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Pistachio Cookies

Soft, chewy and festive pistachio cookies are easy to make with instant pistachio pudding mix. A little green food coloring gives them the prettiest color making them perfect for Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day!

Homemade cookie recipes are simply the best! Other melt-in-your mouth favorites include these pistachio cookies, Mexican wedding cookies and grinch cookie recipe!

Pistachio pudding cookies stacked on white plate.
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Pistachio Pudding Cookies

Easy pistachio cookies made with pistachio pudding mix are one of my new favorite holiday dessert recipes. Just like my recipe for pistachio bread they are festive with their Christmas green color and the pudding adds flavor and makes the meltaway cookies soft and tender!

These paired with molasses cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies and chocolate chip pudding cookies would make the perfect addition to your Christmas dessert board.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Perfect for the holidays: With a vibrant green color thanks to food coloring, they are perfect for both Christmas or serve at St. Patrick’s Day along with my pistachio dessert!
  • Pudding mix in cookies: Adding pistachio pudding mix makes these cookies have the best pistachio flavor as well as the cornstarch in the pudding mix tenderizes the cookies.

Recipe Ingredients

Pistachio cookie ingredients on the counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Butter: Softened butter is best, not melted.
  • Powdered sugar: Gives these that melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Instant pistachio pudding mix: Adds pistachio flavor and gives them a fluffy texture.
  • All-purpose flour: For structure.
  • Almond extract: Compliments the nutty flavor of the pudding and is clear in color. You could use clear vanilla extract.
  • Maraschino cherries: Chopped finely and patted dry. Omit for plain cookies.
  • Green food coloring (optional): For darker green pistachio cookies.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Chocolate chips: Add white chocolate chips to the pistachio cookie dough instead of maraschino cherries. You could use dark chocolate chunks or semi-sweet chocolate chips!
  • Dipped: Drizzle or dip half of the cookie in white chocolate once cooled like I do these cherry almond cookies.
  • Festive. Mix in red sprinkles instead of cherries or add dried cranberries!
  • Nuttier: Remove the cherries add an extra 1/2 cup chopped pistachios.

How to Make Pistachio Cookies

These pistachio pudding cookies are easy to make and loved by everyone who tries them.

Showing how to make pistachio cookies in a 4 step collage.
  1. Mix ingredients: Cream butter until light and fluffy then add powdered sugar, almond extract, green food coloring, and pistachio pudding mix and continue to mix. Next, add in your flour and mix until just combined.
  2. Chill dough: Gently fold in chopped cherries then wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 15 minutes or until slightly firm.
  3. Roll into cookie dough balls: Use a medium cookie scoop to place dough on parchment lined baking sheets. Gently flatten balls with your palm or the bottom of a cup.
  4. Bake: Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes or just until the bottoms are light browned. Cool on pan for 3-5 minutes before moving to a wire rack. Once cooled completely, dust with powdered sugar.
Stack of pistachio cookies.

5 star review

“Wow! Just finished dusting these beautiful cookies. Ate just one as I am hoping these will not disappear before Christmas day. They are as yummy as they look. Kind of unique actually. Yay for this recipe!

– Dan

Baking Tips

  • Soften butter. A quick way to soften the butter is by microwaving the butter in a bowl for 15-20 seconds at 50% power.
  • Do not over mix the dough. Once it’s combined, stop mixing to prevent a dry, dense pistachio cookie recipe.
  • Maraschino cherries. Chop your cherries finely so they are not chunky. Pat the cherries dry with a paper towel before and after you have chopped them. If you don’t remove the juice it could die the green dough.
  • Don’t skip chilling the dough. Freeze the dough for at least 10 minutes so it isn’t as sticky to work with. Alternately, place in the fridge for an hour or overnight. It will also help the cookies to stay nice and fluffy while baking.
  • Do not over bake. You want these pistachio cookies to be soft in the middle so they’ll melt in your mouth. Remove from the oven when the bottoms are just lightly browned.


Should I use salted or unsalted butter?

Either works, but if you use unsalted butter you will need to some salt to the dough.

Do I have to add maraschino cherries?

While I love the flavor of maraschino cherries and think flavor goes so well with pistachio, you can definitely make these without them. White chocolate chips and chopped pistachios are popular additions.

Why are my pistachio cookies flat?

Thickness of your pistachio cookies will depend on the temperature of your butter as well as chilled dough. Your butter should be room temperature and give slightly when pressed with your finger (leave a small indent). Chill your dough for at least 15 minutes. This solidifies the butter so your cookies spread less while baking.

How to store leftover cookies?

Store pistachio cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 – 5 days. You can also freeze baked cookies in a freezer safe bag up to 3 months.

Can I freeze unbaked dough?

Yes! Shape the dough into cookie balls then flash freeze. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight bag and store frozen for 2 months. Bake from frozen adding a few minutes time or thaw then bake.

Stacked pistachio cookies.

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stacked pistachio cookies

Pistachio Cookie Recipe

4.99 from 225 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Soft, chewy and festive pistachio cookies are easy to make with instant pistachio pudding mix. A little green food coloring makes them perfect for Christmas or St. Patrick's Day!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Freeze: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 24



  • 1 cup butter ,softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar , more for sprinkling on top
  • 3.4 ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
  • ½ cup maraschino cherries , chopped finely (see note)

Optional: green food coloring


    • Beat the butter in a large bowl with a mixer, until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, almond extract and pudding mix and beat until combined. Add food coloring now if you prefer a darker green. Next add in the flour and mix until combined.
    • Gently mix in the chopped cherries into the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes or until slightly firm. Alternatively you could refrigerate the dough for an hour, or overnight
    • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Take a medium scoop or about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Gently flatten dough balls with your palm or the bottom of a cup. Place cookie on the cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
    • Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. Once completely cooled sprinkle cookies with dust with powdered sugar.


    Cherries: The cherries can be left out of desired. When using, make sure to finely chop the maraschino cherries. Use a paper towel to pat the cherries to remove all of the juice and excess liquid. You want to make sure you dry all of the red juice or you may turn your cookies a not so pretty color. You can also place the chopped cherries in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to make sure they don’t stain the dough. 
    You can definitely leave the cherries out of this recipe if you prefer the pistachio cookies plain. 


    Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 125mg | Potassium: 11mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.4mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

    This recipe was originally a guest post by The Girl Who Ate Everything.

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