Raspberry Pistachio Linzer Cookies

We have a classic beauty on today’s menu: linzer cookies. These soft, stunning raspberry pistachio linzer cookies are a little salty and a little sweet, and they always leave a lasting impression. The beautiful sandwich cookies taste best on day 2, so they’re a wonderful make-ahead holiday cookie option! Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to make.

stack of raspberry pistachio linzer cookies

What are Linzer Cookies?

Linzer cookies are traditionally made from a nutty almond-based cookie dough, but for this recipe, we’re using pistachios. The dough is rolled out, cut into shapes, and baked…just like sugar cookies. Then the cookies are finished with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar, and sandwiched together with sweet jam. These festive, stained glass window-esque cookies are easily some of the prettiest cookies around, especially on holiday cookie trays.

Fun fact: Linzer cookies originate from an Austrian treat called linzertorte, a type of pastry filled with a fruit preserve and topped with a lattice design.


Tell Me About These Raspberry Pistachio Linzer Cookies

  • Texture: They’re nutty, deliciously textured, and oh so good. Linzers are crunchy right out of the oven, but after sandwiching jam in the center, they begin to soften. The magic happens on day 2 when the jam settles into the cookies making the whole sandwich tender, soft, and deliciously crumbly. Without question, they taste BEST when made ahead of time.
  • Flavor: Trust me when I tell you that they taste even better than they look. Salty pistachios pair perfectly with sweet brown sugar, jam, and spices, resulting in a remarkably flavorful and delicious cookie. Moreover, they’re totally customizable – simply use your favorite jam and cookie cutters.
  • Ease: They’re stunning yet deceptively easy to make! You’ll need to make the dough and chill it for some time, then roll out the dough, cut them into shape, and bake. Once cooled, you simply dust the “donut” cookie with confectioners’ sugar, spread jam onto the base cookie, and sandwich them. 
  • Time: While these cookies are simple to make, they do require some time and planning. In addition to the preparation of the dough and the baking, you’ll need to chill them for at least 3 hours and then allow them to sit at room temperature for another half hour, so they require about 4 and 1/2 hours in total. 
  • Make-ahead option: If you want to save time, consider whipping up a batch of dough in advance and storing it in the freezer (see Recipe Notes). When you’re ready to bake, simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

You may also want to check out my favorite traditional linzer cookie recipe in Sally’s Cookie Addiction if you have a copy.

overhead image of raspberry pistachio linzer cookies

Overview: How to Make Raspberry-Pistachio Linzer Cookies

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it so you understand each step before you get started.

Before you begin, be sure to have 3 bowls ready:

  • 1st bowl = ground pistachios + brown sugar
  • 2nd bowl = dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt
  • 3rd bowl = wet ingredients like butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla
  1. Pulse the pistachios and half of the brown sugar into a fine crumb. Use a food processor for this step.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. Cream the wet ingredients together. You’ll use the remaining half of the brown sugar in this step.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and pistachio mixture to the wet ingredients. The dough will be crumbly at first, but it comes together after a couple minutes of mixing.
  5. Divide and chill the cookie dough. Divide the dough half, flatten them into discs, and tightly wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Without chilling, the dough is impossible to roll out and the cookies will spread into a massive mess on your baking sheet.
  6. Roll out the cookie dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disc of cookie dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into discs. Reroll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all of the dough is used. Repeat this process with the second disc of dough. You’ll have about 64 discs.
  7. Cut a hole into the center of half of the discs. We’ll call them “donut cookies” because of that center hole. If you like, reroll the scraps of dough to make a couple more cookies. 
  8. Bake. Bake the whole cookies and “donut” cookies on separate baking sheets. The donut cookies take a minute less because of their smaller surface area.
  9. Dust the “donut cookies” with confectioners’ sugar.
  10. Fill with jam, then sandwich. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of jam on each whole cookie. Top each with a donut cookie and press down gently to create a cookie sandwich.

pistachios ground up in a food processor

wet ingredients for linzer cookie dough in a glass bowl, dry ingredients in a glass bowl, and pistachios in a food processor

Look at this gorgeous dough:

2 images of pistachio linzer cookie dough on a paddle attachment and in 2 discs wrapped in plastic wrap

Favorite Cookie Cutters to Use

Linzer cookies can be cut into any shape, but I love them with scalloped edges. You’ll need 2 cookie cutters: one cookie cutter that is 2 inches in diameter and another that’s 1 inch. (I used these fluted-edge cookie cutters.) I always make a round center hole, but it looks just as lovely with a little heart, star, or diamond shape.

All the cookies will be cut with the 2-inch cookie cutter, but only HALF will be cut again into a “donut” cookie. (That’s what I call the cookies with holes in the center.)

rolled out linzer cookie dough with round cookie cut outs and a circle cookie cutter

linzer cookie dough on a baking sheet before baking

linzer cookie dough with centers cut out on a baking sheet before baking

Fillings for Linzer Cookies Filling

I chose raspberry jam, but honestly…any flavor works. Apricot jam or even lemon curd makes a delicious flavor combination with pistachio. Or replace the pistachios with hazelnuts and fill with Nutella.

2 images of top donut shaped cookies for linzer cookie sandwiches including the cookies on a baking sheet and hands placing a cookie on top of the bottom cookie to make a sandwich

stack of raspberry pistachio linzer cookies

Raspberry Pistachio Linzer Cookies Video Tutorial

Let’s watch how these beautiful cookies are made:

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overhead image of raspberry pistachio linzer cookies

Raspberry Pistachio Linzer Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 32 sandwiches
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Austrian

Description

Soft, a little salty, and sweet pistachio linzer cookies filled with delicious raspberry jam! 


Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (65g) shelled pistachios*
  • 2/3 cup (135g) packed light or dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for rolling out
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 240g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (160g) raspberry jam or jelly (or any flavor!)
  • 2 Tablespoons (16g) confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Place the pistachios and 1/3 cup (67g) brown sugar in a food processor. Pulse into a very fine crumb. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and remaining 1/3 cup (67g) brown sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  4. Add the flour mixture AND the ground pistachio mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. It will be crumbly at first, but will come together after a couple minutes of mixing.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, gently flatten into discs, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill the discs in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (and up to 4 days). If chilling for longer than 3 hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling because the dough will be quite hard.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  7. Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. The dough may become sticky as you work, so keep extra flour nearby to use as needed. Alternatively, the dough may crack when rolling out. Wait a few minutes for it to soften back up. The more you work with it, the softer (and easier to work with) it will become. Roll out the disc until 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round or fluted cookie cutter, cut dough into circles. Reroll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with the second disc of dough. You should have about 64 circles.
  8. Using a 1-inch round or fluted cookie cutter, cut a hole into the center of 32 of the circles. Let’s call these 32 cookies the “donut cookies” because of that center hole.
  9. Arrange the whole circles and the donut cookies 2 inches apart and on separate baking sheets (because the donut cookies take 1 less minute to bake).
  10. Bake the whole circles for about 11 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges, and bake the donut cookies for about 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through the bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Dust the “donut cookies” with confectioners’ sugar, then transfer all of the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.
  11. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of jam on each whole cookie. Carefully top each with a donut cookie and press down gently to create a cookie sandwich.
  12. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (see step 5), but you can also freeze it for up to 3 months. If you opt for the latter, allow the dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before rolling out in step 7. Cookies freeze well for up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Food Processor, Measuring Cups, Glass Mixing Bowls, Fluted Edge Round Cookie Cutters, Silpat Baking Mat, Baking Sheet, and Cooling Rack
  3. Pistachios: You can use salted or unsalted pistachios. I prefer to use salted for a sweet/salty flavor.
  4. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: raspberry pistachio linzer cookies, linzer cookies

27 Comments

  1. Angie Poellinger says:

    I made these and they turned out pretty well. I thought they might get bigger during cooking. Maybe because my baking powder was old, that didn’t happen. Flavor was very good. Thanks!

    1. They should hold their shape while baking so sounds like you did everything right 🙂

  2. MAN ALIVE, these are good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Nutella/ Hazelnut version did NOT disappoint. Also, your Rugelach recipe is divine. My mind is already running wild with Savory ideas! That dough is incredible, it tastes like it is so hard/ complicated to make but my love (my food processor) did all of the work this weekend. I know you saw on IG but I am beyond thrilled with how all of my cookies came out this weekend, and 4 of the 5 recipes I used were yours! The only one I already had was my grandmother’s Pizzelle recipe <3 thank you so much for giving me all of the help and guidance I needed to create beautiful holiday cookies. I cannot wait to share them over the holidays. Well done you!

    1. This makes me so happy – and totally convinced me to use Nutella next time! Let me know what savory rugelach recipes you come up with! Happy holidays 🙂

  3. Hey Sally, weird question, but I like a “lighter colored” linzer cookie. I assume these are dark because of the brown sugar and cinnamon use. Im also curious if those flavors overpower the delicate pistachio flavor. Would you suggest changes for a lighter color and more pronounced pistachio flavor? 

    Ps i havent made these yet, so the flavor could be spot on, just curious! 

    1. I find that you can still taste the pistachio, however, feel free to switch to granulated sugar and leave out the cinnamon (or reduce the cinnamon). 🙂

  4. Made these last night and they are delicious! I baked the little extra “donut cookie” punch outs for 6 minutes in the oven and they were amazing on there own!

  5. Can I substitute almond flour for the pistachio?

    1. Hi Ashley. I don’t suggest it– instead, you’ll want to crush down almonds to get the proper texture. (Like you do with pistachios in this recipe.) Almond flour is a little too fine and will dry out the dough.

  6. Hi Sally,

    Would I be able to substitute almonds for the pistachios? if so, would the amounts be equivalent?

    P.S. I love all your recipes. Your blog is definitely my go to spot for new recipes!!

    1. Hi Cathleen! You can crush down whole almonds instead of pistachios, yes! Thank you so much for trusting my blog for recipes. Appreciate it so much.

  7. I made these two days ago and they are sooooooo good, can’t stop eating them ☺️

  8. Caroline Kaufmann says:

    Hi Sally, I am making these today and am wondering if it matters whether the pistachios are raw or roasted. I have raw, unsalted nuts and roasted, salted nuts and am wondering which ones to use. Or should use a mix of both? Thank you!

    1. Doesn’t matter at all! I’ve used them all– raw, salted, roasted, unsalted. You’ll just get a little added flavor if using roasted and/or salted.

  9. I made these this past year as part of my Christmas cookies present collection. And honestly Sally, thank you and bless you! These are probably hands down the best cookie I’ve ever tasted and made. I had to make them again this past weekend because I’ve missed them so much! They are so soft and melt in your mouth delicious. So full of delicious flavor! Thank you for creating this recipe! You are a true genius in the kitchen!

  10. Great recipe! So easy to follow and turns out exactly as written! Have made it twice now and gotten so many compliments. The cookies are melt in your mouth and taste better as they age! Def recommend!

  11. Possibly a dumb question….I don’t have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Just a regular handheld mixer. Will that be ok to use? Every Linzer recipe I’ve seen calls for the paddle attachment.

    1. A handheld mixer with the beaters is completely fine!

  12. Sarah Salvatore says:

    Hi there,

    I’m so excited to add these to my Christmas cookie list!

    Two questions:
    1. Would you recommend adding any amount of salt if the pistachios aren’t salted?
    2. Could I use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar?

    Thanks you!

    1. I have used unsalted pistachios and still love the cookies, but you can certainly add a bit if you wish! I have not tested this recipe with coconut sugar so I’m unsure how this would alter the recipe. Let me know if you try ti!

  13. Eileen McGarry says:

    There are special Linzer cookie cutter sets that come with 2 cutters – 1 for the bottom and 1 for the top. The top one has an insert for different interchangeable designs that will b be punched in instead of just a hole. I have a Wilson Christmas set I’ve used for several years that includes angel, pine tree, candy cane, and many pointed star, as well as a hole. They work really well and have not broken or rusted. They have other sets with other designs and there are also other manufacturers that make them. The cookies are just beautiful.

  14. Hi! This probably is a dumb question.. so I measure 2/3 cup of shelled pistachios, then take the shells off and food process them down? Im planning to make these for a family party and want to get them right! These looks delicious!

  15. I love your recipes! Your tips and tricks are the best! I own a home bakery and always tweak recipes to make them my own, but I always look to your recipes as a jumping off point. I look forward to trying this one.

  16. I just made some with almond flour and they are fab!! I love ground nuts in cookies, ever since tasting some at my friend’s house in the 80’s. Her family was from Slovakia….I will try to pistachio another day…just getting by with what I had to hand. I love your recipes as a matter of fact.

  17. These were a great hit. Linzers are my MIL’s favorite cookies and she loved them! I gave a 4 rather than a 5 because I prefer liners with other kinds of nut flours. But the pistachios were a fun twist!

  18. I love these cookies. I used heart cookie cutters for Valentine’s Day and they really turned out cute. They weren’t as “fussy” to make as I thought they might be. Will do again. I got 24 sandwich cookies + 8 small hearts that were the donut hole cut outs.

  19. Made these yesterday for my dad, and he loves them!

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