Walnut Snowball Cookies

These festive snowball cookies are made with finely chopped walnuts, flour, butter, and vanilla, then rolled into balls and dusted with powdered sugar. They freeze and ship well too!

Walnut cookies in a small ceramic bowl.
Cambrea Bakes

This was my all-time favorite Christmas cookie when I was growing up. Mum made them by the bushel, and we'd pop the walnut-sized balls into our mouths as fast as she made them.

So fast that I got caught once as a boy purloining several. When I proclaimed my innocence, mum noted the powdered sugar on my face. Busted.

The Best Nuts to Use for Snowball Cookies

We always made these cookies with walnuts, but pecans are also customary. While we always called these "nut balls," I've seen similar cookies called Mexican wedding cookies and Russian tea cakes. No matter what you call them, these cookies are addictive.

Consider this a starter recipe, suitable for a small family. If you have a crowd, double it.

Overhead view of powdered sugar cookies piled on a plate with the top one cut in half to show the interior.
Cambrea Bakes

How to Freeze Snowball Cookies

These cookies do keep well in the freezer, either baked or unbaked, for at least a month. If unbaked, no need to thaw; just add an extra minute or two onto the baking time. If baked, go ahead and roll them in the first round of powdered sugar, freeze, and then roll again in powdered sugar after thawing.

Troubleshooting Snowball Cookies

  • Flour choices: If you want the cookies to be meltingly tender, use cake flour. All-purpose flour has been the standard in these cookies for years and works just fine, though.
  • Crumbly dough: Flick a little cold water over it and gently knead it in.
  • If you refrigerate the dough overnight, let it come to room temperature until it's pliable enough to shape. If the dough still seems crumbly, work it with your hands until the butter softens a bit more.
  • Dough's too soft: Refrigerate the dough until it's firm but pliable.

Variations of Snowball Cookies to Try

  • Switch out the walnuts for almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, or some other nut.
  • Toast the nuts for extra flavor, allowing them to cool before adding to the dough.
  • Although nuts are classic in these cookies, one reader suggested substituting crisped rice cereal for nuts if nut allergies are a concern.
  • Another unlikely variation? Crushed potato chips for the walnuts.
  • If using almonds, substitute almond extract for the vanilla extract.
  • For gluten-free snowball cookies, use almond flour or gluten-free baking mix.
  • Add a little cinnamon to the powdered sugar.

How to Store Snowball Cookies

Store snowball cookies for up to 1 week in an airtight container at room temperature. Or, see the instructions above for freezing these cookies.

How to Send Snowball Cookies as Gifts!

Because these cookies last up to 1 week at room temperature, they're great to send as gifts. Try to ship them as soon as possible after they are completely cool. Follow these tips.

  • Wrap cookies 2 x 2, with their bottoms touching, in plastic wrap.
  • Buffer the cookies with packing materials. Want an earth-friendly option? Use plain popped popcorn!
  • Make sure there's no room in the box for sliding around to minimize any damage to the cookies.
  • Pick the quickest shipping method possible.

Looking for More Christmas Cookies? Try These!

Want to see ALL of our Christmas Cookies?

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Walnut Snowball Cookies

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 20 servings
Yield 20 cookies

You can make these cookies with wild black walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, hickory, or butternuts—all will work fine.

We usually use unsalted butter to make this recipe. If you use salted butter, omit the pinch of salt.


  • 1 cup all-purpose or cake flour

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 stick (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • Pinch salt

  • Powdered sugar, to coat (about 1 cup)


  1. Make the dough:

    Mix all the dry ingredients—flour, walnuts, salt, sugar—in a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract. Add the butter in little pieces, and combine everything together with your (clean!) hands until the mixture looks like a coarse meal with nut bits in it.

    Making the dough for a snowball cookie recipe.
    Cambrea Bakes
    Cutting the butter into the dry ingredients to make a snowball cookie recipe.
    Cambrea Bakes
    Cutting the butter into the dry ingredients to make a snowball cookie recipe.
    Cambrea Bakes
    Cutting the butter into the dry ingredients to make a snowball cookie recipe.
    Cambrea Bakes
  2. Chill the dough:

    Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the fridge or up to overnight.

  3. Preheat the oven:

    Preheat the oven to 300°F.

    Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicon baking mats.

  4. Form the dough into balls:

    Form the dough into small balls no larger than a walnut and place on the cookie sheet, spaced at least an inch apart from each other.

    Rolling walnut cookies recipe into a ball.
    Cambrea Bakes
    Walnut cookies recipe balls on a baking sheet.
    Cambrea Bakes
  5. Bake:

    Bake the cookies for 35 minutes.

  6. Roll in powdered sugar:

    When cookies are still warm, but cool enough to touch, roll them in the powdered sugar. Set aside on a rack to cool completely. When cool, dust again in powdered sugar.

    Rolling snowball cookies in powdered sugar for a walnut cookies recipe.
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    Dusting powdered sugar cookies with powdered sugar.
    Cambrea Bakes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
149 Calories
11g Fat
13g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 149
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 48mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.