Pecan Snowballs

These pecan snowball cookies are also known as Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes. They are light, fluffy and melt in your mouth.

Round shaped cookies dusted in icing sugar with some on a plate and one having a bite out of it.

Cookies are one of my favourite desserts. There are so many different types of cookies out there – some chewy, others crispy. Some with lots of chocolate, while other have lots of nuts or dried fruit. These pecan snowballs are a very popular cookie and with good reason. Buttery and packed with flavour of pecan and vanilla. They are coated with icing sugar and practically melt in your mouth!

A plate filled with cookies and some placed in front.

What Is A Pecan Snowball?

These snowball cookies are also known by other names such as Mexican wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, or butterballs. These cookies are popular for holidays like Christmas and common in various cultures where they are often served at weddings.

Snowball cookies typically have a buttery and crumbly texture, and they are rolled in powdered sugar, giving them a snowy appearance. The main ingredients usually include butter, powdered sugar, flour, and finely chopped pecans. Variations of nuts, like walnuts are also common.

The cookies are shaped into small balls before baking, and after they are baked and while still warm, they are rolled in powdered sugar to coat them.

Pecans placed in a food processor ready to be ground.

How To Prepare Pecans

This recipe calls for ground pecans. While, you can easily purchase the nuts that have already been ground I grind them myself since I always have whole pecans in the pantry. A food processor is the perfect way to grind the nuts. Add a bunch of pecans to the food processor and pulse until finely ground as you can see in the photo below.

Food processor with ground pecans

The ground pecans should resemble a crumbly sand texture. This will be mixed throughout the cookie dough giving every bite the flavour of the nuts. Measure out 1 cup of the ground pecans. It should be close to 1 cup of whole pecans but it will not be exactly the same.

Butter, vanilla and icing sugar in a mixing bowl.

The first step to making these pecan snowballs is to cream together the softened butter, vanilla and icing sugar. Blend with a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy.

A mixing bowl with cookie dough and ground nuts.

Next, add in the ground pecans. and beat until well combined. Some of the pecans will be tiny chunks, while much of the ground pecans will be basically like dust or fine sand.

A mixing bowl with cookie dough and a pile of flour just added on top.

Finally, mix in the flour. Beat it together at a slow speed, and then slowly increase the speed until the cookie dough is well mixed.

Cookie dough rolled into balls on a cookie sheet.

How Long To Bake Pecan Snowballs

Making these cookies is very easy. It is a simple dough with just a few ingredients. Once the dough is made, roll the cookies into 1 1/4 inch balls. Bake these cookies in a 350F for 12-15 minutes. They will spread and flatten slightly.

Baked cookies in a bowl of icing sugar.

Toss In Icing Sugar

Let these cookies cool slightly, but while they are still warm, toss them in a generous amount of icing sugar. The warmth of the cookies will actually help the icing sugar stick and coat the cookies. These are so good and they almost melt in your mouth!

Cookies coated in icing sugar and lined up together.

How To Store The Cookies

Pecan snowballs are amazing the day they are baked, but they also stay fresh for about a week. You could also keep them in the freezer where they will stay fresh for weeks. Toss them in some more icing sugar right before serving.

A red plate with round cookies coated in icing sugar.
  • Snickerdoodles – similar to a chewy sugar cookie that has been tossed in cinnamon sugar before baking.
  • Chewy Ginger Raisin Cookies – similar to a ginger snap but soft and chewy with plenty of raisins.
  • Peanut Butter Cookies – These cookies are just like the ones your grandma used to make. Lots of peanut butter and the cookie even has the fork mark on top.
  • Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies – Chewy cookies with plenty of chocolate chips, these are a favourite in our house.

Pecan Snowball Cookies

5 from 1 vote
Instructions for how to make pecan snowballs. Also called pecan sandies or Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 40 cookies


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup ground pecans
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups icing sugar


  • Add the butter, 3/4 cups icing sugar and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add in the pecans and beat until well combined.
  • Add the flour and beat at a slow speed. Increase the speed slowly as the flour gets incorporated into the cookie dough.
  • Roll the dough into 1 1/4 inch balls and place on a non stick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in a 350F oven for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool just a little bit. While they are still warm, gently roll the cookies in the remaining 2 cups of icing sugar. Let cool on a wire rack.
  • Before serving toss one more time in some more icing sugar.


Per serving:

Calories: 113kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 37mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 8g

Nutrition Disclaimer


Round shaped cookies dusted in icing sugar with some on a plate and one having a bite out of it.

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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  • Russian tea cakes are some of my (and my husband’s) favorite cookies! I often make them, but your interpretation of them as snowballs is a very good idea — I will keep it in mind for Christmas 🙂

    • Reply
  • Yum! All about desserts! Can’t wait my favorite “chocolate”!!

    • Reply
  • Oh, how yummy! These are one of my holiday favorites~

    • Reply
  • Ooh, these look perfect. If they are anything near as melt-in-your-mouth as the almond version my family makes, I’d love them!

    • Reply

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