Pistachio Drop Cookies

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!

Pistachio cookies

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!

Pistachio cookies

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.

Pistachio cookie dough

Pistachio drop cookie dough

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

  1. 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.
  2. The next step is to beat room temperature butter until it’s creamy and smooth.
  3. Add confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners’ sugar sweetens the cookies and replaces some of the flour. The cookies dry out with too much flour.
  4. 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.
  5. Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes, then roll into balls.
  6. Bake until lightly browned, then top with the optional icing.

(LOL as if brown butter icing is ever optional.)

Brown butter icing

Pistachio drop cookies

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. 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.

Pistachio cookies

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

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Pistachio cookies

Pistachio Drop Cookies

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 3 dozen
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Time-saving tip: prepare the brown butter icing (below) while cookie dough chills OR while cookies bake.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom edges and just barely browned on top, about 14-15 minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. Confectioners’ Sugar: Use confectioners’ (powdered) sugar. Don’t use granulated sugar. The cookies will over-spread and have a granular texture.
  4. 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

109 Comments

  1. Umm, these sound AMAZING! I will definitely be picking up a bag of pistachios on my next trip to Costco and making these!!
    I read the italicized writing on the top of the page and was thinking the whole time I read the blog post “Sally when are you going to stop calling browned butter icing optional?” then got to the end of step 6 where you said “lol is brown butter icing ever optional?”

  2. i looove pistachio’s 😀 Its one of my fave ice cream flavours. This recipe looks great. Will be trying this out for sure. I have a friend who is vegan so could I easily sub in vegan butter for the unsalted butter. Will it make a huge difference in the taste/texture of the cookie? Any advice/thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Sameena! I wish I could help on this one, but I have little experience baking with vegan butter. Plenty of readers have subbed it into my recipes with zero problem, so let me know how these turn out with it. Solid coconut oil is great option too.

  3. I agree with you pistachio is such an underrated flavor. I don’t like using the pudding mixes either. I feel like almost every pistachio muffin recipe has it. These look so delicious and by the looks of the size easy to eat and probably VERY addictive. I can’t wait to make them. Plus I love that they’re green. Perfect for St Patrick’s Day and Spring, whenever that decided to show up 🙂

  4. These sound delicious! We love pistachios, I can’t eat chocolate so these are perfect for me. I am going to pick up some salted pistachios today and make the cookies. I made your blueberry muffin bread recipe yesterday, my husband loved it.

    1. Oh wonderful! I’m so happy you’ll be trying these 🙂 Glad your husband loved the blueberry muffin bread!

  5. I love pistachio crushed into cheesecake crust, it’s the best thing ever. These cookies are perfect for St Patrick’s Day. I have a work competition next week Friday, I think I will make these. Do you have a recipe planned for St Patrick’s Day this year? The guinness brownies from last year were a hit!

  6. Oh god, it looks so delicious! My family comes this weekend, and now i know what i gonna make for them. Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Oh YUM!!!! I love allllll of the pistachio recipes on your blog. I made your cake last year for St Patricks Day and did it naked-style so the lovely green would show, and I think I will make these as a St Patty’s day treat this year 🙂 Question for you- does this type of dough lend itself to being rolled out and cut with a shamrock cookie cutter? Or is it more the type that you roll into balls?

    1. Hi Angela! This is a great question and without the presence of egg, it really won’t stay intact for rolling out. Much too crumbly. You can, however, use my sugar cookies. Try *slightly* reducing the flour and adding some finely chopped pistachio crumbs.

      1. I made these and rolled and cut them into shamrocks. They turned out great and the dough was easy to work with.

  8. These sound delicious! I was wondering if you used the optional 1 or 2 drops of green food colouring in the ones we see here?

  9. Hi Sally, these look amazing!! I love that you develop recipes from scratch and without gross pudding mixes 🙂 one question, do you have a good recipe for a homemade dry cake mix? I really want to make your cake batter cookies and when I went to pick up a boxed cake mix to use I looked at the ingredients and…I just couldn’t do it!!! If you have any thoughts I would love to know what you would do to make those cookies truly from scratch!! Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks Katie! I know what you mean about cake mix but I figure there’s only 1 and 1/4 cups in the whole recipe for Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies, which makes a ton of cookies. But if you want to skip it completely, I have a version in my cookbook Sally’s Cookie Addiction that doesn’t use cake mix at all. Unfortunately, I don’t have a “homemade cake mix” recipe that translates nicely into recipes like that.

  10. HI Sally….have enjoyed using your recipes. The lemon layer cake was a huge hit. I would like to make the pistachio cookies but was wondering if shelled pistachios are available at the grocery store. Thank you for your help.

  11. Is it okay If I don’t do the icing, they look so appealing with it but am trying to cut back a bit on sugar when possible :(. Would they still be really good without it?

  12. I appreciate that you use real ingredients and bake from scratch! I feel so much better knowing exactly what’s in my food.

    1. I’m so happy to read this! I LOVE baking with real ingredients from scratch and am thrilled my readers love this approach, too 🙂

  13. Hi Sally!!
    These pistachio cookies look amazing!! I will definitely be making them for my brother when he comes to visit in May. He is a pistachio freak. I made your pistachio cake last year for a friend’s birthday & it is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten!!
    Having coffee with a slice of your blueberry muffin bread as I type this. SO good!!

    1. Thank you so much! I hope your brother enjoys these- maybe you’ll have to do a test batch before he comes 😉 Happy baking!

  14. Do you have a weight of the chopped pistachios you ended up using (90ish grams?)? I’d like to blitz them with a small portion of the confectioners’ sugar/flour so I can get them fine, but not turn into a paste.

    These sound crazy delicious with the brown butter glaze!

  15. Hi Sally, I’m trying to print out the recipes from the Pistacio cookies from today & the Blueberry bread from yesterday. Want to try them both but when I click to print I have the photo & then a blank page. Has the Print page changed ?
    I’ve never had trouble printing out your recipes before.
    Thank You.

    1. Hi Joannie! Sorry for the trouble. Let me look into that for you. I know we have some recipe card updates going live today.

  16. These are so pretty!! I love pistachios and can’t wait to make these for an afternoon tea party. I love all your recipes Sally and would love to see you do a blog post for hosting an afternoon tea – petite cookies such as this one, little finger sandwiches and such. 🙂

  17. These look so cute, Sally! I was wondering whether or not I could substitute almond flour for the pistachios for an almond cookie? Do you think that could work? Are there any adjustments I should make to the recipe if I used almond flour? Thanks!

    1. I really can’t say without testing things myself! I’d sure substituting some almond flour for the all-purpose will be just fine. Let me know what you end up testing!

  18. I formed the dough into balls and stored in the fridge so I can bake it after work tomorrow. How long should it sit at room temp for before I bake it?

  19. Ohh you weren’t kidding when you said these disappear quickly! I only had enough ingredients t to make a 1/4 of a batch and theres only 3 left! So yummy!!! Thanks, Sally!!

  20. Hi Sally

    Planning to make this recipe for my daughter for her Disney trip with her school. Can I use roasted Pistachios or do I need to use raw ones ?

  21. I made these and they were delicious. My butter browned nicely but it looked like a chocolate frosting, not a white frosting. Yours looked so much better.

  22. Just made these today!! Very easy recipe and first time with brown butter icing. Cookie super delicious! I love that they are bite size and so many!! Thanks once again!!!

  23. I made these today. The recipe is very easy to work with. They are delicious. I put some in the freezer.

  24. These were amazing!! I love your website. Everything I’ve made turns out delicious. Thank you for the recipes!!

  25. These cookies have a wonderful pistachio flavor. The almond extract is essential in this recipe!! Thank you for your great recipes week after week. You’ve made many of my friends/family/coworkers very happy with your recipes , and these pistachio cookies are fantastic. Thank you!!!

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