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These incredibly soft and buttery, salty and sweet white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies will be your new favorite. There is so much texture in every bite of these holiday cookies!

white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies

These cookies are a texture lover’s paradise. Between the soft dough, crunchy pistachios, and chewy dried cranberries– I could eat these salty sweet cookies for the rest of my life and be content. Really. There is something different in each bite!

Truth is, I’ve been making these cookies for the past 2 years. I simply take my white chocolate cranberry cookies and add pistachios. The salty pistachios turn that incredible cookie into an extraordinary cookie. I had to share the recipe with you this year.

Irresistible cookie tower. ↓ ↓

stack of white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies

Besides all the glorious chunks of add-ins, butter is the star of the show in this recipe. Which brings me to another edition of:

Food Science Alert 

Butter is where most cookie recipes begin and it has several jobs in both the mixing bowl and the oven. First, it keeps cookies tender. If you left butter out of a cookie recipe calling for it, you’d likely end up with a tough, dense, and flavorless cookie. Speaking of flavor, butter is where a ton of this cookie’s flavor comes from. Subbing butter with a less flavorful fat such as shortening or margarine will yield some pretty lousy, bland cookies. As cookies bake, the milk proteins inside the butter begin to brown– giving the cookies nutty, butterscotch-y notes of flavor. I love butterscotch-y.

The soft, airy centers come from– you guessed it– the butter! How butter is mixed into cookie dough affects a cookie’s texture. In my chewy chocolate chip cookies recipe, I use melted butter. Melted butter is what makes them so insanely dense and fudge-like, almost tasting (and looking!) like straight-up cookie dough. But with these cookies, I chose to cream the butter with the sugars. During this creaming process, air is incorporated into the mix which, in turn, helps leaven the cookies as they bake. The cookies rise up, the centers stay soft, and the edges slightly crisp. Cookie perfection.

In short, butter = everything.

white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookie dough balls on a silpat baking mat
white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies

In addition to butter, another powerhouse ingredient I use is cornstarch. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’re already familiar with my love of cornstarch in cookie favorites like chocolate chip cookies. You see, cornstarch makes the cookie dough thicker– yes, the cookie dough actually thickens as it chills.* Thicker, more sturdy cookie dough bakes into thicker, more compact cookies. Today’s cookies are anything but frail and dainty!

I’m beginning to bore myself. Are you still reading? I’m almost done, I promise.

*Chilling! One of the most important steps in this cookie recipe. Chilling allows the cookie dough to thicken and the flavors to enhance. That nutty, butterscotch-y-ness I mentioned above? It will blow your mind if you let this cookie dough chill. The minimum is 2 hours, but I always let it chill overnight. I know, it’s such a drag to wait that long for cookies. But the results are undeniably worth it.

Everything works so wonderfully together in these cookies. Tart cranberries paired with sweet white chocolate morsels. Salty pistachios paired with a brown sugar, buttery cookie dough. Delightfully crisp edges, soft centers, and chunks in every bite. There’s a reason I make these cookies so often– they’re simply the best.

white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies

You’re going to love them.

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3 images of white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies including cookie dough balls and baked cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These incredibly soft and buttery, salty and sweet white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies will be your new favorite. There is so much texture in every bite of these holiday cookies!


  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (aka cornflour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (135g) white chocolate morsels or chopped white chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (75g) dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (62g) salted pistachios, shells removed


  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed in a large bowl until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add the white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and pistachios, mix on low for about 5-10 seconds until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
  3. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes– if the cookie dough chilled longer than 2 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  4. Once chilled, the dough will be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, into balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. They will look extremely soft when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy, try gently pressing down on them with the back of a spoon. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked cookies freeze well – up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well – up to three months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw.
  2. Room Temperature Egg: Room temperature eggs disperse more evenly into the creamed butter/sugar mixture. Simply set out your egg when you set out the butter. Or let sit in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes.
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies, white chocolate cranberry cookies

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Oh gosh, these pictures have my mouth watering…literally. You know I make your chocolate chip cookies ALL.THE.TIME. It is THE BEST cookie ever!

    I have a question about freezing the dough balls though (only on cookie recipes where you indicate it is okay to freeze them) – when I go to bake them, they seem to cook more on the bottoms and don’t seem to spread out nicely like when I don’t freeze them. I’ve tried letting them thaw and still have the same issue. I’ve been meaning to ask you this forever…if you need to know the specific cookies, I can look in my freezer…I have a few bags. (Yes, bags. I had to use up some eggs!)

    1. hmm. christine, how about baking them frozen and lowering the oven temperature by 25 degrees and baking a couple extra minutes?? that might help.

  2. Just made these cookies for Thanksgiving for my extremely picky family. I’ve had three people (and counting!)ask for the recipe!! The sweet from the cranberry and the saltiness (is that even a word??) from the pistachio made a perfect flavor and after all who isn’t a sucker for something sweet n salty! Also, this cookie base is so versatile I plan on using it with every additive I can think of. Thanks for posting the perfect cookie recipe Sally!!!!

  3. Sally,
    I made these last night and they were all gone by noon today.
    They are out of this world good. Everyone was asking for the recie.
    Thank you for a great cookie.

  4. Once again, your recipes DO NOT disappoint! I made these babies for a class party and my students were raving!

    I’m so glad I found your blog. Looking forward to you next baking 101 post! 

  5. Hey Sally, could I use the browned butter method for this recipe? Would it affect the taste or baking in this cookie? looking for some nerd advice 😀

  6. Hi Sally!  I’ve been wanting to make a cranberry/white chocolate cookie for awhile now, but never thought to add pistachios, that’s brilliant!  I can’t wait to make these, I know they will be amazing.  Do you use use sweetened or unsweetened dried cranberries?  At my grocery store I only saw sweetened ones.

  7. I finally made these cookies last night for my boyfriend and he loved them. Thank you Sally for the great recipes.

  8. Is it possible to leave out the white chocolate chips. I can’t eat chocolate, but I would just drizzle a little white chocolate over some of the cookies. Would I need to alter the amount of any of the other ingredients?

    1. Hi Jean! No need to change anything about the recipe; simply leave out the white chips. You *can* add more pistachio and dried cranberries if you want to, but it’s not necessary.

  9. Love these cookies.  I had a similar recipe that I lost, so I decided to try these.  This recipe is a keeper, but next time I think I will add a step that was included in the recipe that I lost.  I am going to toast the pistachios on a cookie sheet in the oven before using in the recipe.  This step deepens the flavor of the pistachios and makes them a bit crunchier-which I like. I think that one change puts these over the top.  Love your website!!

  10. I made these cookies this christmas for my friends, they loved it! Thanks for this cookie recipe sally, its perfection!

  11. Hey Sally! What are your thoughts on switching out the dried cranberries for raisins? Or any other recommendations?

    1. Becky, I’m always a cheerleader for raisins! I would do a 1:1 swap. Yum!

  12. After looking at both recipes for white chocolate cranberry cookies with and without pistachios, I’m thinking I would like to use roasted and salted pistachios. I see both recipes have 1/2 tsp of salt. If using salted pistachios, would you recommend reducing the salt to 1/4 tsp? I do see your recipe with salted pistachios has 1/2 tsp. I just don’t want the salty flavor to overcome the sweet/tart flavor.

    1. Hi Julie! If you don’t want a pronounced sweet/salty flavor, I recommend reducing the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. If you want a salty flavor, go for the 1/2 teaspoon. Let me know how they turn out!

  13. I’ve made these cookies a few times and they are good. The recipe serves as great cookie base, you can really add almost anything you want and it will come out great. Note that the dough comes out so thick you may think you are doing something wrong, but don’t worry, that’s what you want! I’ve made the cookies as is and they are fantastic, but I do prefer using almond extract with these ingredients over the vanilla. The almond extract marries the pistachio flavor better in my opinion. Just a suggestion.

  14. I love the pistachios. Very unique. I used my tbsp measure for the cookies, but I believe I somehow used half as much dough per cookie, as I have more than 4 dozen. I’m also in south Florida where it is 82 with the windows open, which I believe has caused them to be softer, darker, and flatter.
    I look forward to trying them again next year.

    1. Yes, you can either leave them out or replace them with another add-in! Enjoy!

  15. I’ve been substituting whole wheat flour for half or all of the listed AP flour measurement in my baking lately and I did it with these cookies too using a 50/50 ratio. They are delicious!! I’ve never been disappointed in a recipe from Sally. Thank you.

  16. Just curious, why cornstarch? Im great a baking everything but cookies lol. No matter what I do they always get screwed up. But I keep on trying (and they always taste pretty good lol).

    1. Hi Amy, I love using cornstarch in many cookie recipes – it gives the cookies extra lift and leave them extra soft. You can’t taste it!
      For more cookie tips you might find this post helpful

  17. Hi Sally! Where the recipe says 62g pistachios, shells removed – is that 62g of pistachios with the shells still on and then they are removed (so weight of pistachios put in is less than 62g) or 62g pistachios with shells removed?

    1. Hi Elena! The weight is for the pistachios you need with the shells already removed. 🙂

    1. Not necessary! If you want extra salty sweet, though, you can add an extra pinch to the dough.

  18. for the cookies, i did a bit of a change I added oatmeal, did a ratio of 3:1 of all purpose to whole wheat, and used orange zest. While the cookie taste amazing, I notice it is a bit too soft, like when you hold it, it will break apart within seconds. I baked them 360 for 9-10 mins. And I made sure they were golden brown when I took them out. Any fix for this problem?

    1. Hi Veronica! Adding oats and whole wheat flour will change the texture of these cookies – both dry out the cookie dough. For chewy cookies we recommend sticking with the recipe as written. For an oatmeal cookie similar to these, you could try our white chocolate chip cherry oatmeal cookies (with cranberries instead of cherries, & feel free to add some pistachios as well!).

    2. Waaaaayyyy too salty. Use 1/4 teaspoon if using salted nuts. The dough by itself without adding them tasted very salty. I like a hint…this was like licking a salt cube and unfortunately I made a double batch for Christmas and need to start over. Otherwise good. But be aware, salty if you add 1/2 teaspoon.

  19. Hi Sally, do you think it would be okay to substitute regular (dark chocolate/semi-sweet) chocolate chips instead? Would the recipe need more sweetener as a result?

    1. Hi Molly, you can definitely swap for dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips instead. No other changes to the recipe needed. Enjoy!

  20. Hi, it said refrigerate dough for up to 2 days. It’s been in my fridge for 4 days would it still be ok to bake?

  21. Hi Sally,I have a couple questions. But first I just wanted to say “Thank you” to you. Because of you I’m baking great apple & pumpkin pies during Thanksgiving & Christmas,and in general through out the year baking w/ great results (so satisfying personally).
    Question 1: can I bake this recipe w/all shortening? I’m completely out of my unsalted butter stash…if not,I get it.

    Question 2 HELP!!!
    The point in a recipe where you add eggs to butter & sugar-WHAT is it supposed to look like? I think when things aren’t coming out-I think that’s where I’m making a mistake. I think I may be over mixing. Yesterday was a good exam of that- but I’m UNSURE of how long to mix & at what speed (#), on my kitchen aid mixer?
    I need HELP with this one!

    Thanks again

    1. Hi Lisa, We are so happy you have been enjoying our recipes! We don’t recommend using all shortening in this cookie recipe – best to stick with butter for the best flavor and texture. The butter and sugar should be creamy and smooth. Once you add the eggs it may look a little separated but that’s ok! It will come back together when you add dry ingredients. Hope this helps!

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