Pecan Snowball Cookies

5 from 21 votes

Pecan Snowball Cookies melt-in-your-mouth with their buttery, nutty texture and sweet powdered sugar coating. A must-try for cookie lovers!

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Melt-in-your-mouth Pecan Snowball Cookies are a holiday classic! They’re nutty, buttery, and dusted in powdered sugar, giving them the appearance of a fluffy little snowball. You only need six simple ingredients to make pecan snowballs, and they come together with just 20 minutes of prep time!

Four pecan snowball cookies stack on top of each other with the top cookie having a bite removed.
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Ranking right up there with Gingerbread Cookies and Holiday Sugar Cookies, making Christmas snowball cookies is a tradition for many families this time of year. Their delicate melt-in-your-mouth texture and nutty flavor are definitely part of their popularity, but they’re also one of the easiest cookie recipes you can make for the holidays (and one of the most addicting too!).

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: European, but the exact country is up for debate!
Primary Cooking Method: Oven
Dietary Info: Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Sweet and Nutty
Skill Level: Easy


  • A Simple Classic: Over-the-top cookies are all the rage these days, but there’s something to be said for the cookies that keep it simple. Without mounds of frosting and candy bars on top, you can appreciate the buttery, nutty flavor of these old-fashioned pecan ball cookies.
  • Easy to Make: There’s no decorating here—other than rolling the cookies in powdered sugar—and no need to roll out or cut cookie dough. Just mix everything together, roll the dough between your hands to form balls, and bake.
  • The Perfect Addition to Your Christmas Cookie Tray: Buttery pecan snowball cookies are a holiday tradition! Serve them alongside Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Thumbprint Cookies, Italian Christmas Cookies, and other holiday favorites.
  • Just Six Ingredients: And if you bake often, you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already!

Ingredients to make Pecan Snowball Cookies

Ingredients for recipe: flour, salt, vanilla, pecans, powdered sugar, and butter.
  • Unsalted butter: Unsalted butter is used in baking because it gives you more control over the taste of the finished product.
  • Powdered sugar: Using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar in the dough is what gives these cookies their melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Vanilla extract: I recommend pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • Finely chopped pecans: Pulse the pecans in your food processor to chop them. 
  • All-purpose flour: There’s not all that much flour in snowball cookies with pecans, which also contributes to their unique texture.
  • Salt: To balance and enhance the flavor of the cookies.
  • Swap the vanilla for almond extract. Despite its name, almond extract has an almost floral cherry-like flavor to it—it’s not nutty at all! It’s often used in sugar cookie dough, but it’s also delicious in Christmas snowball cookies.
  • Try another nut. You can really make these with any nuts you like, or use a mixture of nuts. Pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds—they’re all good here.
  • Make them nut-free. For a festive, nut-free version of Christmas snowball cookies, swap the nuts with sprinkles. Use red, white, and green jimmies; chocolate jimmies would also work well.
  • Add some spice. Cinnamon, cardamom, or other warm, cozy spices would make a lovely addition to these pecan ball cookies.

How to make Pecan Snowball Cookies

These are truly one of the easiest Christmas cookies you can make! Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Make the cookie dough

  1. Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the vanilla.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl.
  4. Mix until the dough comes together, and there are no streaks of flour.
4 image collage making recipe in a stand mixer: step 1- butter and sugar in the bowl before mixing, step 2- after creaming together with vanilla added, step 3- pecans and flour added, step 4- cookie batter after combined.

Bake your pecan cookies and coat cookies in “snow”

  1. Roll the chilled dough between the palms of your hands.
  2. Set the balls of dough on a sheet pan with two inches between them.
  3. Bake until the tops are lightly golden brown.
  4. Cool the cookies just a bit, then roll them in the powdered sugar. After the cookies have cooled completely, roll them in the powdered sugar a second time.
4 image collage making recipe: step 1- hand rolling cookie dough into a ball over a tray of more, step 2- cookies before baking, step 3- cookies after baking, step 4- rolling baked cookie in powdered sugar.

Tips for making the best buttery pecan snowball cookies

  1. Don’t skip the chill time. The chill time for the dough is essential to this recipe. It helps the dough to hydrate, and it also keeps the cookies from spreading too much while they bake.
  2. Make sure to double-coat the cookies in powdered sugar. A double coat of powdered sugar may seem excessive, but there isn’t much sugar in the actual dough of these cookies. Plus, the first coat will melt slightly into the warm cookie. The final coat will give them their festive snowball-like appearance!
  3. Don’t forget to soften the butter. This is key for getting the butter to mix smoothly into the rest of the ingredients—and also keeping it from sticking to the paddle on your mixer.
  4. Use a cookie dough scoop. Not only does this make portioning the dough easier, it also ensures that each cookie is the same size so they all finish baking at the same time.
Pecan snowball cookies on a plate with more pecans around.

How to store pecan snowball cookies

Store snowball cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. You can add a layer of parchment paper between the cookies if you plan on stacking them. Moisture is not kind to powdered sugar, so make sure you cool the cookies completely to avoid a sticky gummy mess.

How long will pecan snowball cookies last?

These pecan snowball cookies will last up to one week on the counter and up to two weeks in the fridge, but if you are storing them in the fridge, they might pick up moisture.

Can I freeze pecan ball cookies?

Yes, you can freeze the baked cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature before serving.

Frequently asked questions

My cookies are too crumbly and falling apart. What went wrong?

Cookies that are too crumbly might not have enough moisture. Make sure to measure your flour accurately, as too much flour can dry out the dough. Also, ensure your butter is at room temperature but not too soft or melted.

Why did my snowball cookies flatten?

The cookies will flatten slightly when baked, but they shouldn’t flatten completely. If you skipped the chilling time, this may be why they spread. Another reason is if you place the dough on a hot baking sheet; if you have to reuse baking sheets, let them cool first. To help cookies maintain their shape, try chilling the dough balls for about 10-15 minutes in the freezer before baking. This firms up the fat and helps the cookies stay round while baking.

The powdered sugar coating on my cookies is absorbed and not showing. What can I do?

For a thick, visible coating, roll the cookies in powdered sugar while they’re still warm, then let them cool completely and roll them again. The first coat creates a sticky base, and the second coat adheres better, resulting in a thicker layer.

Hand holding a pecan snowball cookie with a bite taken out to show inside texture.

Whether you know them as Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, or Christmas snowballs, these pecan snowball cookies are a holiday tradition everyone in your family will love!

If you try this feel good Pecan Snowball Cookies recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

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Pecan Snowball Cookies

Pecan Snowball Cookies melt-in-your-mouth with their buttery, nutty texture and sweet powdered sugar coating. A must-try for cookie lovers!
5 from 21 votes
Servings 18 cookies
Course Dessert
Calories 107
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
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  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter with ⅓ cup of powdered sugar. Cream at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract. Mix at medium speed for 30 seconds, or until combined. Add the chopped pecans, flour and salt and mix at low speed until no streaks of flour remain.
  • Set the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1 tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, scoop the dough into even portions, then roll each into an even ball. Makes about 18. Place on the prepared sheet pan, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then roll the slightly warm cookies in the remaining powdered sugar. Let cool completely, then dust any remaining sugar on the cookies until they are thoroughly coated.


Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 33mg, Potassium: 21mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 159IU, Vitamin C: 0.03mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Dessert

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Recipe Rating


  1. Erika Bell says:

    Perfect amount of the very few ingredients to make these cookies. Not too sweet, and the right amount of flake. Huge hit!

    1. Yumna says:

      Yay! So happy you loved these!

  2. Lynn says:

    I made the cookies as soon as I seen the recipe. They we’re great
    But next time I won’t bake them as long, they were still yummy. I made
    A double batch on Monday it’s
    Thursday, there’s about 15 left
    I got 67 out of that batch. I’ll be making them very soon!!!!***

    1. Yumna says:

      So happy you enjoyed them!

  3. Rob says:

    Best cookies I’ve ever made!

    Absolutely loved this recipe. My partner, coworkers, and friends have complimented how great these cookies come out! I made some adjustments – used pistachios and used both almond extract and vanilla extract – but I like a lot of flavor which is why I adjusted!

    These can also be made “vegan friendly,” by using Earth Balance sticks of butter (it’s what I used to inclusive at work), so for those vegans out there, you can still try this!

    Can’t wait to start adding these on a normal rotation. Thank you for another great recipe! 🙂

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you, Rob for making them!!

  4. Janet says:

    Can you please provide actual butter measurement? We don’t have ‘sticks’ of butter in Canada 🇨🇦

    1. Yumna says:

      This would be 8 tablespoons (113 grams) of butter.

  5. felicity says:

    Fabulous so pleased to have found this .
    Years ago I lived with an Algerian family they made wonderful sweets a coated Brazil nut or a date wrapped in a paste made from ground almonds ,sugar and rose oil or rose extract .then these were dipped into melted chocolate and rolled in salted roasted crushed pistachios.
    Sadly they have both passed away and I do not have the you have anything similar please in your wonderful portfolio of recipes ?

  6. Sha says:

    I have my family’s snowball recipe and have loved these since my first bite! What I do is make them and after double powder sugaring them all I but all of them in freezing saver ziplock bags and put cup fulls of powder sugar in each bag, shake gently them freeze them. When I need them I remove each frozen ball and put in an airtight container and let them defrost in the fridge overnight. Each are rolled again in powdered sugar before putting them on the cookie tray. Have to say one of my most favorite Christmas cookie. Close second are red velvet whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting filling.

    1. Yumna says:

      Such a smart way to make them in advance, thanks for sharing!