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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

This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I work on a handful of new Christmas cookie recipes and publish the 10 best ones for readers to enjoy! You can browse dozens of recipes on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page. Get ready for butter to fly out of your refrigerator quicker than you can say holly jolly Christmas. 🙂 Now let’s tuck away the pie crust tools and break out the cookie baking tools!

Let’s Make Pistachio Shortbread Wedges!

Basic shortbread isn’t fussy or complicated– rather, it’s pure, simple, and downright dreamy. Shortbread is buttery and mildly sweet and sometimes, like in today’s case, crisp and tender. Though shortbread is typically made with just butter, sugar, flour, and sometimes salt– if you’re the type of person who can’t leave things alone, it’s also your chance to have a little fun.

Shortbread is the best blank slate for many different flavors, drizzles, dunks, chunks, and more. You can find many flavor variations with my wedge-shaped shortbread cookies or try today’s variation with pistachios, semi-sweet chocolate, and sea salt.

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

Today’s shortbread begins in our mixing bowls with butter. We’ll cream it and add granulated sugar as well as a little brown sugar for flavor. After the butter and sugars are creamed (pictured above), we’ll add vanilla, flour, and salt.

The recipe is quite similar to these pistachio drop cookies. In that recipe, you use confectioners’ sugar which helps add stability and structure so the drop cookies do not over-spread. We don’t have to worry about overspreading in today’s cookie recipe because we’re baking the dough in cake pans.

And the best parts of all: the dough comes together in ONE BOWL and there’s NO DOUGH CHILLING. Chocolate pistachio shortbread is truly an effortless recipe!

2 images of pistachios in a food processor

Actually, the best best part about all this are the pistachios. They get all toasty inside the dough when it bakes! Finely chop the nuts before adding to the cookie dough– a food processor immensely helps with the chopping 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

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 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

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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 1x
  • 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 (281g) 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.

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. 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. 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!

  2. These are awesome. More importantly, the explanation, tips and accurate measurements makes you feel confident to try. Best part is my lil one bakes it. She says her recipes are easy to follow n can’t fail with any.

    1. Should I let the chocolate set at room temperature or in the fridge? I usually let things like this set in the fridge but would doing so change the texture of the cookie?

      1. Hi Amanda, we typically let the chocolate set at room temperature, but you could pop them in the fridge to speed up the process a bit.

  3. Hi Sally,

    I only have 10in cake pans. Would that still work? Or does it need some adjustment? Thank you!

    1. Hi Sarah, if using a 10 inch pan, the shortbread will be a bit thinner. Bake time should also be a little less, so keep a close eye on them. Enjoy!

  4. Hi Sally,
    All the stores near me are out of pistachios :(. Would almonds work here?

    1. Hi Jaimi, Absolutely! The flavor and texture of the actual shortbread won’t change and it’s wonderful with different chopped nuts like cashews, almonds, pecans, or walnuts.

  5. Hi Sally, would this recipe work if the dough was formed into a log as a slice and bake??

    1. Hi Lynn, We haven’t tried this dough as a slice and bake cookie but we fear that the dough will be too hard and crumbly to slice through without an egg. You can give it a try OR bake any of our slice and bake cookie varieties instead:
      Santa’s Whiskers Cookies (almond, cherry, coconut)
      Toasted Hazelnut Slice and Bake Cookies
      Sprinkle Slice and Bake Cookies
      Dark Chocolate Orange Slice and Bake Cookies
      Salted Pistachio Chocolate Slice and Bake Cookies

  6. These are so **** good! New Christmas Fav. I will certainly be making these again. Great by themselves, and with coffee. I did a quick temper on the chocolate just to get a bit more crunch. These are going quick!

  7. Yummy, but the crust edge was too crumbly. I used different pans, so maybe that was the problem. But will trim them and dip them . Crossing my fingers.

  8. This might be a silly question…but… could you use a springform pan instead of a cake-pan-with-parchment-paper?? And then instead of lifting it out w/ parchment, just releasing the springform? I hate working with parchment paper in a round pan

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

  9. i absolutely love these shortbreads. They are a special cookie delicious to enjoy with tea or coffee.
    They freeze beautifully. A must cookie to try!!

  10. hi Sally! I’m planning to make this recipe soon! are the pistachios raw or roasted?

    1. Hi Joanna, you can use either–enjoy!