lemon basil cookies

Have I mentioned yet that I’m married to a picky eater? I love him dearly – but the man could starve in a grocery store. 

Grant came home from work the other day just as I was taking the last of these cookies out of the oven. He is my star-recipe-tester/number-one-critic/most-valued-food-opinion-giver so naturally I asked him to try one – remembering mid-sentence that he doesn’t like nuts, including pistachios (a key ingredient here). To my surprise, he not only tried one – he SHOCKINGLY loved it! 

These cookies were a staple growing up (thanks mom) and although I regarded them suspiciously at first (basil? in a cookie? with nuts?? Are you nuts?) I can promise that they are LEGIT. They have the perfect mix of soft-ness and crunch, and the whole basil-pistachio thing isn’t weird – really. Grant would have told me if it was *loving eye roll*.

Technicallyyyy you’re supposed to use the lemon variety of basil in these, but if you couldn’t find it (like I couldn’t) you can just use regular basil (and maybe add a touch more lemon to compensate). 

These cookies are the epitome of summer. My mom grew her own lemon basil, possibly just so she could make these cookies for us?? Now, Grant’s and my little porch is home to another basil plant – guess who gave it to us – provider of the star ingredient for these cookies. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here making as many of these as I possibly can before our basil supply runs out or summer ends – whichever comes first. 


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBS grated lemon zest
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped lemon basil (or regular basil)
  • 1/3 cup shelled & chopped pistachio nuts
  • 3 TBS sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, with a mixer, cream the softened (not melted) butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg, mixing until just combined. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil next. You can also add some of the chopped pistachio nuts to the dough for extra OOMPH (I like to do this). Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for an hour.

While the dough is chilling, prepare the topping. Shell pistachios (or buy pre-shelled ones) and put into a food processor until they’re finely ground – but not totally decimated. There should still be some small, visible chunks. Mix the pistachios & sugar and put in a small bowl for dipping. 

Shape the dough into balls (about 1 inch each). Roll each ball in the sugar/pistachio mixture and place on a greased or parchment paper lined or nonstick or whatever else you have cookie sheet. (Don’t use waxed paper though. Not that I know from experience…) Flatten cookie dough balls slightly with the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on pan before moving to a cooling rack. 

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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