These easy and delicious pistachio cranberry shortbread cookies are a holiday favourite! I love that they come together so quickly and keep well (and they freeze well, too, both baked or unbaked!)

pistachio and cranberry crusted shortbread cookies on rack

If you’re looking for another cookie to add to your holiday offerings, these are a favourite! With tender, buttery shortbread cookies, rolled in dried cranberries and pistachios, with a little coarse sugar for sparkle and crunch.

These are perfect for getting a head-start on your holiday baking, as you can freeze the crusted dough balls for up to 2 months.

Key ingredients and substitutions

Butter – these simple shortbread cookies will benefit from starting with good butter, so bust out the good stuff. You can use salted or unsalted butter. Simply adjust the added salt as noted in the Recipe Card.

Dried cranberries – sweetened, dried cranberries are recommended.

Pistachios – raw, unsalted pistachios are recommended, for the prettiest cookies, as the raw pistachios are a pretty green colour.

Coarse sugar – use coarse white sparkling sugar or coarse turbinado sugar for the prettiest cookies and a touch of crunch. In a pinch, regular white sugar can be used.

Step-by-step photos

dried cranberries and pistachios on cutting board
dried cranberries and pistachios after chopping and adding turbinado sugar
flour, cornstarch and salt in bowl with whisk
  1. Measure out the dried cranberries and raw pistachios on a cutting board.
  2. Finely chop the cranberries and pistachios and add the turbinado sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
butter and icing sugar and scraping down the bowl
the finished dough
dough removed to a bowl before chilling
  1. Beat the butter alone first, then add the icing sugar and beat some more, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  2. Mix in the vanilla, then add the flour mixture in 3 additions until combined. The finished dough will be moist and sticky.
  3. Remove the dough to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
crusted dough balls on baking sheet
flattening dough balls with the bottom of a measuring cup
flattened cookies before chilling and bakig
  1. Scoop out chilled dough, roll into balls and roll in the cranberry/pistachio mixture. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Use a 2″ diameter object to press the cookies out to 2″ diameter.
  3. Chill the flattened cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then bake.

Recipe tips

  • Be sure to chop the cranberries and pistachios quite finely, so they stick well to the cookie. If the coating doesn’t seem to be sticking well, roll the dough with slightly wet hands before coating.
  • Be sure to measure the flour with the spoon and level method or better yet, weigh it with a scale. If you scoop your flour from the bag, you may end up with dry, crumbly dough.
pistachio cranberry crusted shortbread cookies on rack

Making ahead, storing and freezing

Store cooled cookies in an airtight container, where they will keep well for about a week.

You can freeze the crusted, unbaked dough balls, too! Simply freeze on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag or container. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Flatten, then bake immediately, as directed.

For longer storage, wrap baked cookies well and freeze for up to 3 months.

pistachio and cranberry crusted shortbread cookies on rack

Get the Recipe: Pistachio Cranberry Crusted Shortbread

These easy and delicious pistachio and cranberry crusted shortbread cookies are a holiday favourite!
5 stars from 1 rating
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time:: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 30 cookies


  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw, unsalted pistachios, shelled, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Coarse or turbinado sugar
  • 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour, spooned and levelled
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 2/3 cups (380 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (108 g) icing/confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Measure out the dried cranberries and pistachios on a cutting board. Finely chop, then stir in the turbinado sugar. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running on low, sift in the icing sugar and mix until well combined.
  • Add the vanilla to the bowl and mix in. Increase the mixing speed to medium-high and beat the mixture until very light, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix in just until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture in two additions, mixing until combined each time.
  • Remove the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Tip! I place all the cookies on one baking sheet to start, so only one baking sheet has to go into the refrigerator. When they have chilled for 15 minutes, I remove half the cookies to the 2nd baking sheet and bake that one off, leaving the remaining cookies and the other baking sheet in the refrigerator to bake when the first batch is done.
  • Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator. Using a small scoop, scoop rounded Tablespoon of the dough and roll into balls. Roll the balls in the bowl with the cranberry/pistachio mixture and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing the balls of dough about 2" apart.
  • Find something in your kitchen that has a bottom about 2" diameter (a glass, dry measuring cup etc). Use the object to press the balls of dough down evenly, just until they are 2" in diameter (until the dough expands out to the edge of the 2" pressing object).
  • Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325F (regular bake/not fan assisted)
  • Bake chilled cookies 2" apart on the baking sheet for 15-18 minutes, or until pale golden. Let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheets before storing in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freezing for up to 2 months.


Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making these cookies. You’ll also find step-by-step photos there, that you might find useful.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Dessert
Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 169kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 31mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 321IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 1mg
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