Easy Walnut Snowball Cookies

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Easy Walnut Snowball Cookies are a classic treat to enjoy during the holiday season! They're packed with finely chopped walnuts and dusted with powdered sugar to make buttery shortbread cookies that melt in your mouth!

Also known as Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes, these little snowballs taste great with a mug of hot wassail or a cup of Christmas punch. They'll be the first to go on your Christmas cookie platter because they're crumbly on the inside and sweet on the outside!

Bowl of walnut snowball cookies.
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Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy to make: just mix, bake and roll these sweet cookies for great results every time
  • Crowd pleaser: your cookie jar will be empty before you know it!
  • Great for parties: this classic recipe makes a big batch for parties or weddings. You can easily double the batch for big groups.
  • Versatile: use any type of nut you like, or make substitutions to create your own
  • Economical: using only six ingredients, this is an affordable recipe to make for the holidays
Walnut snowball cookies cooling on a wire rack.

Ingredients

You can find these simple ingredients in your pantry or local grocery store. See quantities in recipe card.

  • walnuts - make sure the nuts are finely chopped for best results
  • all purpose flour - I recommend using White Lily flour
  • salt - a small amount of salt enhances the flavor 
  • unsalted butter - good quality butter softened to room temperature works best
  • powdered sugar - using powdered sugar helps the snowballs stay round
  • vanilla extract - adds distinct flavor, but can substitute other extracts if desired
Ingredients needed for snowball cookies.

Instructions

​Add walnuts to a food processor or blender and chop into fine pieces. 

Pulsing the walnuts in a food processor.

In a medium bowl, add flour, salt and chopped nuts, then stir well. Set dry ingredients aside. 

Dry ingredients mixed together.

Beat the butter, ½ cup of the powdered sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy.

Butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined.

Snowball cookie dough.

With a cookie scooper or measuring spoon, scoop 1 tablespoon-sized dough balls onto baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper. Use your hands to mold dough into a ball shape. Leave at least 1 inch between each ball of dough on baking sheet. 

Snowball cookie dough balls on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are barely golden brown. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for at least 3 minutes or they will be too hot to touch. 

Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar.

Dipping cookies in powdered sugar.

Once cookies have totally cooled, roll them in powdered sugar again and finish cooling on a rack.

Cookies drying on rack.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure you use powdered sugar instead of granulated. Using granulated sugar will make the cookies spread and lose their snowball shape.
  • You can omit the salt in this recipe if you choose to use salted butter. 
  • Use a 1 inch scoop or measuring spoon when forming balls of dough to create a uniform snowball shape. Roll in the palms of your hands for best results.
  • Coat the dough balls while they are still warm the first time they're rolled in powdered sugar.
  • Chop the nuts as finely as possible in a blender or food processor. (Just be careful not to turn it into a paste.) You can also use a knife with a cutting board if necessary.
Snowball walnut cookie after being dusted with powdered sugar.

Variations

This snowball walnut cookie recipe is versatile in many ways!  Try these additions or substitutions to create your own favorite Christmas recipe.  

  • try folding in chocolate chips for a different taste and texture
  • add peppermint extract and broken candy canes to the dough
  • use macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews or almonds as a great substitute
  • toast the nuts before chopping for intense nutty flavor
  • substitute almond extract and add bits of dried cherries for a festive touch
Walnut snowball cookies on a wire rack.

Recipe FAQs

What makes snowball cookies go flat?

Your oven could be too hot, or you may have used granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar inside the dough. Both of these can cause them to go flat.

Can snowball cookies be made ahead?

Yes, you can make the dough ahead and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking.

Can you freeze snowball cookies?

Yes, you can freeze them before or after baking. Freeze ahead in airtight containers for up to 3 months, or freeze after baking for the same amount of time.

Stack of snowball walnut cookies.

What to Serve With Snowball Cookies

I have loved these buttery snowball cookies since I was a child. My mother actually made a big batch to serve at our wedding! We enjoy them at every holiday party because they make such festive treats, and folks absolutely gobble them up!

Serve these cute little snowballs on Christmas cookie trays alongside other favorites like Sprinkle Sugar Cookies, salted Toffee Bars, and Chocolate Covered Bourbon Cherries.

Walnut snowball cookies also go well with Candied Bacon Pecans and Oyster Cracker Candy as appetizers on your holiday table.

Best snowball cookies with bite out of one of them.

Storing and Freezing

  • Store leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
  • After cookies have been stacked on top of each other, it helps to refresh them by dipping in more powdered sugar before serving.
  • Baked cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months. Let cookies cool totally before transferring them. Thaw cookies at room temperature and roll in powdered sugar before serving.
  • Cookie dough can be frozen for up to three months. Let the dough thaw in the refrigerator before baking. 
Walnut snowball cookie with a bite out of it.

More Holiday Desserts

If you love this walnut snowball cookies recipe, try my other holiday desserts that are sure to please...

Recipe Card

Best walnut snowball cookies recipe in a large bowl.

Easy Walnut Snowball Cookies

Walnut Snowball Cookies are a classic treat to enjoy during the holiday season! They're packed with finely chopped walnuts and dusted with powdered sugar to make buttery shortbread cookies that melt in your mouth!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cookies, Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings32 cookies
Calories: 121kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar (for cookie dough)
  • cup powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • ​Add walnuts to a food processor or blender and chop into fine pieces. 
  • In a medium bowl, add flour, salt and chopped nuts, then stir well. Set dry ingredients aside. 
  • Beat the butter, ½ cup of the powdered sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined.
  • With a cookie scooper or measuring spoon, scoop 1 tablespoon-sized dough balls onto baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper.
  • Use your hands to mold dough into a ball shape. Leave at least 1 inch between each ball of dough on baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are barely golden brown. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for at least 3 minutes or they will be too hot to touch. 
  • Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar.
  • Once cookies have totally cooled, roll them in powdered sugar again and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Notes

  • Make sure you use powdered sugar instead of granulated. Using granulated sugar will make the cookies spread and lose their snowball shape.
  • You can omit the salt in this recipe if you choose to use salted butter. 
  • Use a 1 inch scoop or measuring spoon when forming balls of dough to create a uniform snowball shape. Roll in the palms of your hands for best results.
  • Coat the dough balls while they are still warm the first time they're rolled in powdered sugar.
  • Chop the nuts as finely as possible in a blender or food processor. (Just be careful not to turn it into a paste.) You can also use a knife with a cutting board if necessary.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin C: 0.05mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I've made this recipe and it's spot on every time. I like the taste of the walnuts, although I've also used pecans and almonds depending on what I have.

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