Pistachio Lemon Butter Cookies

Wisconsin State Fair Winner

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Pistachio Lemon Butter Cookies stacked

These Pistachio Lemon Butter Cookies bring three things together I adore: citrus, butter and my favorite nut, the pistachio.

With a triple threat of fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon extract, these cookies burst with citrus flavor. Using all three of those ingredients together is the ticket. Put that in a rich butter cookie and I’m in love at first bite. A schmear of white chocolate lemon frosting on top adds another delightful dimension. You finish them with a sprinkling of extra pistachios. That texture contrast is a joyful experience. To be honest though, I have skipped the frosting before as they are delicious enough to stand alone. Unfrosted, they also stack well for transporting and storage.

Pistachio Lemon Butter Cookies overhead

Recipe credit goes to Denise Sokolowski who won a best cookie contest with it at the Wisconsin State Fair (2016). She came in second place, just behind those great Guinness Chocolate Cookies we previously shared.

These Pistachio Lemon Butter Cookies are perfect for celebrating National Pistachio Day – February 26, but you don’t need any excuse. Bake them any day of the year. The batch is pretty big. It made 60 cookies. What’s great about that is you can freeze the rolled balls of dough, in a single layer so they don’t stick together. Just bring them to room temperature before putting them in the oven. I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do.




Pistachio Lemon Butter Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 egg yolk

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup coarse chopped pistachios, unsalted or salted



1 cup white chocolate chips

1 tablespoon solid shortening

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Ground pistachios, unsalted or salted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment. Cream butter slightly in a large mixing bowl. Add zest, juice, yolk, sugar, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Whip until well combined; set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and pistachios (your preference, unsalted or salted). Mix well then add to butter mixture, combining well. Shape dough into 1-inch balls spacing evenly onto sheets. Press tops with back of a fork to form a crisscross pattern and 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake 12-14 minutes or until tops begin to color and bottoms are pale golden brown. Let the cookies cool a few minutes before transferring to cooking racks. Heat chips with shortening and zest over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread thinly layer on top of cookies, then immediately sprinkle with ground pistachios. Makes about 60 cookies.

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