Mexican Wedding Cookies

You can substitute any other nut in place of the pecans. Times for toasting in Step 1 will vary based on the size of the nut you use.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 18 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 to 30 cookies


For the cookie dough:

  • 1 cup (115 g) pecan pieces
  • 1 cup (225 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (85 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To roll the cookies:

  • 1 1/4 cup (145 g) powdered sugar


1 Toast the nuts on the stovetop: Place the nuts in a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Toast the nuts, stirring frequently, until they darken slightly and smell fragrant and nutty, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and let the nuts cool in the pan.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

2 Crush the nuts: Once the toasted nuts are warm to the touch, but not hot, pour them into a quart-size sealable freezer bag. Seal the bag, and then use a rolling pin to roll and crush the nuts until they are crushed into a chunky powder. Set aside until needed.

(Alternatively, pulse in a food processor until powdery. Be careful of over-processing or the nuts will turn into nut butter!)

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3 Mix the butter and sugar: Place the butter and 3/4 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat together on medium speed until the sugar is absorbed into the butter and the buttery paste clings to the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat for an additional 30 seconds to incorporate.

4 Add the flour and salt: Mix on low speed. As the dry ingredients start to absorb into the butter-sugar mixture, you can increase the speed back to medium. Once all the flour is mixed in and a dough has formed, stop the mixer.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

5 Empty the crushed nuts into the bowl with the dough: Mix on low speed to incorporate.

6 Chill the dough: Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk about 1-inch thick. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until the dough is firm.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

7 About 10 minutes before you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

8 Roll the cookies: Place the 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar for coating the cookies into a shallow bowl. Remove the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and form into 1-inch balls of dough. (If your dough chilled longer than 1 hour, you may need to let it soften for a few minutes at room temperature.)

Roll the balls of dough in powdered sugar and place on the baking mat, spaced slightly apart.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

9 Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until the cookies start to brown slightly on top and are golden brown on the bottoms. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes after baking.

10 While the cookies are still warm, roll each cookie in the powdered sugar again. Return the cookies to the cooling rack and let cool completely before serving.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Store at room temperature in an airtight container. They will keep well for at least a week.

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  • Emily

    These were amazing! I had some doubts having never made these before, only eaten the grocery store ones. I added 3/4 tsp cinnamon and chilled the dough for 1 hour and they were so delicious! Everyone loved them- easy to make, flaky, and buttery! I recommend toasting the pecans…just don’t burn them on your first attempt . Keep the burner on LoW!


  • Reagan Jackson

    I added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar bourbon and a tablespoon of cardamom. Yum!!!


  • Shade

    I made these with Earth Balance instead of butter (making them vegan) and they were absolutely delicious!!


  • Jacqueline Church

    In step three WHICH measurement of sugar goes in? It reads as if only 3/4 C goes in and the remaining 1 1/4 C measurement is for coating.

    They’re inedible!

    My husband said “can you save them?”
    I said “no, you can’t put enough sugar on the outside to make up for what’s lacking on the inside”
    He said “Like people”


    you’re both so reliable and I just couldn’t put my hands on my recipe and you’re both always so reliable. Boo.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Jacqueline! I’m so sorry these cookies didn’t work for you! Yup, 3/4 cup of powdered sugar goes into the dough and the other 1 1/4 cup is for coating the cookies. I’ve modified the instructions to make this a little more clear.

  • Dalila

    They were absolutely perfect. Texture, sweetness everything turned out amazing . Thank you so much for sharing this !


  • Michelle

    I made these tonight and made it exactly as stated above with a cooking time of 18 minutes and it was way to long. All the bottoms were burned! :(

  • Pamela

    The best recipe for these cookies. Nicely detailed. Thanks!


  • Roxy

    I’ve made this recipe several times and every time it never disappoints! Love this recipe and surpasses all others I’ve tried. So if you’re looking for an awesome Mexican cookie, look no further my friends.. this is it!


  • Melissa Lightle

    I love this recipe!! And so did everyone else at my office. I was wondering if I roll the dough to a 1” thickness could i possibly use a small deep star cookie cutter?

    • Irvin Lin

      Yes! I think that would work but honestly I’m not 100% sure. Once you cut them into stars, I might pop them back into the fridge for 20-30 minutes to let them chill up again. Just make the cookies. pop them in the fridge, and then pre-heat your oven. By the time the oven is hot, try baking them then! The extra chill time will help keep the form of the cookies.

      Come back and let me know how they turn out if you do this!

  • Teresa

    Mine came out flat, what could I have done wrong????

    • Irvin Lin

      Hi! So sorry they came out flat! There’s a few issues that could have happened.

      It’s possible your oven temperature is off. Make sure to preheat the oven for a good 15 to 20 minutes before baking. I also always recommend an oven thermometer if you find that other cookies and baked goods are coming out flat or taking too long to bake.

      But if it’s only this cookie that you are having issues with, it’s probably not the oven. Your dough might have been too warm to begin with. Try chilling to cookie dough after you rolled them out. That might help. Or you might have over beat the dough? Sometimes mixing cookie dough too long incorporates too much air and when the cookie bakes, it deflates. Try mixing only until the ingredients are incorporated, and at a slower speed.

      I hope these tips help!

  • Lu

    I think this one of the best recipes that I have used I used almond extract and almonds instead of walnuts and vanilla yummy


  • Maria Navarro

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. They are awesome.


  • Roxy

    I roasted my pecans in the oven with butter and salt! Other then that this was a great recipe! It’s almost the same exact recipe that’s on the powdered sugar box.


  • M

    Can I use ground almonds instead of crushing whole nuts?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, M! We haven’t tested this recipe with ground almonds, so I can’t say for sure. My instinct is that ground almonds would be a little more finely ground than crushed whole nuts, so the texture would be different. This said, I do think it would work just fine. Let us know if you try it!

  • Sally Stricker

    Can I freeze the dough for a day or two before baking?

    • Irvin Lin

      Hi Sally! Yes, you can freeze the dough for a day or two before baking. The dough can actually be kept in the freezer for up to a month! You can either freeze it as a big disk, wrapped tight in a plastic wrap, then placed in a ziplock bag then defrost it in the fridge or on the counter, then rolled out. Or you can roll out the dough, and freeze it in balls in a ziplock bag. Either way, make sure to thaw the dough before baking and don’t roll the dough in the powdered sugar ahead of time. The freezing and thawing of the dough will create condensation and the powdered sugar will just dissolve away into sticky mess.

  • Pam Riley

    I love your step-by-step instructions. Been making these for over 45 years, but have never rolled in powdered sugar before baking. Will try now, as my dough is finished chilling. Also never toasted the pecans before. Can’t wait to try them!

  • Cata

    Excellent cookies! My teens, upon eating them, asked to me to make sure I don’t lose the recipe. That good. One thing I did differently is that I did not put the dough in the fridge. I went right ahead and hand-rolled them, dunked them in powdered sugar, baked ’em, rolled ’em a second time in sugar, and once cool, ate them. :)

    • Emma Christensen

      So glad that you and your teens liked them! And good to know that the dough works ok if it’s not chilled. Thank you!

  • Christina

    Been making these for 30 years, but never once have I rolled them in powdered sugar before baking! We roll them once they cool a bit, and then roll them again once they completely cooled. I am curious to try the new way!

  • g-q

    Thank you for sharing! After I finish making the cookies and they are completely cool, I place them in a container then blanket them with more powdered sugar and freeze them. When they thaw I pull them from their little powdery bed and they look just like when they went in; no need for touch up and they have that very fresh baked taste.

  • Bonnie

    Due respect to this recipe, my mom always rolled her RTCs in powdered sugar right out of the oven and then again when cool. This made a lovely thin frosting coat topped with powdery goodness. So delicious!

  • Christina

    How many cookies does this recipe yield?

  • Anna Lou

    Can I freeze the dough beforehand for a busy day, say like ten days? Any tips on defrost it?

    • Irvin Lin

      Hi Anna Lou, Yes you should be able to freeze the dough. Just tightly wrap it in the plastic wrap, then place the wrapped dough in a gallon ziplock bag and seal it. To defrost, just remove the dough the night before baking and place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Bake as directed.

  • Erika

    Growing up in Mexico I had this cookies mostly around Christmas not at weddings. We loved them!
    (I had them just as your recipe but lately tried it with walnuts and liked them too)

  • Palwasha Raqib

    Would it be possible to make these cookies without a mixer? They look fantastic and I love nuts.
    Also thank you Elise for your wonderful blog, I’ve been reading it for over 6 years.

    • Irvin Lin

      Hi Palwasha. You can definitely make this with a mixer but it will require some elbow grease! Make sure your butter is soft and at room temperature and go at it with a wooden spoon and a large bowl. Once you add the flour you can try massaging the dough with your hands if the wooden spoon isn’t working for you. It will take a longer but it’s doable. Just make sure to chill the dough long enough for it to firm up. When you hand work the dough, it will be a little softer because the butter will heat up from your hands.

  • Aimee

    I would like to make these cookies for my daughter’s wedding, anyone outside of Pittsburgh, PA ever heard of the ‘cookie table’ at weddings, anyway would you please tell me if they freeze well?

    • Diane

      Going by the ingredients, these should freeze great. Any type of butter cookie freezes well. I would make sure they are completely cooled before putting them in a freezer bag.

    • Irvin Lin

      What Diane said above! They should freeze fine! But when you defrost them, the powdered sugar might dissolve a bit, especially if there is any condensation in the ziplock bag. Try to defrost them on a wire rack outside the bag to make sure they don’t get moist, and if they do lose a little powdered sugar, just sprinkle or roll the cookies in a little more powdered sugar to make them look good as new.

    • Denise

      We moved to Pittsburgh from Michigan,,,so cookie tables were new to me when my daughter got married here. I made these for her wedding, and yes I froze them. They turned out great. I’m now making cookies for another daughters wedding and freezing them. She’s getting married in Cleveland and this is a new to them also.

  • Linda H

    Have made these for 50+ years… a favorite variation is to wrap each dough ball around a small pecan half, making sure that it is completely covered. Bake as directed.

  • Anne

    Russian Tea Cakes … i think we use walnuts but could be pecans. Family tradition since as long as I can remember (at Christmas).

  • Jill White

    and I have grown up calling these Swedish Pecan Balls, made at Christmas from my Swedish Grandfathers family recipe …. have also used walnuts toasted and like them almost as much as Pecan

  • june lovell

    i love your recipes: this is a cookie i’ve made for years and my Mom made them for years before that. i make two batches, one with a touch of cayenne pepper. the others are puro. there’s a hiking trail behind our house and neighbors have been known to call out for samples as they pass by when these are baking…irresistible.

  • Sara @ Last Night's Feast

    These look amazing!

  • Cleo Arezio

    We bake similar cookies in Greece which we call kourambiedr
    And we usually bake them for Christmas the only difference we add a quarter of a cup brandy to the dough and we use icing sugar at the end.

  • Paula Francese

    These are our favorite Christmas cookies. They melt in your mouth. Superb treat!

  • Deloris

    Try browning the butter sometime– Yummmm.

  • Audrey

    I have a similar recipe but put all except the nuts in a food processor and mix till ball forms then mix in the nuts by hand.

  • Suzy

    I make these every year at Christmas and they are always a hit! I use macadamia nuts and they are so decadent…mmmmmmm

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    This is interesting, I didn’t know Mexican wedding cookies before, I’m so curious to try it