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 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
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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    1. I thought of Mexican Wedding Cookies too. As a child, I loved the ones in the pink box and swore when I was all grown up I would buy and eat them all the time! Thankfully, I didn’t fall victim to that thinking… Can’t wait to try these. Merry Christmas

  1. Here in “southern” TN these cookies are often referred to as Mexican Wedding Cookies! They are so yummy – and a little messy. LOL. Makes for a good time lickin’ your fingers!

    Happy Holidays,

    1. These are always on my Christmas cookie list, to be made for cookie trays!! These are my husband’s favorites!! Love them!!

    2. Just what I was looking for to add to my list of goodies for my Christmas gift baskets (along with Amazing Apple Bread, Holly Jollies, and Pecan Muffins – LOL). Merry Christmas and thank you for another of your delicious gifts!

    1. I believe Mexican Wedding cookies are coated in regular sugar mixed with cinnamon. They may not have nuts in them, either. Both are yummy.

    2. These are my favorite cookie! We call them wedding cookies here. I will make some in the big cookie baking before Christmas.

  2. Fine! As in finish. 😉

    Shortbread are so Christmassy. We have the same kind here rolled in the sugar. Yum. It’s so soft and just crumbles up in your mouth. I like macadamia for mine.

  3. We had a different name for them when I was a kid. My Dad LOVED these cookies, so when we got ready to make them we said we were making up a batch of Daddy’s balls…..and then (like the kids we were) giggled hysterically. Dad’s been gone for more than 20 years now, but your post brought back that memory for me so strong that I could almost smell those sweet, nutty cookies. Thanks for that!

      1. Such a great recipe. My Aunt Connie made these with pecans as well. She’s been gone a good number of years. Such a great memory.

  4. Looks like what my mom makes and calls sand tarts. They are kind of messy little things to eat. One bite and sugar goes everywhere! And my mother called it confectionary sugar when I was a kid, too! I actually have a freezer full of pecans that I need to use. Pecans did well last year locally and I got gifted a bunch, some shelled and some not!

      1. Pee Can in my neck of the woods. Or should I say swamp? Okefenokee to be exact. I love your recipes and use them all the time. Mama and Grandma cooked all this but you give us amounts. Not just “ till it looks right “ instructions. Thank you.

        1. These are absolutely delicious. Real snowballs to eat. Our UPS and mail carriers love these. I leave them weekly treats and this one was a home run. Thank you! I enjoy cooking your recipes as they remind me of my grandmother and mom’s cooking. ~Leilani

          1. 5 stars
            Delicious! I send my grandkids Christmas goodies every year and definitely will include these for yumminess and they’re sturdy.

      2. Say Christy , are these cookies like what they call in the store Wedding Cookies , cause if they are , this is another recipe to keep , but if their not , i’m still saving it .I wish my oven wasn’t out , yall pray for me another stove please , thank you sweetie and have a very blessed day.

    1. I read you’re making your chocolate chess pie. Ever since you published that recipe, I’ve been making it, and everyone loves it! That pie is soooooo good!!! Have a blessed Christmas!

    2. Christy, I’m so excited to try these cookies because I’ve been looking for special recipe for my Cookie Swap next week & I’m sure this recipe will be perfect to be a hit with my friends! I can always count on you to post a delicious recipe at just the right time!!! You are the best ever!!!! Thanks!! Anne

      1. These will be on my cookie tray this year. I’m wondering if the addition of some lemon peel to the dough and the powdered sugar would turn this into a lemon cooler-type of cookie?

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