Snowball Cookies

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Snowball Cookies are one of those Christmas classics that many consider to be a must-bake during the holidays. Buttery and nutty with an airy, melt-in-your-mouth texture like a whipped shortbread, snowball cookies always remind me a little of cotton candy.

These Italian cookies are always popular throughout the winter. Serve them with coffee, tea, hot chocolate or homemade eggnog for a perfect pairing!

Snowball cookies with a bite taken out of one in a white bowl

What are Snowball Cookies?

Snowball cookies are round, bite-sized butter cookies with chopped nuts. They are rolled in powdered sugar to give them a snowy whiteness.

A couple things that set this cookie recipe apart from others include the absence of egg and the use of powdered instead of granulated sugar in the dough. The result is a light, crumbly cookie that dissolves almost the second it hits your tongue.

Steps to show how to mix dough for snowball cookies

How to Make Snowball Cookies

This is a delicious cookie that comes together with simple staple ingredients you probably already have on hand. Nothing could be easier!

  1. Cream butter and powdered sugar, then add in dry ingredients (per recipe below).
  2. Form into bite-sized balls and bake.
  3. Roll in powdered sugar while still warm.
  4. Cool completely, then roll again.

Snowball cookies are a tad messy to eat, but in the best possible way! A little dusting of powdered sugar all over everyone just adds more sweetness to the season!

Snowball cookies on a cookie sheet


Nuts: I prefer walnuts but pecans or other chopped nuts work well too.

Flavoring: For an Italian flair, consider flavoring the dough by adding a teaspoon of anise extract.

Fun Add-Ins: Try adding mini-chocolate chips, shredded coconut, or even crushed peppermint candy canes for a fun festive twist.

How Long Do Snowball Cookies Last?

Snowball cookies last for at least four days in the pantry, stored in the paper bag, and up to two weeks in the fridge, tightly covered or in a zippered bag.


They will even keep in the freezer for up to six months. These are the ideal make-ahead cookie! To freeze, store in containers because they will remain fragile when frozen. This is a cookie that you won’t want to crumble before serving!

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Snowball cookies with a bite taken out of one in a white bowl
4.95 from 57 votes
Review Recipe

Snowball Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author Holly Nilsson
Snowball cookies are buttery and nutty with an airy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.


  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup walnuts finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup powdered sugar plus extra for dusting

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  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine flour, walnuts and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar with a mixer until creamy.
  • Turn the mixer to low and add flour mixture until combined.
  • Form dough into 1" balls and place on prepared pan.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottom edges of cookies are lightly browned.
  • Cool a few minutes until you're able to handle the cookes. Roll in powdered sugar and place on a rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Any chopped nuts can be used in this recipe.
To chop nuts quickly, give them a pulse or two in the food processor. You want them very finely chopped but not powdery. A few bigger pieces is ok too.
Recipe updated 12/12/20 for improved consistency.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 151, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 116mg, Potassium: 35mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 236IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword snowball cookies
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Snowball cookies in a bowl with a title
Snowball cookies in a bowl with writing
Snowball cookies on a baking sheet and in a bowl with writing
About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I used this recipe with the substitution of ground-up pistachios to make a pistachio cookie with a smidge of buttercream frosting. What a hit! They really do melt in your mouth with a sweet salty nutty flavor5 stars

  2. My 7.5 year old daughter made these cookies for us. They were fabulous and truly melt in your mouth! Sooo good! I’d have to say these are the best snowball cookies I’ve ever had and I saved the recipe for future use!5 stars

    1. We have always doubled the recipe in my family because these cookies are delectable! They go quickly at home and neighbors and colleagues request them year after year!

  3. Thanks so much for posting this! We made them every year when I was a kid. We passed the tradition on to our kids, but couldn’t find the recipe this year. This one saved the day!5 stars

    1. If the dough wasn’t mixed enough or the flour was measured by scooping the flour with a measuring cup this can cause the dough to be dry. I would suggest letting the dough come to room temperature, when chilled the butter in the dough hardens and can make it seem more crumbly. Hope that helps.

    1. These cookies go by several different names including Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, or even just Wedding Cookies. Enjoy the recipe!

  4. what would recommend instead of nuts?
    My son has allergies but I promised him we’d make snowball cookies.

    1. I think you could finely chop some candied cherries (not maraschinos) or use dried cherries or craisins for a Christmassy touch. I have had better luck with candied cherries by rinsing them in a sieve, then drying them thoroughly before using them, so it doesn’t make the dough too moist. These cookies are also very nice plain.

    2. Hey Monique, I’m thinking any dried fruit like craisins if your son likes that. If not, I think I’d experiment with chocolate or toffee chips, but you may have to use very little and those miniature chocolate chips for these. OR maybe just make them according to the recipe and omit the nuts. I’m sure they are delicious either way. At least that’s what I’d try.

    3. Hey! My son also has nut allergies and every year I make a batch for him just by simply leaving the nuts out and he loves them! I hope this helps!

  5. Not sure what happened but mine came out flat. I tried to salvage them by dropping in the powdered sugar, but they were too crumbly. Did I over process the butter?2 stars

    1. Oh no Carrie, I can’t say for sure why this happened. If the cookies flatten my thought would be either too much butter or not enough flour yet if they crumbled I would think the opposite. The texture should be somewhat crumbly like a shortbread cookie. Was your dough thoroughly mixed? Was your butter room temperature/softened?

    1. Almond extract can be quite powerful so you will only need to add a little bit, I would suggest about 1/8 tsp. It can be added to the butter.

  6. Question I am making in big batches to serve later , should I still toss them
    In icing sugar and freeze and then toss again after thawed to serve or would u wait on putting sugar on them until I’m ready to serve them

    1. I toss these before freezing. You can certainly toss them in a little more powdered sugar once thawed if you’d like.

  7. I haven’t made these in years and lost the recipe in my recent move so glad to find this! How long will these keep in an air tight container? I need to plan when to make them for Christmas! Thanks so much!

  8. Hey Holly! I would love to make these Snowball Cookies to go with lots of goodies for my husband to give to his employees for Christmas, but I don’t see any indication of whether it’s all purpose or self rising flour. Please help and thank you in advance.