Pistachio Shortbread Cookies will just melt in your mouth!

These pistachio cookies are a perfect treat for dipping into a glass of milk or a mug of hot cocoa. Our version is studded with pistachios and an optional addition of green food coloring makes them look so fun and festive! Make a batch or two for special celebrations like weddings, holidays, or parties.

close up of a pile of Pistachio Shortbread

Why We Love this Pistachio Cookie Recipe

Shortbread cookies are unique because of their high ratio of butter to sugar, which gives the cookies a rich, buttery flavor, almost like a short-crust pastry. Our pistachio cookie recipe has just 5 ingredients and is easily pressed into a pan instead of separately portioned out. The top of the shortbread dough can be scored into any size that makes the warm cookies easy to cut apart. Why not host a cookie exchange and try other fun bakeables like these M&M cookies, pecan snowball cookies or butter tarts.

top view of ingredients to make Pistachio Shortbread

Ingredients

Pistachio butter cookies are eggless and free of leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda. This keeps them dense but still airy enough to have that smooth, meltable mouth feel.

BUTTER Real butter is what makes shortbread so creamy and delish, it’s just not the same without it. If butter isn’t on the menu for your family, try making these with hardened buttery spread or even vegetable shortening. 

PISTACHIO PUDDING Is easy to find in any market, and turns these cookies a lovely color without the need for food coloring. However if you want really green cookies, go ahead and add green food coloring.

POWDERED SUGAR The secret to excellent texture in shortbread is using powdered sugar for a creamy finish.

FRESH PISTACHIOS Pistachios have just the best unique flavor giving this crunchy shortbread the twist that’s needed for the perfect cookie!

mixing ingredients to make Pistachio Shortbread

Variations

That’s all you need to make these crunchy cookies! But feel free to get creative with your own unique twist! 

  • Making pistachio cookies with cake mix will result in a softer cookie, we recommend a basic yellow cake mix.
  • For a festive pistachio cookie, mix in chopped, dried cranberry pieces or white or mini chocolate chips.
  • Once cookies are cooled, they can be dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with chopped peanuts or orange zest.
  • Make ice cream sandwiches by pressing two cooled cookies around a small scoop of pistachio ice cream and freeze for 2 hours before serving.

top view of Pistachio Shortbread after making in a tray

How to Make Pistachio Cookies

  1. Cream butter until soft & airy (add optional green food coloring here).
  2. Add pudding mix & sugar, add flour in stages.
  3. Add half of the chopped pistachios, mix until just combined
  4. Press dough into a prepared pan & score. Bake per recipe below.

PRO TIP: An electric mixer will ensure all of the ingredients are perfectly combined!

PRO TIP: Pistachio cookies are perfect icebox cookies, and like sugar cookies, they can be prepped, formed, and kept in the refrigerator until ready to bake, up to 3 days.

top view of Pistachio Shortbread cut into squares

Tips and Tricks

  • For the best pistachio pudding cookies, start with room temperature butter to make mixing easier.
  • Chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before baking to firm up the butter and yield crispy cookies.
  • Sauté the chopped pistachios in a small, dry pan for about 4 minutes. This makes them extra crunchy! Avoid adding too many mix-ins otherwise the cookies won’t hold their shape after they are cooled.

Storing Pistachio Pudding Cookies

Due to the high butter content, pistachio shortbread cookies will stay fresh for about 10 days at room temperature. Keep a slice of bread in the container to absorb any moisture from temperature changes that might occur. Raw dough and baked cookies can be frozen up to 3 months in a labeled zippered bag.

stack of Pistachio Shortbread

Other Easy Desserts To Try!

close up of a pile of Pistachio Shortbread
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Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Pistachio pudding cookies are a quick and easy, yet elegant snack. The cookies freeze and refrigerate well, too!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 -18 cookies
Author Candace

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 300˚F. Grease 8×8 pan and line with parchment paper.
  • Cream butter until soft (1-2 minutes). Add food coloring if desired. Add pudding mix and sugar and cream together until well combined. Add flour and mix until a dough forms. Add ½ cup pistachios and mix until just combined.
  • Press mixture into pan and flatten with an offset spatula (or a measuring cup). Sprinkle with remaining pistachios and press lightly into dough. Score dough into desired number of pieces (16 squares, or 9 squares, and each square in half diagonally).
  • Bake 30-35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then cut through (while warm). Allow to cool and remove from pan.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 203 | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 329IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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Comments

  1. Definitely making this recipe! Quick question … the only pistachios I found were ‘dry roasted’. Is this ok? They had those in both salted and unsalted; I grabbed the unsalted but now wondering if they should be dry roasted or not.

    1. I have only made the recipe as written, so can’t say for sure how it will turn out. Let us know if you try it Noni!

  2. Hi! Can’t wait to try. How would you sub the cake mix like you mentioned? My dad loves pistachios and I want to make him a goody thats more on the soft side.

  3. These were wonderful!! We did learn that they are much better when allowed to completely cool. Get anxious and they crumble. 😉❤️