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Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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Pistachio Shortbread 1

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies ~ a classic buttery shortbread slice and bake cookie loaded with fresh pistachios.  These easy cookies melt in your mouth!

Pistachio Shortbread 1


“My mom has been begging me to make her some pistachio cookies. Came across this recipie and wow these cookies are absolutely delicious! The buttery flavor of shortbread is perfect with the pistachios. I will defiantly be making this again.”  ~ Carly

I’m taking advantage of the surplus of nuts in the stores during the holidays to make lots of these buttery pistachio shortbread cookies loaded with freshly shelled nuts and a hint of vanilla.  I used unsalted roasted pistachios packaged still in the shell, they’re fresher that way, and I used enough of them so that you can actually taste the pistachio flavor.  Believe it or not, you can actually buy real Pistachio Extract for a more pronounced taste, and someday I may try that, but for me the vanilla and the nuts themselves make for a really subtle and unusual cookie.  Depending on how thick you slice them, and precisely how long you cook them, they will either be crispy or buttery, it’s your call.

A log of slice and bake pistachio shortbread cookie dough

Slice and bake cookies never turn out quite as perfectly round as roll out cookies, but they have a nicer texture, I think.  Make sure the dough is nice and cold, and use a sharp, serrated knife, I used a bread knife, and a gentle sawing motion to slice through the dough cleanly.  If you want to insure that the log of dough stays round while it chills, you can take a tube from an empty paper towel roll and cut it open lengthwise.  Then set the log of dough inside and it will keep it shape.  You can also set the dough on a bed of uncooked rice to support it in the refrigerator.

Pistachio shortbread cookies cooling on a rack

I’m all about the easy cookie these days.  I have lots of more complicated recipes on my to-do list, but as the days before Christmas dwindle, I have to pare things down to the essentials.  This is a rustic cookie you can really sink your teeth into, and about as easy as it gets…

A stack of pistachio shortbread cookies on a wooden table


A little stack of these cookies makes the perfect offering if you’re going visiting, or if people show up on your doorstep unexpectedly.  I keep a whole lineup of shortbread dough in the freezer during the weeks leading up to Christmas and I can’t tell you how useful they are.  Even after it’s baked, shortbread lasts a long time without going stale, so it’s really a holiday workhorse.  I have lots of other shortbread cookie recipes on the blog, so check them out for more inspiration.

A stack of pistachio shortbread cookies


I use decorative take out style boxes for small cookie gifts, not only because they look great, but they’re sturdy so you don’t have to worry about crushing all your hard work.  They’re small enough that you can make a nice gift out of just a few cookies.   You can find them all over the place, mine are from Cost Plus.

A stack of pistachio cookies
Add to Your Recipe Box
3.46 from 123 votes

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies ~ a classic buttery shortbread slice and bake cookie loaded with fresh pistachios.  These easy cookies melt in your mouth!
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling 3 hours
Yield 21 cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole pistachios


  • Cream the butter and the sugar together.
  • Beat in the vanilla.
  • Whisk together the flour and cornstarch. Blend them into the butter and sugar, until it forms a dough.
  • Stir in the pistachios and make sure you get them well distributed in the dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a log, about 9 or 10 inches long. Wrap it in the plastic and smooth it into a uniform smooth shape, twisting the ends to secure.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
  • Set oven to 350F
  • Slice the dough into 1/4 - 1/3 inch slices and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Thinner slices will bake up crispier, and thicker ones will be more buttery and soft.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes, maybe a little longer for thicker cookies. The cookies will still be pale and soft, but will firm up as they cool.
  • Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then cool completely on a rack.


Dough will need to be chilled for 3 hours.


Serving: 1g


Don’t forget to pin these pistachio shortbread cookies~

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies ~ a classic buttery shortbread slice and bake cookie loaded with fresh pistachios! #cookies #shortbread #shortbreadcookies #pistachiocookies #easycookies #recipe #holidaycookies #cookieswap #sliceandbake #nutcookies #nuts #Christmascookies

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    I don’t have corn starch but would love to try this tonight. Can I substitute the cornstarch with almond flour?

    • Reply
      May 6, 2020 at 5:42 pm

      That should work fine, and you can also just use all regular flour.

      • Reply
        May 6, 2020 at 7:30 pm

        Found cornstrach so all is good. Is it normal to have the dough crumbly before being chilled? This is my first time making shortbread!

        • Reply
          May 6, 2020 at 7:33 pm

          The dough should be thoroughly combined and not be too crumbly May. But shortbread does have a crumbly texture after being baked, if that makes sense.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Just read Michelle Lewis comment – ‘turned off the oven and did the traditional drying of shortbread until oven cools w door ajar’.
    I have never heard of this and would love to know more. Sounds interesting and would love to know why and how it effects the final result.
    I hope you have the answer for me Sue. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 23, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Stumbling in rather late, again! Your pistachio shortbread cookie reminded me of a wonderful pairing of pistachio with cardamom, often used in the royal Mughal desserts of India. This recipe could perhaps be a nod in that direction by mixing in about 1 tsp of cardamom powder with the sugar and omitting the vanilla. Will the exclusion of the liquid of the vanilla change the texture of the shortbread?

  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you so much for the recipe, I made them for my dad for father’s day, I don’t know what he thinks yet because it’s a surprise. I tasted them though and they were great, I made smaller rolls so I ended up with over 50 cookies. I would make these again.

    • Reply
      June 10, 2019 at 6:02 pm

      Great, I hope he loves them Kasey!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Add mini chocolate chips and this is my FAVORITE recipe ever. I could eat a whole batch at once.

    • Reply
      January 11, 2019 at 10:36 am

      Ooooh I like that!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    My mom has been begging me to make her some pistachio cookies. Came across this recipie and wow these cookies are absolutely delicious! The buttery flavor of shortbread is perfect with the pistachios. I will defiantly be making this again.

    • Reply
      December 20, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks Carly ~ if you get inspired you can try this same recipe with all kinds of different nuts.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2018 at 9:42 am

    These cookies are so good! I’ve been making them a lot over the last few months. I make them your way, without pistachios and i’ve tried with pecans – yum! I’m making them this week for a tea fundraiser but I’m going to try rolling the chilled dough to cut out teapot shapes and dip in chocolate. These are dangerous cookies to have around in my house!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2018 at 10:27 am

      I’m so glad I could make a shortbread cookie convert out of you! I love your teapot cookie idea, you should tag me with a photo on instagram…

  • Reply
    Parastoo Yazdani
    February 21, 2018 at 8:19 am

    could you rewrite the recipe in grams??? plsss

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 5:35 am

    These pistachio cookies are my husband’s absolute favourite!! All other cookies have taken the back seat!

    • Reply
      January 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

      That’s so great!

  • Reply
    Jill Roberts @ WellnessGeeky
    December 21, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Definitely your pistachio shortbread cookies are awesomeness! This is a great recipe Sue. It is very decadent, and the people in my office are happy today! Thx for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kristen S
    December 20, 2017 at 1:15 am

    I made these for my Nona’s 87th birthday and they were a huge hit at the party. I used salted pistachios and arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch and they came out perfectly. I’m going to make these again this weekend. Thanks!

    • Reply
      December 20, 2017 at 7:21 am

      Wow, I’m honored to have been a part of that occasion, so cool! I can imagine the salted nuts added a nice flavor, I’ll try that.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Oops! Sweeties are candies in my neck of the woods. That I think might be a see through poly bag for candies in American speak.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Hi Sue, I love the idea of these cookies, and so, will prepare some for gifts. For how long will they keep if presented in a sweetie bag? Thanks in anticipation of a great reply. DQ

    • Reply
      December 13, 2017 at 10:07 am

      I’d say they’d keep up to a week, Donna ~ Happy Holidays <3

  • Reply
    June 24, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, but I wouldn’t recommend setting the oven in the first step since the dough needs to be refrigerated for hours/overnight.

    • Reply
      June 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      Good point Dan!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Sue, I made these cookies just a few hours ago and they’re delicious. They took longer to bake for me, about 17 minutes, and I’m thinking it may have to do with the kind of baking trays we’re using.

    At any rate, the cookies are quite good. I’m going to make the chocolate walnut shortbread next, and I’m really anxious to try the savory pistachio shortbread. When I do I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    Love your site.

    • Reply
      December 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      The baking trays could make a difference, Susan, and it could also be an issue with the oven temperature…it’s surprising how many ovens don’t cook at an accurate temperature, and even a small deviation can make a difference…although most of us get used to our particular ovens and compensate for them in lots of ways!

  • Reply
    Renee J. (RJFlamingo)
    October 15, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I think these are my very favorites! Pinned and Stumbled!

    • Reply
      October 15, 2015 at 6:34 am

      Thanks Renee!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2015 at 11:46 am

    yummy cookies! I have made them and shared them too!???? thank you for the recipe.

  • Reply
    March 1, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    is it ok to use confectioners sugar instead ? In all your other shortbread recipes you’ve used confectioners sugar but in this granulated …. How come ?????…. Cookies look amazing btw….

    • Reply
      March 2, 2015 at 7:11 am

      You are observant! I like to change things up, you can use either, but lately I prefer granulated sugar. If you like these cookies and you make them more than once, you can try both ways and see what you think!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    These look absolutely devine. I have all ingredients on hand but was wondering if I finely crushed some pistachios and added them to the dough along with the whole nuts if you think that would give the cookie more of a pistachio taste without hurting the actual cookie. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      January 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      You can certainly try that, GaleMarie, it will probably give the cookie a slightly more ‘sandy’ texture. Let me know, it sounds good!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Making these cookies – I love pistachios and who doesn’t love shortbread? Thanks for the tip on the pistachio extract, I’ve never even seen a pistachio extract before. Will need to try it in something! 😉

    • Reply
      August 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Cristina, I hope you do find the extract, I’d collect them all if I could. The good quality ones are worth their weight in gold!

  • Reply
    Christina @ Christina's Cucina
    December 20, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Beautiful cookies, beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    December 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    I love shortbread and the pistachios are so pretty!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Now this is my kind of cookie! Super easy, not too sweet, and full of delicious nuts. I think I may need to get on the pistachio train very soon!

  • Reply
    Karen Harris
    December 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Love these cookies! I just might have to make some for my pistachio loving husband. I agree by the way, Prosecco, definitely Prosecco.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    December 19, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I like these green nuts in your shortbread cookies. I would mind having one with a glass of prosecco 🙂 ela

    • Reply
      December 19, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Sounds like a good combination!

      • Reply
        Michelle Lewis
        November 10, 2019 at 9:57 am

        Can I use salted butter

        • Reply
          November 10, 2019 at 10:06 am

          Yes if you don’t mind the little bit of salty taste.

          • Michelle Lewis
            November 10, 2019 at 8:49 pm

            OMG! I used your recipe as a baseline then added soaked rum raisins. Chilled 5 hrs then sliced them a bit thick.then baked for 17 minutes, turned off the oven and did the traditional drying of shortbread until oven cools w door ajar. Made a simple glaze and dipped them. They will dry over night! Freaking delish! Can’t wait for coffee!

        • Reply
          December 17, 2019 at 1:19 am

          Hi can I use pecans instead.

          • Sue
            December 17, 2019 at 7:31 am

            Absolutely 🙂