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Pistachio Cream Cheese Cookies

My son-in-law is a big fan of pistachios. He looks forward to these buttery cookies at holiday time, but I make them for him more than just once a year. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch
  • Makes
    5 dozen


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 drops green food coloring
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 60 shelled pistachios (about 1/3 cup)


  • In a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until blended. Beat in egg, lemon zest, vanilla and food coloring. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
  • Divide dough in half; shape each into a 7-1/2-in.-long roll. Roll in chopped pistachios. Wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. Unwrap and cut crosswise into 1/4-in. slices. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press a whole pistachio into the center of each cookie.
  • Bake 7-9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Nutrition Facts
1 cookie: 61 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 9mg cholesterol, 46mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
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Average Rating:
  • Janice
    Jul 19, 2020

    Needs adjustments. Use regular sugar! I cut the powdered sugar to 1 cup and it was still overpoweringly sweet, and the cornstarch in the powdered sugar gives the cookies a bleh taste. I cut the vanilla to 1 teaspoon and added 1/4 teaspoon of pistachio extract (Watkins). You could use almond and get the same effect. I had a box of pistachio pudding, so I added that. I don’t know if it made any difference. The cream cheese should be enough to make the cookies good and rich, which they would be without the cornstarch in the powdered sugar. I reconstituted powdered cream cheese and used that. Worked great. 1-2 drops of food coloring aren’t nearly enough. I lost count, but you can tell by the color of the mixture. The dough handles beautifully and once chilled, cuts easily. My oven required more like 10-11 minutes. Very pretty cookies, just don’t use powdered sugar!

  • Missy
    Apr 17, 2020

    Was reading the reviews, has anyone tried to cut back on powder sugar? Adds a sweetness that enhances sweet and masks flavor.

  • suefalk
    May 25, 2018

    You can't eat just one! Delicate, with a lot of pistachio flavor. They will be a great addition to my Christmas cookie platter.

  • shawnba
    Mar 29, 2018

    I baked these in early March, for the cookie table at my son’s wedding. The main attraction was that they were green, and the wedding day was 3/17. Based on other reviews, I added a box of pistachio pudding and a tsp of pistachio extract. (Watkins, found at Walmart). That seemed to do the trick. They had a good pistachio flavor, and looked beautiful on the cookie trays. Pistachio is one of my DIL’s favorite flavors, so I’ll be making these again!! I gave it a 4 * rating because of all the additions needed

  • LegalSec
    Mar 12, 2018

    To Chefagogo -- great idea about adding the instant dry pudding mix, that will give it a kick. I wasn't going to make these after reading the reviews, but I think the pudding mix will make the difference. I will try it and update review later.3/12/18 -- Made the cookies yesterday. I added the dry instant pistachio pudding to the flour and didn't use the lemon peel, I subbed 1/2 tsp of almond extract. Well they are bland in taste even after my additions. It is basically a butter cookie with pistachios on the outside. The cookies are good but just not tasting the pistachio flavor. I really thought the dry instant pudding would have done it. But, they are pretty with the green and nuts on the side. I didn't add the pistachio nut on top and still pretty.

  • chefagogo
    Mar 5, 2018

    Has anyone tried adding instant pistachio pudding dry mix to cookie mix?

  • teachershirl
    Dec 29, 2015

    I looked forward to trying these cookies from the moment I saw them in Taste of Home. However, they ended up being a huge disappointment. While they were quite easy to make and look very pretty, they are very bland with no discernable pistachio flavor at all. I felt like it was a huge waste of money using all those pistachios when you couldn't even taste them. I won't be making these again.

  • daniellem02
    Jan 8, 2015

    It is true that these cookies have very little pistachio flavor, but they were such an attractive and easy cookie that I doctored the recipe, and now it is exactly what I want. I omit the lemon peel, and substitute almond extract for the vanilla. I really like the cream cheese dough, and they look fantastic on a cookie tray!

  • sugarcrystal
    Nov 20, 2014

    My mom made these last Christmas. They are pretty but I think next time I will add some almond extract and cherries as one of the reviews suggested.

  • hairymelon88
    Dec 17, 2013

    I added very finely, almost powdered , pistachios to this and it turned out more flavorful. I also double the recipe and divided it in half before adding the pistachios and green. To the second half I added 18 finely minced and paper towel blotted maraschino cherries , two drops of almond flavoring, and a few drops of red food coloring. I rolled the pistachio in the nuts and the cherry in coconut. I put a pistachio on top of the green cookies and a half maraschino cherry on the pink cookies. They look beautiful on the serving tray and taste scrumptious. Will definitely make again.