This Pecan Snowball Cookie recipe is a classic Christmas cookie. Made with butter, sugar, flour, and toasted pecans, these cookies have a delicious buttery nutty flavor. Using a food processor the cookie dough is ready in no time. Once baked the cookies are rolled in powdered sugar giving the cookie its signature snowball appearance, making them perfect for the holiday season.
The base recipe for this cookie is a shortbread cookie recipe made up of flour, butter, and sugar. The cookies have a delightful buttery flavor and the toasted pecans take it to the next level. Trust me if you love pecans you'll love these cookies.
I don’t know the origin of this cookie, but it has a variety of names including Mexican wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, and snowballs. The types of nuts included can vary from pecans to walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds, but pecans are my favorite.
Growing up this is one of the cookies my mom every year for Christmas and we loved it when she rolled them in all that powdered sugar.
Baking Tip: Rolling the cookies in powdered sugar while they are still warm causes the sugar to melt, and creates a sticky surface that will help the second coating of sugar stick to the cookies. The cookies taste amazing with the second coat of sugar.
Here's Why You'll Love These Cookies
- Easy to Make: With just 6 ingredients and minimal prep time, these cookies are perfect for busy bakers.
- Festive and Beautiful: The snowy appearance and buttery sweetness of these cookies add a holiday touch to your cookie plate.
- Deliciously Addictive: The combination of buttery shortbread, crunchy pecans, and powdered sugar is simply irresistible. You'll be reaching for one after another.
- Perfect for Gifting: Are you planning to send cookies to friends and family? These pecan snowball cookies are ideal for sending to friends, family, or coworkers.
Pecan Snowball Cookie Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this delightful holiday cookie:
- Unsalted Butter: Creamed butter forms the base of these shortbread-style cookies. Use room-temperature butter so it mixes well with the other ingredients.
- Powdered Sugar: Also known as confectioners’ sugar adds sweetness to the cookie dough The baked is then roll the baked cookies for that classic snowball appearance
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor to the cookies
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: This is the structure of the cookie.
- Pecans: Gives a delicious nutty flavor the cookie and little crunch
- Kosher Salt: It balances out the sweetness of the powdered sugar.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Pecan Snowball Cookies
You can also substitute the pecans with the same amount of walnuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios.
Step 2: Place the butter, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor
Step 3: Process the ingredients until they are well combined and the mixture looks creamy
Step 4: Add the flour and pulse until the mixture resembles large bread crumbs.
Step 5: Add the chopped pecans and process until the dough starts to come together and form a ball.
Step 7: Place the cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or board and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Baking Tip: At this point in the recipe, you can also freeze the cookies. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the cookies freeze for 24 hours. Next place the cookies in a freezer-safe bag. The cookies can be frozen up to 2 months.
When ready to bake the cookies, bake them straight from the freezer, no need to thaw them out first.
Step 8: Preheat the oven to 350 (180). Place the cookies on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom edges.
Step 9: Remove the cookies from the oven. Remove the cookies from the oven. Roll them in powdered sugar while they’re still hot (but not too hot to handle) and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Step 10: Once the cookies are cool roll them a second time in powdered sugar
How to Store the Cookies
Room Temperature: Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. If you are storing the cookies before serving them of gifting them, it's okay to reroll them in powdered sugar up to several hours before serving.
Pro Tips for Success
- Weigh the Ingredients. Use a kitchen scale to weigh the flour and sugar for the best results. Using too much flour will produce a dry crumbly cookie. Too little flour will result in a flat cookie.
- Use room-temperature butter. Room temperature butter is 65-68°F. If your butter is too soft when you start, it won’t form a sturdy base for your cookie dough. The cookies will over-spread.
- Coat the cookies with powdered sugar twice, once when warm and again when cool, because the first layer melts and makes the second coat stick.
If you make this pecan snowball cookie recipe please leave a rating and a comment below.
Connect with me on Instagram and tag me @bakesbybrownsugar to share your recipe remake photos.
Like what you see? Click here to subscribe to Bake's by Brown Sugar Baking Newsletter to get free and delicious treats delivered to your inbox.
If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
Pecan Snowball Cookies
- 3/4 cup (90 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (281 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (100 grams) pecans toasted
Powdered Sugar Coating
- 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and toast the pecans for 7-10 minutes just until they start to turn barely brown. Remove the pecans from the oven and let them cool to room temperature. (Turn off the oven). Coarsely chop the pecans so they are a mixture of large and small pieces.
Food Processor Method
- In a food processor with the metal blade, process the powdered sugar, butter, and salt until it looks creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the vanilla, and flour and pulse until dough resembles large crumbs or small peas. Add the pecans and process until the dough starts to come together and forms a ball.
- Scrape the dough into a large bowl.
Electric Mixer Method
- Chop the nuts into fine, small pieces. Place the softened butter, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients on medium speed, until they are well combined and the butter and sugar mixture looks creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla extract and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
- Add all of the flour and mix on low speed just until the flour is incorporated. Add the nuts and mix on low speed until the nuts are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix in any flour clinging to the sides of the bowl by hand.
For Both Methods
- With a 1-1/4 inch scoop measure out the dough and use your hands to shape the dough into balls. Each ball should weight about 20 grams.
- Place the balls on parchment-lined board or quarter baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. At this point you can also freeze the cookies if you want to bake them later. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the unbaked cookies overnight. The next day place the cookies in a freezer bag and store them for up to 1 month. When ready to bake the cookies, bake the cookies directly from the freezer.
- Place 12 cookies on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 14-16 minutes until they just barely begin to brown on top (the bottoms should be golden brown).
- Remove the cookies from the oven. Roll them in powdered sugar while they’re still hot (but not too hot to handle) and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
- If using more than one baking sheet, place the second baking sheet in the oven. If only use one baking sheet wait until it is cool.
- Once the cookies are cooled, roll them in powdered sugar a second time. The first coating of sugar will help the second coating of sugar stick the cookies.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
- If you are storing the cookies before serving them of gifting them, it's okay to reroll them in powdered sugar up to several hours before serving.