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

Variations

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.

Freezer

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!

More Christmas Favorites

Snowball cookies with a bite taken out of one in a white bowl
4.95 from 120 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Snowball Cookies

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

Ingredients  

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

Instructions 

  • 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.

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.
4.95 from 120 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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.

Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American

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About the author

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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Comments

  1. I just found out I’m gluten intolerant and I love the snowball cookies do you have a recipe that is gluten free

    1. Sorry, Pamela. We don’t have a gluten-free version of this recipe but if you try it with a gluten-free flour we would love to hear how it turns out!

  2. A wonderful, easy recipe! I’ve just made them for the second time. I made mine with black walnuts. I pulsed some of them in my spice grinder and added the nut powder so the flavor would be through out the cookies. Then added finely chopped nuts. I added a bit more sugar to the batter to offset the bitterness of the walnuts. Got it where it tasted sweet enough. Followed all other directions as written. This one is a definite keeper. My husband, who is a chocolate fiend, loves them. He couldn’t even wait until they cooled completely. As least I was able to get the powered sugar on them first!! 5 stars

  3. Thank you so much for this recipe for Snowballs My mother made them each year for Christmas . She has gone to heaven before me on July 4 2004. E
    Her birthday is January 3, i will make her Snowballs for my Angel Mother Thank you for the recipe I am so grateful and glad you had that on this phone I appreciate you and God Bless you and your family in 2022 you are Great5 stars

    1. So sorry to hear that, Cynthia. But I am glad we are able to help you remember a little piece of her ❤️ We hope you enjoy these cookies! Wishing you all the best in 2022.

  4. I ended up rolling out the dough and cutting discs with the small plastic part of my blender lid. Lol. I wasn’t having luck with the snowball form, but I am sure it’s just because I was making them too big and my dough chilled overnight, so I am not blaming the recipe. It was as if they were still raw inside and fell apart. The discs came out perfect actually. I cooked them for around 10 minutes. I will definitely make these again and cut them into discs again as well.5 stars

  5. For your suggestion if we wanted to give more of an Italian flair, would you add the anise extract in addition to vanilla extract? And at what step is the anise extract added?

  6. I am used to a recipe that is 2.5 cups flour and a full cup chopped nuts. All other ingredients the same. With this recipe, do the cookies fall a little more flat? I know back in the late 80’s, Crisco advertised to use their butter flavor Crisco sticks instead of butter. The cookies did fall a little more flat and did not taste as good as the ones made with butter. I am getting ready to try your recipe. It is the only one I saw with a 5 star rating.

    1. Hi Teresa, we make this recipe with butter and find it holds its shape well. We don’t notice them falling flat but would love to hear how they turn out for you.

  7. Just did a dry run for Christmas Eve halving the recipe. Definitely making full recipe! They came out DELICIOUS. I used walnuts with a few crushed pecans. Yummy! Great recipe thanks!5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried this with margarine. If it’s the squares (and not a spreadable tub) it should work. Let us know how it goes!

      1. Made them today with the margarine and they turned out just fine. I do love butter and could tell the difference but toasting my pecans and adding extra vanilla made them tasty. I also added green and red sparkle sugar to the powdered sugar I dusted them with a double dusting and they look very festive. I have never baked snowballs on such a high heat but it got me out of the kitchen quicker and I like that!5 stars

  8. These look amazing! What size cookie scoop do you recommend – 1T or 1.5T? Also wanted to confirm that the butter should be softened?5 stars

    1. Hi Joy, we updated this recipe for better flavor and consistency. We hope you enjoy this version just as much!

  9. These came out PERFECT! Only thing I changed was used walnuts instead of pecans because I didn’t have pecans. So pretty! Happily brought some to a real good friend when I went to visit. This recipe is a keeper!5 stars