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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: 208 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 21mg Sodium: 115mg Carbohydrates: 25g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 14g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g


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