These outrageously delicious Pecan Snowballs are a classic, melt-in-your-mouth holiday cookie, loaded with pecans and dusted with powdered sugar.

Also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Southern Butterballs, and Polverone, they are destined to win over any nut lover in your life!

Holiday Pecan Snowballs in a round white bowl.

Why You Must Make

  • These Pecan Snowballs are those irresistible nut-laden cookies that go by many names. Mexican wedding cookies, pecan crescents, etc.
  • The dusting of powdered sugar makes these perfect for the holidays.
  • If you have nut lovers in your life, surprise them with a batch of these irresistible cookies!

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Sugar, Water, Flour
  • Butter – At room temperature for easier incorporation. I use salted butter and decreased the amount of additional salt in the recipe.
  • Vanilla Extract – Use real vanilla extract, not artificially flavored.
  • Salt – Table Salt. It’s finer than kosher salt so disperses in the dough more easily.
  • Pecans – If you want to refresh your nuts, either heat them in a skillet until fragrant or toast them on a baking sheet in a 325° oven for 5-10 minutes, shaking occasionally, until fragrant. Cool before using.
  • Powdered Sugar – For rolling cookies. Sift first to remove lumps for the best appearance.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature so you don’t struggle with mixing.
  • Use a cookie scoop for consistent-sized cookies.
  • PRO-Tip: Refrigerating your dough for 30-60 minutes will help you roll the dough into better-shaped balls. The bits of nuts can make this a challenge.
  • Feel free to use this recipe to make a crescent-shaped cookie which is another common shape alternative.
  • PRO-Tip: Toast your nuts to bring out the flavor. Watch carefully as they can burn quickly. I either cook them on a sheet pan at 350º for about 5 minutes or toast them in a dry saute pan, stirring or shaking the pan every minute or so, for the same amount of time.
Pecan Snowballs in a bowl.
  • When deciding what cookies and candies to make for the holidays, a balance of varieties is a must. Fudge for the chocoholics, ginger cookies for the spice lovers, homemade caramels for the caramel fans. I also include butterscotch cookies, English toffee, peanut blossoms.
  • I make these pecan snowballs for nut lovers. Chock full of pecans, these gems will become a favorite treat at Christmas!! P.S. You’ll probably need a double batch.
  • PRO-Tip: Make sure to wrap each kind of cookie separately. You don’t want these pecan snowballs to taste like gingersnaps after placing them next to each other on a platter or a tray to give away!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are These Also Called Mexican Wedding Cookies?

This alternate name may have an alternative to “Russian Tea Cakes,” during the period when the Cold War had the US and Russia at odds.

Why Are Pecan Snowballs Crumbly?

These cookies are crumbly due to the lack of eggs to hold the dough together after they are baked. But if your cookies fall apart before you bake them, you may not have used room-temperature butter or even enough butter to hold them together.

Can You Freeze Mexican Wedding Cookies?

Both the dough and the cookies can be frozen. The dough can be frozen for up to a month. The baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. When the frozen cookies defrost, the some of powdered sugar coating may come off or get damp. Reroll any that need a little refresh in powdered sugar.

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Pecan Snowballs Recipe

Pecan Snowballs Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Yield 36

A cookie known by many names. I love making these for the holidays! Recipe from my friend, Cyn.


  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 325º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream butter, then add sugar, vanilla, and water. Mix again.
  3. Stir flour and salt into the mixture.
  4. Add pecans and mix thoroughly.
  5. Form tablespoon-sized balls of dough into balls.
  6. Bake for about 18 minutes or till lightly browned.
  7. Roll in powdered sugar while warm.


Feel free to roast your pecans before chopping to bring out their nuttiness even more!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 58mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g


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Pecan Snowballs ready for the oven on baking sheets with puppy checking them out.
Miss Lambeau, our intrepid labrador retriever, scoping out the scene. She is always available to lick up any spills and sample any non-chocolate cookies! Pecan Snowballs are fair game. Circa 2010.