Salted Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread

overhead image of pistachio shortbread triangles with the ends dunked into dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and crushed pistachios

It’s the end of the week and I saved the CHOCOLATE for last.

Happy freakin’ Friday.

hands dunking pistachio shortbread into melted dark chocolate in a glass measuring cup

Though can I admit that I’m more excited about the pistachios and buttery shortbread here? They’re the spotlight in these golden triangles. But before we get to all that, a big giant YAY is in order. This is recipe #5 in our 2016 Christmas cookie palooza! We’re halfway through at this point and our ovens haven’t gotten a rest. Butter has been flying out of our refrigerators quicker than you can say holly jolly Christmas. And nothing is slowing down. This is the first weekend of December, so you better have some cookie baking on your to-do list!!

And I highly suggest adding shortbread to your weekend agenda. 4 reasons why:

  1. butter
  2. sugar
  3. flour
  4. salt

Ahh, the good things in life. Ok actually, those 4 items are what make up shortbread– they’re the building blocks. I’m positive you have each of them in your house right now. Go check. I’ll wait. While you’re in there, grab some coffee. We have shortbread to chat about.

shortbread dough in a glass stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment

Basic shortbread is not fussy or complex– rather, it’s quite pure and simple. Buttery and sweet and, in today’s case, crisp and tender. Shortbread is uncluttered and straightforward. It’s delicious. But if you’re the kind of person who can’t leave things alone (hi.), shortbread is your chance to go a little wild. It IS the holiday season, after all. And shortbread is the best blank slate for many different flavors, drizzles, dunks, chunks, and more.

Today’s shortbread begins in our mixing bowls with butter. We’ll cream it and add some sugar. I like a little extra flavor, so I subbed in 1/4 cup of light brown sugar for some of the sugar. I know you’ve got that on hand too. After the butter and sugars are creamed (pictured above), we’ll add vanilla, flour, and salt.

Oh! And I haven’t even mentioned the best part of all yet: this is all made in ONE BOWL. And NO CHILLING. A truly effortless recipe. Respect, shortbread. Respect.

2 images of pistachios in a food processor

Actually, the best best part about all this are the Diamond of California pistachios. They get all toasty inside the dough when it bakes! Combined with buttery vanilla shortbread, salt, and chocolate? Holly jolly Christmas indeed.

We’ll chop them up real fine before adding to the shortbread dough– and a food processor immensely helps with this step.

2 images of shortbread cookie dough in a glass bowl and hands pressing shortbread dough into a cake pan lined with parchment paper

The shortbread dough is crumbly. But don’t fret, that’s what you want. Press it into two lined 9-inch cake pans. We’ll cut the baked shortbread into wedges like a pizza.

A… butter pizza.

pistachio shortbread cut into triangles

Absolutely nothing compares to the distinct smell of shortbread baking.

Now this is the holidays, people!

overhead image of pistachio shortbread triangles with the ends dunked into dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and crushed pistachios

We’ll dress up the shortbread with melted chocolate, more Diamond of California chopped pistachios ♥ and a sprinkle of sea salt. So let’s really think about what you’ll get in just one of these shortbread wedges:

  1. buttery and sweet
  2. a little brown sugar and vanilla
  3. toasty pistachios
  4. crunchy sea salt
  5. a whole mess of chocolate

Shortbread upgrade.

slices of salted chocolate pistachio shortbread on a silver plate

Weekend upgrade.

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overhead image of pistachio shortbread triangles with the ends dunked into dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and crushed pistachios

Salted Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


With just a few ingredients, you can turn traditional shortbread into this salted chocolate pistachio shortbread. An easy one bowl dessert recipe!


  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/4 (280g) cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 cup (100g) finely chopped pistachios, divided*
  • 8 ounces (226g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • optional: sea salt for sprinkling on top


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper leaving enough overhang around the sides to easily lift shortbread out. (Parchment is used so you can easily remove the shortbread and not cut it while it’s in the pan.)
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla, salt, and flour and beat on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed as the mixture combines. Add 2/3 cup of the finely chopped pistachios, reserving the rest for sprinkling on top of the chocolate. Dough will be very crumbly.
  3. Press 1/2 of the dough into each of the prepared cake pans. You want it nice and compact in each pan.
  4. Bake the shortbread for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top and around the edges.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the shortbread from the pans by picking it up with the parchment paper on the sides. Cut each into 12 wedges. You want to make sure you cut the shortbread while it’s still warm. Allow to cool completely on the parchment before dipping into chocolate.
  6. Melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave in 20 second increments, stopping and stirring after each until completely smooth. Dip the shortbread ends into chocolate and sprinkle with remaining chopped pistachios and sea salt. Allow chocolate to completely set.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Shortbread stays fresh covered at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can make the shortbread dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 3. Baked shortbread freezes well for up to 3 months. Unbaked shortbread dough freezes well for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before continuing with step 3.
  2. Special Tools: Ninja Blender | Cuisinart Food Processor | KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Flex Edge Beater | Pyrex Glass Measuring CupCake Pans
  3. Chopped Pistachios: I suggest a food processor to grind up those pistachios nice and fine. I used my Ninja (love this!).

Keywords: pistachio shortbread, shortbread

See all cookie palooza recipes.

cookie palooza logo image


  1. forgot to mention I doubled the recipe and put it in a jelly roll pan had to add 10 mins to the baking time but they turned out awesome

  2. I made these exactly as written and they were a huge hit at my office party. I tempered the chocolate for a little extra shine. They looked beautiful. Would definitely make again.

    1. I’m so happy they were such a hit, Kate!

  3. Melanie Gomez says:

    I just wanted to say Sally that I have to be your number one cookie fan I have researched thousands of cookie recipes on the internet and Facebook place you can think of and year recipes are by far the best there is you are so awesome and I would not change a thing I love how you put so much compassion and hard work into every experiment you do happy holidays to you Sally and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  4. Melanie Gomez says:

    One more thing Sally my kids would like me to thank you also their favorite is definitely your chocolate chip cookie recipe I cannot make enough of those around the holidays I believe I might be on my tenth dozen chocolate chip cookies you rock ☺️

  5. Martha Amador says:

    Hi sally! I have these baking as we speak. I also would like to know if I can make this recipe as cookies? To fill them in with homemade dulce de le he sandwiches

    1. Hi Martha! I don’t recommend baking as drop cookies, but I suggest using this cookie dough for slice and bake style cookies, like these.

  6. Haven’t even dipped these in the chocolate yet….My husband and I are just eating a couple as they cool…DELISH. Making these forever. Merry Christmas from Florida!

  7. Connie Attanasio says:

    I bought salted pistachios, should I omit the salt in the recipe?

    1. Hi Connie! If you like salty/sweet, leave the recipe as written using salted pistachios. But for a less salty treat, you can reduce the added salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

  8. I made these for my boyfriend for Valentines Day, he loves pistachios and they are amazing! So easy and so yummy! He usually leaves the treats I make for him at my house to have when he’s over but these he took with him! Probably because I was eating too many, lol! I used salted pistachios, as they were all I could find shelled, and used a little less salt as you said I could. I also drizzled the chocolate on because I didn’t have enough chocolate to dip them, but they were still so good! Thanks for another great recipe!

  9. I used too much salt, I think, for others to enjoy. What type of salt do you suggest, how much, and how do you advise applying it?

    1. Hi Marsha, for the optional salt on the top I use sea salt – just a pinch sprinkled on top in step 6.

  10. Hi Sally,
    Am planning to bake these soon and pack them into bottles as give aways. Am concerned though, that the chocolate might melt and stick the cookies together. Any tips on preventing this?
    Much thanks:)

    1. Hi Shanta! If you keep the packages in the refrigerator before gifting, the chocolate shouldn’t stick. And unless it’s very hot and humid weather, the chocolate shouldn’t stick even at room temperature.

      1. Thanks Sally, guess I’ll have to think up some way to tweak this then. Even refrigerated, they’re bound to stick when I transport them. I live in the tropics

  11. Hi Sally, can i replace the pistachios with another nut or none?

    1. Absolutely! Try walnuts or pecans or simply leave out the nuts all together.

  12. Yeah! I had been baking these things that took hours to complete. I needed something that was just a bit different and pretty to gift for the holidays. These are PERFECT! They look really pretty in cellophane bags too. Mind weren’t as crumbly as your pictures above but they are delicious! Just a bit of chew and buttery like a shortbread should be.

    Officially in my holiday rotation!

  13. Hi I just read your pecan shortbread recipe and noticed that it had about 1/2 cup more sugar compared to this pistachio shortbread recipe. Was wondering why is this so and what difference does it make?

    1. Hi Jocelyn! They are simply different recipes. This shortbread doesn’t need as much dry ingredients since we’re baking it in cake pans– the dough can remain a little moister. Additionally, these get a nice dunk into chocolate, which keeps them plenty sweet too. I hope this helps.

  14. Thanks for replying! Will try one of these recipes soon! 🙂

  15. I was a little hesitant to make these when I saw brown sugar in the recipe because I like a traditional shortbread. But I went for it and I’m so glad I did! The brown sugar creates a divine, toffee-like flavor and makes them a little bit softer than a traditional shortbread. I also added a little bit of almond extract in addition to the vanilla! Love that these are one bowl and no chill, will definitely make again!

  16. Kim Goldfeder Clarke says:

    Being a lover of pistachio and chocolate, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate them into various desserts. Since I’m a fan of Sally’s Baking Addiction and every recipe I’ve attempted from this site has been a real winner, I decided to give this one a go. In a word: DELICIOUS! The texture has just the right amount of crumb and chew and the addition of the dipped Ghirardelli chocolate and sprinkled pistachios on top makes it a very charming-looking cookie. I would highly recommend this shortbread and will definitely be keeping it in my rotating repertoire! Thanks again, Sally, for a wonderful recipe! Keep up the excellent work. You’re a master of the art of baking. All the best,
    Kim (aka Ya Mom’s in the Kitchen)

  17. What an EASY dessert! So easy to make yet so fancy looking and special to enjoy on your own or to give as a gift. I think this is a new holiday favorite for us. I bought salted pistachios so i rinsed them and laid them out on a sheet pan to air dry. That worked great for me. They turned out delicious.

  18. I love the sound of this recipe but would like different shapes – does this do well baked in a square pan (to cut into fingers) or a half sheet pan? Or, how about if I do mini balls, freeze and then bake them up? Would that work or would there be too much spread? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Faye, you can use dough in a square baking pan and cut into rectangles or squares. I haven’t tried the dough rolled into balls for fear they would over-spread.

  19. Can I use lightly salted pitachios and not add salt to dough or half the amount of salt?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Donna, If you like salty/sweet, leave the recipe as written using salted pistachios. But for a less salty treat, you can reduce the added salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

  20. Hi Sally. Just finished baking your peppermint bark cookies and thinking of these next. Is it possible to bake these in a springform pan? That’s the only round one I have. If not, I’ll make them rectangular, but I love the triangular shape.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shana, Yes you can use two 9-inch springform pans instead. Enjoy!

  21. Hi Sally,

    Could I mould these individually into different cookie cutter shapes and bake like that or will they spread too much?
    Thank you

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chloe, we wouldn’t recommend using cookie cutters for this one — they will spread too much. Hope you’ll still give them a try!

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