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pistachio shortbread cookies dipped in dark chocolate
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5 from 4 votes

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

These pistachio shortbread cookies are dipped in dark chocolate and topped with more pistachio bits and sea salt. They are the perfect cookies to celebrate the holidays!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Refrigeration and cooling3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 197kcal
Author: Tania



  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature equiv to 2 standard sticks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lightly salted pistachios, plus about ½ cup for topping chopped into small pieces, shells removed
  • 12 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate bars I used 60 percent cacao, see note
  • Flaky or coarse sea salt - for sprinkling


  • In a stand mixer (using the paddle attachment) or with a handheld electric mixer, beat the softened butter on medium-high speed for about 1 minute until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, another 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Decrease to medium-low speed, and mix the vanilla extract. Then, gradually add the flour and salt, mixing until fully incorporated. Mix in the chopped pistachios until evenly combined. Do not overmix. Note: The dough will look a bit crumbly first, but will come together into a more uniform dough as you mix it. You can also use your hands to incorporate as needed. It should not crumbly or sticky.
  • Divide up the dough into two equal parts. Transfer each dough onto plastic wrap and roll into about 2.5 inch diameter logs, minimizing flat or squished edges. Wrap tightly, twisting the ends. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. Tip: Make the logs a bit thicker first so you can roll and shape them out to the desired size.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • Slice cookies into ¼ inch thick slices, and place them on prepared sheet pans about 2 inches apart. Make sure they stay cold so that they retain their shape in the oven. Tip: If the logs are too hard to cut, let them sit on the counter for 10 minutes.
  • Bake for about 16 to 18 minutes or until slightly golden brown on the edges. They will look soft, but will set as they cool down. Remove from oven and let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes or so. Then, transfer to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
  • To decorate, melt the chocolate in the microwave oven, checking and stirring every 20 seconds until smooth and melted. Dip cookies halfway through into the melted chocolate and place on a lined sheet pan. Immediately sprinkle the pistachio bits and some sea salt on top of the chocolate so they stick. Let cool until the chocolate sets or refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to allow the chocolate to set better and faster. Enjoy!


  • Choice of chocolate for dipping: Use baking chocolate bars (not chocolate chips). They contain fewer added ingredients and sugars, so the chocolate is smoother, and it also melts and sets more easily. Use your favorite type of baking chocolate bars (bittersweet, milk, semi-sweet, etc).
  • Refrigerating the dough: This is a crucial step for proper texture and shape. Chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
  • How to maintain round shapes: Wrap the logs in plastic wrap first and make them a bit thicker so you can roll them out to the desired diameter. Make sure they are evenly shaped, minimizing flat or squished spots.
  • I use lightly salted pistachios for that hint of salt that goes so well with shortbread, but unsalted pistachios will work too. Try not to use regular salted pistachios, as they can make the cookies too salty.
  • If you forgot to soften the butter, put it in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time, until just softened. It should NOT be melted at all, so keep a close eye on it. If it melts, start over with new butter. You can’t use melted butter for this recipe.
  • Make ahead: The dough can be made and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap tightly in multiple layers of plastic wrap and foil to prevent freezer burn.
Substitutions and variations:
  • Chocolate: Use your favorite baking chocolate bars, such as semi-sweet, milk, or bittersweet.
  • Add-ins for the dough: chopped dried cranberries, dark chocolate, pecans, or walnuts. Decrease the amount of pistachios accordingly so the dough isn’t too heavy.
Disclaimer: Nutritional values (per serving) are approximates only.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg