Pistachio and Lemon Shortbread

I’ve never really liked shortbread – so why have I written a pistachio and lemon shortbread recipe?

Well, I had a notion for it and this is a reaaaaaaaly good variation of the usual stuff. And it is so much better than I had hoped for!

Trust me. The recipe is so easy you might as well give it a bash!

How did I make my pistachio and lemon shortbread recipe?

  • I used semolina in my Pistachio and Lemon Shortbread Recipe to give a soft luxurious taste. Some people use rice flour instead or simply flour on it’s own but I love the silkiness semolina adds here.

  • Like chocolate chip cookies, they come soft out of the oven and harden up quickly. Don’t worry if they don’t look baked when they come out of the oven! The colour should barely change apart from some slight golden brown around the edges. Just allow the shortbreads to cool fully before eating if you can!!

  • Saffron is special to me for many reasons, one being it has a dazzling unique taste. As the lemon and pistachio was already quite a Persian twist I though I would add some Saffron which gave them a slight yellow tinge and extra lovely taste. You can of course omit the saffron if you don’t have it at hand.

Looking for more?

For more healthy baking recipes like this take a look at my complete cookies and bars page for inspiration. Or why not try my oatmeal and raisin cookies? They are gluten-free and vegan too!

Pistachio and Lemon Shortbread Recipe

Pistachio and Lemon Shortbread Recipe

5 from 1 vote


Prep time


Baking time


Total time






  • 100 g Pistachio nuts (shelled)

  • 50 g Semolina

  • 250 g Plain white flour

  • 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – you can substitute for 2tsp of vanilla extract

  • 100 g Icing sugar

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 2 tbsp Lemon Rind grated

  • 1 tbsp hot boiled Water

  • 1/8 tsp ground Saffron (optional)

  • Caster sugar for dusting


  • Blitz the pistachio nuts in the food processor a couple of time until they are broken up into small pieces.
  • In a large bowl combine the pistachios, semolina, flour, vanilla paste, lemon rind, salt and work the butter through the mixture until a dough forms.
  • If you are using saffron, pour the boiled water over the saffron in small bowl or saffron steamer if you have one and set aside for a few minutes.
  • Add the saffron water or plain water (if omitting the saffron) to the dough and work until a solid ball forms. Remove from the bowl if you haven’t already and roll into a thick log about 4-5cm wide. Wrap tightly in cling film and pop in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat your oven to 130°C Fan (or 150°C for conventional ovens) and line a baking tray with non-stick paper. Once the oven has reached temperature take the dough out of the fridge.
  • The dough should be much firmer now it has rested in the fridge. Cut your dough log into 1cm thick disks (or thicker if you like a chunky shortbread!) and place each disk on the baking paper around 2cm apart as they will grow slightly in the oven.
  • Sprinkle your shortbreads with lashings of caster sugar and pop in the oven for around 20 minutes or until the sides of the biscuit turn ever so slightly golden brown. They will be soft and still pale when they come out of the oven so don’t panic.
  • Place the hot cookies carefully (they are very delicate in this stage and will crumble at the slightest breath of air!) on a baking tray and allow to cool fully before eating if you can help yourself!


  • Storage: Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days. You can also freeze your shortbreads if you make too many – freeze them flat then once frozen you can put them in a freeze bag or container for more compact storage.
  • Lemon Zest: If you want your biscuits more or less lemony you can use 3tbsp or 1tbsp instead. You can also change the tbsp of boiled water for lemon juice if you are not using saffron.
  • Alternatives: You can substitute the semolina for rice flour or plain flour if you don’t have any but the shortbreads will not be as smooth.

Did you cook this?

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Visit my Dessert page here for more sweet things to cook.

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