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Snowball Cookies

These Snowball Cookies are soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a dusting of powdered sugar. They are a favorite holiday cookie recipe! 

snowball cookies stacked on a plate

Today I’m sharing one of my very favorite Christmas cookie recipes: snowball cookies. If you’ve never tried these powdered sugar-coated delights, you need to add them to your holiday baking list. They become a fast favorite of just about everyone who tries them! 

You’ll love these cookies because:

  • They have the best rich, buttery flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Chopped pecans bring a subtle toasty, nutty flavor. 
  • The cookies are dusted with powdered sugar for a pretty “snowball” look.

My family has always called these cookies butter snowballs. They go by many names, including Snowball Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs and Butter Balls. Whatever you call them, they are a classic! Their rich, buttery flavor makes it almost impossible to eat just one.

The recipe for these snowball cookies was my great-grandmother’s. My mom has my great-grandmother’s handwritten recipe card for these cookies, and years ago I copied it for myself. It’s the kind of recipe card that says things like, “1-2 cups nuts” and “chill dough until easy to handle.” I modified the recipe just a bit to give you more specific instructions, so your cookies will turn out just perfect!

three snowball cookies stacked on top of each other

These bite-sized cookies are sure to disappear quickly! To round out your holiday cookie spread, try these other favorite Christmas cookie recipes: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Cherry Cream Cheese Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies and Biscotti. These are always on our cookie baking list!

Snowball Cookies Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need just five simple ingredients, plus salt, to make this cookie recipe. And you won’t even need any eggs! Actually, these snowball cookies are one of the few cookies I make that are egg-free. These Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies are another.

ingredients for snowball cookies recipe

  • Butter: Butter gives these cookies their signature melt-in-your-mouth rich buttery flavor. Use unsalted butter or reduce the added salt in the recipe by half.
  • Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar, or confectioners’ sugar, is used to sweeten the cookies. The cookies are also rolled in powdered sugar after baking, to give them their classic “snowball” look.
  • Salt: A little bit of salt enhances all of the flavors.
  • Vanilla Extract: For an extra touch of sweetness and a hint of vanilla flavor. Feel free to use almond extract instead for a hint of almond flavor.
  • All-Purpose Flour: For an accurate measurement, be sure to spoon the flour into your measuring cup and then level it off. If you scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup it can pack in too much flour. 
  • Pecans: Chopped pecans add a delicious nutty flavor to these cookies. You can substitute chopped walnuts if you prefer.

Recipe Variation

You can substitute 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips for the chopped nuts to make Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies. They are a delicious nut-free alternative to the classic recipe!

How to Make Snowball Cookies

  1. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar until creamy. butter and powdered sugar creamed together in mixing bowl
  2. Mix in the salt and vanilla extract until incorporated.
  3. Add the flour and nuts and mix in on low speed. flour and chopped pecans added to mixing bowl
  4. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours, until it is easy to work with.
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. cookie dough balls on baking sheet
  6. Bake cookies at 350° F for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden brown on the bottom.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and then roll in powdered sugar. rolling baked cookies in powdered sugar
  8. Once the cookies are completely cool, roll them in powdered sugar a second time.

Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.

Snowball Cookies Recipe Tips

  • Use room temperature butter. Softened butter will cream together with the powdered sugar much more easily. If you need the butter to soften quickly, cutting it into smaller pieces will help it to soften faster.
  • Chop the nuts finely. If you have a food processor, it makes the job of chopping the nuts quick and easy.
  • If the dough is too firm after chilling to roll into balls, let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, or until it softens up.
  • Let them rest before rolling. The cookies will be very delicate right after baking. Let the baked cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then carefully roll them in powdered sugar. Once they’re completely cool, roll them a second time to give them more of a powdered sugar coating.
  • I like to make these cookies very small. Roll the dough into 1-inch (or smaller) balls.

Storage Tips

  • Room Temperature: Snowball cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  • Freezer: Cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen cookies at room temperature. You may wish to re-roll previously frozen cookies in powdered sugar before serving.

snowball cookie with bite taken out of it

More Favorite Cookie Recipes

Snowball Cookies

powdered sugar coated snowball cookies stacked on a plate
Print Pin
5 from 4 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword butter snowballs, mexican wedding cookies, russian tea cakes, snowball cookies, snowball cookies recipe
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chilling Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Servings 36 cookies
Calories 111kcal
These Snowball Cookies are soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a dusting of powdered sugar. They have the best rich, buttery flavor. Make them with chopped pecans, walnuts, or mini chocolate chips. A favorite holiday cookie recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans* (or walnuts)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (for rolling the cookies)

Instructions 

  • Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and ½ cup powdered sugar until creamy.
  • Add the salt and vanilla (or almond) extract, and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the flour and nuts and beat on low speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days, until easy to handle.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes, then roll warm cookies in powdered sugar. Let cookies cool completely and then roll in powdered sugar a second time.

Notes

  • If you have a food processor, it is an easy way to finely chop the nuts.
  • If the dough is too firm after chilling, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes until it is soft enough to roll into balls.
  • To make these cookies without nuts, you can omit the nuts or substitute 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips. 
  • Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 159IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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