A delightful and classic holiday cookie, these Snowball Cookies (also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies) call for just six everyday ingredients, quick to make, and have a soft melt-in-your-mouth texture. Use our swaps to easily make them gluten free and/or dairy free, if needed. 

Prep: 10 minutesCook: 9-12 minutesTotal: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 28-30 cookies 1x


  • 1 ½ cups raw pecan halves or pieces
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend**
  • ⅔ cups powdered sugar + more for dusting or rolling
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt


  1. Place the pecans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until half of the nuts are very finely chopped (almost like flour or nut meal) and about half are in small, coarse pieces. Set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and vanilla using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  3. Add the flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pecans. Start the mixer on low then gradually increase the speed to high. The dough will look very dry and crumbly at first, but trust the process, and keep mixing until it comes together into a smooth ball.
  4. Cover the bowl with a very lightly damp towel or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 400℉ and line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  6. Remove the dough from fridge and use your hands to roll it into 28-30 balls (each slightly smaller than a golf ball).
  7. Place 14-15 balls on each of the two prepared baking sheets. Bake on the middle rack (one sheet at a time) for 9-12 minutes or until balls are set, dry to the touch, and lightly brown on the bottoms.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire cooling rack with a spatula (not your hands). Note: These cookies are very fragile when first removed from the oven but will firm up as they cool. 
  9. Roll the cookies in powdered sugar (or dust them with powdered sugar if you prefer them to be less sweet) then allow them to cool for several hours. This will ensure the best texture and will help them firm up more. We find that these cookies have the best texture the day after baking!
  10. Store the cookies at room temperature in a tightly covered container for up to 1 week or freeze for longer storage.


* For vegan or dairy-free cookies, use plant-based stick butter. We recommend Miyokos Unsalted European Style Cultured Vegan Butter and Target’s Good & Gather Organic Plant-Based Buttery Sticks
** You may use regular all-purpose flour if you don’t need cookies that are gluten free. For gluten-free cookies, we recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 10 g
  • (Sat Fat: 4 g)
  • Sodium: 25 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 13 g
  • (Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugar: 3 g)
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 17 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians
Recipe By: Jessica Beacom