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!
Table of contents
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.
- 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.
- Prep Time
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two regular baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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).
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.