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Snowball Cookies (Russian Tea Cakes)

Snowball cookies (also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Pecan Balls) are melt-in-your-mouth incredible. They’re an easy holiday favorite, with just 6 ingredients. You have to taste them to see what the hype is all about…

snowball cookies, russian tea cakes, mexican wedding cakes, pecan balls

How to make snowball cookies aka Russian tea cakes

The classic Christmas lyrics have been belting out “Let it Snow.”   But in reality, it’d be pretty sweet if we got a break from the ice and snow around here for awhile.  Just so the roads can stay clear for awhile, at the very least.

But even I will own up to a few benefits of a snow-laden landscape.  A good pile of snow gives my unstoppable boys an outlet for outdoor fun.  And a venue for energy expenditure (very important to my sanity.)

If snow comes in cookie form, though, I’ll take that any day.  Every day.  And all day.

Snowball cookies may look like little balls of fresh snow, but that’s where the similarities stop.  Also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, or Southern Pecan Balls… these little cookies are melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

These are a quintessential Christmas cookie. You only need 6 ingredients to make them happen. That’s a good thing, because once you taste these little pecan balls of melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness, you’ll want to make a bunch of them to freeze, gift, and eat…

snowball cookies, russian tea cakes, mexican wedding cakes, pecan balls

Ingredients for snowball cookies (russian tea cakes)

  • 1 cup salted butter – we go with salted butter, as it eliminates the need to add any additional salt, and provides such great flavor. Be sure it’s room temperature. Just soft, but not at all melty. Should be cool to the touch.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar – we will divide the amount to be used in various steps. Super easy.
  • 1 TB vanilla extract – always use pure vanilla extract. One tablespoon may sound like a lot compared to many cookie recipes, but trust! It will be amazing!
  • 2 cups all purpose flour – we have not trialed with other flours other than all purpose, so my suggestion is to stick with this flour for best results.
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted, cooled, and finely ground (stop as soon as it looks ground; avoid it becoming pasty) – even if your pecans seem toasted already in the package, still give it a brief toasting…it will really really bring out those deep flavors and aromas! Just take care not to let them burn; watch carefully here. When you grind them, be sure to stop as soon as they look finely ground (if you keep going, the ground nuts will become most like a paste, which you want to avoid.)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon – ground cinnamon is amazing as always. Just be sure yours is fresh and not stale. 
snowball cookies, russian tea cakes, mexican wedding cakes, pecan balls

Must-have Christmas cookies for cookie exchanges and edible gifts

These snowball cookies are tender and fine-crumbed, which creates that unbeatable melty sensation when you bite into one.  Or pop the whole thing in your mouth.

They keep very well, which makes them the prime candidate for gift-giving and cookie exchanges.  

You can bake them, freeze them airtight, and serve them when you’re ready to share. These are a must-have cookie for winter holidays.  Even if you don’t love snow itself, you’ll love these snowball cookies.

Have you tried ultra-chewy white chocolate chip cookies?

snowball cookies, russian tea cakes, mexican wedding cakes, pecan balls

Snowball Cookies (Russian Tea Cakes)

5 from 2 reviews

These snowball cookies literally melt in your mouth. They are tasty little morsels that are perfect for gifting or cookie trays, as they keep very well. The bit of cinnamon adds so much to the flavor.

  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 12 min
  • Total Time: 32 minutes

Yield: 50 1x


  • 1 cup salted butter, room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted, cooled, and finely ground (stop as soon as it looks ground; avoid it becoming pasty)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  1. Beat butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 5-8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add flour and nuts, beating until incorporated. Remove dough and divide roughly in half. Wrap each half in plastic and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon in a pie dish.
  3. Take out first half of chilled dough. Make 1-inch cookie balls, and arrange them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Slightly pinch each ball so it stands taller and somewhat oval. Bake cookies just until bottoms are light golden brown, 12-13 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes on sheet.
  4. Carefully toss warm cookies in the cinnamon sugar mix, coating completely. Place cookies on wire rack to finish cooling. Once fully cooled, re-coat each cookie in cinnamon sugar mix and serve. Repeat with other half of dough.


If you enjoyed these cookies, please come back and give them a rating! 🙂 


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 85
  • Sugar: 4.8 g
  • Sodium: 29.4 mg
  • Fat: 5.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.9 g
  • Protein: 0.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 9.8 mg
  • Author: Chew Out Loud
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: snowball cookies, russian tea cakes, mexican wedding cakes, southern pecan balls

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Also try these White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies.  Soft, chewy, satisfaction in every bite…

white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies

Have you seen these Chewy Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies?  It’s the offspring of fudgy brownies and cookies:

Chewy Triple Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

And we’re not kidding about these Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies.  They are for real.  Grab the milk and go!

Chocolate Fudge Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Did you make this?

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Recipe rating


    • Janice Lee

    Can I use walnuts?
    Grind them up the same way?

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, the same way! Enjoy 🙂

    • Saudagar Hartanah

    Half an hour is quite fast. I think i am gonna make this after work.
    pelabur hartanah

    • Celebrate Woman Today

    I love, love these snowball cookies! So creative and so seasonal.

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you so much!

    • Mudpiefridays

    OMG Can I just say, I can’t help but drool over the picture! Who would not love to taste this!

      • chewoutloud

      They’re irresistible for sure 🙂

    • Joanna

    These tea cakes look so delicious! I would love to taste them, especially that they are so easy to make, only with 6 ingredients.

      • chewoutloud

      Crazy easy and they taste amazing 🙂 Thanks, Joanna!

    • Jasmine M

    I am definitely going to have to try this recipe out soon. I’ve never had Russian tea cakes before and these look delicious! I know they’re going to be good.

      • chewoutloud

      I think you’ll really like them, Jasmine! 🙂

    • Mijia Eggers

    Pecan is my favorite food! The snow balls should also go well with a cup of Chinese tea!

      • chewoutloud

      Sooo good! 🙂 Thanks, Mijia!

    • Erik the Hungry Traveller

    I like how this is so easy to make. Definitely something new that i can offer to the christmas parties i will be attending.

    • Adriana

    these are my favorite cookies to make. I usually make a dark chocolate verison of this. comes out perfect everytime

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you like them, Adriana!

    • tweenselmom

    I love your recipes, they all look perfect on the Christmas table.

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you so much! So happy you like them 🙂

    • Alyx

    These look amazing!!!

    • Angela

    These look delicious and ideal for visitors. I’ll try making some next time I have someone round for tea.

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you, Angela!

    • GiGi Eats

    I would like to have a snowball fight with you! ahahah!

    • Sharon Kopetic

    Thank you!

    • parrotenchantress

    Does anyone get that these are all junk? Sugar, butter and flour? The flour turns to sugar and the butter is full of saturated fat not to mention it involves cruelty to every dairy cow in this country. How would you like to be pregnant every day of your life and upon delivery, have your baby stolen… only to be put into a dark shed where it can hardly move and then be murdered for the human who calls it veal?

      • Amy

      Take your comments elsewhere. They don’t belong here. These cookies are delicious. The only junk around here is what you’re spewing from your mouth.

    • Gerri

    I made the snowball cookies years ago & I rolled in powder Only before I baked cookies. Makes it a lot eaiser. Gerri

      • chewoutloud

      Sounds great, Gerri! They are wonderful Cmas cookies and thank you for sharing! Have a great Thanksgiving week 🙂

    • huntfortheverybest

    they look yummy!

    • trixpin

    I’m drooling over all the pictures! I love the idea of ground pecans (instead of the usual almonds) in the snowball biscuits, and they look SO snowy!

      • chewoutloud

      The ground pecans make them extra melt in your mouth! 🙂

        • trixpin

        I want some !

    • Prudy

    They’re just a beautiful cookie, aren’t they? We posted the same exact cookie yesterday! I didn’t know they were called Russian tea cakes as well..they look delicious, and the cinnamon intrigues me… I’m going to try your recipe! 🙂

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks, Prudy! Isn’t it hard not to eat them all up yourself? The bit of cinnamon is yummy :).

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