Snowman Snowball Cookies

36 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

Snowman Snowball Cookies are an easy and adorable holiday treat! Classic buttery cookies with pecans decorated like snowmen heads!

Pecan Snowball Cookies and Mexican Wedding Cookies are buttery shortbread cookies rolled in a sweet coating of powdered sugar. The snow white coating makes it easy to turn this delicious Cookie Recipe into adorable snowmen, perfect for your holiday cookie trays!

Sabrina’s Snowman Snowball Cookies Recipe

Why just make regular Snowball Cookies for the holidays when you could make them into cute festive snowman heads instead? All you need to make a beloved holiday cookie into a special treat is some mini chocolate chips and candy carrots! They are so quick and easy to make you could even double or triple the batch of cookies for holiday cookie swaps and gift baskets.

This easy Snowman Cookie recipe is so delicious and addicting. The soft and crunchy pecan base melts in your mouth. You’ll definitely want to keep a batch on hand for a sweet, buttery snack with a cup of Hot Chocolate or Eggnog.

Snowman Snowball Cookie dough ingredients spread out in individual prep bowls


  • Cookie Dough: These Snowman Snowballs start out with a buttery shortbread dough made with 1 cup butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 ¼ cups flour. The powdered sugar is key to giving these cookies a soft, melt in your mouth texture!
  • Pecans: This recipe is based on classic Mexican Wedding Cookies, which are made with pecans instead of almonds or walnuts. The chopped pecans add a lot of structure and crunch to the otherwise soft and buttery cookies.
  • Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is a key part of this recipe. Not only is it mixed into the cookie base, but it’s also used for the coating. The powdered sugar coating is why the original recipe is often called a snowball cookie, and what inspired us to decorate them like snowmen.
  • Decorations: To decorate the Snowman Snowball Cookies all you need are mini chocolate chips and decorative candy carrots.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Baking Sheets: These thick cookies won’t really spread so you could probably squeeze them on one baking tray, but you do want to keep them an inch apart so we recommend using two sheets. 
  • Parchment Paper: The parchment paper is key to keep your cookies from burning on the bottom for perfectly baked cookies. You could also use a silicone mat to bake them and keep them from sticking.
  • Cookie Scoop: You’ll want a medium size cookie scoop to form the round cookies without having to handle them as much and make them all the same size.

How to Make

Time needed: 30 minutes.

  1. Prep Time

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two regular baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Make the Cookie Dough

    Add softened butter and powdered sugar to your stand mixer. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla, flour, and pecans to the mixing bowl, and stir until just combined. Snowman Snowball Cookie dough ingredients in mixing bowl before mixing

  3. Roll the Dough into Balls

    Scoop cookie dough into balls using a tablespoon or medium cookie scoop then gently roll them until rounded. Be careful not to handle the dough too much, you don’t want it to be shiny or greasy. Snowman Snowball Cookies mixed cookie dough in mixing bowl

  4. Baking Time

    Place the dough balls on the parchment-covered baking sheets with about an inch between each one. Pop the cookie sheets in the oven for 12-14 minutes, until the bottoms are just starting to brown.Snowman Snowball Cookies single cookie dough ball on parchment paper

  5. Roll Cookies in Sugar

    Add the powdered into a clean medium bowl. Allow the baked cookies to cool for a few minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, roll the cookies in the powdered sugar, shaking off any excess sugar before returning to the baking tray.Snowman Snowball Cookies rolling cookie in powdered sugar

  6. Decorate the Snowman

    After you roll the cookies in powdered sugar, add the candy decorations while they are still warm so they stick. Push two mini chocolate chips into the top of each cookie for the snowman eyes and the candy carrot beneath the eyes for a nose. Snowman Snowball Cookies decorated and spread out on baking sheet

Can these be made ahead of time?

These Snowmen Snowball Cookies are great to make ahead of time! You can shape the cookie dough balls and chill them in the fridge for a couple days or freeze them for up to 6 months. It’s best to freeze them first spread out on a cookie sheet before storing them in a container so that they don’t stick together. You can bake them from frozen, just adding a minute or two to the baking time as needed.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Snowman Snowball Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 112 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 14mg5%
Sodium 62mg3%
Potassium 23mg1%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 162IU3%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 6mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Tips for Snowball Cookies

  • A Great Kids Activity!

The other great thing about this recipe is that kids love them. Adding the snowman face is sure to make them a hit, and your kids can even help you with the decorating. Just make sure you let the cookies cool a little before you start adding the powdered sugar and decorations.

  • Don’t Handle Them Too Much

Since you aren’t going to chill the dough for these cookies, you do want to make sure you don’t handle them too much before baking. Your warm hands could melt the butter and this will make your cookies flat, so it’s best to use a scoop to make them into balls and then just gently roll them as needed to smooth them out.

How to Store

Store: Snowman Snowball Cookies can stay good at room temperature for up to 1 week. To keep them fresh, cover the cookies in plastic wrap or keep them in an airtight container. You can keep them out at room temperature or in the fridge.

Freeze: You can also carefully seal them in a freezer bag or another airtight container. They’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Ideas to Serve

White Chocolate Coating

Swap the powdered sugar coating for a melted white chocolate coating to make them extra decadent. Once the cookie balls have baked, put white baking chocolate or vanilla almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in 30-second increments, stirring until melted and smooth. Dip the balls on a fork completely into the melted coating. Let excess chocolate drip off and place the snowman cookies on parchment paper. Add the chocolate chips and candy nose then let the cookies set until the coating has hardened.

Reindeer Snowball Cookies

Give your Snowman Cookies some reindeer buddies! Coat half of the cookie balls in cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar to make them brown. Add the chocolate chip eyes but give them a red candy nose (a cinnamon heart would be extra cute!) and stick in broken pretzels for the antlers.

Frequent Questions

Why did my snowball cookies go flat?

The biggest reason your cookies will flatten and spread while they are baking is if the butter gets too warm. If you are shaping them and they seem a little greasy or warm, pop them in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking to help the butter get cold again.

What is the difference between a snowball cookie, a wedding cookie, and a Russian Tea cake?

Snowball cookies, Wedding Cookies, and Russian Tea Cake cookies are all essentially the same cookie, they just use different mix-ins and flavors. For example, Wedding Cookies usually have almonds, Russian Tea Cakes have walnuts, and Snowballs Cookies use pecans.

Recipe Card

Snowman Snowball Cookies

Snowman Snowball Cookies are an easy and adorable holiday treat! Classic buttery cookies with pecans decorated like snowmen heads!
Yield 36 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar , for rolling
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 36 decorative candy carrots


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy in your stand mixer.
  • Add in the salt, vanilla extract, flour, and pecans and mix until just combined.
  • Roll tablespoon-sized balls in your hands lightly and place on cookie sheet 1″ apart.
  • Cook for 12-14 minutes or until bottoms are barely browned.
  • Once able to handle, roll gently in powdered sugar.
  • Push two mini chips into the snowballs as eyes and add the carrot nose (while warm so they adhere with the sugar).


Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 162IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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Chocolate Chips: You don’t have to just use the mini chocolate chips for the snowman head eyes. Swap ½ cup of the pecans with another ½ cup mini chocolate chips for the cookie dough.

Italian Cookies: Make these into Italian Wedding Cookies full of almond flavor! Swap the regular flour with almond flour, use chopped almonds instead of pecans and swap the vanilla with almond extract. 

Icing nose: If you can’t find candy carrots for the nose, this is a great recipe to use up some leftover Sugar Cookie Frosting. Just mix a ½ cup with orange food coloring, add it to a piping bag with a narrow small tip, and pipe little noses on each cookie.

More Buttery Snowball Cookies

Snowman Snowball Cookies decorated collage with recipe title across center

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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