Snowball cookies are a classic holiday dessert made with simple ingredients, are buttery, nutty, and just melt in your mouth. Perfect for Christmas, or any other holiday, they’ll be a family favorite on the dessert tray!
This is one of my Holiday Dessert recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
I hope you guys are ready for some holiday desserts! I’ve got plenty of them for you this year, including these fabulous snowball cookies.
It’s almost December, which means it’s almost prime baking season. With plenty of parties and gatherings, there’s plenty of opportunity to bring some amazing desserts out to share!
And I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely all about easy desserts. This time of year is insanely busy for everyone, so why add to that stress by making fussy and complicated treats?
These snowball cookies are made with just 7 common and simple ingredients… in fact, you may have all these ingredients on hand in your pantry right now!
The cookies themselves are buttery and nutty, and practically melt in your mouth. And the dusting of soft powdered sugar adds the perfect bit of sweetness.
How to make snowball cookies?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Chop pecans. You can certainly use a knife and chop away, but if you have a food processor, this is a great place to use it.
- Mix dry ingredients. In this recipe, that’s the flour, salt and pecans.
- Mix wet ingredients. That would be the butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and sugar. Beat until creamy, and a hand mixer is super helpful here.
- Beat in dry ingredients. Do this a little at a time, about 1/2 cup at a time, until it’s all mixed together.
- Roll into balls. A cookie scoop is very helpful for this, and I’ve linked to one down lower on the page.
- Roll in sugar. Once the cookies have cooled a little bit, roll them in extra powdered sugar.
- Cool, then roll again.
If you find your first batch of cookies are coming out of the oven a little flat (other than slightly flattened on the bottom – which is normal), it can be one of two things. Too much butter will cause flattening, so make sure you’re measuring exactly. It can also be that your dough needs to chill a little bit. Everyone keeps their home at a different temperature, so if you’re worried, chill the dough for 15-30 minutes.
Variations of this recipe
- Extracts – if you’re not a fan of almond extract, feel free to substitute with an equal amount of additional vanilla extract.
- Toasted pecans – for extra pecan flavor, toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium low heat until fragrant. Let them cool, then chop and use them in the recipe.
- Stuffed – for a fun surprise, add a small amount of nutella or melted chocolate in the center of each cookie.
- Other nuts – these cookies are traditionally made with pecans, but I’ve seen some European versions using almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts.
- Chilled – the dough can be chilled in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes before baking if you want to make sure the cookies are as round as possible.
Yes, depending on where you live, these cookies may be called a different name. I’ve seen them referred to as Mexican wedding cookies, Italian wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, etc.
A small amount of flattening is normal, especially on the bottom where the dough is in contact with the baking sheet, but they shouldn’t sink down to a disc shape. That is likely because of one or two things. Too much butter will cause flattening, so make sure you’re measuring exactly. It can also be that your dough needs to chill a little bit. Everyone keeps their home at a different temperature, so if you’re worried, chill the dough for 15-30 minutes.
Because the cookies are rolled in the first coat when they’re still warm, the sugar will absorb over time. I find the second coat of the sugar gives them that truly snowball appearance.
Making snowball cookies ahead of time
The holidays are a crazy busy time, so I completely understand wanting to make treats ahead of time. The good news is, you can.
However, if you make them ahead of time, I advise doing the second coating of powdered sugar right before serving. Over time, the cookies will absorb the powdered sugar.
Cooled snowball cookies should be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, lined with a paper towel for up to 2 weeks.
These cookies can also be frozen! Once the cookies have been rolled in 1 coat of powdered sugar and cooled completely, they should be placed on a lined baking sheet and frozen for 1-2 hours, or until frozen solid.
Then the cookies can be transferred to a freezer-safe container, labeled with the date, and frozen for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator, then set out to warm to room temperature, roll in powdered sugar and serve.
My Favorite Cookie Scoop!
Cookie scoops are the most versatile kitchen tool… you can use them for cookies, meatballs, ice cream, and more! This scoop is the exact size you’ll need for these cookies!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 3/4 cup pecan halves or pieces
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- additional powdered sugar (about a cup or so)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Chop pecans until they're nice and small (I like to use my food processor for this, but you can use a knife if you prefer).
- In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, and chopped pecans. Stir and set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, add butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat the mixture until creamy, a few minutes.
- Add the flour mixture from step 3, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well on low speed after each addition, until all flour mixture is added with no flour streaks remaining.
- Use a cookie scoop to scoop 1 inch balls of dough and roll them in your hands to be evenly round. Add balls of dough to prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch in between each ball.
- Bake in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Remove baking sheet from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes.
- While the cookies are cooling slightly, add additional powdered sugar to a shallow bowl. Roll the cookies, one by one, in the powdered sugar, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Once completely cooled, roll in powdered sugar again, then serve or store.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- Recipe makes approximately 18-24 cookies.
StorageCooled snowball cookies should be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, lined with a paper towel for up to 2 weeks.
FreezingOnce the cookies have been rolled in 1 coat of powdered sugar and cooled completely, they should be placed on a lined baking sheet and frozen for 1-2 hours, or until frozen solid. Then the cookies can be transferred to a freezer-safe container, labeled with the date, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then set out to warm to room temperature, roll in powdered sugar and serve.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
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