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Pistachio Sugar Cookies

This recipe for crunchy pistachio sugar cookies has chopped nuts in the dough and a sprinkling of coarse sugar and minced pistachios on top. You can store these delicious cookies in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Vintage Recipe

These sugar cookies are made from a vintage recipe I found on a torn sheet of paper tucked into a folder with hundreds of other recipes. It caught my eye because it used pistachios, and I had a large bag of unshelled pistachios sitting around! I decided to try the recipe, and these cookies were well worth the effort!

Pistachio Sugar Cookies

Recipe Changes to Pistachio Sugar Cookies

Because this is a vintage recipe, I changed a few things because modern tastes have changed since it was written.

  1. I added more pistachios to the dough than the recipe listed and added them to the top of the cookies.
  2. I added coarse sugar to the top of the cookies since they are not overly sweet.
  3. I increased the amount of vanilla extract.
  4. I added almond extract.
  5. Finally, I brushed melted butter on the tops of the cooked cookies to help adhere the sugar and pistachios to them.
  6. Optionally, if you want a festive look, add a few drops of gel food coloring to the dough to tint it green. I did not add it to the cookies in these pictures, even though the lighting made the dough appear light green.

You can leave off the coarse sugar on top if you don’t want any extra sugar. The cookies will taste fine without it.

Pistachio Sugar Cookies

Preparing the Dough for Pistachio Sugar Cookies

As with many rolled cookies, the dough can be too sticky because it is too warm. There are a couple of different ways to roll dough. Before you start with either method, chill the dough by placing it in the refrigerator for about an hour. You can hasten the chilling time by putting it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Be mindful that if the dough chills too long, it will be too stiff to roll. Ideally, you want to work with a firm yet pliable dough.

Pistachio Sugar Cookies

Place the unchilled dough in plastic wrap and flatten it so it doesn’t take so long to chill. After refrigerating the dough, cut it into thirds and work with just one-third at a time, placing the rest back in the refrigerator. Work quickly to prevent the dough from warming too much, or it will become too soft and must be refrigerated again. Once it is chilled, it will be easy to work with.

Method 1: Add Flour to the Work Surface

The first method to keep the dough from sticking to everything is to use flour. Sprinkle the work surface with ample flour to keep the dough from sticking. If you use a wooden rolling pin, flour it and the top of the dough. Sometimes, even though the dough is chilled, it will be a little too sticky to roll, and the extra flour can help stiffen it enough so you can work with it.

Pistachio Sugar Cookies

Method 2: Roll the Pistachio Sugar Cookies Between Coated Paper

Another way to roll chilled dough is to place it between two sheets of parchment paper and use the rolling pin on top of the paper. The dough doesn’t stick to the coated paper and never touches the rolling pin with this method.

  • First, after placing the dough between the papers, flatten it with your palm.
  •  Then, roll the dough, keeping it between the two papers.
  •  When rolled to the size you want, remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use a cookie cutter to cut shapes.
  •  If the cut shape is too sticky to move to a pan, leave it on the parchment paper and remove the dough around it.
  •  Then, slide a cookie sheet under the bottom parchment paper and bake.
Pistachio Sugar Cookies

How to Store Pistachio Sugar Cookies

Store these cookies in an airtight container on the countertop. Or, keep them in the freezer for 2-3 months. Enjoy!

Pistachio Sugar Cookies

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Pistachio Sugar Cookies

Cut-out sugar cookies with pistachios
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 28 minutes
Course Anytime, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 60
Calories 83 kcal


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons + 1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) butter, melted
  • ¼ cup coarse ground sugar
  • a few drops of green food coloring (optional)


  • Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Then, stir in 6 tablespoons of pistachios and mix well.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts together until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and mix until just combined.
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture and stir to combine. Add the rest of the flour mixture and stir until well mixed. If using food coloring to tint the dough green, add it now and mix to combine.
  • With a spatula, shape the dough into a flattened disk and wrap it in plastic cling wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the dough is firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone mat.
  • Cut the chilled dough into 3 pieces. Rewrap 2 pieces and place them back in the refrigerator. Flour a work surface and also the top of the cookie dough. If using a wooden rolling pin, dust it with flour. (Alternatively, place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and then roll it.) Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch or 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out cookies.
  • Reshape and re-roll leftover dough after you cut out the first cookies. If the leftover dough becomes too soft to work with, place it in the refrigerator to use later. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
  • Repeat the process with the second piece of chilled dough. Finally, use the last piece of dough. If you have any leftover pieces of dough from earlier, add them to this last piece.
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Then, brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar and the leftover chopped pistachios. Move them to a cooling rack. Leftover cookies can frozen.


Chilling the Dough

To hasten the cooling of the cookie dough, place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
If the cookie dough is chilled too long, it can become difficult to roll out. If this happens, let it sit outside the refrigerator to soften until it is easier to roll.

Brushing Cookies with Butter

Always add the brushed butter after baking the cookies. The melted butter does not work well if added before the cookies bake because the dough chills the butter, and the toppings do not stick well.
Brush the butter and add toppings on only 2-3 cookies at a time so the cookies do not absorb the butter before you finish sprinkling on the sugar and pistachios.


If you roll the dough 1/4-inch thick, this recipe will yield around 60 cookies. For extra thin and crispy cookies, roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick to make more than 60 cookies.


Calories: 83kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 69mgPotassium: 25mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 126IUVitamin C: 0.04mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword Cookies, Pistachio, Pistachio Sugar Cookies
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