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Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread on a white plate with a cedar sprig to garnish

Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread

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If you’re a shortbread fan, this Holiday Shortbread Recipe is perfect for the holidays with its festive pops of red and green!

The dried cranberries and green pistachios provide a pop of festive red and green to each cookie! 

Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread on a white plate with a cedar sprig to garnish

Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread

We used to gather for our neighborhood Christmas cookie exchange in the morning, sipping on a cup of tea or coffee with a few nibbles, then gathering a few cookies from each sweet laden platter before heading out to lunch. This year, we shook it up a bit and met later in the day with wine and appetizers (my kind of dinner!). This holiday shortbread recipe was my contribution.

Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread cookies on a white plate

How Does Shortbread Differ from Sugar Cookies?

When some friends on a foodie board were looking for cookie exchange ideas, this recipe for Cranberry, Pistachio, White Chocolate Shortbread was mentioned. The red cranberries and green pistachios make them festive without any effort. I added white chocolate just because I love it.

If you love shortbread…or if you love pistachios….or, heck, if you just love cookies…you need to bake up a batch of these babies. The dough freezes well, so you can keep a roll of it in your freezer for those unexpected guests. A couple of my neighbors are shortbread aficionados, and these were garnered high praise. I know you’ll become a quick fan of this holiday shortbread, too.

If you’re wondering how the shortbread is different from other types of sugar cookies, you’re not alone!

Shortbread Cookies have a higher butter to flour recipe, making them more delicate than roll-out sugar cookies. They also bake at a lower temperature and are very tender. These are more buttery than sweet.

Traditional Sugar Cookies have less butter than shortbread cookies, making them more sturdy and better for rolling and cutting. They contain more sugar than shortbread cookies, so they are sweeter. If packed correctly, these sugar cookies are better for shipping than the more crumbly shortbread cookies.

Neighborhood Cookie Exchange group photo

Slice and Bake Cookie Tips for these Holiday Shortbread Cookies

  • I rolled the cookie dough into two logs, each with a 2-inch diameter.
  • I wrapped them well in plastic wrap and chilled for at least 2 hours. The dough can also be frozen.
  • When ready to bake, I pulled the dough out of the fridge and gently rolled the logs back and forth so there was no flat side.
  • Storing the dough logs in an old paper towel tube helps keep the cylindrical shape.
  • Since the dough is full of nuts and chocolate, a serrated knife works best for cutting.
  • If needed, reshape the rounds before baking. If your dough gets too warm, you may find your rounds get misshapen. Pop your logs back into the refrigerator or freezer if this happens.

More Shortbread Cookies You’ll Love

You may need these supplies to make this shortbread cookies recipe:

Cranberry, Pistachio, White Chocolate Shortbread

Cranberry, Pistachio, White Chocolate Shortbread

Shortbread cookies with holiday colors from the cranberries and pistachios

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 4 dozen cookies


  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pistachios, lightly toasted
  • 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped into tiny pieces


  1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir till just mixed. Fold in the pistachios, cranberries and white chocolate into the dough until well distributed.
  4. Shape the dough into 2 logs about 2 inches in diameter then chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  5. Preheat oven to 325º and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Slice the cookies 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and place about 1 inch apart on prepared pans. Bake for 16-20 minutes. The cookies are ready when they begin to brown around the edge.


Total time does not reflect chilling time.

Adapted from Grand Central Bakery.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 115mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g


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29 comments on “Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread”

  1. Wow, love cookies and these white chocolate ones looks irresistible. I love the fact that the dough can be kept in the freezer for any unexpected occasion .

  2. Beautiful shortbread, I love these flavors!

  3. White chocolate, shortbread cookies and clinking glasses of wine with a fine group of friends – sounds divine to me! Great group picture…Oh! And scrumptious-looking cookie photos, too.

  4. I haven’t had shortbread in such a long time that I’ve forgotten what it tastes like.

  5. Another gorgeous photo… your photos are getting better each time.. new camera? just beautiful!

  6. What a great photo Liz, you must live in a wonderful neighbourhood. I would love to do that in my hood, but not too many people bake, but it actually sounds like a fun thing to do among friends and not just neighbour friends (my friend Barb of Profiteroles and Ponytails would go for it, I’m sure).
    This looks like my kind of cookie, and I bet you can even put the logs into the freezer for another time! Or even slice them up into a baggie and bake them off individually as needed; fresh cookies out of the oven are a slice of heaven.
    I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you and your lovely family will have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Thank you kindly for your support throughout the year, you have made it for me. XO

  7. OMG, this is killing me! I like my cookies to have a lot of ingredients & this is just perfect. Lucky u to be in such a wonderful neighbourhood 🙂 Happy 2013, Liz!

  8. Amazing Lizzy I love pistachos and look delicious!!xo

  9. Pinning this into my “Next Christmas” board! 🙂

  10. Isn´t shortbread one of the best things ever? The possibilities are endless, and pistachio with white chocolate is my type of sweet!

  11. Incredible combination of flavors!!! I would love to try this shortbread. 🙂

  12. These cookies look delish! I’m just wondering about the garland in the pic, It looks like felted wool? just wondering if anybody knows how to make it. I love it.

    • Carol, yes, the garland is made of felt, but it wasn’t hand felted. I purchased it at Crate and Barrel this year for our Christmas tree…but instead it stayed in my photo studio for holiday pictures. I just love it!

  13. Totally gorgeous photo of your shortbread. Love the photo of you and your friends too.

  14. Yum, these look really really delicious. I love shortbread cookies and the pistachio and the white chocolate make them even more delicious.

  15. I love all of the above! I think you are really trying my New Year’s will power Lizzy! These sound and look scrumptious!

  16. Perfect holiday colors and I’ll bet they taste incredible! Like you, appetizers are a favorite meal of mine also!

  17. I want a dozen of these. Or two. They are gorgeous. Happy New Year Liz. Hope to see you in the spring.

  18. Love the flavor combo ! And white chocolate is always a must for me 😀

  19. That not only looks tasty, but it is beautiful too!

  20. That looks a perfect holiday treat. I popped in to wish you a very happy new year. May this year bring you a lot of happiness. God bless!

  21. I LOVE these for 3 reasons: cranberries, pistachios, white chocolate. YUM!

  22. Liz, these are such lovely cookies, and already added to my must make cookie list. I love any kind of shortbread, but these flavors together not only make them scrumptious, but beautiful to look at too! Happy New Year!

  23. Love shortbread and love any cookie that can be frozen and sliced and baked as you need them. have company coming for a few days at the end of the month and will add these to the cookies I have in the freezer for them. Have some Maple Pecan and Date-Nut Pinwheels in the freezer right now; along with a few small Kahlua Chocolate Cakes.

  24. would love to be able to post some of your recipes on my FB page, but there doesn’t seem to be a connection for that; though I Pin them.

    • Nancy, if you scroll to the bottom of the post, you should be able to like the post using the facebook icon! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Hi, Nancy, you should be able to share them from my facebook fan page. Not sure what the problem is—I can check it out when i get home. We’re out of the country for a few more days. Happy New Year and thanks for your kind support!!!

  25. This recipe didn’t work for me at all. It was just a crumbly mess. I had to salvage the dough by adding more butter. Are the flour/butter proportions correct?

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