Pecan Snowball Cookies

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These melt-in-your-mouth pecan snowball cookies have an irresistible moist center like a chewy shortbread cookie. It’s the perfect Christmas cookie recipe to bake these holidays.

snowball cookies

I love this recipe for pecan snowball cookies. I used to find my buggy steering towards the grocery store each year for the store-bought ones. I’ve always wanted to make my own and wondered if they would be even better at home. Well, the good news is, a few years ago I FINALLY got a recipe for them from Mama! The bad news is, they taste even better than store-bought snowball cookies.

Fortunately, it takes a small list of simple ingredients to make these buttery pecan snowball cookies, like flour, sugar, vanilla extract, butter, salt, and finely chopped nuts. While I use pecans, hence the name, you can use whichever nuts you prefer. All you have to do is slowly combine the ingredients, bake the cookies, and roll them in confectioner’s sugar once cooled, so they get that snowball effect!

Trust me, the inside of these pecan snowball cookies is an absolute delight! It’s like a yummy buttery shortbread with finely chopped nuts inside. 

If you’re in the market for other holiday cookies to bake this year, check out this post, which features 14 of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. Happy baking!

Recipe ingredients for pecan snowball cookies.

Recipe Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Butter
  • Finely chopped nuts of your choice (I chop mine in the food processor).
  • Salt

 How To Make Pecan Snowball Cookies

adding sugar to butter

Place your softened butter, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and cream it until it’s git up and go done got up and went.

Creamed butter and sugar.

Like this.

Add flour to creamed ingredients.

Next, add your flour to the wet ingredients.

This is where the original snowball cookie recipe said to sift the flour. Pfft. Right. I have a sifter and it sits upon a pretty little shelf in my kitchen where it collects dust. I don’t sift. It is against my personal convictions.

Just dump your flour in there. Be rebellious with me.

Cookie dough in bowl

Pour in your vanilla extract.

The recipe calls for two teaspoons but y’all know I just kinda pour and leave it up to the good Lord how much ends up in there.

It’s called divine baking – and I just made that term up. How cool is that? Stick with me, we’ll be the cool kids, even if no one knows it but us!

Oh, you’re gonna need to scrape down the sides of your bowl some but you’ll figure that out…

adding pecans to cookie dough

Dump in your finely chopped pecans.

Snowball cookie dough in blue bowl

Oh, now you need to mix it all up again until well combined.

Like this.

Go ahead and get you a pinch of that dough and taste it. Be sure to save some to bake though…I know it will be tempting.

Balls of dough on cookie sheet

It’s baking time!

I used my little cookie dough scoop and made some pretty generous-sized cookies. You can just make them with your hands and make little one-inch balls and have twice as many as I did.

However, I was in a lazy, cookie dough scoop kinda mood and when I’m in those moods I try not to deny myself the pleasure of indulging in the easy way out.

Now, bake ’em at 325 for 20 minutes, ensuring you don’t overbake them.

Rolling baked cookies in confectioner's sugar.

I made about 30 but you can easily make 50 or so instead.

After they cool, roll each snowball cookie in powdered sugar.

Pecan snowball cookies on blue plate.

These pecan snowball cookies are absolutely, melt in your mouth, delicious.

Pecan snowball cookies

Here is what the inside of one would look like if your teeth were actually a butter knife.

close-up of pecan snowball cookies.

What pretty little snowballs! One bite and you’ll be making this every year from here on out! 


  • Store your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • You can also freeze either the unbaked cookie dough or the baked cookies for up to 3 months. Once you thaw the baked snowball cookies, roll them in sugar once more.

Recipe Notes

  • Make sure to use powdered sugar in the cookie dough and not granulated sugar, as we want the batter to be nice and smooth.
  • If you have time, you can toast the pecans in the oven for about 10 minutes before chopping them and adding them to the cookie dough. It really elevates the flavor!
  • Don’t be afraid to double-roll your snowball cookies in powdered sugar so they truly resemble snowballs!
  • Besides pecans, you can use walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, or cashews. Just ensure they’re roasted and finely chopped before adding to the cookie dough.
  • If you opt for almonds, you can also add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to the recipe to enhance the flavor. Another option is substituting the vanilla extract for lemon juice and adding 1 tablespoon of lemon zest to make almond lemon snowballs.
  • Speaking of almonds… substitute the all-purpose flour for almond flour to make gluten-free snowball cookies.
  • Here are more additions to add to your cookie dough when you fold in the pecans: 
    • 2/3 cup of sprinkles
    • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips to make chocolate snowballs.

Recipe FAQs

What are some other names for snowball cookies?

Snowball cookies are also called Mexican wedding cookies (which we have a recipe for right here), Russian tea cakes, snowdrop cookies, Southern Butterballs, Pecan Sandies, and Italian butter cookies. But no matter what you call them, they’re utterly delicious! 

You may also like these other holiday cookie recipes:

Candy Cane Cookies (Elf Favorite!)

Thumbprint Cookies with Jam or Preserves

Italian Sugar Cookies

Southern Plate’s Must-Make Christmas Cookies

Recipe For Spritz Cookies

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Snowball Cookies on plate

Pecan Snowball Cookies

These melt-in-your-mouth pecan snowball cookies have an irresistible moist center like a chewy shortbread cookie. It's the perfect holiday cookie recipe to bake this Christmas.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies
Servings: 30
Calories: 135kcal


  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely ground nuts of your choice I'm using pecans
  • confectioner's sugar


  • Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy. Add the flour and vanilla extract and mix well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add finely chopped pecans and mix until well incorporated.
    1 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups finely ground nuts of your choice
  • Shape into one-inch balls of cookie dough (mine are bigger because I use a little cookie dough scoop) and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, but don't let them brown.
  • Cool the cookies. When cooled, roll each snowball cookie in confectioner's sugar.
    confectioner's sugar



Calories: 135kcal
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  1. 5 stars
    great recipe! we used peanuts in place of tree nuts and they were a hit! I’ve made them in the past and had forgotten how delish they are.
    btw staff; do consider removing unhelpful, catty posts as they are distracting to real bakers only interested in tips and helpful reviews.

  2. Didn’t State it should be 10x sugar in the recipe …it just says sugar. Doesn’t specify 10x sugar unless you read the whole post. My cookies were ruined

    1. Hi Cheri,
      am sorry to hear of your experience. In the printable recipe card it gives specific instructions re 1/2 cup of sugar. So with our recipes always make sure to check out the printable recipe card at the bottom. The images are there to help you if you get stuck along with way. Hope you give it a try next time as I bet they will turn out great.

    2. If you had looked at the pic of these cookies you would have seen it’s powdered sugar! No ones fault but yours unless you don’t know what powdered sugar looks like then you honestly shouldn’t be baking. Also these are also called Mexican wedding cookies which most people know what they are

  3. 5 stars
    It is my three wee Dogs and me together here in our little loving home in Ontario Canada. I have always been the baker in my family. I loved it most when members of my family, My Sisters, would enjoy and complement their favourites. Baking is also comforting to me as well. Needless to say, I have probably baked these cookies in the past but I will be baking these again because my girlfriend told me to do some of my baking for when she comes over for our little Christmas gathering. Thank you once again. I love reading your posts and seeing all the yummy food you cook 🙂

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