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Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread Cookies (Paleo)

Grain-free cranberry pistachio vegan shortbread cookies made with just 6 basic ingredients. These light and buttery cookies are packed with flavor without being too sweet.

This post is sponsored by Raley’s.

Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread Cookies - paleo, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and absolutely delicious! These are the perfect Christmas cookie and are amazing when dipped in chocolate

Shortbread cookies are my favorite holiday cookies to bake, because they’re a little fancy but in the realm of Christmas cookies, they are pretty straightforward.

Plus, they don’t require cookie cutters, icing bags, and frosting skills, all of which I don’t possess, because I’m a basic minimalist by nature.

Just have a look at my Shortbread archive to get a full-frame image of my love for vegan paleo shortbread cookies recipes 😉

Well here we are with a new Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread Cookies recipe, that happens to be dipped in chocolate for an epic treat. 

The flavor of this vegan shortbread  is nice and buttery (even though there’s no butter!) with that cranberry tang, a crunch from the pistachios, and the cookies are not overly sweet, which I LOVE!

Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread Cookies - paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy and delicious |

This slice-and-bake recipe is easy as can be.

Simply stir all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, form the dough into a big ball, then work it into a cylinder. Wrap the cylinder of dough in plastic wrap, and then freeze or refrigerate.

The only difficult part here is resisting the temptation to eat all the dough before baking it. I may have consumed half the dough like this…guilty as charged.

Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread Cookies - paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy and delicious |

Baking Tips:

  • Be sure to either refrigerate or freeze the cookie dough prior to baking. I like to freeze the dough, then thaw it just until the point where it is easy to slice with a knife. This way, you get nice clean slices and the dough is set up.
  • You must, MUST allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet once they are out of the oven, or else they will turn to dust, no joke. This process is essential for the shortbread to set up and harden. Give them at least 30 minutes of rest time on the baking sheet…I’ll seriously leave them for hours and do other things while they hang out and become crispy.
  • Once the cookies have cooled and have sat on the tray for at least 30 minutes, use a spatula to remove them from the baking sheet. If you use your hands to try to take them off, they may crumble easily – they’re delicate!
  • Spreading chocolate over one side of the shortbread will help them hold together!
  • Make the dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer until you need to bake them up. This is a great recipe for those who do a lot of holiday baking but need to spread it out.

If the Dough Looks Crumbly..

I’ve noticed different brands of almond flour have different absorbencies, so if you find your shortbread mixture is either too oily or too crumbly, you can easily adjust as necessary.

If it’s too oily, add more almond flour (I’d recommend 3 to 4 tablespoons at a time) and be sure to beat the cookie dough very well in the mixer before adding more. 

If the cookie dough is crumbly and isn’t forming a ball easily, add more coconut oil. Try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, beating thoroughly between additions. It can be easy to over-add oil, so be sure you incorporate it well into the dough before adding more.

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread?!:

To chocolate or not to chocolate? I mean, I’m a huge fan of the chocolate. You can melt your favorite chocolate chips (white chocolate would be amazing, let’s be honest) and either use the melted chocolate for drizzling or dipping. I used dairy-free, sugar-free dark chocolate chips.

Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread Cookies - paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy and delicious |

If you want to go all out, sprinkle the chocolate with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries while it is still melty. This gives the shortbread a fun festive look and also MORE flavor and crunch!

Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread Cookies - paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy and delicious |

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Replace almond flour with rice flour, oat flour, or hazelnut flour.
  • Replace pistachios with pecans or walnuts
  • Swap the dried cranberries for dried fruit of choice, or omit altogether.
  • Use ghee or grass-fed butter (softened, not melted) instead of coconut oil if you aren’t vegan.

Ready, set, vegan shortbread!

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!

Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread Cookies - paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy and delicious |
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4.28 from 11 votes

Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread

Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Shortbread with almond flour is a divine treat during the holiday season and beyond! This simple recipe results in amazing texture and flavor!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Desserts & Treats
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 Cookies
Calories: 186kcal
Author: Julia



  • Add all ingredients for the shortbread to a stand mixer. Beat until a dough forms. Note: it's okay if the mixture is slightly crumbly – this is normal. You want the dough to press together easily but not be overly greasy. If your dough seems too dry, add more melted coconut oil (2 teaspoons at a time), until the dough resembles regular cookie dough.
  • Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and use your hands to form it into a large ball. Work the dough into a cylinder. I use the plastic wrap to help keep the cylinder intact while shaping it.
  • Transfer cylinder of dough to the freezer and freeze at least 2 hours. When you're ready to bake, allow the dough to thaw so that it's easy to cut but is still chilled.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice dough into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch rounds using a sharp knife. Place dough rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are golden-brown around the edges. Remove form the oven and allow cookies to sit 30 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer cookies to a plate.
  • Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in a heat-safe bowl for 15-second intervals, stirring between, about 1.5 to 2 minutes total). Drizzle or spread the chocolate over the shortbread cookies. If desired, sprinkle the melted chocolate with more chopped pistachios and dried cranberries.


*Varying brands of almond flour have varying absorbencies. Depending on the almond flour you use, you may need to add more coconut oil. The goal is to get a cookie dough that presses together easily but is not overly greasy. Add coconut oil 2 to 3 teaspoons at a time until your dough comes together easily.
**Use vegan chocolate chips to keep the recipe vegan. You can also use sugar-free chocolate chips to keep the shortbread lower in sugar.


Serving: 1Cookie | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g

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Recipe Rating

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Monday 12th of December 2022

I would have to say definitively that these are my favorite Christmas cookies. I was the MOST excited to make these again this Christmas after being literally obsessed with them last year. I had to try three (3) times last year to make them, though, before it actually worked. In the batch that FINALLY worked I used Bob's Red Mill super fine almond flour, which was able to hold together much much better. I also added a *little* bit more than a half cup of coconut oil to help it stick a little better. And, as a lot of Julia's replies say, I had to resist the urge to eat them all as soon as they came out of the oven. My cranberries were massive to I cut them down to a smaller size so they wouldn't disrupt the sticking. I also wrapped the dough as tight as I possibly could in plastic wrap before freezing. I cannot wait to eat these perfect little salty sweet shortbread cookies again this year.


Wednesday 14th of December 2022

Thanks so much for sharing all of that, Casie! Yup, they definitely require patience, but if you get the dough right, they are solid gold! I appreciate you sharing all of this as it is so helpful to other readers! xo


Friday 24th of December 2021

Swing and a miss, unfortunately. The flavor is awesome, but you should take the line out of the recipe about it being ok for the dough to be a little crumbly -- my dough was, indeed, crumbly, and it stayed that way through the entire baking process. After baking them it was clear they needed a bit more coconut oil, but that line in the recipe made me think that it was supposed to be that way. I'm going to continue to try to make a variation on this recipe, but it was a bummer to waste so many expensive ingredients on trial and error. :(


Friday 24th of December 2021

It would also be great to change the time estimation at the top of the recipe to include the freezer time, as it's not currently an accurate snapshot of how long this recipe takes.


Friday 17th of December 2021

Are the pistachios 1/2 cup after shelling and chopping? It makes a difference.


Friday 17th of December 2021

Hi Mary!

Yes, the pistachio measurement is for pistachios without the shell after chopping them. I typically buy unshelled pistachios to make it easier ;) Hope this helps! xoxo


Thursday 16th of December 2021

These were FANTASTIC! And they won me first place at a cookie exchange party! I didn’t have almond flour, so I used regular flour and the dough came out perfectly.


Thursday 16th of December 2021

That's so amazing to hear, Tynesha!! I'm so happy you and your friends enjoy them. Also great to hear that regular flour works too! Thank you for the sweet note and feedback :) xoxo


Sunday 13th of December 2020

Love the idea of these cookies but at no point did the "dough" stick together in the slightest, before or after cooking.


Monday 14th of December 2020

Hi Katie,

I'm sorry the shortbread didn't work out for you! What brand of almond flour did you use? I recently discovered the absorbency of almond flour varies GREATLY between brands, which means some brands require more coconut oil to get the dough to come together. If you try the recipe again, I would suggest using Bob's Red Mill or Raley's brand superfine almond flour, OR use the same brand you used before and add more coconut oil until a log of dough comes together easily :D xoxo

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