Walnut Crescent Cookies are the perfect treats with a blend of buttery, nutty, and sweet flavors. These holiday cookies are a favorite during the holidays!

For more holiday cookies try our fig cookies, orange ricotta cookies, or chocolate almond biscotti.   

Jump to:

Why We Love This Recipe

  • Simple Ingredients – One of the best things about this recipe is that it uses simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
  • Makes a Lot – Our recipes makes 4 dozen cookies making it a great treat for cookie exchange and cookie boxes for gift giving!
  • Delicious Taste – The combination of buttery, nutty flavors, and delicate, flaky texture make these cookies a real treat. They’re perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea or coffee, or for sharing with friends and family.


See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

ingredients for walnut crescent cookies.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • Sugar: We love using cane sugar but granulated sugar works great too.
  • Vanilla extract: Try to use pure vanilla extract if possible. It has the best flavor. 
  • Flour: Measure the flour by using the spoon and level method.
  • Walnuts: Fresh walnuts impart a rich, nutty flavor to the cookies. 
  • Orange zest: A little citrus creates a wonderful balance to these Christmas cookies. 
  • Cinnamon: Adding a small amount of cinnamon creates depth and that warm holiday feeling.  
  • Powdered sugar: Used for dusting the cookies after they have cooled.

Variations and Substitutions

Walnut crescent cookies are a versatile treat that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few ideas for variations and substitutions:

  • Nuts: While walnuts are the traditional nut used in these cookies, you can easily swap them out for other nuts. Pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios would all be delicious options. You can even mix and match nuts to create your own unique flavor combination.
  • Flavors: You can add a variety of flavors to these cookies to make them your own. Try adding a teaspoon of cardamom to the dough for a warm, spicy flavor. Or a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the dough for a chocolatey twist.
  • Toppings: After the cookies are baked, add toppings to give them an extra pop of flavor. Drizzle or dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts. The possibilities are endless!

How To Make This Recipe

Here are the brief steps to make this recipe. For a full description see the recipe card below. 

creamed butter and sugar in a glass bowl.

Step 1: Cream butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, then add in the vanilla.

dry ingredients in a glass bowl.

Step 2: Combine the flour, salt, walnuts, zest, and cinnamon in a small bowl. 

dry and wet ingredients in a bowl.

Step 3: Gradually add the flour into the butter and sugar into it’s all mixed. 

dough formed into four balls on a plate.

Step 4: Divide the dough into four and chill.

dough formed into a rope on a wooden board.

Step 5: Roll out each ball of dough into a 12-inch rope.

dough cut into pieces.

Step 6: Cut each rope crosswise into 12 (1-inch) pieces and shape into a crescent.

dough formed into crescents on a baking sheet.

Step 7: Bake at 350F until they’re golden around the edges. 

cookies on a wire rack dusted with powdered sugar.

Step 8: Cool them on a wire rack and dust them with confectioners’ sugar.

Expert Tips

If you want to make the perfect walnut crescent cookies, there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

  • Chill the dough: After you mix your dough, you can let it chill for at least 30 minutes up to overnight. This will help the dough firm up and make it easier to shape into crescents. It will also help the cookies hold their shape during baking.
  • Chop walnuts by hand: It’s best to chop walnuts by hand so they don’t release too much oil instead of using a food-processor.

How To Store

Room Temperature

Walnut crescent cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week. To ensure the cookies stay fresh, add a slice of bread to the container. The bread will absorb any excess moisture and keep the cookies from becoming stale.


If you need to store your cookies for a longer period, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Place the cookies in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. When you’re ready to eat the cookies, remove them from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature before serving.


Walnut crescent cookies can also be frozen for up to three months. Place them in a freezer-safe container with wax paper between each layer. When you’re ready to enjoy them, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

crescent cookies dusted with powdered sugar.

Recipe FAQs

How do you ensure a perfect crescent shape when making walnut cookies?

To achieve the perfect crescent shape when making walnut cookies, it is essential to chill the dough. Roll the dough into small balls, then shape them into crescents by pressing the dough between your palms and gently bending the ends.

What variations can be made to the classic walnut crescent cookie recipe?

While the classic walnut crescent cookie recipe is delicious on its own, there are several variations you can make to add some variety. You can add chocolate chips or dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins, to the dough for a sweet and tangy twist. 

If you try Walnut Crescent Cookies, please leave a star rating and let me know how you like the recipe in the comments below.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Walnut Crescent Cookies

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 12 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 12 min
  • Yield: 4 dozen 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


Walnut Crescent Cookies are the perfect treats with a blend of buttery, nutty, and sweet flavors. These holiday cookies are a favorite during the holidays!


Units Scale
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cane or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Confectioners’ sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, while scraping down the bowl. Beat in vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, walnuts, zest, and cinnamon. Gradually beat into creamed mixture, while scraping down the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into one large ball as the dough will be crumbly, then divide into 4 equal balls. Cover the dough or individually wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  4. After you take the dough out of the refrigerator especially if chilled overnight, it will be very hard. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling out. The dough will still be hard and a little crumbly but as you work it in your hands it will soften. 
  5. Working with one dough ball at a time, roll it out into a 12-inch rope, then cut crosswise into 12 (1-inch) pieces. Roll each piece into 3-inch log. Shape into crescent and place about 1 1/2-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are barely golden. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.


  • Walnuts: It’s best to chop the walnuts by hand using a sharp chef’s knife instead of using a food processor. Walnuts can release too much oil in the food processor and it will affect the texture of the cookies.
  • Chilling the dough: Make sure to not skip this step! It helps the cookies hold their shape during baking, otherwise, they will spread out a lot.


  • Serving Size: 2 cookies
  • Calories: 143
  • Sugar: 5.5 g
  • Sodium: 49.8 mg
  • Fat: 9.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.8 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 20.3 mg

Recipe originally published December 2014 but since been revised.