Pistachio Dessert

A delicious Pistachio pudding dessert with layers of crushed Sandies Cookies, cream cheese/cheesecake layer, pistachio pudding layer and topped with whipped cream!

We love layered desserts, especially for the holidays, and if you love them too be sure to check out our: white chocolate lasagna, peppermint chocolate delight and cookie delight.

Pistachio dessert on red plate

Easy Pistachio Pudding Dessert

This next recipe is one my mom tried out long ago. It’s one we’ve made different variations of since I was little. The reason we keep making it is because it’s easy and so delicious!

If you love pistachio and Shortbread Cookies you will definitely love this dessert. It has so many delicious layers including a shortbread cookie crust, cream cheese layer, pistachio pudding layer, and a topping of whipped cream.

It’s a cool treat so it’s great for summer, but we love to enjoy this recipe all year long (it’s even great for Christmas with it’s green color).

We’ve shared other similar recipes like this Lemon Lasagna and White Chocolate lasagna, so if you love today’s recipe you’ll also love these ones.

Crushed sandied crust with a cream cheese layer

How to Make Pistachio Dessert

This recipe is quite simple and takes just 10-15 minutes to prep before you have to let it refrigerate for at least an hour.

Begin by smashing you shortbread cookies in a Ziploc bag until fine (you can even put these in a food processor if you want them super fine). Add melted butter to your bag with crumbs and mix around and then press into a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes in the oven until golden. Let cool.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and whipped cream together until smooth. Pour an even layer over crushed cookie crust.

In another bowl, mix the milk and pudding mix together until thickened. Pour and spread over the cream cheese layer.

Spread your remaining cool whip or whipped cream over the top and refrigerate.


TIP: Chill the dessert in the fridge as you are making the next layer. It helps each layer set before adding on the next.

What type of shortbread cookies did you use? I used Keebler sandies, but any shortbread cookie should work (even homemade ones). Golden Oreos or any other kind of cookie also work great. If you feel like your crust is too dry and crumbly add 1-2 more tablespoons of butter.

Why did my crust come out crumbly? I’m not quite sure why this happens for some and not others. Perhaps it’s the type of shortbread used. If you feel like your crust will be too dry and crumbly add 1-2 more tablespoons of butter. 

Can I use skim milk? I recommend whole milk as it creates a creamy pudding mixture. However, you can use 2%, 1% or even skim. 

Can you use other toppings? Of course! Here are some other great options:

  • Toasted coconut
  • Chopped pistachios
  • Sprinkles
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chopped nuts (we like to use pecans)
Pistachio pudding dessert with layers

How to Store + FAQ

How far in advance can I make this dessert? We typically do not make this more than 24 hours in advance just so it’s fresh. Also, I would definitely wait to add sprinkles or candies on top until right before serving so they don’t discolor the whipped cream on top. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until serving time. 

How to store leftovers:  Store leftovers covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Pistachio Pudding Dessert on red plate

We really hope you enjoy this pistachio pudding cake. It’s been one of our go-to recipes in our home and we think you’ll love it just as much as we did.

For more layered desserts, check out:

Pistachio Dessert Recipe

4.90 from 19 votes
Pistachio Shortbread Dessert – layered treat with a Sandies Cookies crust, cream cheese layer, pistachio pudding layer and topped with Cool whip! YUM!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 285 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna


  • 11.2 oz package shortbread cookies, (about 21 cookies)
  • 3 tbsp butter melted
  • 2 3.4 oz packages pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 cups whipped topping, divided (or 16 oz Cool Whip container)
  • Topping: M&Ms or ¼ cup chopped pecans


  • Smash shortbread cookies in a Ziploc bag, until fine. For extra fine crumbs, you can crush cookies in a food processor.
  • Add melted butter to Ziploc bag with Put crushed cookies and mix around until coated. Press crumbs into a 9×13 pan.
  • Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes in the oven until golden. Let cool.
  • Smooth together cream cheese, sugar and 2 cups of your cool whip (or whipped cream). Pour an even layer over crushed cookie crust.
  • Mix the milk and pudding mix together until thickened up. Pour over the cream cheese layer.
  • Spread your remaining whipped topping over the top and refrigerate. Top with crushed pecans if desired.


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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I love love love love pistachios and shortbread. This sounds DREAMY. Can’t wait to make it!! Lorin’s got great taste!

  2. Oh these look soooo good!!! The Frosted Holiday Mint M&M Brownies as well!! Def wanna try these when I visit my grandma’s again cause she’s the one with the oven lol. thanks for sharing your recipes!!

  3. Tried to make this but I was wondering if the measurements are right for the shortbread crust. Followed exactly what it called for, but the crust did not bake together and I was left with crumbs. When I tried to smooth on the cream cheese layer, the crumbs ended up completely mixed in with this layer. I’m sure it will still be yummy, but it definitely doesn’t have a nice crust.

    1. The exact same thing happened to me… Totally bummed it didn’t work and now I have to come up with a back up dessert pronto!

  4. What kind of short bread cookies is everyone using? I don’t know what to buy. Please don’t reply any brand will do please give me some examples. Thanks

    1. Keebler sandies simply shortbread cookies & I used 6TBS of melted butter & baked my crust for 15 minutes comes out great!

  5. TOTAL FAIL. 2 3/4 cups of milk for the pudding????? I’m now stuck with half a recipe that’s turned to crap because the pudding is SOUP. You don’t do 2 cups of milk for the regular pudding. So much for following a blog recipe. Have you ever even made this before? or just mistype your Mother-in-laws recipe?
    Thanks but no thanks.

    1. I’m sorry, but you are wrong. ONE box of pudding calls for 2 cups of milk. This recipe calls for 2 boxes of pudding, so 2 3/4 cup of milk is LESS than what the pudding would usually call for. You mix the milk and pudding until it thickens up, which takes a few minutes, and then pour it over the cream cheese layer. You must not have followed the direction properly.

      1. I want to apologize in public. It was my fault. I most definitely did read it wrong. Since I live 25 minutes from a grocery store, running and grabbing another box isn’t an option, so I folded in some extra whipped cream. It still turned out yummy. I apologize for my rant, I don’t mind admitting when I’m most definitely in the wrong. 😀 If you want to delete my comment please do so, but if only for you. I made myself look like an idiot and what happens on the internet, stays on the internet. 😉 Good luck to you! It was a yummy dessert after all!

    1. Personally, I never make a recipe more than 24 hours in advance just so it’s fresh. Also, I would definitely wait to add sprinkles or candies on top until right before serving so they don’t discolor the cool whip on top. 😉

  6. 5 stars
    So I learned my lesson. Print the recipe out before you make it. I was so excited to make it because my mom use to make it and I would devour it. So I ran to the store and grabbed the ingredients, what I thought were the ingredients. I was looking at my phone. When I got home and started to make it I discovered I needed 2 pudding boxes and my whipped cream topping was frozen. It was too late to go back so I had to wait to the next day. Then I realized I forgot to put in the powdered sugar. Then when I wwnt to go make the second box of pudding I added the 2 cups of milk and it turned to soup. I also needed more whipped topping than a whole tub for the top. It turned out fine but I’m going to make it again sometime in a smaller dish. Ill be keeping this and your other recipes. Glad I found this on Pinterest!

  7. I’m excited to make these! My hubby went and got the ingredients for me, but couldn’t find a 13oz package keebler Sandie’s cookies, the package is 11.2 oz. He bought two packages… Should I use some from the other package to equal 13 oz? I just don’t want the crust to not turn out. Thanks!

    1. I would definitely use some from the other package, but it’s up to you how much. If you want more of a crust I would add half of the other package and then add 1-2 more TB of butter. 😉

  8. We make this recipe all the time but our crust is different instead of cookies we use flour butter and chopped nuts. It’s my favorite dessert!!!!

    1. We make our own shortbread for the crust for this type of dessert too. We also make several different flavor variations using the same method.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this for christmas last year and got tons of compliments. My mother-in-law even asked for the recipe, and she turned around and made it for a church dinner.

  10. 4 stars
    I added an EXTRA tablesPoon of butter to help the crumbs hold together before baking. I also drop the cream cheese layer gently over the crust in small piles and spread carefully. I then chilled for awhile before pouring over the pudding layer. Chill the pudding layer as well before the final layer of cool whip. This keeps the layers intact for a better looking dessert.

  11. 5 stars
    Instead of the candy on top I put pieces of Pistachio on it.. It was awesome! My hubs loved it. Thank-you ?

  12. 5 stars
    How delightful and so super fun! I know exactly who I need to make this delicious dessert for! I have a friend whose favorite flavor is pistachio. She is going to LOVE this!

  13. 5 stars
    This is absolutely divine! We love all the incredible layers! It’s so versatile too, for various holidays. We just switch out the candy on top!

  14. I like to make a flour, sugar, chopped nuts and butter for my base and bake it and cool it. I use cream cheese, powdered sugar and cool whip for the next layer. Next layer the pistachio pudding using 2 boxes and 3 cups of milk as next layer. Final layer of cool whip. Sprinkle with color candies before serving.

  15. Your recipe calls for 16oz of whipped topping divided to be used for two different layers but you say the second layer with the cream cheese and powdered sugar needs 2 cups of cool whip…. 2 cups is 16oz so how do we have left over for the top layer?

    1. So a serving size for a 16 oz tub of Cool Whip is 2 Tbsp. There are about 50 servings in that tub. Which would be about 100 Tbsp. 1 cup = 16 Tbsp, so that full 16 oz tub should yield about 6.25 cups of Cool Whip, which should be enough wiggle room for the cream cheese layer and for the top. 🙂 We haven’t had any troubles with not having enough when using the 16 oz tub. Hope you enjoy the recipe!!