My mom will often turn down the sweet, gooey confections that I prefer, but she can never say no to a thin, crispy cookie.
I created these unique olive oil sugar cookies with her in mind. The olive oil pairs well with the pistachios and lemon in this recipe. I’ve also made another version, Olive Oil Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze – the pink tinted frosting makes them a lovely Easter or Valentine’s Day cookie.
What do olive oil cookies taste like?
The olive oil flavor here is subtle, but there is still a trace of fruitiness and spice, and the sweet lemon glaze is a nice partner.
Olive Oil Sugar Cookie Tips:
- This dough is very forgiving, so if it cracks at all while you are rolling it out, you can patch it up easily.
- I call for a 2 in [12 cm] biscuit cutter, but smaller sizes also work well, just take a few minutes off the baking time.
- You can leave out the pistachios if needed; replace it in the dough with equal parts flour.
*Troubleshooting Notes: I have been making this recipe for 6+ years now (during the winter holidays especially), and never had a problem with it rolling out, if anything the dough erred on the side of being a little wet. However, many of you have written me to tell me the dough was really crumbly for you, and I found the same to be true when I made it this holiday season (2020).
It could be just a case of dry flour – flour can dry out, especially in the winter months.
Flour also changes from harvest to harvest, so it’s possible that this is a higher-protein season, and that’s why many of us are having trouble. If you find that the dough is crumbly after adding the ingredients, you can add a little water (a teaspoon at a time) until it comes together. I did have one reader add an extra egg and said that worked well, too. I’m sorry if you are having trouble! This really has been my go-to dough for so many things and has worked so well up until now. I’ll update if I find out anything else to help/answer questions.
Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Lemon Glaze
- 1/3 cup [43 g] roasted shelled pistachios plus 1/3 cup [43 g] chopped for sprinkling
- 2 cups [284 g] all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons [57 g] unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup [150 g] granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup [30 g] confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup [112 g] olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 2 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups [180 g] confectioners’ sugar
For the cookies
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F [180C]. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the pistachios in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until finely ground. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to fully combine and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the granulated and confectioners’ sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the olive oil and mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla, mixing on low until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined.
- Gather the dough, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough to 1/4 in [6 mm] thick. Using a 2 in [12 cm] biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out circles. (Any dough scraps can be rewrapped and chilled while the cookies are baking.) Gently slide a metal spatula underneath each round and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.
- Place 12 cookies on each sheet. Put the first baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. After the dough has chilled, put the first pan of cookies in the oven, and then put the second pan in the freezer. Repeat with the leftover dough.
- Bake one sheet at a time, 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are just beginning to brown on the edges.
- Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely on the pan.
For the lemon glaze
- In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the salt. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix together until smooth. Add more lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Using an offset spatula or kitchen knife, spread a thin layer of the glaze on each cooled cookie. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and let the glaze set before serving.
KateMonday, March 20, 2023 at 8:18 am
Came out great for me! The dough definitely felt oily (vs dry) when I went to roll it out. It tried to crack on me but was easy to push back together. The cookies held their shape and didn’t spread when baked. The end result is crisp and light! The lemon icing gives it the sweetness I always crave.
CaroleFriday, February 17, 2023 at 10:45 am
Dear Sara- this my 2nd year making these delicious cookies – yes it is crumbling dough, but be fearless and quickly came together. I shipped them to my daughter from Los Angeles to San Diego for Valentine’s, but USPS goofed & sent them Washington State. I mailed them 4 days ago, not sure when they’ll arrive. How long will these cookies last? What a fiasco ??
MariaThursday, December 29, 2022 at 5:32 pm
This is the first recipe I’ve ever used of yours that didn’t work out — and I’m nearly completed all the recipes in “100 Cookies” with great success. My flour was new (I read through comments). It was SO crumbly and I couldn’t save it with water or whole milk. Not sure what else could have gone wrong as I weighed everything and followed directions. No worries but I won’t attempt this one again.
Kevyn AllardFriday, February 3, 2023 at 7:13 pm
I’m a huge fan and love everything I’ve made from your book, “100 Cookies” but this recipe didn’t work out at all. I couldn’t even push the dough together it was so crumbly. I can’t imagine what went wrong…
NathalySaturday, December 24, 2022 at 6:13 pm
Hello! In one of your recipes (lavender cookies) you say to make the dough and roll it into a log then store in the fridge, can you explain what this looks like? thanks!
monica turnerMonday, December 19, 2022 at 5:07 pm
Any recommendations for making these at higher altitude?
DanaMonday, December 19, 2022 at 9:04 am
In reading the comments I wondered, did those who had crumbly dough use pre-shelled pistachios? I had planned to do that but then, through a grocery order mixup, ended up using shelled pistachios and shelling them myself. My dough came together very nicely – even a tad oily as Sarah said, and I wonder if the oil from the pistachios is better preserved in their shells? Wondering if this is a contributing factor? My family and I loved these cookies and they will be a staple in my Christmas cookie list for years to come!!! Thank you!!
JamesSaturday, December 10, 2022 at 10:03 pm
Dec 2022 – made these today and had a similar experience to others – I’m an experienced baker, measured carefully and followed instructions to the letter: dough was very crumbly and difficult to roll, and resulting cut forms needed to be pushed together to be transferred to baking sheet. Cookies’ shapes suffered and thickness was uneven as a result.
Sarah KiefferMonday, December 12, 2022 at 7:50 pm
Hi James – I have a note about this in the post, but I’ve found some years this recipe works well for most people, and then some years people in the Midwest have trouble with the dough crumbling. It could be a case of dry flour – flour can dry out, especially in the winter months, if it isn’t kept in an airtight container.
Flour also changes from harvest to harvest, so it’s possible that this is a higher-protein season, and that’s why many of us are having trouble. If you find that the dough is crumbly after adding the ingredients, you can add a little water (a teaspoon at a time) until it comes together. I did have one reader add an extra egg and said that worked well, too.
PattiWednesday, December 7, 2022 at 6:05 pm
What type of olive oil, there are so many.
HayleyTuesday, December 7, 2021 at 3:26 pm
Obsessed with this cookie! Just wondering if you have any tips for keeping them crisp the next day? I’ve noticed overnight that the glaze changes the texture of the cookie and they are softer.
BernadetteMonday, November 8, 2021 at 8:12 pm
Deliciously simple biscuits that I will be baking again.
Flavour and texture are perfect !
GiftbasketworldwideThursday, June 3, 2021 at 8:11 am
Your blog post is stunning. Thanks!!
Heather E.Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 12:31 pm
I followed the recipe from 100 cookies. I decided to try the dough as a ‘slice and bake’. Worked perfect! I took all the dough and made a log. Wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a paper towel tube, wrapped again and put in fridge for a couple hours. They were a little crumbly when slicing but I was gentle and just smooshed back together as needed. I used the lemon glaze but no poppy seeds. So good! I had about a third of the dough left to bake and the log was even easier to slice after 2 days in the fridge. I topped them with melted bittersweet chocolate and flaky sea salt. We love them both ways! Oh, and I used KA all purpose flour which has a higher protein content but I did not need to add additional liquid.
YannisTuesday, April 20, 2021 at 1:28 am
Hello.. you advise to cut the cookies with a 2 inch (10cm) cookie cutter… but 2 inches are only 5 cm.. so half the diameter.. could you please amend this in the website?
dottieFriday, February 12, 2021 at 2:52 pm
This is an excellent cookie! Such a nice crumbly bite and the pistachio flavor (minus the glaze and topping) is so subtle. These might be nice sandwiched with ganache, too, or baked folded over on a chocolate filling. I’m with your mom, give me a crisp cookie over gooey any day. I did wind up using all the flour.
MeganFriday, February 5, 2021 at 2:10 pm
Dough is so crumbly and difficult to roll. Discovered that too late though as I followed the recipe in the new book without the extra tips to help.
Nancy WintersTuesday, March 22, 2022 at 10:35 pm
Hello! I’m looking to make these yummy sounding cookies, after looking at the recipe I’m just wondering what size to cut these to be able to make 2 dozen? It calls for a 2 inche cutter (12cm) but 12 cm is really 4.72 inches
Sarah KiefferWednesday, March 23, 2022 at 10:02 am
Thank you for catching. It should be a 2 inch cutter, I updated that in the recipe.
LauraWednesday, February 3, 2021 at 10:01 pm
Could I substitute a “non dairy” butter for the 4 T butter?
KateSunday, January 3, 2021 at 12:50 pm
I also tried this recipe (The olive oil one from your cookbook, which is similar) and the dough was too crumbly to roll out. I left if in the fridge for a day.
ArmidaThursday, December 31, 2020 at 9:17 am
I’m on the same boat! Dough is crumbly and followed recipe. Help!
ALEXANDRA BOZANISWednesday, December 23, 2020 at 1:13 pm
Just tried making these and the dough is dry and too crumbly to roll out… I left it in the fridge for 4 hours. I don’t think I measured anything wrong or left an ingredient out. Any advice?
JeremyThursday, December 17, 2020 at 8:08 pm
These look great, thanks! Is there a big impact to letting these sit in the fridge for 2 or 3 days?
SallyThursday, December 17, 2020 at 10:31 am
these look awesome! Are the pistachios salted or unsalted? THANKS!