Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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

Pistachio shortbread cookies are perfect holiday treats

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

Tips for working with slice and bake dough

  • Slice and bake cookies never turn out quite as perfectly round as roll out cookies, but they have a nicer texture, I think. They’re tender and crumbly, never tough.
  • If you want to help insure that the log of dough stays round while it chills, you can wrap the log in a thick towel first.
  • 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.

Pistachio shortbread cookies cooling on a rack

I keep a whole lineup of shortbread cookie dough logs in the freezer during the weeks leading up to Christmas

I can’t tell you how useful they are. We’re all about the easy cookies in the days leading up to the holidays and even though I always have lots of more complicated recipes on my to-do list, 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. 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

Package your cookies in sturdy boxes for giving

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
3.87 from 167 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
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Yield 21 cookies
Author Sue Moran


  • 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 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Preheat 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.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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  • Reply
    August 12, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve been making these cookies for a couple years now since I found them on your site. I always double the recipe and make half with pistachio and half with mini chocolate chips. They are always a hit and they are so easy to make. I roll them up in rolls and put a couple in the freezer so I always have some available to bake when I have a craving. Great recipe!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2021 at 3:29 am

    5 stars
    These taste amazing, perfect for my husband who is always so critical of my cookies being too sweet (when I just really follow recipes toust the right amount of sweetness and soooo buttery. They really melt in your mouth! I added a cup of sliced almonds coz I really love pistachio-almond combination. The only thing that went wrong was that I couldn’t quite slice them perfectly into the disc shapes in the photos after chilling them. They kept crumbling and breaking even when I used a serrated bread knife as instructed. (not sure if it’s because of the extra almonds?) I ended up having to re-roll them into balls and pressing them down flat just like you do regular cookies. They still turned out great! So if this happens to you too don’t be so hard on yourself. ?

  • Reply
    January 18, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    5 stars
    I have made this recipe heaps and they have always turned out so delicious. Sometimes I have trouble cutting the rounds and they crumble but no matter I press them back together. I have also tried it with almonds and yummo. I might give it a go with chocolate chips and see how it goes as well. A simple biscuits that looks harder than it is.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    5 stars
    My first time making shortbread and it was easy! Hardest part was letting the butter come to room temperature. The cookies are pretty crumbly, even after cooling, but that seems fairly normal for shortbread. I used salted pistachios (all I had) and loved how they tasted with the sweet cookie.

  • Reply
    Bunny Peters
    December 25, 2020 at 8:36 am

    5 stars
    I made these cookies with the following additions @ the time I added the vanilla:
    1/2 tsp. Ground cardamom
    1 tsp. Crushed saffron threads (I used saffron sourced from the Middle East that a Persian friend had gifted me)
    The cookies didn’t last: everyone loved them!!!

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