The divine flavors in these Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies are completely irresistible! Bright, citrusy, and earthy, adding fresh citrus and crushed nuts is the best way to take these classic Christmas cookies up a notch.Jump to Recipe
Pistachio and orange flavored shortbread
How can you make classic shortbread cookies even better? Flavor them with orange and pistachios!
These Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies have specks of fresh orange citrus and crushed pistachios throughout a buttery and crisp dough. Rolled in extra pistachios before heading into the oven, these nutty cookies are a tremendous treat for the holiday season and make delicious gifts!
I love flavoring cookies with delicious and unique add-ins. Just take my Dark Chocolate Cherry Shortbread and Bacon Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies for example! Not only do these flavors compliment the cookie but they’ll wow everyone lucky enough to indulge. Now, grab a few creative add-ins and bake some delicious shortbread!
Shortbread cookie ingredients
- All purpose flour – Try to sift the flour into the dough so the cookies turn out light and airy.
- Rice flour – Rice flour gives shortbread cookies a crumbly texture and slight crunch. If you don’t have rice flour, you can use cornstarch instead or replace it with more all purpose flour.
- Unsalted butter – The better the quality of your butter, the more moist and tender your cookies will be. My favorite butter to use in shortbread cookies is European Kerrygold because it contains more fat than American brands.
- Sea salt – Or you can use salted butter and omit the sea salt.
- Confectioner’s sugar – A.K.A. powdered sugar or icing sugar. This gives shortbread its melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Orange zest – Fresh orange zest gives each shortbread cookie a burst of citrus.
- Pistachios – If you’re up for it, deshell the pistachios yourself for bright and vibrant green nuts. Pre-shelled pistachios have a brown color and won’t give your cookies that beautiful pop of green.
How to make orange pistachio shortbread cookies
Shortbread cookie dough is easy to make in one bowl with a handful of ingredients. Once you knead in the orange and nuts, these cookies are rolled in even more pistachios for extra crunch and a festive presentation!
- Make the cookie dough.
Combine the all purpose flour, rice flour, and salt in a bowl and set it aside. Beat the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer for 30 seconds, then mix in the confectioner’s sugar. Next, add the flour and beat everything together.
- Add the orange and pistachios.
Transfer the cookie dough to a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the orange zest and pistachios over the dough. Use your hands to knead the dough and incorporate the add-ins.
- Shape and wrap the dough.
Roll the dough into a log shape and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Cut the cookies and roll in pistachios.
Once the dough is firm, cut the roll into ¼-inch slices. Roll the edges of each cookie in more crushed pistachios, then place them on a baking sheet.
- Bake and enjoy!
Bake the orange pistachio cookies in the oven until the edges are lightly browned. Let them cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!
Shortbread cookie tips
- Mix up the flavors! Either swap the orange zest and pistachios for different add-ins or add any extras you love. White chocolate, dark chocolate, cardamom, lemon zest, pecans, dried cranberries, dried cherries, walnuts, almonds, and rosemary would all be delicious!
- Try not to overmix the cookie dough. This could lead to tough and dense shortbread.
- For the best results, use high quality, high-fat butter. Lower quality butter has more water which will make your cookies too wet.
- Melted butter won’t work!
- Instead of forming a log for slice-and-bake shortbread, press the cookie dough into the bottom of a square baking pan or round cake pan and score into rectangles before baking.
Storing and freezing shortbread
Not ready to indulge quite yet? Both the baked cookies and raw shortbread cookie dough can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later. Here’s how it’s done:
- To store the unbaked shortbread cookie dough: Wrap it well in plastic and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To store the baked cookies: The cookies store well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
- Freezing unbaked cookie dough: Wrap the logs of dough in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before baking.
- Freezing shortbread cookies: The baked cookies can be frozen in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 3 months.
More holiday desserts you’ll love
- Cherry, Almond, and Cardamom Galette
- Raspberry Lemon Basque Cheesecake
- Dark Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates
- Apple Fritters with Vanilla Lemon Glaze
If you give these Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies a try, let me know in the comments below. I love seeing your pictures too, so please tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog and use #lenaskitchenblog so I can share them on my page!
Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Classic Shortbread Cookie Dough
Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies (enough for one log)
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- ¼ cup pistachios roughly chopped
- ¼ cup pistachios finely chopped for rolling edges of cookie
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a bowl, combine the two flours and salt. Mix to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the confectioner’s sugar. Beat until combined.
- In 2 batches add in the flour and mix on low until all combined.
- On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a wide log, cut it into three equal pieces.
- You can now add flavors to the cookies. Each log can be different. Or triple the amount of filling if using one flavor.
- Add the Orange Pistachio add-ins to the dough. Gently knead with your hands to incorporate.
- Roll into a log and wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Chill for 1 to 24 hours or until firm.
- Before cutting the cookies, roll the edges in the finely chopped pistachios. Cut into ¼-inch slices. This makes one of the 3 batches.
- Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
- Stack 5 cookies together and wrap in twine or ribbon give as a gift or enjoy at home. Or add to a bag and tie a ribbon to gift.