Pistachio-Cheddar Shortbread

Savory shortbread should be the star of your holiday parties.

Pistachio-Cheddar Shortbread
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
20 mins
Chill Time:
1 hrs
Bake Time:
20 mins
Cool Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs

Who said shortbread has to be sweet? In this festive appetizer, we're giving shortbread a new flavor—and you don't have to be a baker to pull off these simple crackers. If you can make slice-and-bake cookies, you can whip up these savory, buttery homemade crackers.

Think of our Pistachio-Cheddar Shortbread as a cross between shortbread cookies and cheese crackers. Flavored with salted pistachios, dry mustard, Parmesan, and white Cheddar cheese, they lean decidedly into a savory palate. Thanks to a handy food processor, this shortbread dough comes together quite quickly. The key with shortbread is not to overwork it. When bringing the dough together into one large mass, it can crumble apart, but after a little bit of kneading it will hold together. Also keep this in mind while forming the dough into logs: it may crack apart at times, but easily sticks back together.

Once baked, these shortbread crackers simply melt in your mouth. Serve them as is, or make them extra-festive by topping with cream cheese and pepper jelly. This easy and impressive homemade savory shortbread comes in handy whenever we're hosting. They're great for making ahead and freezing as well—crackers can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • cup roasted, salted shelled pistachios

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ¾ teaspoon dry mustard

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes

  • 7 ounces aged Irish white Cheddar cheese (such as Kerrygold Aged Cheddar), shredded (about 1¾ cups) 

  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shredded (about ⅓ cup)

  • ¼ cup ice water

  • Cream cheese and hot pepper jelly, for serving


  1. Combine flour, pistachios, sugar, salt, dry mustard, and black pepper in a food processor. Pulse until pistachios are finely chopped, 15 to 20 times. Add butter, and pulse until butter is the size of peas, about 15 times. Add Cheddar and Parmesan; pulse until combined, about 5 times. Add ice water, and pulse until mixture sticks together when pinched with fingers, about 5 times. Transfer mixture to a clean work surface, and knead gently to bring together. Divide mixture in half (about 11 ounces each), and roll and shape each piece into a 6-inch log (about 1¾-inch diameter). Wrap each log in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

  2. Place oven racks in upper and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove shortbread logs from refrigerator; slice into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Arrange rounds on prepared baking sheets, spacing at least ½ inch apart. Bake until golden brown and crispy, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Remove from oven; carefully transfer crackers to wire racks to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Top with cream cheese and hot pepper jelly.

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