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Snowball Cookies

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The most quintessential holiday cookies may be these Snowball Cookies! They’re buttery, nutty, and have a melt-in-your mouth texture that make these cookies popular during the holiday season!

a stack of snowball cookies on a cake stand with powdered sugar being sprinkled above. pinecones in a bowl can be seen next to the cake stand

These snowball cookies are those cookies that you see all around the holiday season. They’re in nearly every holiday cookie exchange box and they’re in almost every bakery. Even when it’s not holiday season, these Italian cookies are seen in bakeries and grocery stores.

Whenever I’m at a holiday party, these snowball cookies make the entire spread look so festive! The white powdery finish really offsets the other colors of holiday cookies that are typically present. I’ve also seen people use these cookies to build small white edible Christmas trees out of them!

a pile of snowball cookies stacked on top of a cake stand with evergreen leaves and pine cones in the foreground

What are snowball cookies?

Snowball cookies are a rich buttery cookie that has a butter cookie base full of chopped pecans then rolled in powdered sugar for that snowy look. Since there is no egg used in this recipe, the result is a light, crumbly cookie that instantly dissolves in your mouth for that melt-in-your mouth feel.

No one is quite sure where snowball cookies came from, but they’ve been a holiday tradition for generations. These rich, buttery cookies are covered in powdered sugar, giving them a snowy appearance that’s perfect for the holidays. They’re often made with walnuts or pecans, but can also be made without nuts. Whether you’re making them for a cookie exchange or just to have on hand for holiday snacking, these snowball cookies are sure to be a hit!

ingredients for snowball cookies: flour, chopped nuts, powdered sugar, butter, salt, vanilla extract, and sugar

Ingredients You’ll Need

For exact quantities, be sure to scroll to the bottom for the recipe card.

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Powdered sugar

Variations and substitutions

Nutty substitutions. I prefer chopped pecans over chopped walnuts but you can definitely use whatever nut you like. Just make sure to chop them.

Extra flair. I like to add a teeny tiny bit of almond extract to my snowball cookies. You really only need the smallest amount otherwise it’ll be too strong of an almond flavor. You just want a hint, unless you really love almond!

How to make snowball cookies

For full instructions, be sure to scroll to the bottom for the recipe card.

Cream the butter. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add remaining ingredients. Add the flour, vanilla, and nuts. Mix until combined.

Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll and refrigerate. Turn the dough out onto the counter and loosely use your hands to get the dough to come together in one ball. Cover with plastic wrap then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Scoop and roll. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough into your hand and roll firmly into a ball then place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Make it snow. Let the cookies cool for 2-3 minutes then roll them in powdered sugar. Once they’re cooled completely, you can do a second coating if you prefer that very snowy look.

snowball cookies stacked on top of an upside down dark grey tart pan. whole walnuts and evergreen pine leaves can be seen in the scenery surrounding the snowball cookies. a dim candle is lit in the background as well

Common questions

Why are my cookies falling apart? You likely used too much flour and it’s crumbling because it can’t hold itself together. Try switching to weighing out the flour (it’s more accurate) instead of using cup measurements (switch the ingredient measurements to Metric).

Can you make these without nuts? Yes, you may make snowball cookies without nuts!

Can you freeze snowball cookies? Yes, you can freeze them. Highly recommend you putting the cookies in a container vs. a plastic bag because they’re pretty fragile cookies and will crumble and fall apart if you remove them from the freezer in a plastic bag.

How to store snowball cookies? They will keep in an airtight container on the counter for four days or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

a pile of snowball cookies on a white plate with evergreen tree leaves next to it and a carafe of milk

More holiday cookies to enjoy

snowball cookies stacked on top of an upside down dark grey tart pan. whole walnuts and evergreen pine leaves can be seen in the scenery surrounding the snowball cookies. a dim candle is lit in the background as well

Snowball Cookies

These popular holiday cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday table or cookie exchange box!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chill time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 35 cookies
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

  • In a bowl with a hand mixer or a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the sugar and mix until it is light and fluffy.
  • Add the flour, salt, vanilla, and chopped walnuts or pecans. Mix until combined. Make sure to scrape the sides occasionally to get all the ingredients incorporated.
  • Turn the dough onto the counter top and loosely use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Preheat your oven to 350 °F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  • With a cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll firmly into a ball of dough. Place on the baking tray.
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until slightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool for two to three minutes. Roll them in the powdered sugar until completely covered and set on a rack to cool completely.
  • If you want them really white, roll them in the sugar for a second coating once they are completely cool.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 cookie | Calories: 135 kcal | Carbohydrates: 11 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 10 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g | Trans Fat: 0.2 g | Cholesterol: 14 mg | Sodium: 1 mg | Potassium: 39 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 5 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best cookies recipe for christmas, christmas cookies, holiday cookies
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