Buttery shortbread cookies filled with pecans and rolled in powdered sugar. These Snowball Cookies are a perfect easy dessert for the holidays!

A pile of cookies on a cooling rack with the one in the middle having a bite taken out of it.

Have you ever tried snowball cookies? Some people refer to them as Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes, but I prefer to call them snowball cookies. They look just like a little snowball, right?

If you’ve never tried these cookies before, imagine a rich, buttery shortbread cookie that’s studded with chopped pecans and rolled in powdered sugar. And yes, they’re every bit as delicious as they sound.

More Reasons To Love These Cookies

  • They’re incredibly easy to make
  • The dough is mixed together in just one bowl
  • Only requires 6 ingredients
  • No dough chilling required

You can even swap out the pecans for something else like dried cranberries or mini chocolate chips!

The ingredients needed to make snowball cookies laid out on a rustic gray surface.

Recipe Ingredients

To make this snowball cookie recipe, you will need some unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, flour, salt, and chopped pecans. Let’s discuss each of these ingredients:

  • Unsalted Butter: As always, I prefer to stick with unsalted butter. If you only have salted butter on hand, just omit the salt in this recipe.
  • Powdered Sugar: Also known as icing sugar or confectioners sugar, this is used to sweeten the cookie dough and the cookies are also rolled in it after they come out of the oven. Why powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar? Powdered sugar helps prevent cookies from spreading while granulated sugar causes them to spread more. When it comes to snowball cookies, you want them to stay nice and round!
  • Vanilla Extract & Salt: These two ingredients enhance the flavors. Pure vanilla extract is always best.
  • Flour: This provides the structure for your cookies, just be sure to measure your flour correctly.
  • Pecans: The pecans are totally optional here so feel free to leave them out if you prefer or swap them out for another nut like chopped walnuts.

How To Make Snowball Cookies

To make these cookies, start by creaming together the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until they’re fully combined. Depending on your mixer, this should take about 1 to 2 minutes.

Next, add the flour and salt and continue mixing until fully combined. The dough will be a little crumbly at first, but keep mixing and it will come together. If you’re using the chopped pecans, you can go ahead and stir them in or mix them in on low speed.

Once the dough is ready, scoop out tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough onto a couple of baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I like to use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon or cookie scoop to measure out the cookie dough.

A baked snowball cookie being rolled in powered sugar before being set aside to cool completely.

These pecan snowball cookies need to bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, just until they look set and the bottoms are lightly browned. You don’t want to underbake these cookies, but you also don’t want to overbake them, so just be sure to keep an eye on how they look in the oven.

Once you take them out of the oven, let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes and roll them in some powdered sugar. Once they’ve cooled completely, roll the cookies one more time in the powdered sugar to fully cover them.

At this point you can go ahead and enjoy the cookies or store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat them!

A cooling rack holding a batch of snowball cookies that have been rolled in powdered sugar.

Baking Tips

  • When measuring your flour, avoid scooping it out of the container with the measuring cup. Instead, stir the flour around, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife.
  • Make sure to measure the cookies correctly. You’ll only need about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie. A one tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon works great!
  • Feel free to swap out the chopped pecans for something else like chopped walnuts, mini chocolate chips, or even dried cranberries.

More Christmas Treats To Try!

Video Tutorial

A batch of snowball cookies on a cooling rack.

Snowball Cookies

4.91 from 11 ratings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Buttery shortbread cookies filled with pecans and rolled in powdered sugar. These Snowball Cookies are a perfect easy dessert for the holidays!


Servings: 36 cookies
  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 and ½ cups (180 grams) powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 and ¼ cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (90 grams) chopped pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, ½ cup (60 grams) of powdered sugar (set the remaining 1 cup aside to roll the cookies in), and vanilla extract for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined. Mix in the flour and salt until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the chopped pecans until fully incorporated into the cookie dough.
  • Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop (or measuring tablespoon) scoop out the cookie dough, roll into balls, and place on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are set and the bottoms are lightly browned.
  • Allow cookies to cool slightly for about 5 minutes, then roll each cookie in the remaining 1 cup (120 grams) of powdered sugar while they're still warm. Allow to cool completely and roll all of the cookies one more time in the powdered sugar.


Storage Instructions: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Freezing Instructions: Balls of cookie dough will freeze well for up to 3 months in a freezer-friendly storage container or bag, bake from frozen for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Baked cookies will also freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature and roll in more powdered sugar before serving.
Unsalted Butter: If you only have salted butter on hand, just omit the salt from the recipe.
Pecans: These are totally optional! You may also replace them with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, or mini chocolate chips.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle
Did you make this recipe?Mention @livewellbakeoften on Instagram or tag #livewellbakeoften.