Pecan snowball cookies topped with powdered sugar on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

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Why I love this snowball cookies recipe

I’m not really sure what name I like for this cookie…snowball cookies, Russian teacakes or Mexican wedding cakes. Up until a few years ago I didn’t know any name for the cookie.

It was just my favorite Christmas cookie – usually made by my Grandmom which made it even better. I only ate them at Christmas and only when we went to Philadelphia.

My mom says that she use to make them, but I have no memory of that happening. Anyway, they are pretty easy to make and are as cute as can be the way they resemble snowballs and are stored in piles of powdered sugar – perfect for Christmas!

More Christmas cookie recipes: fruitcake cookies / Grinch cookies / anise cookies / chocolate molasses sugar cookies / almond crescents

closeup of pecan snowball cookies piled on a small plate

Here’s what you’ll need to make them


For this recipe, I’ve used vegetable shortening. I prefer to use a brand that uses non-hydrogenated and sustainable oils, but there are many brands on the market that will work. Use what’s best for you and your budget. You can also use you favorite dairy free butter instead of shortening.

pecan snowball cookies recipe on a baking sheet lined with parchment after being baked and coated in powdered sugar

How to make snowball cookies

Mise en place. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If needed, grind or finely chop your pecans, and measuring out the rest of your ingredients.

Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the pecans, flour and salt in a medium bowl and set it aside.

Beat the wet ingredients. With an electric mixer, cream the shortening, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract until they’re light and fluffy.

Combine dry and wet ingredients. Mix in the flour mixture and continue beating until a dough forms. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water to help the dough combine.

This will depend on the brand of shortening or vegan butter you’re using, but do it only 1 tablespoon at a time.

pecan snowball cookies being dipped in powdered sugar

Shape the cookies. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and spread them out on a parchment lined cookie sheet – about an inch or so apart from each other.

Bake the cookies. Pop your cookies into the oven for about 12 minutes. They will not be fully brown and that is okay, but as long as the tops are set, you’re good.

Coat with sugar. After about 5 – 10 minutes, coat them in powdered sugar.  The cookies should be slightly warm when you do this because it helps the sugar to stick.

Apply a second coat. After the cookies have completely cooled, coat them again in powdered sugar before storing them in an air-tight container with extra powdered sugar.

3 pecan snowball cookies in a bowl of powdered sugar

FAQs and tips for making the best pecan snowball cookies

Can you freeze snowball cookie dough?

Yes. You can freeze these dough balls. When you’re ready to bake, simply thaw them on the counter for an hour or two before baking and continuing with the recipe as directed.

How long can you freeze snowball cookies?

Snowball cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months without compromising their taste or texture. They should be stored in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag for best results. After thawing, I recommend coating the cookies in powdered sugar one more time.

Can I use something other than pecans?

Absolutely, this recipe would work well with other nuts, such as almond or walnut. I chose to make mine with pecans because they’re my favorite. Use what’s best for you!

Are Russian tea cakes the same as Mexican wedding cookies?

Snowball cookies, also called Mexican wedding cookies, are pretty much the same thing. The name varies by location, and different nuts may be used, but in the end they’re the same.

More Christmas favorites:

overhead image of small plate with 5 pecan snowball cookies on it with a mug of hot chocolate to the side and a baking sheet with more cookies in the background

Snowball Cookies

Snowball Cookies | This easy recipe makes the best snowball cookies. They’re melt in your mouth good, and they’re completely dairy free and vegan! These little cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday cookie tray. #vegan #christmascookies

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 3 dozen 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 cup ground pecans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening or vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, ground pecans and salt – set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream the shortening, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract at a medium speed.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to the bowl and mix. If needed, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of water, until a dough forms.
  5. Form 1-inch balls with the dough and spread on a cookie sheet about an inch apart.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cookies cool for 5 – 10 minutes.
  7. Place remaining powdered sugar in a bowl and coat each cookie. Transfer to a cooling and let cookies cool completely before doing another coat of powdered sugar.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 100
  • Sugar: 3.4 g
  • Sodium: 10.1 mg
  • Fat: 6.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.9 g
  • Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: dairy free, vegan, easy, christmas, cookies, pecan

 Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.

Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. These are even better with 1 cup of mini chocolate chips added before rolling. (Nestle brand, also living in the south we use pecans).

    1. Absolutely. Just make sure it’s softened a bit and not fully melted. You can also use vegan butter.