Snowball Cookies

// Discover the melt-in-your-mouth magic of the classic 5-ingredient Snowball Cookies recipe with the richness of pecans, perfect for holidays.



These classic Snowball Cookies are among the simplest Christmas cookies to prepare. You only need 5 ingredients and a single mixing bowl to bake these beautiful, delicious, and melt-in-mouth eggless cookies.

The classic combination of butter, sugar, and toasted pecans brings a comforting flavor to every bite.

With straightforward steps and basic ingredients, this foolproof snowball cookie recipe requires only 25 minutes of effective work. They taste so enticing and are so addictive - that the buttery, dense, and melt-in-mouth texture of these cookies won’t let you stop at just one!

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a plate of snowballs cookies on a table with christmas decorations and pinecones in the background

On this page, you will get a step-by-step picture and a video recipe on how to make perfect Snowball Cookies each time.

About Snowball Cookies

These sugar-coated, crumbly shortbread cookies are undeniably rich and delicious, and the addition of coarsely powdered toasted pecans/walnuts takes the flavor and texture to the next level.

The delicate texture of these snowball cookies guarantees a gratifying cookie experience as they literally melt in your mouth.

Cozy winter evenings and these cookies with a glass of Italian Hot Chocolate or a simple date milk are enough to bring warmth.

Generously covered in confectioner’s sugar, they are irresistibly crumbly and buttery and dense in texture. Whether you are a professional cook or a novice in the kitchen, this simple cookie recipe is for all.

Snowball cookies or pecan snowball cookies are also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, butterballs, snowdrops, etc. When prepared into a crescent shape, they are referred to as Greek kourabiedes or Viennese crescents.

These bite-sized cookies are an exquisite blend of sweetness and nuttiness, which makes them a beloved addition to any holiday cookie platter and is a popular choice for Christmas cookie exchanges.

No wonder Snowballs hold a timeless position on the Christmas cookie tray, along with thumbprint cookies, red velvet crinkle cookies, lemon white chocolate cookies, cream cheese cookies, and linzer cookies. No matter how you are planning to share these cookies, they will always be the star of every gathering.

Everyone should try this Christmas cookie!

a red plate filled with sugared snowball cookies and pine cones on a white table

These Snowball Cookies

  • Are a globally loved treat

  • Are buttery and dense

  • Have a melt-in-your-mouth texture

  • Have sweet and nutty flavors

  • Are perfect for holiday gifts

  • Can easily be customized

  • Are simple and easy-to-bake

  • Are made in 1 bowl

  • Don’t need any fancy equipment

  • Take only 15 minutes in baking

  • Can be topped with different toppings

  • Are perfect for holiday gatherings

  • Make a wonderful tea time cookie

  • Need only 5 ingredients

  • Are egg-free

  • Can also be made vegan & gluten-free

Ingredients

  • Butter: The butter is the main ingredient of any shortbread or butter cookies. It gives the rich, buttery flavor to the cookies, so make sure you are using high-quality, unsalted butter here. I have used softened unsalted butter in this cookie recipe. You can also use salted butter here, but unsalted butter works the best.

  • Flour: All-Purpose Flour is the base of cookie dough. It adds the structure and thickness to this cookie recipe. To avoid any lumps in the dough, make sure that you are using sifted flour when making cookie dough.

For a healthy alternative, you can also swap all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

  • Sugar: For making dough and rolling, you will need confectioners or powdered Sugar. The sugar not only adds sweetness to the dough but also gives these cookies their signature snowy look.

  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract adds a subtle flavor to this cookie recipe. Ensure that you are using pure vanilla extract for the best flavors. Vanilla bean paste can also be used here.

  • Nuts: For adding that signature flavor to this cookie recipe, you will need to add coarsely powdered or chopped toasted pecans. They add a delicious flavor and rich nuttiness to these cookies.

Toasting the pecans before powdering/chopping will intensify their natural nutty richness. You can also swap pecans with the same amount of walnuts.

  • Salt: A pinch of salt is added to balance out the sweetness. You can omit the salt if you are planning to use salted butter.
a plate of snowball cookies on a table in front of a golden christmas tree

Variations

Almond Snowballs: 

Are you a fan of almond flour cookies? Then why not make almond snowballs by substituting the pecans with finely chopped almonds. This variation adds a unique almond flavor, subtle sweetness, and crunch.

Chocolate Snowball Cookies: 

Love chocolate cookies? Then you can turn these cookies into chocolate snowballs cookies by adding 1/4 cup of cocoa powder into the dough. It adds a luscious chocolatey flavor and decadence to these cookies. You can also add about 2 tablespoons of Nutella for making a richer tasting snowball version of nutella cookies.

Citrus Snowball Cookies: 

Enjoy lemon cookies or any other citrus-flavored desserts? Then you can add a burst of freshness by adding 1 teaspoon of citrus zest and 1 teaspoon lemon juice into the dough. You can also try making orange-flavored cookies by using orange zest and orange juice.

The citrusy notes beautifully complement the nutty base of these cookies.

Cinnamon Spice Snowball Cookies: 

Cinnamon tastes great in shortbread cookies. You can try adding about 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the dough. The gentle touch of cinnamon adds a warming, comforting taste to these snowball cookies. A perfect treat for the winter season.

Lemon Poppy Seed Snowball Cookies:

Lemon poppy seeds are best friends, so why not try adding them to these snowballs for added crunch and refreshing lemon flavor.

closeup shot of a plate full of sugar coated snowball cookies on a table

Storage Suggestions:

Snowball cookies keep well for up to one week when stored in an airtight cookie jar at room temperature. If you want to store them for a longer period, then you can consider freezing unbaked cookies.

To freeze, simply roll the cookies, place them on a parchment paper-lined freezer-safe tray, and freeze for 2-3 hours or until firm. Once frozen, transfer them to a Ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Whenever you want to bake, simply thaw them at room temperature for 30 minutes. And then pop them in the oven to bake for 15-18 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

These sugar-coated snowball cookies can be served as they are. You can also pair them with cafe mocha, caramel chai, or a glass of milk. You can serve them along with other cookies and baked goodies such as; Eggless Banana Bread, Apple Upside Down Puff Pastry, Gulab Jamun cookies, Indian Shortbread cookies, and Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal cookies.

To make an indulging breakfast, you can serve them with cappuccino or a banana smoothie.

a person is putting snowball cookie on a plate of snowball cookies in front of a christmas tree

Professional tips & tricks to make the best Snowball Cookies

  1. Chilling the Dough: Make sure to refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before shaping and baking. Chilling the dough helps the cookies maintain their shape and prevent them from spreading, keeping their characteristic round and uniform snowball shape.

  2. Evenly sized balls: Remember to shape the even-sized balls. If you are not comfortable scooping with your hands, you can use a cookie scoop or tablespoon measuring spoon to get even-sized balls. Uneven cookies won’t bake well, as some will become overly browned while others remain undercooked.

  3. Quality ingredients matter: Just like any baking or cookie recipe, you need to use high-quality ingredients to get the top-notch taste and superior texture in your Snowball Cookies.

  4. Do not overbake: If you overbake these cookies, they will lose the delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The baking temperature may vary depending on the different oven temperatures. So to avoid overbaking, keep a close eye on the cookies in the oven, and only bake until the edges are slightly brown while the cookies remain white.

  5. Pecans: You can coarsely powder or chop the toasted pecans. Pecans can also be swapped with other nuts like almonds, cashews, or walnuts.

  6. Sifted flour: To avoid clumps, sift the flour before adding it to the dough.

  7. Butter: Your butter should be softened as it absorbs evenly without making it too greasy. It should not be mushy at all because mushy butter can ruin the texture of the cookies. To avoid this situation, let the butter soften at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.

  8. Rolling in sugar twice: To get that ideal snowball look, it is advised to roll the cookies twice in powdered sugar. The first coating makes the sugary base while the second coating elevates the festive, snowy look.

  9. Crack-free cookies: To get crack-free cookies, you need to roll the chilled dough into smooth, crack-free balls. If there are cracks while shaping, your cookie will definitely have cracks.

  10. Flavors: I have flavored these cookies with vanilla, but you can surely experiment with flavors. For example, you can add cinnamon, cardamom, or a pinch of nutmeg powder for a sweet-scenting spice touch and unique aromatic variations.

  11. Sugar replacement: The powdered or confectioners sugar works best in this cookie recipe as it also works as a binder. But you can try experimenting with granulated sugar for a different sweetness profile.

a person holding a red plate with snowball cookies on it

FAQ

What are Snowball Cookies?

Snowball cookies are shortbread cookies made with a blend of butter, flour, and confectioners’ sugar, and toasted pecans. The sugar is used as a sweetener and as a coating on the exterior to create a snow-dusted snowball look. They are a popular festive treat, especially during the holiday season. Traditional Christmas cookie or snowball cookie recipes are made without any eggs and leavening agents.

Can you freeze Snowball Cookies?

Yes, these cookies are freezer-friendly, so they can be frozen. You can freeze both baked and unbaked Snowball Cookies.

Freezing Baked Cookies: If you want to freeze baked cookies, then let them cool completely, then freeze them in a single layer on a parchment-lined tray. Once they are frozen, wrap each cookie in plastic wrap to prevent sticking.

Then transfer them to a ziplock bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. When you want to eat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

Freezing Unbaked Cookies: You can shape the unbaked cookies by placing and freezing them on a freezer-safe tray. Once the cookies are firm, transfer them to an airtight container or a ziplock bag.

When ready to bake, thaw for 30 minutes at room temperature and bake according to the recipe instructions.

How to make gluten-free Snowball Cookies?

To make a gluten-free version of snowball cookies, you need to substitute regular all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. The rest of the recipe will be the same. It is a lovely option for those who are gluten-sensitive.

How to make vegan Snowball Cookies?

Making a vegan-friendly snowball cookie is very simple. Here, you need to swap the regular butter with an equal amount of vegan butter or baking margarine. Also, check that all the other ingredients such as vanilla extract are vegan-friendly.

How do you make Snowball Cookies?

Making Snowball Cookies is a simple process. You just need to mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Then let the dough chill, shape, bake, and double coat in sugar. Your delicious snowball cookies are ready to be served.


Snowball Cookies (Step-by-step photo instructions)

How to make Snowball Cookies

  1. In a large bowl, mix the butter using a silicone spatula or wire whisk until completely smooth. You can also use a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Then add confectioners’ sugar and mix until completely combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, add in the flour, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix for a minute and start kneading the mixture until it comes together.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-1-1 for Snowball Cookies
  3. After that, add coarsely powdered toasted pecans/walnuts and knead until it comes together like a dough. Transfer the dough onto a plastic wrap and knead it slightly, then wrap the cookie dough tightly and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Tip: If you are chilling the dough for more than 3 hours, make sure you let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling it into balls. The cookie dough will be very stiff after being in the refrigerator for that long.
  4. Image of the recipe cooking step-1-2 for Snowball Cookies
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Pour the confectioners’ sugar needed for the coating into a shallow bowl. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and roll it into a smooth ball. Roll all the cookies and place them on the baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom edges and just barely browned on top, about 15 minutes.
  6. Image of the recipe cooking step-1-3 for Snowball Cookies
  7. Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar to coat completely. Place the cookies on a plate or wire racks to cool completely. The confectioners’ sugar might melt a bit and get sticky; that’s perfectly fine. Once cooled, roll the cookies again in confectioners’ sugar. This is when the sugar will really stick. Enjoy your delicious batch of snowball cookies. They stay fresh when stored in an airtight cookie jar at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  8. Image of the recipe cooking step-1-4 for Snowball Cookies

Recipe Card


Snowball Cookies [Recipe]

Recipe Image
Discover the melt-in-your-mouth magic of the classic 5-ingredient Snowball Cookies recipe with the richness of pecans, perfect for holidays.
★★★★★
(Rating: 5 from 5 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
25 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Desserts International 20 Cookies
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
60 calories 1

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients For Snowball Cookies
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (45g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons (140.5g) all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt (approximately 1/16 teaspoon)
  • 6 tablespoons (50g) coarsely powdered toasted pecans/walnuts
  • 10 tablespoons (75g) confectioners’ sugar for coating

INSTRUCTIONS:

How to make Snowball Cookies
  1. In a large bowl, mix the butter using a silicone spatula or wire whisk until completely smooth. You can also use a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Then add confectioners’ sugar and mix until completely combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, add in the flour, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix for a minute and start kneading the mixture until it comes together.
  2. After that, add coarsely powdered toasted pecans/walnuts and knead until it comes together like a dough. Transfer the dough onto a plastic wrap and knead it slightly, then wrap the cookie dough tightly and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Tip: If you are chilling the dough for more than 3 hours, make sure you let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling it into balls. The cookie dough will be very stiff after being in the refrigerator for that long.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Pour the confectioners’ sugar needed for the coating into a shallow bowl. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and roll it into a smooth ball. Roll all the cookies and place them on the baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom edges and just barely browned on top, about 15 minutes.
  4. Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar to coat completely. Place the cookies on a plate or wire racks to cool completely. The confectioners’ sugar might melt a bit and get sticky; that’s perfectly fine. Once cooled, roll the cookies again in confectioners’ sugar. This is when the sugar will really stick. Enjoy your delicious batch of snowball cookies. They stay fresh when stored in an airtight cookie jar at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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NOTES:

  1. Make sure to refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before shaping and baking. Chilling the dough helps the cookies maintain their shape and prevent them from spreading, keeping their characteristic round and uniform snowball shape.
  2. Remember to shape the even-sized balls. If you are not comfortable scooping with your hands, you can use a cookie scoop or tablespoon measuring spoon to get even-sized balls. Uneven cookies won't bake well, as some will become overly browned while others remain undercooked.


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