I call these pistachio drop cookies because they’re little drops of heaven! This is an easy cookie recipe prepared in 1 bowl with just 6 ingredients. Instead of artificial pistachio pudding mix, flavor these pistachio cookies with real pistachios and almond extract. Brown butter icing is optional, but it’s delicious and worth the extra few minutes!
Do you ever catch the baking itch, but don’t know what to make next? Try a pistachio dessert. Seriously! I bake pistachio desserts whenever March rolls around because spring excitement calls for something fresh. And the pastel green hue is a lovely bonus!
Last year, I shared my favorite Pistachio Cake and Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cookies. And I always make Pistachio Cupcakes this time of year. I love creating unique desserts with this underrated nut; pistachios are meant for sugar!
Why You Need to Bake Pistachio Cookies Now
Let us count the ways!
- 1 bowl recipe
- Astoundingly easy to make
- Only 6 ingredients
- Only 30 minutes chill time
- Bite-sized & adorable
- Crumbly & soft
- Made with real pistachios
- Topped with brown butter icing
And bonus: this is an egg-free cookie recipe.
Real Pistachio Flavor
These pistachio cookies are adapted from my beloved Snowball Cookies, a classic Christmas cookie recipe. I use toasted pecans in my snowballs recipe, but today we’re using pistachios and almond extract. I love using real flavors in pistachio desserts. Did you know that most pistachio cookies rely on artificial pistachio pudding mixes? The pudding mixes are great, but I love baking from scratch when I can. And I know you do too.
How to Make Pistachio Cookies
These are just like my cranberry spice cookies, too!
- The first step is to pulse or chop pistachios into very fine crumbs. A small food processor or chopper makes this step easier. Depending on your taste preference, use salted or unsalted pistachios. I love salty sweet flavor combinations, so I use salted.
- The next step is to beat room temperature butter until it’s creamy and smooth.
- Add confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners’ sugar sweetens the cookies and replaces some of the flour. The cookies dry out with too much flour.
- Add vanilla extract and almond extract, then add flour and pistachio crumbs. Most pistachio flavored ice cream gets its flavor from almond extract and it’s absolutely delicious in this easy cookie recipe. If desired, add a drop or 2 of green food coloring.
- Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes, then roll into balls.
- Bake until lightly browned, then top with the optional icing.
(LOL as if brown butter icing is ever optional.)
Brown Butter Icing… you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.
Though these pistachio cookies taste great on their own, they taste even better with brown butter icing. I fell in love with brown butter icing when I topped these pumpkin oatmeal cookies and this peach bundt cake. Brown butter icing belongs on everything, including a spoon on a trip to your mouth.
What is brown butter? Browning butter is a method of melting butter that gently cooks its milk solids. Brown butter is nutty, toasty, and caramel flavored. Browning butter takes no more than 6-8 minutes and elevates every single dessert it touches, including icing. Here’s my how to brown butter tutorial. By the way, have you tried my brown butter chocolate chip cookies? You’re in for a treat.
Simply whisk browned butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together until smooth. Dip each cookie into the icing or drizzle on top. Because butter is solid at room temperature, this brown butter icing sets after about 1 hour.
These are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made and I know you’ll happily agree. The ingredient list is short, the preparation is simple, and the flavor is unique. Fair warning: these bite-sized soft & crumbly cookies disappear quickly. 🙂
More Quick & Easy Cookie Recipes
- Lace Cookies
- Salted Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread
- Mini M&M Cookies
- Breakfast Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from my Snowball Cookies, these soft and crumbly Pistachio Cookies are made from REAL pistachios and topped with brown butter icing. The cookie dough is made from 6 easy ingredients and requires just 1 mixing bowl. There’s only 30 minutes of cookie dough chilling needed, making this a quick cookie recipe.
- 1 cup (130g) salted or unsalted pistachios (see note)
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- optional: 1-2 drops green food coloring (I used 1 drop of gel)
Brown Butter Icing (Optional)
- 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp; 60g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk or heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pulse pistachios in a food processor until small crumbs form. See photo above for a visual. You need 3/4 cup of very finely chopped pistachios. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract, then beat on medium-high speed until combined. Add the flour, 3/4 cup pistachio crumbs, and food coloring (if using) and beat on medium-high speed until combined. The dough may not come together at first, but keep mixing. The cookie dough will be thick.
- Cover the cookie dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 3 days. (If chilling for 2+ hours, let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling into balls. The cookie dough will be very stiff after being in the refrigerator that long.)
- Time-saving tip: prepare the brown butter icing (below) while cookie dough chills OR while cookies bake.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Roll the cookie dough into balls, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, and place dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. If the cookie dough is too crumbly, keep rolling and working it with your hands. The warmth of your hands will help bring it together.
- Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom edges and just barely browned on top, about 14-15 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack. Make sure cookies are cool to touch before dipping in icing.
- Brown Butter Icing: Slice the butter into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-6 minutes, the butter will begin browning and you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form and a nutty aroma. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool for 5 minutes. (The butter will eventually solidify, so don’t let it sit too long.) After 5 minutes, whisk in the rest of the icing ingredients until smooth. Add more confectioners’ sugar for a thicker texture, if desired. Likewise, add more milk to thin out if needed.
- Dip cookies in icing or drizzle on top. If coated lightly, the icing will set after 1-2 hours. Cover leftover iced cookies tightly and store at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Cookies without icing can sit covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Freeze baked cookies with or without icing for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough or cookie dough balls for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before baking.
- Pistachios: You need 3/4 cup of very finely chopped pistachios in this cookie dough. As instructed in step 1, begin with 1 cup of salted or unsalted pistachios– your choice, I recommend salted– and pulse them in a food processor until small crumbs form. See photo above for a visual. Only use 3/4 cup in the cookie dough because any more will make the cookies too crumbly. If you have extra, use as garnish on the icing or sprinkle over ice cream, cake, salad, and more!
- Confectioners’ Sugar: Use confectioners’ (powdered) sugar. Don’t use granulated sugar. The cookies will over-spread and have a granular texture.
- Light Colored Icing: The darker your brown butter, the darker the icing. I remove the brown butter from the stove right away, so it’s a lighter shade of yellow making the icing a lighter shade as well. I use heavy cream in the icing. It’s thicker than milk and will create a creamier, whiter icing.
Keywords: pistachios, pistachio cookies