Classic Snowball Cookies get a boost of holiday spirit with a hint of holiday spirit. This crowd favorite is easy to make with just 5 ingredients and perfect for any holiday gathering.
Classic Snowball Cookies
It’s holiday season which means it’s the time of the year to bake some buttery cookies! I love to make cookies year round but the holidays are when I really crank up the oven and get rolling.
Cookies are a great way to experiment with flavors and textures, but I do love the classics. Like these pecan snowball cookies.
Why are they called snowballs? Because they look like them!
What are snowball cookies?
They are often called by different names like Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, Italian wedding cookies, or Russian tea cookies. But for me, the “snow” factor makes them the perfect Christmas cookies! They are melt in your mouth balls of goodness that’s what they are!
Imagine a simple cookie, made in 1 bowl, that ends with buttery shortbread cookies, studded with toasted pecans, a hint of spirit, all rolled in powdered sugar to balance it out!
Not only that, but they need just 5 simple ingredients!!
Butter – Use unsalted butter for this recipe. If you only have salted butter then leave out the salt in the rest of the recipe.
Powdered Sugar – Sift the powdered sugar before measuring it to remove any lumps.
Flour – Use all purpose flour for these cookies. I have not tested this recipe with other flours.
Vanilla – I love clear vanilla extract so it doesn’t alter the color but use what you have. You can also use vanilla bean paste. Substitute almond extract if preferred.
Pecans – I like to toast my pecans in butter with a little salt before adding to the cookies. It brings out their flavor.
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How to make this Snowball Cookies Recipe
ONE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, salt, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla (or bourbon). Cream/whip with hand mixer or stand electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
TWO: Add in chopped pecans. Mix to combine. Slowing add in flour in a few batches, mixing between additions until fully combined. Do not over mix!
THREE: Scoop into 1-inch balls and roll to smooth out. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and bake for 13 – 15 minutes or until the edges just start to lightly brown.
FOUR: While the cookies are baking, place remaining powdered sugar in a bowl. When the cookies are finished baking, remove from the oven and let sit 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet. Do not try to move as they will be soft.
FIVE: After the 1-2 minutes, after the warm cookies have cooled enough to handle (but not completely cooled)and still a little warm roll the cookie balls one at a time in the bowl of powdered sugar to get an initial coating.
Place cookies on a cool baking sheet or wire rack to cool completely. Roll in the powdered sugar a second time, to ensure they look like little snowballs. Enjoy!
For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
How long do they last?
These cookies will last up to 1 week at room temperature. Store them in an airtight container for best results. I wouldn’t store them in the refrigerator as the condensation will make them sticky.
The longer the cookies sit, the more powdered sugar will be absorbed. You might need to gently roll the cookies in additional powdered sugar before serving.
Can I freeze snowball cookies?
These delicious cookies can be baked and frozen ahead of time, which will save you stress later. Once baked, cooled, and coated, place the cookies in freezer storage bags. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw, take them out of the freezer bags/container and thaw on an open plate. Closed containers will cause condensation which will ruin the cookies.
You can also freeze the dough!
Roll into balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet where they are not touching. Place in the freezer until frozen. Transfer to freezer storage until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, place cookie dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet and thaw for 5 minutes. Bake in preheated oven as listed in recipe. frozen cookies may require 1-2 additional minutes baking.
Do I have to use pecans?
Pecans are the best for these traditional snowball cookies but feel free to try others. Check out these combinations!
Snowball Cookies Flavor Variations
Extracts: almond, mint, coffee, lemon, orange
Nuts: pecans, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts
Candies: peppermint, sprinkles, min chocolate chips, toffee bits
Tips for No Leftovers
- use the best butter you can find so they taste extra buttery!
- I like to use an ice cream or cookie scoop to make them uniform in size.
- toast your pecans before you add them to the cookies. It adds the most amazing butty flavor. Make sure you cool them before adding to the dough or it will melt it.
- finely chop the nuts in even shapes. Don’t add the “dust” that’s left after you chop them. I would not use a food processor or you will get all dust.
- use parchment paper or silicone baking mats so they don’t stick to the pan.
- do not over bake. Cook just until the edges start to brown.
- don’t try to remove the snowball cookies from the baking sheet too soon, let them cool slightly. They are soft and will smash easily.
- some like to coat their cookies by adding powdered sugar to a bag and tossing in the cookies. I don’t recommend this as the cookies are delicate and will smash. Gently roll them in a bowl with a fork to coat them.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!
Snowball cookies are a Christmas classic that melt in your mouth! Easily made in 1 bowl with just 5 ingredients, will be the hit of your cookie tray. They make the perfect edible gift for friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family!
- 1 cup butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or other spirit)
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Cream/whip with hand or stand mixer for 1-2 minutes.
- Add in salt and vanilla extract (or bourbon). Mix to combine.
- Slowing add in flour in a few batches, mixing between additions until fully combined. Do not over mix.
- Scoop into 1 inch balls and roll to smooth out.
- Place on parchment lined baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.
- While the cookies are baking, place remaining powdered sugar in a bowl.
- When the cookies are finished baking, remove from the oven and let sit 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet. Do not try to move as they will be soft.
- After the 1-2 minutes, if the cookies are cool enough to handle (but not completely cooled) roll them one at a time in the bowl of powdered sugar to get an initial coating.
- Place cookies on a cool baking sheet or plate. When they are completely cool, roll in the powdered sugar again, to ensure they are completely coated.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 2 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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