanut butter blossoms

Gluten free vegan snickerdoodle cookies

Paleo vegan chocolate cream pie

Vegan gluten free chocolate hazelnut tart

Paleo pecan pie

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

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grinch cupcake with liner pulled off

Pistachio Cupcakes with Vegan Buttercream Santa Hats

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 15 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Green and red Pistachio cupcakes topped with a vegan buttercream frosting made into a Santa Hat! Naturally vegan and gluten free, these Christmas cupcakes are perfectly Grinch-like and festive!


  • 1 3/4 cup cassava flour
  • 1 cup pistachios, pulsed into almost a flour
  • 1 cup coconut/almond milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional: 1 tsp almond extract
  • Optional: 1 tsp natural green food coloring or 1 tbsp matcha powder

Vegan Buttercream:

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
  • 34 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp red natural food coloring or 1 tbsp beet powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line two cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cassava flour, pistachios, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the coconut or almond milk with apple cider vinegar, ground flaxseed with water, applesauce, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, and optional almond extract together until well combined. 
  4. Sift in flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Add in the optional natural green food coloring or 1 tbsp matcha powder, and mix until thoroughly combined.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way full and place the cupcake tins into the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely before frosting.
  8. To make the vegan buttercream frosting, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat together the vegan butter and powdered sugar until it’s a thick frosting.
  9. To make a Santa hat, separate about 2/3 cup frosting into a separate bowl to keep white. Add in a few drops of natural red food coloring or beet powder into the main frosting and mix with a hand mixer until the color is thoroughly distributed. 
  10. Add the red frosting into a large tipped piping bag and the white frosting into a small tipped piping bag. Pipe the Santa hat first with the red, then add the pom pom and white rim second.
  11. Repeat for all cupcakes.


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake with frosting
  • Calories: 256
  • Sugar: 27.9 g
  • Sodium: 209.4 mg
  • Fat: 10.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Protein: 2.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
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