Salted Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread

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

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

Happy freakin’ Friday.

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

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.

How to make shortbread dough on

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.

Diamond of California pistachios

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.

How to make shortbread dough on

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 on

Absolutely nothing compares to the distinct smell of shortbread baking.

Now this is the holidays, people!

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

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.

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

Weekend upgrade.

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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.


Buttery, tender, and easy 1 BOWL shortbread with pistachios, sea salt, and chocolate! Recipe on
Buttery, tender, and easy 1 BOWL shortbread with pistachios, sea salt, and chocolate! Recipe on


  1. Have you been talking to my husband??!?!? First you gave a recipe for my new crockpot and now you have a recipe for pistachios which I also got for my birthday! I think I will be making this for my parents-they LOVE shortbread!! 

    1. I promise we haven’t been talking lol! 😉

  2. No surprise that these are delicious! I was looking for shortbread cookies but also something my uncle would enjoy for his birthday. He loves pistachios and chocolate, so these were perfect, and this recipe was posted at just the right time. They were a big hit! Keep the amazingly recipes coming, Sally! 

    1. *amazing recipes. (Autocorrect…ugh)

    2. I’m so glad everyone loved the shortbread!

  3. I baked the shortbread recipe yesterday as a treat for my dad’s birthday…they were a hit! I left them plain, but will definitely be making these again (and soon) with different toppings/dips. I imagine a white chocolate dipped one with orange zest and pistachios, and maybe a dark chocolate dipped with cherrie and walnuts! Yum! My best friend is not much of a sweets eater, but she does like shortbread…can’t wait to see what she thinks of these! Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. I LOVE the sounds of a white chocolate/orange variation!

      1. I can’t wait to make that combo; my daughter loves white chocolate. Now I’m on to making your chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream for my husband’s birthday today. Yum! Also, pleeease come to Michigan (specifically Ann Arbor because it’s close to home, or near Grand Haven if during spring/summer because it’s Heaven there!) on your next book tour!

  4. Sally this recipe looks absolutely wonderful! I was wondering something though: do you think this recipe would work with vegan butter or some other substitute? One of my good friends is vegan and I’d love to include him in some holiday baking this year. Thanks!

    1. Hi Margaret! I can’t be certain only because I’ve never baked with vegan butter before. But I feel like it could easily work. Please let me know if you try it!

    2. I’ll be trying the same thing this week with earth balance sticks. Hopefully it will work out!

  5. Sally, just want to say thank you for the wonderful recipes. Your posts never fail to delight me. Keep up with the good photography! 🙂

  6. I love shortbread, so was super excited to try this. I was going to wait till my next grocery trip to pick up pistachios, but then I saw a comment on using almonds instead. Which I already have bags of! So made these with almonds and a touch of almond extract. So yum! I might’ve over-baked a tad because they felt a bit more crunchy than I expected. But still wonderful! Thank you for the easy recipe and the step by step pictures.

  7. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    These cookies look amazing, Sally! I saw these and instantly knew I wanted to try them! These are great too because they are a bit more unique. Love it!

  8. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    Prettiest shortbread ever! I adore that chocolate dip! 🙂

  9. In love with these!! Just a query- can I halve the recipe & bake in 2 7″ tins? That’ll to more than enough to my small family. Thankyou! Love from India!!

    1. I’m unsure if half of the recipe will fit into your cake pans (might not have enough!) but let me know if you try it. Enjoy!

  10. Sally…do you have a suggestion…tips…for the packaging of a variety of Christmas cookies and candy? I used to put everything on a plate with some cellophane wrap and a pretty organza ribbon. The problem is that some items don’t play well with each other…pretzel based candy gets soft because of the moisture in another item like fudge. I have had people gift us with a plate of goodies and had something peppermint included and then everything else tasted like mint (my guys are not a fan of mint). Now I put each item in it’s own cellophane baggie but the presentation leaves a little to be desired.

    1. To be honest, I don’t think there is a way around this! Just have to be creative with the combinations of cookies/candies on the plates. Maybe 2 plates for your loved ones so you can separate? I really wish I was more help but I struggle with this too.

  11. Vicki Skonieczny says:

    Just made these last night and the hubby is obsessed! I didn’t think I could top all the scone recipes I have gotten from you, but he says these are the best. He loves a dessert where you can taste the salt in the recipe and I didn’t even use the sea salt on top. This one’s a keeper. Thanks. Merry Christmas Sally.

    1. Yay! Thanks so much for responding back about them!

  12. I’m making these as we speak, and my dough does not look nearly as crumbly as yours. I’ve tried both the traditional cup and spoon measurements (volume) and the mass measurements and in both cases I get a sticky dough. Any suggestions?

    1. That’s ok, how do the cookies taste?

      1. Hi! I ran into the same sticky dough “problem”, but no need to worry! My shortbread came out perfectly crumbly, buttery, and full of flavor. I just figured my dough was on the sticky side because i live in a much more humid/hot country 🙂

  13. Hello! Would you recommend this recipe without using the chocolate? I was looking for just a pistachio shortbread recipe! Thank you!

    1. Hi Robin! You can simply leave off the chocolate.

      1. Perfect! thanks for your response!

  14. Hey Sally,
    I’m hoping to make these cookies today, but only have salted butter. I’m planning on leaving out the additional salt in the dough, but am on the fence about whether or not to include the sea salt topping. Any thoughts on if this would be too salty? 

    Also- I wanted to share a little story with you! I had asked for your cookbook for Christmas and my parents ordered it online but unfortunately it didn’t arrive in time. My dad improvised by hand drawing out the cover onto a sheet of paper and taping it to the front of another cookbook! Needless to say it looked hilarious. I had a good laugh but am still patiently waiting for the real thing to arrive 🙂 

  15. Sally!
    These are amazing! Easily one of my favorite cookies from you, and I’ve made quite a few;) Thanks for this recipe! You’re the best!

  16. Sam Van Kooy says:

    This is one of THE BEST cookies I have ever made! I have been craving them since Christmas and am hoping for a snow day tomorrow for another chance to make them!

  17. Hey Sally,
    Can you till me How to bake in a rectangular pan…

    1. 9×13 pan same bake time. 🙂 Enjoy!

  18. I just made these fab pistachio shortbread cookies for a weekly get together with friends.  I, of course, had to try one…well, maybe two.  They are so delicious!  The cookie is rich and buttery.  I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and sprinkled the pistachios on top.   Every one of your recipes I have tried have turned out delicious.  Although, they are never as beautiful as, they are always so wonderfully flavorful.  I get more compliments on the things I make from your website than any other.  It’s always, “Where did you get this one?   and I always answer, “Sally, of course!”   Thank you for all your fab recipes.

    1. Thank you for this extremely kind comment, made my morning to read! I appreciate it so much. Thank you for reporting back!

  19. Tarloke Johal says:

    hi sally i made these today and i have to say how wonderful they taste. i didnt dip them in chocolate. but oh boy the shortbread was soooo tasty. do you think it would be easy to make these into a biscuit shape with cutters?

    1. Definitely!

  20. Ishika Lalwani says:

    Hi Sally, I needed to share something sweet for Diwali so i made these biscuits. I substituted pistachio for almonds and they have come out sooooo good! I wish I could post a pic!! It was quite a gamble but I knew I could never go wrong with one of YOUR recipes! Always a hit!! xxx

  21. Rather, then making this in a pan can they be made as drop cookies and without the pistachios?

    1. I don’t recommend it. They would spread too much. If you have a copy of my new cookbook, I have a butter shortbread cookie in there!

  22. This is right up my alley! Definitely going to be trying these for Christmas!

  23. Can this recipe be halved and baked in a 8 x 8 or
    9 x 9 in pan? If so, will I need to adjust the time?
    I’m looking forward to baking this, it looks and sounds yummy!!

    1. Absolutely! The bake time is still the same.

  24. Hi Sally! I always have to go through your recipe categories periodically cause otherwise I forget about gems like this! I made these around the holidays a couple years back and brought them to my husbands aunts house, then a couple days later we were back there with more of his family and his aunt says to me when it was just us in the kitchen, “I know I should put those cookies you made out for everybody but they’re so good I don’t want to share them!” Lol. She was serious! She didn’t share them with anybody, and I definitely don’t blame her! I need to buy pistachios and make these again. So incredible. I know it’s only September but I’m already pumped for holiday baking

  25. Hi Sally! These look to die for!!!! I was just wondering what nut substitution would work or if i could just leave out the nuts totally? Would the taste significantly change? Or can i add in some chocolate chunks? Pistachios are unfortunately too expensive where i come from.

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

      1. Yay thank you so much! I can’t wait to try them this weekend

  26. Hi Sally! I made these 4 times already, my family cant get enough of them!!! I was just wondering if you’ve ever made a lemon white chocolate version? Do you think it’ll be possible to add a little lemon extract and zest to the dough to give it a lemony flavor?

    1. Hi Rica! I think adding some lemon flavor would be delicious! I recommend a teaspoon of lemon extract and zest from 1 lemon. Replace the chocolate with white chocolate for dunking. 🙂 Should be delicious!

  27. Is it possible to make the dough chocolate flavored? How would I substitute in cocoa powder? And what kind? Thanks!!

    1. Hi James! I’m uncertain without testing the recipe myself. You can try a chocolate sugar cookie dough baked in the cake pans instead.

  28. Can I make these slice and bake? I need round cookies to ship.

    1. Hi Arielle! I haven’t tried this dough as a slice and bake cookie. My fear is 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 my 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

      1. Perfect thanks! I am making cookie baskets this year for the first time so I am excited to try this recipe. Can I swap the hazelnut for pistachio in the toasted hazlenut cookies?

      2. Yes, you can Arielle!

  29. I just made these and thought I followed everything exactly, but mine all cracked and fell apart after I cut them into wedges What did I do wrong?

  30. I do NOT like shortbread cookies and I absolutely hate sugar cookies, But these are wonderful! I will definitely be adding these cookies to my permanent Christmas cookie list! THANKS!!!

    1. Haha – I’m glad you decided to give these a try and enjoyed them, Sharry!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally