If you're looking for a festive red and green dessert to bring to a party, I have the recipe for you. These Pistachio Pudding Cookies are so easy and so pretty! They're not made with a cake mix, so you can be assured they're delightfully chewy in the middle and crisp on the edges, like a great cookie should be.
These bright green pistachio pudding cookies are so festive for the holidays! I like to stir in Maraschino cherries for the red and green look, but they're entirely optional. The flavor of the cookies on their own is enough without them.
These cookies use one small box of pistachio pudding mix. When you add pudding mix to dough, you get a softer, fluffier result. This is because the mix contains cornstarch. You will also love the layers of flavor going on in these pistachio pudding cookies!
This isn't the first time we've added cornstarch to a dessert before. My Chocolate Chippers recipe contains cornstarch so that the result is a soft, chewy texture.
How to Make Pistachio Pudding Cookies
Many recipes that use a box of pudding also use a cake mix, however, this isn't one of those recipes. This is a standard recipe to which we are adding a box of pudding. I find all cake mix cookies to be overly fluffy and soft, similar to muffins. My method below produces a much better result.
For the characteristic holiday feel, I'm adding extra green food coloring to the recipe. It helps make the final result a brighter green.
The texture of these cookies is very similar to my Gooey Butter Cake Cookies. This is because we're adding a small amount of cream cheese to the dough. Cream cheese does incredible things to dough--it makes it thicker and chewier.
If you love this type of recipe, try my Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake Cookies, too!
- Pistachio Pudding Mix. One small box is 3.4 ounces. Do not use the larger one. There are no substitutions for this ingredient. If you don't have it or don't want to use it, please select another recipe to bake.
- Butter. Just half a stick of butter that has been softened to room temperature. I recommend unsalted butter, but if you only have salted, use it and omit the salt from the recipe.
- Cream Cheese. You need 2 ounces of cream cheese for this recipe, which is ¼ of a 8-ounce brick of cream cheese. I prefer to bake by weight, but you don't have a scale, use 4 packed tablespoons of cream cheese. Do not use whipped cream cheese because it contains milk and stabilizers, which will melt in the oven.
- Sugar. Granulated sugar, just ¾ cup because the pudding mix contains sugar. These pistachio pudding cookies have just the right amount of sweetness.
- Almond Extract. A very small amount of almond extract (¼ teaspoon) will mimic the nuttiness of pistachios. Don't skip this ingredient for the ultimate flavor!
- Green Food Coloring. I start with 5 drops of green food gel, and add more from there. It depends if you want the cookies a vibrant green or a dull green.
- Eggs. We need one whole egg plus one egg yolk. The reason we are doubling up on the egg yolk but omitting the egg white is because these are chewy and delightfully dense. The extra tablespoon of fat from the egg yolk helps us achieve the ideal texture.
- Baking Powder.
- Maraschino Cherries. About 10-12 Maraschino cherries from the jar. Remove the stems, chop, and blot them dry between a stack of paper towels. If you add overly wet cherries to the dough, it will muddy the bright green color.
- Powdered Sugar. We need a small amount of powdered sugar (just ⅓ cup) to roll the cookies in before baking.
Place the softened butter, cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the green food coloring, almond extract, whole egg, egg yolk and mix again.
Next, add the flour, pistachio pudding mix, baking powder and salt to the green dough. Beat until mostly mixed, but also be careful not to over-mix.
At this point, the pistachio pudding cookies dough needs to chill for one hour in the fridge. Since the dough contains cream cheese, the dough really needs to be firm before going into the oven.
Meanwhile, chop 10-12 Maraschino cherries from the jar, and place them on several paper towels to drain excess moisture.
Once the dough is done chilling, you can preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. Then, stir the cherries into the dough. Alternatively, you can also avoid stirring the cherries in, and press 3-5 pieces of cherry into each dough ball before baking.
Using a cookie scoop that holds 2 tablespoons of dough, make 12 dough balls. Roll each cookie in powdered sugar before evenly spacing them on the baking sheet. Bake the pistachio pudding cookies for 11-13 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just turning golden brown.
Make-Ahead Pistachio Pudding Mix Cookies
You can make the dough through step 4, and then and chill it in the fridge for up 3 days before baking. I would not stir in the cherries until you're ready to bake, because their red color will seep out into the dough and the cookies won't be as bright green. You can also freeze the dough, and then defrost until scoop-able. If you freeze or chill the dough for longer than an hour, it's best to press the cherries into the cookies with your fingers just before baking. Look at the photos and see that you can press 3-5 pieces of chopped cherries into the surface of each cookie before baking.
Once the pistachio pudding cookies have been baked, they keep for 2 days on the counter, 5 days in the fridge, or several months in the freezer. Defrost at room temperature before serving.
Other Green Desserts for Christmas:
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 5 drops green food coloring
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 (3.4 ounce) package of instant pistachio pudding mix
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon
- ¼ cup maraschino cherries, chopped and dried (about 10-12 cherries)
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar, for rolling
- Place softened butter, cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat together until light and fluffy with an electric mixer on HIGH for about 2 minutes.
- Add almond extract, food coloring, egg and egg yolk, and beat again until mixed.
- Add flour, pistachio pudding mix, baking powder, and salt to the bowl. Beat until thoroughly mixed, but be careful not to over-mix.
- Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for at least 60 minutes. Do not skip this step.
- Meanwhile, drain and chop the cherries. Place them on paper towels and blot them dry.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Have powdered sugar ready in a small, shallow bowl.
Remove dough from fridge, stir in the cherries gently. You can also just press 3-5 pieces into each dough ball before baking instead of stirring them in.
- Scoop into dough balls that are roughly 2 tablespoons each, and roll in powdered sugar. Evenly space on cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes, or until cookies are starting to turn lightly golden brown on the edges. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve when cool, because they can be a bit crumbly when too hot.
Make Ahead Tips: You can make the dough through step 4 and chill it in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. Do not add the cherries until you're ready to bake, because their red color will seep out into the dough and the cookies won't be as bright green. You can also freeze the dough, and then defrost until scoop-able. If you freeze or chill the dough for longer than an hour, it's best to press the cherries into the cookies with your fingers just before baking. Look at the photos and see that you can press 3-5 pieces of chopped cherries into the surface of each cookie before baking.
Storage: Once the pistachio pudding cookies have been baked, they keep for 2 days on the counter, 5 days in the fridge, or several months in the freezer. Defrost at room temperature before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 167Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 127mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 19gProtein: 2g