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Snowball Cookies Recipe

These Snowball Cookies, otherwise known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies, are the perfect Christmas treat! Extra tender and buttery, they’re irresistible.

snowball cookies stacked on a plate.
Even if you don’t like the snow, we know you’ll love these warm, buttery Snowball Cookies!

Video: Watch Us Make This Recipe

What are Snowball Cookies?

Snowball cookies, also known as Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies, are bite-sized balls of buttery cookies that are usually coated in powdered sugar. They have a melt-in-your-mouth texture and are often made with ground pecans or other nuts.

Why This Recipe Stands Out

Snowball Cookies (also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cakes) are by far one of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes, especially for large gatherings. Here’s Why:

  • Simple Ingredients: These cookies are made with just 6 ingredients, all of which are common kitchen staples that you may already have on hand.
  • Easy-to-Make: Snowball Cookies are so easy-to-make and take just one bowl meaning even easier cleanup.
  • Buttery: Since butter is one of the main ingredients of the base, these cookies boast that melt-in-your mouth, buttery goodness.
  • Pecans: We love the deep, nutty flavor that the freshly toasted and ground pecans add to these cookies.
  • Serves Many: This recipe makes 50 cookies! It’s the perfect dessert for gifts, potlucks, and parties. They’re party of our 25 Best Holiday Cookies.

Key Recipe Ingredients

snowball cookies ingredients.
  • Butter – We like salted butter, as it eliminates the need to add any additional salt, and provides such great flavor. Make sure it’s room temperature, just soft but not melty. It should still be cool to the touch.
  • Powdered Sugar – This is both added to the cookie dough and used to make that snowy coating on the outside.
  • Pecans – Pecans are toasted, cooled, and ground before being added to the dough bringing amazing warm, nutty flavor.
  • Vanilla – We use a tablespoon of vanilla extract in this recipe for its perfect taste and amazing smell.

Substitutions And Variations

This super simple recipe is the perfect base for all the mix-ins. Check out some of our favorite variations:

  • Peppermint: For added festive flavor, try crushing up some candy canes to roll the cookies in. You could also add a dash of peppermint extract to the dough.
  • Chocolate: Give these Snowball Cookies a chocolatey twist my mixing the powdered sugar coating with some cocoa powder. You can also mix white, milk, or dark chocolate chips into the dough.
  • Nuts: You can absolutely play around with the kind of nuts you mix in. Instead of pecans, try roasting and grinding walnuts, pistachios, or almonds. You could even add macadamia nuts like we do in these White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.
  • Coconut: We think toasted, shredded coconut would also be amazing in both the base and coating of these cookies.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. Beat butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add flour and nuts, beating until incorporated.
  2. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.
  1. Whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon in a pie dish.
  2. Take out first half of chilled dough. Make 1-inch cookie balls, and arrange them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake at 350F for 12-13 minutes.
  1. Once cookies have cooled for 5-10 minutes, carefully toss warm cookies in the cinnamon sugar mix, coating completely. Place cookies on wire rack to finish cooling.
  2. Once fully cooled, re-coat each cookie in cinnamon sugar mix and serve. Repeat with other half of dough. Enjoy!

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

These cookies keep extremely well. So, they can easily be made in advance. The individual ingredients can also be prepped ahead. Here’s how:

  • Coating: The 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon can be mixed together far in advance. Just keep it in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
  • Pecans: One easy way to prep these cookies is to toast the pecans in advance. Once they’ve cooled, throw them in an airtight container, and store them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Then, grind the pecans when you’re ready to bake.
  • Dough: Snowball Cookie dough can be frozen before baking. Just form the dough into balls like usual, flash freeze on a baking tray until hard, then transfer to an airtight container. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before baking.
snowball cookies finished on a plate.

Commonly Asked Questions

How long do snowball cookies keep?

Snowball cookies keep well at mild room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.

Can you freeze snowball cookies?

Yes, you can freeze snowball cookies. Place them in a single layer in a freezer-safe container with parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.

Why are my snowball cookies going flat?

To really prevent your cookies from flattening, we recommend forming them into balls then pinching the sides so that they’re more oval-shaped and taller. If your cookies are still going flat, make sure you’re chilling your dough long enough and not swapping the powdered sugar in the dough for granulated sugar as this can make them spread out too.

Can I use pre-toasted pecans for this recipe?

You can use pecans that have already been toasted. However, we highly recommend toasting them yourself (even for just a few minutes) to get the best deep, warm, nutty flavor.

Why are my cookies dry and crumbly?

The dough for this recipe is supposed to be on the dry side. However, if the cookies are turning out dry after baking, it may be due to over-baking or over-mixing. Make sure your butter is soft to start with to make mixing easier and prevent over-mixing.

What do snowball cookies taste like?

Snowball cookies have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a buttery flavor. You’ll also taste toasted pecans and vanilla. They’re delightfully sweet due to the powdered sugar coating but not overpowering.

Are snowball cookies the same as Mexican wedding cookies?

Yes, snowball cookies are often referred to as Mexican wedding cookies. The names are used interchangeably, and both refer to the same type of round, buttery cookie made of ground nuts and powdered sugar.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

snowball cookies finished on a plate.

Snowball Cookies

5 from 13 ratings
Snowball Cookies, also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, or Russian Tea Cakes, are buttery, melt-in-your-mouth treats.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Servings: 50
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Divide dough roughly in half. Wrap each half in plastic and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon in a pie dish.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Notes

  • Make sure the roasted pecans have completely cooled before you grind them. Also, be sure not to over-grind as this will give you more of a paste rather than a course flour texture.
  • Don’t forget to roll your cookies in the powdered sugar mixture twice. The first layer will melt a bit, and the second layer will have that fluffy snow appearance.
  • Don’t skip chilling the dough! This is crucial to helping the cookies keep a round shape.
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Russian
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Bake, Mixing

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5 from 13 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




41 comments

    • 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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