Snowball Cookies

I was browsing the cookie archives on MBA and realized that there is certainly a deficit in the area of holiday classics. Growing up, our holiday cookie platters were filled with a very specific variety of cookies. Of course we couldn’t make it easy on my mom – we each had a very different idea of holiday cookie perfection.

I decided that I wanted to recreate and post the classic cookies that made their way to Santa’s plate at our house year after year. First up on the list is one of my brother’s favorites – Snowballs. Jared may be the pickiest eater ever – the only vegetable he eats is broccoli and it must be covered in Cheez Whiz in order for him to choke it down. He’s also not fond of fruit – unless the word Roll-Up comes after it. However, give him a plate of these Snowball Cookies and he’ll eat every last sugar coated crumb.

These Snowballs are easy to whip up and definitely make an impact on any cookie platter. What’s cuter than little snowballs in a festive miniature liners?

These cookies may look familiar to you because I’m fairly certain this holiday cookie classic goes by several aliases – Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, but they’ve always been and always will be Snowballs to my family.

Snowball Cookies

Yield: about 30 cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes


1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted - for rolling cookies


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined.

3. Mix in the flour, pecans and salt. Mixing until just combined.

4. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough (mine are a bit larger, see notes below) into balls and place on prepared baking sheet. The cookies can be placed quite close together since they do not spread during the baking process.

5. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes – taking care not to over bake. Allow cookies to cool on baking pan until you are able to comfortably hold them in your hands.

6. Sift 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. While cookies are still warm, roll them in confectioners' sugar. Place cookies on cooling rack, once they have cooled completely, roll them in confectioners' sugar again.


- Not a fan of pecans? Feel free to sub in another nut such as walnuts or almonds.
- I used a medium OXO cookie scoop to form my snowballs.
- Yield will depend on the size that you roll your Snowball Cookies.
- Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.

My Baking Addiction adapted from

80 Responses to “Snowball Cookies”

  1. kp199 — December 3, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Russian Tea Cakes! I still make these every year with my Grandma (I’m 25)


  2. Vera — December 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I make these, leaving out the nuts, and adding mini- chocolate chips instead. Talk about GOOD!!!!!


  3. Melanie — December 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I make these every year also…Russian Teacakes. They just melt in your mouth! You can’t have Christmas without them!


  4. Ashley — December 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    So I just mixed these up, and realized I have no parchment paper :( can I use my non stick sheet with out?!


    • Jamie — December 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      You should be completely fine with a non-stick pan. :)

  5. Heather — December 22, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Hi, I’m making these for the first time, but all I have is the large scoop. Should the baking time be adjusted? What should they look like when they’re baked?


    • Jamie — January 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Heather,
      The baking time may need an extra minute or two, but not more than that. They should be just slightly golden.
      – Jamie

  6. Kelly — December 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Made these this afternoon without nuts and with a Hershey’s kiss hidden inside. Yum!


    • Jamie — December 27, 2013 at 11:01 am


      Yum, that sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great day!


  7. Regina — December 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Do U have a recipe for sesame seed cookies?? My Granny always made them and I cant find her recipe. :-( Please help if U can.


    • Jamie — January 10, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Regina, I’m sorry, I don’t have one. I’m sure there are plenty out there if you google it.
      – Jamie

  8. Mary — December 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I have made these for 40 plus years & they are the “best.”
    Also…Russian Teacakes…also Mexican Wedding Cookies.


  9. Xhristin — August 23, 2016 at 7:17 pm

     These are great cookies for Christmas holidays. This recipe has been my family for 65 years. The only difference is I put walnuts instead of P cons. And I definitely take the salt out .   I would combine all the dry ingredients first and inseparable. And then I would put the vanilla extract, butter, sugar. But not confectioner sugar. And mix that up pretty good until creamy.   Then I would mix and a electric mixer and gradually add in the dry ingredients.  Make about 2 inches in size. Then roll them around in confectioner sugar once and then roll them around the second time while they’re still hot. I have had every snowball  then roll them around in confectioner sugar once and then roll them around the second time while they’re still hot. I have had every snowball on the planet from everyplace and putting salt in it ruins the whole thing. Some people like salt I just don’t happen to like it and we’ve always kept in the family as a sweet snowball cookie without any taste of salt. 


    • Jamie — August 24, 2016 at 5:29 am

      Your suggestions are wonderful. It’s great to know so many people enjoy these cookies!

  10. Cynthia — November 7, 2016 at 12:23 am

    I use very fine chopped Walnuts and I wrap the cookie dough around a Candied Cherry bake then roll in powdered sugar ta da ta da ta da
    Nuts are optional it doesnt change the taste Just the texture a bit (I like it best without nuts) This is my Favorite Holiday cookie


  11. Cynthia — November 7, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I just wanted to add I was given my recipe/ version of “Cherry Balls” from my Aunt that is going on 90


    • Jamie — November 8, 2016 at 11:19 am

      How great, Cynthia! I love recipes that are passed down. All the best to your and your aunt!

  12. Donna — December 11, 2016 at 4:33 am

    My family has made these for many years, and everybody loves them. Now I take half the dough and put a dollop of Nutella in the m8ddle of them and the cookies taste sensational. The other half of the dough is made the traditional way. For something different, try the Nutella. It’s so good.


    • Jamie — December 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Hi, Donna! You had me at Nutella! Sounds amazing!

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