Snowball Cookies Recipe

Snowball Cookies Recipe

Introduction to Snowball Cookies

What Are Snowball Cookies?

Snowball cookies, often referred to as Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies, are a delightful confectionery treat cherished across various cultures. These cookies are characterized by their round shape and dusting of powdered sugar, giving them a resemblance to miniature snowballs. The classic recipe includes a simple yet rich blend of butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, flour, and finely chopped nuts, typically pecans or walnuts. Their melt-in-your-mouth texture and sweet, nutty flavor make them a favorite, especially during the holiday season.

Popularity and Cultural Significance

Snowball cookies hold a special place in the realm of festive treats. Known for their buttery and tender texture, they are a staple in holiday baking and are often associated with Christmas and winter celebrations. In different cultures, these cookies go by various names and are served at significant events like weddings, symbolizing prosperity and joy. Their popularity transcends borders, making them a universal symbol of festivity and warmth. The ease of making these cookies adds to their appeal, allowing bakers of all skill levels to partake in the joy of creating these delightful treats.

For more insights into their cultural significance and variations, explore Land O’Lakes, which offers a deeper look into this beloved recipe.

Variations and Adaptations

The versatility of snowball cookies lies in their ability to be adapted and modified while retaining their core essence. Variations of this beloved recipe include:

  • Nut Varieties: Almonds, hazelnuts, or even a mix of nuts can be used for different flavors and textures.
  • Flavor Add-ins: Citrus zests, spices like cinnamon or cardamom, and extracts like almond or lemon offer a twist to the traditional flavor.
  • Fillings and Coatings: Incorporating chocolate chips, jam fillings, or rolling the cookies in cocoa powder or colored sugars for a festive touch.

These adaptations not only cater to diverse palates but also allow for creativity in the kitchen, making snowball cookies a versatile option for any occasion.

For creative ideas on customizing snowball cookies, check out the suggestions at Spend With Pennies.

The Recipe and Tips

Ingredients and Substitutions

Classic Snowball Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened – Substitution: Vegan butter for a dairy-free version.
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating – Substitution: Coconut sugar, finely ground.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extractSubstitution: Almond extract for a different flavor profile.
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flourSubstitution: Gluten-free flour blend for gluten sensitivities.
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) – Substitution: Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version.

Optional Add-ins:

  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips or dried fruit for added sweetness.
  • Zest of 1 lemon or orange for a citrusy twist.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or nutmeg for a spiced flavor.

Step-by-Step Baking Guide

  1. Preparation: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking and for easy cleanup.
  2. Creaming Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup of softened unsalted butter and ½ cup of powdered sugar until light and fluffy. This process incorporates air into the butter, giving the cookies a delicate texture.
  3. Adding Flavor: Mix in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. The vanilla enhances the sweet, buttery flavor of the cookies.
  4. Combining Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Gradually add this to the butter mixture. The flour provides structure, while the salt balances the sweetness.
  5. Incorporating Nuts: Fold in 1 cup of finely chopped nuts. This step is crucial for the signature texture and nutty flavor of snowball cookies.
  6. Shaping the Cookies: Scoop small portions of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about an inch apart. The dough might be crumbly, so gently press it together without overworking.
  7. Baking: Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are just set but not browned. They should remain pale for the classic snowball appearance.
  8. Coating with Sugar: Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. While still warm, roll them in additional powdered sugar. This first coating will melt slightly and adhere to the cookie.
  9. Final Touch: Once completely cooled, roll the cookies in powdered sugar again for a generous, snowy coating. This double coating ensures a thick layer of sugar that resembles snow.
  10. Serving and Storing: Serve these delightful cookies once they’re fully cooled. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Following these steps will yield delicious, melt-in-your-mouth snowball cookies, perfect for any holiday gathering or as a sweet treat to enjoy any time of the year.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Creating the perfect snowball cookies is an art that can be mastered with a few expert tips:

  • Room Temperature Butter: Ensure your butter is at room temperature for easier creaming. This helps achieve a light and fluffy texture in your cookies.
  • Sifted Powdered Sugar: For a smoother coating, sift your powdered sugar before rolling the cookies in it. This prevents lumps and ensures an even, delicate dusting.
  • Consistent Size: Use a cookie scoop or measuring spoon to form your dough balls. Uniform size ensures even baking and a professional appearance.
  • Gentle Handling: Handle the dough gently when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough can lead to tough cookies.
  • Cooling Time: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before the first sugar coating. This prevents them from breaking apart.
  • Double Coating: For a beautiful snowy look, roll the cookies twice in powdered sugar – once while they are still warm and again after they have cooled completely.

Storing and Freezing Instructions


  • Store the completely cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for up to a week.
  • If stacking cookies, place a sheet of parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.


  • For freezing, you can either freeze the baked cookies or the dough balls.
  • To freeze baked cookies, ensure they are completely cooled and skip the final sugar coating. Place them in a freezer-safe container, separating layers with parchment paper. When ready to serve, thaw and then roll in powdered sugar.
  • To freeze dough balls, place them on a baking sheet, freeze until solid, and then transfer to a freezer bag. Bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.

Nutritional Information

Snowball cookies are a delightful treat, but they are rich in calories and fats due to the butter and nuts. A single cookie typically contains about 100-150 calories, with fats accounting for a significant portion of this. They also contain carbohydrates from the flour and sugar, with a small amount of protein from the nuts. While they offer some nutritional benefits from the nuts, such as healthy fats and protein, they should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. For those with dietary restrictions, consider the substitutions mentioned earlier to align with your nutritional needs.

Customization Ideas

Snowball cookies are wonderfully adaptable, allowing for a range of creative customizations:

  • Nut Variations: Swap traditional pecans or walnuts with almonds, hazelnuts, or even macadamia nuts for a different nutty flavor.
  • Flavor Infusions: Add citrus zest like lemon or orange for a fresh twist. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom can also be mixed into the dough for a warm, spiced flavor.
  • Chocolate Chips: Stir in mini chocolate chips or white chocolate pieces for a sweet surprise in every bite.
  • Filling Options: Before baking, press a small piece of chocolate, maraschino cherry, or a dollop of jam into the center of each dough ball.
  • Colorful Coatings: Roll the baked cookies in colored powdered sugar or edible glitter for a festive look, especially appealing for special occasions or holidays.
  • Vegan and Gluten-Free: Use vegan butter and gluten-free flour for dietary adaptations without compromising on taste.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common mistakes to ensure your snowball cookies turn out perfectly every time:

  • Overworking the Dough: Mix the dough just until the ingredients are combined. Overworking can lead to tough cookies.
  • Skipping the Chilling: If the dough is too soft, chill it for about 30 minutes before shaping. This makes handling easier and prevents spreading during baking.
  • Uneven Baking: Place cookies of the same size on each baking sheet and avoid overcrowding. This ensures even baking and consistent results.
  • Overbaking: Snowball cookies should not brown. They are done when they are just set. Overbaking can result in hard cookies.
  • Incorrect Sugar Coating: Wait for the cookies to cool slightly before the first roll in sugar. If they are too hot, the sugar will melt.


  • Can I make snowball cookies nut-free? Yes, simply omit the nuts or use a nut-free alternative like sunflower seeds.
  • How long do snowball cookies last? Properly stored in an airtight container, they can last up to a week at room temperature.
  • Can I freeze snowball cookie dough? Absolutely. Freeze the dough balls on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag. Bake straight from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.
  • Are snowball cookies gluten-free? Not traditionally, but you can use a gluten-free flour blend to make them suitable for a gluten-free diet.
  • Can I make snowball cookies vegan? Yes, use vegan butter and ensure other ingredients like chocolate chips are vegan-friendly.

Snowball cookies are not just a treat; they are a festive tradition that brings joy and sweetness to any holiday gathering. With their simple recipe and room for creativity, they are sure to be a hit with family and friends.

Snowball Cookies

Snowball Cookies Recipe

This Snowball Cookies recipe offers a delightful treat, perfect for holiday gatherings or as a cozy snack with your favorite beverage. These cookies, known for their melt-in-your-mouth texture and nutty flavor, are coated in powdered sugar, resembling little snowballs. They are easy to make and are sure to be a hit with friends and family.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, European
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 150 kcal


  • Mixing bowls
  • Hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie scoop (optional for consistent size)
  • Wire rack (for cooling)


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar plus extra for coating
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts


  • Preheat Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and ½ cup of powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Add Vanilla: Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Gradually add this to the butter mixture, stirring until well combined.
  • Fold in Nuts: Gently fold in the chopped nuts until evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  • Shape Cookies: Take small amounts of dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about an inch apart.
  • Bake: Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are just set but not brown.
  • First Sugar Coating: Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. While still warm, gently roll them in powdered sugar.
  • Cool and Second Coating: Let the cookies cool completely. Once cooled, roll them again in powdered sugar to ensure a generous, snowy coating.
  • Serve and Enjoy: Your snowball cookies are now ready to be enjoyed! Serve them as a delightful treat at any gathering or enjoy them with a cup of tea or coffee.


  • Store the snowball cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the baked cookies or the dough balls as per the instructions provided in the previous sections.


  • For a nut-free version, omit the nuts or use seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
  • The cookies can be flavored with lemon or orange zest for a citrusy twist.
  • Store in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
  • If the dough is too soft to handle, chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before shaping.
Keyword Snowball Cookies Recipe

Laura Mariano

Written by Laura Mariano

Laura Mariano is a food blogger who founded Recipes By to make cooking easier. Growing up on a farm in Spain, Laura was inspired by exquisite dishes prepared using simple ingredients. Laura Mariano is particularly known for making anyone can cook.

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