Snowball Cookies

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These easy Snowball Cookies melt in your mouth! Sometimes called Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes, these are buttery shortbread cookies made with nuts, such as pecans or walnuts. The cookies are rolled in  powdered sugar so that they look like little snowballs! A classic Christmas cookie that’s hard to resist!


A small pink dish with gold polka dots is filled with Snowball cookies

Melt in Your Mouth Snowball Cookies

Do you call them Snowballs Cookies, Butter Balls, Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies? We always called them Snowballs or Butter balls. Either way this is a holiday staple for us. There’s nothing like a mouthful of powdered sugar that makes you cough as you take a big bite of these. Am I right? This classic Christmas cookie is one I grew up with.

A stack of 3 Snowball Cookies, 2 of them have bites taken out of them

What Are Snowball Cookies?

Snowball Cookies are buttery shortbread cookies, stuffed with chopped nuts and rolled in powdered sugar. The combination of ground nuts, butter and flour makes a rich cookie base that pretty much melts in your mouth. The interior of these cookies is slightly sweet, while the exterior is rolled in confectioners sugar. The contrast is just plain addictive, and the fact that these cookies look like snowballs makes them perfect for your Christmas cookie tray! I have it on good authority that Santa Clause loves these cookies.

These cookies are a perfect recipe to make ahead too, which is pretty much the ONLY way I can tackle Christmas cookies. 

A vintage recipe card for snowball cookies

What’s in these Cookies?

This snowball cookie recipe comes from my grandmother. I have no idea the origins of the recipe my grandmother got this from, it’s probably from an old Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. The photo above is her handwriting with the ingredients for these cookies. I just love the idea of passing on these recipes to my future family, and keeping the tradition alive.

You only need six ingredients to make classic snowball cookies. Here’s what they are:

  • Softened butter: Butter that has been softened slightly is easier to mix with the flour.
  • Sifted flour: First sift, then measure
  • Sifted confectionary sugar: First sift, then measure
  • Vanilla extract: Only the good stuff
  • A pinch of salt
  • Nuts: You can use walnuts or pecans but personally I like walnuts myself.
  • Additional powder sugar for rolling

How to Grind the Nuts

The nuts should be fairly finely chopped in order to give these cookies their classic crumbly texture. You can do this with a sharp knife, or you can use a food processor. If you use a food processor be sure to use the “pulse” option to avoid grinding the nuts too finely. 

A small pink dish with gold polka dots is filled with Snowball Cookies

How to Make Snowball Cookies

These are the perfect cookie recipe for children to help make, with the exception of preparing the nuts. Rolling the cookie dough into balls is such a tactile experience, and kids will love rolling the cookies in sugar!

  • Combine butter, sugar and vanilla: Start with softened butter and combine with sifted confectionary sugar and vanilla extract, mixing until well combined.
  • Add flour: Then mix in the sifted flour and salt and mix until the dough starts to form.
  • Add the nuts: Finally add the chopped nuts.
  • Shape the cookie dough: Roll into balls about 1-1 1/2 tablespoon size and place at least 1 inch apart on a baking mat lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

A close up of a baked snowball cookie before it's been baked

  • Bake at 400° F for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled prior to rolling them in powdered sugar.

Baked snowball cookies before they are rolled in sugar

  • Roll in confectioners sugar. Once the cookies have cooled, roll each one in powdered sugar.

A hand rolling a Snowball Cookie in powdered sugar

Tips for the Best Snowball Cookies

These cookies are pretty simple to make, but there are a few steps I recommend for the absolute perfect plate of snowball cookies.

  • Sift your flour: It is super tempting to skip this step. But sifting your flour before you measure it is pretty key for this recipe. It ensures that you have just the right amount of flour, nothing more, nothing less. Sifting also makes it easier to combine the flour with your other ingredients. If you don’t have a sifter you can use a fine mesh sieve too.
  • Level your measuring cup: After you have sifted your flour, spoon it into your measuring cup and level it off with a butter knife.
  • What if you don’t like nuts? If you don’t want to use nuts in your snowball cookies you can use mini chocolate chips instead. 

How to Store these Christmas Cookies

These are best stored  in an airtight container with a layer of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers. 

Can You Freeze Snowball Cookies?

Yes! These are great make ahead cookies that can be frozen. Store them in an airtight container, and I suggest layering a pieces of parchment or wax paper between the layers.

Once thawed you can give them a fresh coating of powdered sugar if desired. I recommend thawing them on a cookie sheet to avoid any extra condensation.

A stack of 3 Snowball Cookies rolled in powdered sugar

More Christmas Cookie Recipes

A small pink dish with gold polka dots is filled with Mexican Wedding Cookies

Snowball Cookies

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 dozen


Buttery, melt-in-your mouth Snowball Cookies! These easy homemade cookies are a classic addition to your Christmas cookie tray.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)


  1. Soften the butter to room temperature or microwave for 15-20 seconds until softened but not melted. Sift and measure the confectionary sugar and flour.
  2. Combine the butter, confectionary sugar and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  3. Then add in the sifted flour and salt and mix until a dough starts to form. Finally add the chopped nuts and mix until well combined.
  4. Roll into balls about 1-1 1/2 tablespoon size and place at least 1 inch apart on a baking mat lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  5. Bake at 400° F for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
  6. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled, then roll them in powdered sugar.
Nutrition Information:
1 Cookie
  • Category: Cookies

Keywords: Snowball Cookies, Butterball cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, christmas cookies, easy cookie recipe, walnut snowball cookies

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