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snowball cookies on a plate

Snowball Cookies

Snowball Cookies (also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies) are delicate buttery pecan shortbread cookies coated in powdered sugar to look like snowballs. They melt in your mouth making them a favorite Christmas cookie recipe!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Cooling and sugar coating time 30 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes
Servings 35 cookies
Calories 106kcal
Author Toni Dash


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl using a hand electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter. Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and mix until it is light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
  • Add the flour, vanilla extract, salt and pecans. Beat until a dough forms, scraping the sides of the bowl.
  • Use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop dough balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. NOTE: they don't need much space between them because the cookies do not spread or rise when baked.
  • Bake for 11-12 minutes until the bottoms just start to turn golden. Do not overbake.
    NOTE: the cookies will not turn color when baked. If they are golden they are over baked.
  • Remove from the oven and leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.
  • If you want them really white, roll them in the sugar for a second coating once they are completely cool.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar to a small bowl. One by one, place a cookie on a fork and lower into the powdered sugar. Sprinkle some on top to coat. Gently shake any excess sugar back into the bowl. Place on a cooling wire rack.
    Repeat for the remaining cookies.
  • When the cookies are fully cooled, roll them in the powdered sugar for a second coating.


Variation: you can substitute walnuts or almonds for pecans.
Pro Tips
Place the cooling wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. To avoid excess mess from the powdered sugar coating, put the cooling rack inside a room temperature baking sheet. This allows easy rinsing of the pan and to keep the sugar from going all over your counter tops.
Use a cookie scoop. The cookie dough is soft so using a cookie scoop will be the best way to scoop the dough. This also ensures all the cookies are the same size. If you don't have a scoop chill the dough for 20 minutes and use a tablespoon to make 1-inch balls.
Baked cookies wont turn color. The cookies look the same going into the oven as when they are baked. If they become golden they are over baked.
Cookie spacing. Because the cookies really don't spread you can places them close to each other on the baking sheet.
How to Store
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 164IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg