Easy Snowball Cookies are melt-in-your-mouth, crumbly shortbread pecan cookie ball rolled in powdered sugar for the perfect Christmas cookie!
These classic Christmas cookies are known as Italian Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, or Butterballs, but most of all they are known as absolutely delicious! With just minutes of prep time, no need to chill, and very little clean up (except when you eat them), Snowballs are about to be your new favorite cookie.
This Snowball Cookies recipe is so easy with just 6 ingredients, a few steps, and mixed in one large bowl. Use a stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar then mix in the remaining ingredients to the bowl, and there’s no need to sift dry ingredients separately like other baking recipes. Check out our tips below for the best Snowball Cookies every time!
Snowballs are perfect for starting holiday baking traditions with little ones. They are prepped and ready for the oven in minutes with no need to chill, so kids to enjoy their creation in less than hour. Since this is an egg-free recipe, if you toast the flour before baking, you won’t have to worry about little bites missing from the dough. This recipe would also make a great no-bake Edible Cookie Dough if you use toasted flour!
Buttery Snowball Cookies are a great freezer dessert to make your holiday baking even easier. You can freeze the raw dough for up to 3 months before baking, and baked cookies freeze for up to 6 months! Freeze the cookie dough in balls on a cookie sheet for 1 hour then transfer to a sealed container to store for later. Bake the cookies from frozen, adding about 2-3 minutes if needed.
Snowball Cookies are an egg-free cookie recipe that’s easy to make allergy friendly like gluten-free or dairy-free. Substitute the all-purpose flour with almond flour or other gluten free flour. Use coconut oil or vegan baking butter instead of unsalted butter. You can even make these cookies sugar-free with all the special sugar substitutes out on grocery store shelves nowadays.
Tips for Making Snowball Cookies
- Butter should be room temperature before you begin mixing. Room temperature means soft but with no melted butter.
- Use a stand mixer or beaters to cream the butter and sugar so that air is whipped into the dough. There are no leavening agents, like baking soda, so this step is crucial for light, airy cookies.
- To keep the cookies from spreading or going flat as they bake, this Snowball recipe uses powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar in the dough.
- For extra snowy cookies, double dip the baked cookies in the confectioners’ sugar. Roll once about 5 minutes out of the oven, allow to cool, and roll one more time in the sugar.
- Toast the pecans before chopping them up for even more flavor. You can also pulse ½ the pecans in a food processor so you get pecan flavor with less texture.
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VARIATIONS ON SNOWBALL COOKIES
- Cherry: For festive, sweet snowball cookies, add ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries. You can also use red and green candied cherries, dried cranberries, or freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries.
- Cream Cheese: Add ½ cup cream cheese to the Snowball dough for extra creamy, rich cookies. Cream Cheese Snowballs would taste great with dried fruit!
- Chocolate: For Chocolate Snowball Cookies, replace ¼ cup flour with unsweetened cocoa powder. Add dark chocolate chips to the cookie dough or roll the dough balls in mini chocolate chips before baking.
- Coconut: Fold ½ cup toasted sweetened coconut into the cookie dough. You can also add coconut sugar or flakes to the powdered sugar coating.
- Almond: Almond is a traditional flavor for Snowball Cookies, so use ground almond flour instead of regular flour, almond extract instead of vanilla, and chopped almonds for the pecans. You can add all three swaps, or just pick one or two.
- Nuts: You can use any other nuts in Snowball Cookies. Walnuts are a common swap, but try other nuts like macadamia nuts, pistachios, cashews, or hazelnuts too!
- Spices: Add 1-2 teaspoons warm holiday spices to this Snowball Cookies recipe like cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, or Pumpkin Pie Spice. You can add the ground cinnamon to the powdered sugar too!
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HOW TO STORE SNOWBALL COOKIES
- Serve: Snowball Cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
- Store: Cool Snowballs before storing so no moisture collects. You can refrigerate these cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week. For buttery, less crumbly cookies serve at room temperature.
- Freeze: Freeze Snowball Cookies unbaked for up to 3 months and baked for up to 6 months. Flash freeze on a baking sheet before storing in a sealed container so they don’t stick together.
- 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pecans , chopped
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- To your stand mixer add the butter and powdered sugar on the lowest speed setting until just combined, then raise the speed to medium high until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla extract until well combined and smooth
- Sift the flour and salt, then on the lowest speed setting add them to the stand mixer until just combined. Add in the pecans and mix for 3-4 seconds until evenly distributed.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes, covered.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Scoop and roll in 1” balls and place 1” apart on your baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops of the cookies no longer look wet.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, remove from baking sheet and roll in a bowl of the remaining powdered sugar very gently.
- Let cool completely.