Easy Mexican Wedding Cookies (aka Snowball Cookies)

Mexican Wedding Cookies
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The irresistible cookies are ultra buttery, crumbly, and nutty – the perfect shortbread cookie for any occasion.

I have a soft spot for these Mexican Wedding Cookies. My mom used to make batches and batches of them at Christmas time that we would eat for the whole season, and also pack up to give away to family in homemade food baskets.

Easy Mexican Wedding Cookies

The cookie tray was always full of these at Christmas. They never lasted very long, because we’d mostly devour them the second they’d come out of the oven. But even after a day or two, they were still tender and delicious.

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What Are They Called?

I’ve seen these cookies around the internet under many different names. I’ve always known them as Mexican Wedding Cookies, but they also go by the name of Snowball Cookies, Pecan Sandies, Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Wedding Cookies, and Polvorones. 

No matter what you call them, the recipe is always the same: butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, nuts, and a healthy dusting of powdered sugar. Let’s not kid ourselves here, the butter is what makes these cookies so damn good.

Baking Tips & Notes

There are a few important notes. One is to make sure you use confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) rather than regular white sugar. This is to ensure the cookies stay in their dome shape and don’t collapse.

You can use just about any type of nut you want in these cookies. I personally think pecans are best. But you can also use chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or even pistachios. Whatever floats your boat.

Snowball Cookies

How to Make Mexican Wedding Cookies

The second best thing about these cookies is how easy they are to make. I’m sure that’s why it was never difficult to talk mom into making more when they ran out.

Step One: You start by creaming together the butter and sugar. Then mix in the flour, salt and nuts.

Step Two: Form 1 tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place them on a floured cookie sheet.

Step Three: Bake at 375 degrees F for 14-16 minutes. You want them to brown on the bottoms, but not too much on the top. It’s important to get them just right – not over or under – so you might have to take them from the oven and try one to determine.

Step Four: When mostly cooled, roll the cookies in powdered sugar. You can give them a second roll once they’re completed cooled, to coat them thoroughly. I prefer to skip the second roll. They don’t need THAT much sugar.

Serve them alongside other fun cookies or pack them into a gift basket to give to friends for the holidays!

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Snowball Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies

The irresistible cookies are ultra buttery, crumbly, and nutty – the perfect shortbread cookie for any occasion.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Servings: 25 cookies
Author: Laura

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

For the cookies:

  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Lightly toast the nuts in a medium skillet on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Once the nuts have cooled, put them in a food processor and pulse a few times, until the nuts are crushed into very small pieces. If you don’t have a food processor, put the nuts in a quart-size sealable freezer bag and use a meat mallet or rolling pin crush the nuts into very small bits. Set aside.
  • Mix the butter and 3/4 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the smooth mixture sticks to the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds to combine.
  • Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients begin to incorporate, then return to medium speed until a stiff dough is formed.
  • Mix the crushed nuts in with the dough. Stir on low speed to combine.
  • Scrape the dough from the bowl into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. The dough must be firm and thoroughly cold for best results.
  • When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
  • Form small balls of no more than 1 tbsp of dough. Place the balls on the baking mat, spaced evenly.
  • Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until the cookies start to brown slightly on the bottom. There should be very little color on the tops. Allow the cookies to cool to “warm”, then roll them in the remaining powdered sugar.
  • Cookies can be stored in an air tight container on the counter for up to a week.

Notes

  • It’s very important that the cookie dough is very cold before baking. This will ensure the cookies maintain their shape as they cook.
  • Don’t substitute the powdered sugar for regular sugar. The powdered sugar ensures the cookies don’t fall when baking.
  • Cookies can be stored in an air tight container on the counter for up to a week.
  • You can re-roll the cookies in powdered sugar before serving to brighten them up again.

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5 thoughts on “Easy Mexican Wedding Cookies (aka Snowball Cookies)

  1. Beth says:

    5 stars
    One of my all time favorite cookies, I had to try yours because you use pecans. I usually use walnuts. I adore them with the pecans. Bye bye walnuts! Thanks for the recipe!

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