Strawberry Pistachio Shortcakes

These Strawberry Pistachio Shortcakes are layers of sweet, juicy berries, fluffy whipped cream, on a perfectly tender pistachio shortcake.

Strawberry Pistachio Shortcakes

For me, classic strawberry shortcake is the ultimate summer dessert. Fresh, sun-ripened strawberries piled on a tender, biscuit-like shortcake and topped with homemade whipped cream — it’s so simple. The best things are! This is my slightly new take on the classic dessert. It seems that pistachios are having a real moment right now – on social media, on restaurant menus, and beyond.

I’ve always adored pistachios. And I always keep them on hand to incorporate in my favorite desserts – like these affogatos. I’m glad they are having a new moment – it inspired me to make these Strawberry Pistachio Shortcakes. That little pop of roasted, salted pistachio flavor is so nice in both the shortbread dough and sprinkled over freshly whipped cream.

Strawberry Pistachio Shortcakes

Shortcake and its Southern Cousin

Forget about those spongy, yellow cake pucks that you find in the grocery store produce section next to the strawberries. This is the real deal. Shortcake is so much like the tender, flaky, southern buttermilk biscuit, it feels like a southern thing to me. But shortcakes have history traced back to England. That’s where they began as a lightly sweetened biscuit, served with cream and fruit. A version of the dessert crossed the Atlantic when British settlers arrived in the American southeast. It’s such an un-fussy, homey, slightly rustic dessert, that it is right at home here in Appalachia.

It’s Berry Time!

First, toss freshly chopped strawberries with granulated sugar. Cover them and let them stand at least two hours. Longer is better. Ideally, you’ll do this the night before serving the shortcakes. This gives the berries ample time to macerate, and give off plenty of juices for pouring over the finished shortcakes.

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Make the Shortcakes

Next, make the shortcake dough. Grate butter in a big bowl, then freeze it so those little butter pieces are all super cold. Then, add a flour mixture that contains leavens and salt. Add some chopped roasted, salted pistachios. Stir everything together until the flour mixture has fine pieces of butter and pistachio pieces throughout. Then, add some cold heavy cream. Stir together until a stiff dough forms.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/2″ thickness. Next, stamp out rounds using a 3″ cookie cutter or pastry ring. Re-roll scraps for as many rounds as possible -I usually get about 8. Brush each round with heavy cream, and then bake at 375° for about 16 minutes. Cool them completely before filling.

Make the Whipped Cream

Whip heavy cream until slightly thickened. Then add just two tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar as you continue to beat the cream to stiff peaks. This dessert isn’t overly sweet. The biscuit shortcake base and cream are just barely sweet. Which makes the syrupy sweet strawberries the true star of the show.

Assemble the Shortcakes

Use a serrated knife to cut a shortcake in half horizontally. Spoon the macerated strawberries over the bottom half, along with some of the strawberry juices.

Layer On

Dollop or pipe on a nice big swirl of the whipped cream. Follow up with a generous sprinkle of chopped pistachios.

Side note: Food Network recently asked me to whip up a pistachio-centric dessert video for their audience, which you can see it right here on Facebook, if you’re interested.

Strawberry Pistachio Shortcakes


Place the shortcake top on the whipped cream and press down slightly. Add another little swirl of whipped cream on top, with another sprinkle of chopped pistachios. If you’re feeling fancy, garnish with a strawberry half with the greens still attached.

Strawberry Pistachio Shortcakes

Although rustic, I find these little shortcakes to be quite beautiful. The red strawberries flecked with green pistachios – it’s so pretty together! This is not a difficult dessert to make, and if you ask me, it’s pure summer on a plate.

Related recipe: Strawberry Cream Pie with Chocolate Crust

Strawberry Pistachio Shortcakes

Heather Baird
This recipe for Strawberry Shortcake uses all the dessert’s classic elements with the addition of chopped pistachios in the shortcake dough and for garnish. This gives the dessert beautiful, nutty flavor and the salty note from the pistachios really enhances the sweetness of the strawberries.
If you’re a purist, you can simply omit the pistachios from this recipe for truly authentic strawberry shortcake as close to the original as it can possibly get. Plan ahead. The strawberries need to macerate with sugar for at least 2 hours, but overnight is better.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
2 hours chill time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 46 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 8


  • 3” round cookie cutter of pastry cutter
  • Small grater or box grater
  • piping bag with large open star tip optional


Strawberry filling

  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Pistachio shortcakes

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream plus more if for brushing pastries
  • 1/4 cup roasted salted whole pistachios finely chopped

Whipped cream and garnish

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream chilled
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup roasted salted whole pistachios finely chopped
  • 4 whole strawberries halved with greens intact


Strawberry filling

  • Place the berries in a large bowl and pour the sugar over them. Toss the berries in the sugar to coat.
  • Refrigerate the berries for at least two hours to macerate, stirring them occasionally. Longer is better, if you have time, let them stand in the fridge overnight for optimal syrup from the berries.

Pistachio shortcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Grate the butter in a large bowl using the large side of a box grater. Freeze for about 15 minutes, or until the butter pieces are completely frozen.
  • Meanwhile, combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a separate bowl Whisk to combine.
  • When the butter is frozen, pour the flour over the butter and work together with a fork, until fine pieces of butter are visible throughout the dough. (You can also use your fingertips, but make it quick! You don’t want to warm the butter too much.)
  • Pour the pistachios in the mixture and stir them in with a fork to combine. Add the cream and stir until a stiff dough forms. If the dough seems too dry, add additional heavy cream to the bowl 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well, until a thick coherent dough forms.
  • On a floured work surface or sheet of parchment, pat the dough into a round about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3” cookie cutter or pastry ring, stamp as many shapes as possible from the dough. Re-roll scraps and cut again. Do this as many times as possible until all the dough is used.
  • Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with heavy cream. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 16 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and brown the tops for 2 minutes, watching the shortcakes the entire time to prevent burning.
  • Remove the shortcakes from the oven; transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Whipped cream

  • Add the cream to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until slightly thickened. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large French pastry tube (open star tip). Or simply grab a spoon to dollop it on the cakes.

Assemble the shortcakes

  • Cut the shortcakes in half horizontally so that you have a flat bottom and top. Fill them with the strawberry mixture, including some of the strawberry juices. Top with a swirl or dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.
  • Place the shortcake ‘lid’ on top of the whipped cream. Pipe another small swirl or dollop of whipped cream on top of the shortcake, followed by more chopped pistachios. Finish with a strawberry half on top of each cake.
  • Just before serving, spoon strawberry syrup over the tops.


What to expect: All the flavors of classic strawberry shortcake are in this dessert, along with the nutty flavor of pistachios. It’s an authentic shortcake with a biscuit-like base (made from dough with short gluten strands) sweet, syrupy berries, and whipped cream to tie it all together. 
Assemble these right before serving. If making ahead, it’s easy to store each element separately, with the strawberries and cream kept cool in the fridge. The shortcakes can be kept at room temp in an airtight container. You’ll notice in the video that the finished shortcake gets a generous drizzle of strawberry syrup – don’t skip this part! It’s so delicious and the traditional way to eat strawberry shortcake.
Keyword chopped pistachios, classic dessert recipe, coconut whipped cream, fresh strawberries, macerated strawberries, shortcake dough, strawberry pistachio shortcakes, unsalted butter
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