Vegan Christmas Cookies studded with pistachios, cranberries and can be made into festive raspberry linzer cookies! They're incredibly easy and made with only common pantry staples.
These beautiful festive cookies are perfect for enjoying at home, sharing with friends and family or given as a homemade gift.
For more vegan holiday cookies, see my vegan gingerbread cookies or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Or if you're looking for a different vegan pistachio recipe, see my Avocado Pistachio Lemon Cake.
Ingredients to make these vegan Christmas cookies
This recipe combines a basic vegan shortbread with pistachios and cranberries.
Powdered sugar (icing sugar) is better than granulated sugar for shortbread as it dissolves more quickly and easily.
Chilled vegan block butter, margarine or refined coconut oil. I'd recommend vegan block butter for a classic shortbread taste and it's easier to handle.
Chopped dried cranberries or you can substitute this with dried cherries, raspberries or any dried ref fruit
Optional add-ins include:
- Orange zest which complements the pistachios and cranberries.
- Raspberry jam, if you'd like to make linzer cookies! You can use either store-bought or a quick homemade raspberry jam.
Making the cookie dough
My top 'hack' for making cookies is using a food processor to make the dough! A food processor mixes the dough thoroughly which is easier and less messy than using a bowl! But just make sure you don't overmix the dough and only pulse it until just combined.
If you don't have a food processor, you can definitely just use a mixing bowl and a spoon/pastry cutter!
For this recipe, add the flour, butter and sugar to the processor and process until combined and there are no more lumps of butter.
If it's TOO DRY (it might look like it's cracking) add a little more butter or a dash of water. If the dough is TOO WET (it might stick to your hands or the food processor), add a little more flour and mix again.
Your dough should stick together but should not stick to your hands.
Then add your pistachios and cranberries then pulse until combined.
Of course, try not to pulse your nuts and fruit TOO much otherwise you'll end up with a buttery bliss ball rather than cookie dough!
At this stage, if your dough is a little sticky, chill your dough in the fridge for 1 hour or in the freezer for 30 minutes or so.
Rolling and shaping the cookies
These are great vegan cut out cookies! The dough can be rolled out on a lightly floured surface just like conventional cookie.
The little bits of pistachios and cranberries makes a slightly chunky dough but it's still very workable. The dough is also very pretty!
I used a scalloped cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the dough. However, the dough is quite textured so you may not always get neat and defined 'scalloped' edges. Alternatively, you can just use a simple round cookie cutter!
If you want to make linzer-style vegan Christmas cookies, make sure you create an even number of cookies with their centres in tact to cookies with their centres cut out. I got around 15 linzer cookies (or cookie sandwiches) from this recipe.
Baking the cookies
Depending on the size of your cookies, bake them in a preheated oven for around 12 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown. They will brown more (and firm up) as they cool down.
When the cookies have FULLY cooled down, feel free to decorate them! They look sooo good amongst the rest of your vegan Christmas treats :).
Customising this recipe
Yes, I've listed a gluten free flour combination in the notes of the recipe card below! I recommend using almond flour as it helps keep these cookies buttery!
I wouldn't recommend using all-purpose gluten free flour as it results in dry cookies. I haven't tried this recipe with 1:1 gluten free flours such as Bob Red Mills.
Yes, you can use coconut sugar in these cookies instead. However, coconut sugar doesn't dissolve as easily as powdered sugar so I'd recommend first creaming the sugar with the butter, mixing in the flour then the pistachios and cranberries.
Alternatively, you may add a small amount of maple syrup. Keep in mind the more syrup you use, the less crispy your cookies will be.
More vegan Christmas cookies!
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Vegan Christmas Cookies with Pistachios and Cranberries
- 2 ½ cups (280g) all-purpose plain flour, or white spelt flour, plus more for dusting (note 1 for gluten free)
- ¾ cup (170g) vegan butter or refined coconut oil, chilled
- ¾ cup (75g) powdered sugar / icing sugar
- ¼ cup (45g) pistachios, chopped
- ¼ cup (30g) dried cranberries, chopped
- Pinch of salt, if using unsalted butter or coconut oil
Filling (Optional. See note 2 for quick homemade jam.)
- ¼ cup (80g) raspberry jam, or jam of choice
To make the cookie dough:
- Add the flour, butter and powdered sugar to a food processor or large mixing bowl. Mix until the ingredients come together. Add 1-3 tablespoons of water if the mixture is too dry.
- Add the pistachios and cranberries to the cookie dough and mix until just combined.
- If your dough is a little soft, place the dough in an airtight container and chill it in the fridge for around 1 hour or in the freezer for 30 minutes until it's firmed up.
To shape the pistachio cranberry cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Roll out the cookie dough on a lightly floured surface so it is about ¼ inch (7 mm) thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the dough. Carefully place each cookie on a lined baking tray with a little space in between each cookie. You may need to use a flat spatula to transfer them.
- Collect the excess dough, roll it out and cut out more shapes from the dough. Repeat until you have no more dough.
Baking and decorating the cookies:
- Bake the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes. The time will vary depending on the size of your cookies and your oven. The cookies are ready when their edges are very slightly golden brown. Allow the cookies to completely cool on the baking tray.
- If desired, top half of the cookies with jam and sandwich them with the remaining cookies.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or the fridge for up to 1 week.
- To make these gluten free, and I'd recommend using cups 1 ⅓ cups (135g) almond flour and 1 ½ cups (150g) gluten free flour blend). You may need to add less or more water to get a cookie dough consistency. Alternatively, use a quality 1:1 gluten free flour such as Bob Red Mills.
- To make a quick homemade raspberry jam, add 1 cup (125g) fresh or frozen raspberries, 2 tablespoons corn flour, your desired amount of sweetener and a dash of water to a small saucepan over high heat. Mash the raspberries and allow to simmer until thickened. Add more corn flour for a thicker jam. Allow to cool before using it in the recipe.
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To make it truly vegan, the white sugar is a no go. Sugar is filtered thru animal bones to make it white. Unrefined powdered sugar is a vegan choice.
Hi Christen, yes if you're in the USA, not all white sugar is vegan. In most other countries like Australia and the UK, all white sugar is vegan.
What do you think about using pistachio flour?
Hi Donna, I think pistachio flour will act differently as there's no gluten in it and it's more oily than regular flour. You could try substituting around 50% of the flour with pistachio flour but the batter and final cookies will be different!
Hello ^-^ Do you think it would be ok if I used extra fine granulated sugar instead of icing sugar?
Hey! Yes that's fine. You may need to let the dough rest a little to allow the sugar to be absorbed by the butter and little liquid :).
Ewa & Piotr says
Awesome recipe! We made Christmas tree cookies and tried this recipe with pistachio and dried cherries and filled with Plum Butter, Peach, and Cherry jam! So delicious!
Very easy to make it! Thank you for sharing!
This recipe is as fabulous as it is forgiving! I used regular butter and the cookies turned out beautifully. I was nervous to try making these as I had never made shortbread before, and didn’t have any fancy mixer or equipment at my disposal. But using just a pastry blender tool and my hands to mix the dough worked great! I definitely needed to add the 3 TBSP of water to the mixture as it was too crumbly without. Some other tips I have are to wet your hands slightly and work the dough a bit if it’s crackling too much when rolling it out. Lastly, I recommend chilling the cookie dough cut-outs one more time in the fridge (I chilled mine for about 10 mins) before baking. I think this helped them not to flatten out in the oven and gave a nice flaky texture to the cookie. Happy baking!
These cookies look amazing! Do you think GF flour would work? Hoping to surprise my children with Christmas cookies they can eat!
Thanks for all the wonderful, delicious recipe, Kristen
Thanks Kris! It depends on the GF flour blend. I've tried it with the ones in Australia and they weren't very nice. Perhaps try 50% almond meal and 50% your gluten-free flour blend if it has xantham gum?
Great recipe! I made these cookies yesterday and shared it with my family. They all loved it! I'm someone that don't like to bake, but this recipe is very clear and easy!
I tried making with jam and other ones without the jam. Personally, loved the cookies with filling more (sweeter than without).
If I'm planning to make these again without the filling, than I will propably add more icing sugar in it. But this is My own preference.
So glad you enjoyed the cookies Jane, especially if you don't like to bake! And good idea to add more icing sugar if you like things sweeter :). Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback!