Snowball Cookies – A Must-Make for Your Cookie Plate

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Snowball Cookies are a delectable concoction of butter, flour, and sugar. This no-nut version of the classic recipe is a delicious must-make for your cookie plate.

Snowball Cookies | Good Cheap Eats

A recent poll of my progeny as to their favorite holiday traditions revealed that cookies top the list. And not just any cookies, mind you. We don’t need no stinking packaged cookies here.

No, indeed.

Only homemade will do at the holidays, and we’ve got some family favorites that we make every holiday season. Chocolate Chocolate Chip Biscotti, Double Chocolate Toffee Cookies, Chocolate Mint Snow Top Cookies top the list, but man (or woman) cannot live on chocolate cookies alone. Oh no. We need a few Snowball Cookies to balance things out.

You’ve had these traditional holiday cookies before, I’m sure. They’re known by other names: Mexican Wedding Cakes, Swedish Teacakes, Russian Teacakes. At our house we call them Snowballs. And they are a favorite, indeed.

These classic Snowball Cookies are soooooo good. I mean, butter, flour, sugar and nuts? You really can’t go wrong with that combination.

Except for the nuts — in a nut allergy home. Years ago, I decided to omit the nuts from my favorite cookie recipe so that my daughter could enjoy them along with the rest of us. If you’re avoiding nuts as well — or even if you’re not — I nominate these Snowball Cookies as a must-make on your cookie plate this holiday season.

I do recommend that you weigh the flour to get the proper ratio of flour to butter. If you scoop the flour, you risk having a very dry dough. It’s not the end of the world, just pack the dough with your hands to get it to stick together. Weighing your flour is simple and easy, though, so go with that!

Snowball Cookies | Good Cheap Eats

How to make Snowball Cookies good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When I find regular kitchen staples on sale, I buy a lot. I’m currently using a price book to track prices and that’s saving me money. For this recipe, keeping an eye on the price of flour, powdered sugar, and butter can help keep the price down. And yes, you should use butter!
  • Buying in bulk – It’s rare that I would buy just one bag of flour. Instead I stock up when I see a sale. I also have gotten into the habit of buying cases of flour from Bob’s Red Mill.  I practice the same bulk buying for all my baking ingredients.

How I make this recipe easy:

This Snowball Cookies recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.

Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:

  • food processor – This makes the process so quick and easy.
  • parchment paper – I hate washing pans. Parchment paper makes clean up a breeze.
  • sheet pans – I LOVE my set of steel sheet pans. They make such a difference in baking.
  • cookie scoop – This tool makes cookie-making so easy!

Do you make snowball cookies? What’s YOUR name for them?

Don’t forget to check out The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.

Snowball Cookies | Good Cheap Eats

Originally published December 14, 2010. Updated December 16, 2017.

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  1. ooooh i’ve had them soaked in booze before =) so festive! hehe

  2. If you want to add nuts do you know what the recipe calls for?

  3. White Mice!

  4. We call them “pecan balls”. How exciting, eh? But I guess I’d be changing that name with the omission of the pecans! 😀

  5. I grew up on these, with finely chopped almonds inside. We also call them snowball cookies! I’m making some this weekend for a cookie exchange party, so good… just don’t inhale all that powdered sugar! Or exhale, I suppose, if you’re talking to someone… party foul.

  6. While making these I realized you can eat all the dough you want, there is no egg!!! YEA

  7. I make these every year and you are right, they are SO GOOD! We call them pecan balls like the other poster, but I like the term, snowball cookies better.

  8. I love these! We call them Russian teacakes, although no one that I know of in our family is Russian. (Maybe it’s because you’re “Rush’en” to eat them?–Sorry!) I’m going to try to make them gluten free this year, so hopefully the butter and powdered sugar will keep them yummy! 🙂

  9. Use pecans. We call ours butterballs. It’s best to make sure they’re cooled too before sugar coating them or the sugar will still melt. I’m making mine on saturday. As a little girl I would make them with my great-grandma and her sister every christmas!!

  10. I love these cookies, but I’ve never made them because my husband is allergic to nuts. I think I might have to make them, my hubby always wanted to try some. A good one to make with the kiddos too, since there’s no egg in the batter. Thanks!

  11. My grandma always made these for me and called them mexican wedding cakes and they were a slightly flattened circle. I had asked my mom for the recipe a number of years ago and she lokked for it and said silly you always made these with grandma you better call her. Love LOVE LOVE all the food memories. I hope my kids have great food memories when they grow up…were working on it. Tomorrow night its donuts and hot cocoa in the car to look at lights.

  12. These are one of my favorite cookies! My Nana (Great- Grandma) always made them and called them Russian Tea Cakes. We use chopped walnuts and I like them just roughly chopped so you get a nice chunk now and again!

  13. I’ve never made them, but I’ve eaten plenty! We call them Mexican Wedding Cookies. And that looks easy, so I think we may make them tomorrow!

  14. They’re Mexican Wedding Cakes around here, and somehow we always seem to burn a pan. NOT tasty burnt, that’s for sure!

  15. They were Kipples in our house growing up. Although I was never too crazy about them, probably because I don’t care for pecans.

  16. AllieZirkle says:

    YUM! I love the idea of these without nuts.

  17. Please help!!!! I made this recipe 3 times with the nuts, first time like the recipe said, 2nd time I refridgerated the dough before rolling and the 3rd time again like the recipe says……each time the cookies totally flattened out, what did I do wrong, I followed the measurements very carefully!!!! HELP

    • I have no idea. Did you use butter or some other fat? That is really weird. I’ve never had that happen. I am not home right now, but when I get home, I will double check my notes in case I made a typing mistake. Hmmm…..

      Were they good anyway?

    • @Michelle, Did you use margerine instead of butter? I’ve found that margerine isn’t the same as butter in some recipes.

    • applegranny says:

      dough cannot be rolled. the texture is similar to coarse ground cornmeal (polenta.) Scoop up a heaping tablespoon of dough and squeeze and roll around in the palm of your hand with a closed fist. That brings the dough together in the form of a ball. A somewhat tedious procedure but must be done.

    • You posted this so long ago, but for the benefit of new readers: I’ve had this happen before when I tried to increase the powdered sugar to flour ratio. More powdered sugar=flattened cookies. Also, depending on your location, altitude can flatten cookies. Try reducing oven temperature to 325 degrees F and baking 13 to 15 minutes instead and use the following measurements for ingredients:

      1/2 cup powdered sugar
      1 cup butter or margarine, softened
      2 teaspoons vanilla
      2 cups all-purpose flour
      1 cup finely chopped or ground almonds or pecans
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      3/4 cup powdered sugar for rolling

      Happy Butterball baking!

  18. We make these every year except we roll them up with a hershey kiss in the middle . . .and we roll them in the sugar after they have mostly cooled otherwise they will be really sticky. Yum!

  19. Oh these are my FAVORITE! we call them Mexican wedding cakes, and we roll them twice in the sugar- when they are warm, and then again when they cool- the sugar sticks better than way. 🙂

  20. My grandmother made these with crushed hazelnuts. She called them “Baby Moon’s Cookies” Moon was a nickname for her oldest son. They were the ONLY cookie he asked for. lol Wow I am not that narrow about my cookie choices.

  21. My all time favorite cookie ever!!! I don’t care what you call them, I will eat them. All of them! I will never make them because I have no self control over these cookies. I will easily put away 4-5 in a matter of minutes. I have cleverly stayed away from this recipe, now I see how easy it is.

  22. An easy nut-free way to make these is to put mini chocolate chips in the batter prior to rolling & baking. We do both w/nuts & w/out but since I have a couple of kids who don’t like nuts, they especially enjoy the chocolate chip snowballs! A very yummy way to round out a cookie platter for sure!

  23. I love how simple these are and yummy in my tummy. but was said because they are a perfect size for my toddler nephew but he is alergic to nuts. So this is perfect, i am toying with the idea of the hershey kiss or another min chocolate in the center or may be peppermint because of the season.

  24. Jamie Sonnentag says:

    I like to make them in batches of three; chopped almonds & almond flavoring, chopped pecans with vanilla flavoring & a chopped candy cane with a little extra vanilla. Its so yummy when you’re taking a bite & your not sure which one you have! I’m making them with my 3 year old for the first time this year!!

  25. I call them white snow men my little sister helped me make them ,she being 4, wanted to make them chocolate we added a little coco power now she calls them little pine cones she still loves them 🙂

  26. I made these tonight. Came out great! Thanks!

  27. I love to add a mint extract to half the batter so i havee some reg and some minty,,yum and if you use cake flour the cookie is much less dense.

  28. I call them Russian Teacakes but I also add Crushed Pecans to the mix.

  29. Is it a mistake in the recipe? Using powdered sugar in the recipe or is it regular sugar and powdered for dusting?

  30. abigail harvey says:

    I call the snowball cookies little white moments

  31. To make these a little more Christmasy I added 1 tsp. of peppermint extract. Next batch I am going to add food coloring to make some red and green cookies with the white powdered sugar snowflake cover.

  32. I made these last week and they were delicious and very similar in taste to how I remember them being as a kid…they were just a bit hard to roll into balls without the balls breaking apart. I found I needed to hold the dough in my hand a minute for the butter to melt enough to be able to roll it into a ball without it breaking. I wondered if adding an egg might help with that? So then I tried my mom’s snowball cookie recipe which had less butter, granulated sugar, an egg, and I omitted the pecans and they were surprisingly very greasy to roll out and smooshed down when baked whereas yours held their rolled shape nicely even after baking. I also preferred the taste of yours better than my mom’s recipe. Have you ever tried adding an egg to your recipe? How did it change things?

    • My guess is you just might have had too much flour. How you measure flour, what brand you buy, and the humidity in your home can all effect the final product. We just made these last month and didn’t have that trouble. In fact, they were pretty moist. I don’t recall ever making them with egg, but when I created this post, we were struggling with an in-house egg allergy. We’ve made them this way for as long as I can remember.

      • Funny you should say that…I did make sure to measure exactly 2 1/4 cups flour but I used white whole wheat flour instead of bleached enriched flour, as an attempt to make them healthier! And have less guilt over eating them! Lol! Maybe that is the difference! Maybe I should increase the butter if I do that flour again?….but then the benefits of having whole wheat might be offset by the health costs of additional butter! Lol!

  33. Hi, do you use salted or unsalted butter? I always use salted and am wondering if I would still need to add the extra salt? I have never made these before but have enjoyed eating them (with nuts). I think my kiddos would like them much better without. Thanks!

  34. BUTTER BALLS: We all have always made them without the nuts and have always called them butter balls. My mother always purchased margarine for day-to-day use, but, she never failed to purchase butter for these cookies during the holidays.

    We always coat the freshly baked cookies with powdered sugar a first time, let them cool, and toss them a second time into that powdery sugary goodness.

    Thanks to these cookies, when I grew up and had my own home, I never purchased margarine for anything, Ha ha!

  35. Hi,
    A question about your “snowball cookies”. Do I HAVE to use powdered sugar? This ingredient has cornstarch in it and my daughter and I shouldn’t have (allergic sensitivity) corn/maize of an kind. Do you think this would work if I rolled them in coconut for the Snow?

    • Unfortunately, the powdered sugar is a pretty big part of the recipe. You could certainly roll in coconut, but it might not stick. Rolling the warm cookies in the powdered sugar melts the sugar a little so it sticks. I have seen versions where they made the cookie into sticks (not balls) and dipped one end in chocolate and then sprinkles. They are no longer “snowballs” at that point, but a very tasty cookie!

  36. I add mini chocolate chips and brickle bits. Soooo good. I call these dirty snowballs. Lol

  37. Ana baca says:

    Hi, I was wondering if I could incorporate maple in to this recipe. Do you know what I could do?

    • As a flavoring or as a substitute for the sugar? I’m thinking yes as a flavoring. As a substitute, it would need to be maple sugar not maple syrup as the extra liquid would throw off the recipe.

  38. Sandra Petrovich says:

    When I baked these cookies and rolled them in powder sugar they stayed tacky why is that? I love them but they make your fingers a mess when you pick them up.


  1. […] enjoy tamales with Mexican Rice, beans, a salad, and maybe some Mexican Wedding Cakes (aka Snowball Cookies) for […]

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