Russian Tea Cakes Recipe – Easy Snowball Cookies!

Russian Tea Cakes are a classic cookie recipe that are known by lots of different names…Snowball Cookies, Tea Cakes, Butter Balls, or Mexican Wedding Cookies. These melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-style cookies usually include nuts or chocolate chips and are coated in powdered sugar.

Looking for more tea cake recipes? Check out my Southern Tea Cakes Recipe too!

Russian Tea Cakes Cookies coated in powdered sugar

Russian Tea Cakes Are A Classic Holiday Cookie!

I can’t believe I have never posted a recipe for a proper Snowball Cookie aka Russian Tea Cake here on the site! I’m doing my best to cover as many classics as I can here, so today we’re doing it.

These tea cakes are always around during the holidays and look so pretty on your Christmas Cookie platter. And they’re a great cookie to make because they will stay fresh for about a week, so you can space out your baking!

Russian Tea Cakes on a plate

What Are Russian Tea Cakes?

These sweet cookies are a shortbread-style recipe with no egg or leavening agent. You can add chopped nuts, like I did, or mini chocolate chips are a great addition as well!

I can’t speak to whether or not they are actually “Russian” considering they go by many different names like:

  • Snowball Cookies
  • Mexican Wedding Cookies
  • Butter Balls
  • Kourabiedes (Greek Butter Cookies)
How To Make Russian Tea Cakes

How To Make Russian Tea Cakes

This recipe is so super easy, which is part of the beauty of them! There is no chill time necessary which is fantastic, and the dough comes together very quickly!

Coating the Cookies in Powdered Sugar

When the cookies come out of the oven allow them to cool only slightly. You want them to be warm, but obviously not too hot to handle.

  1. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Roll each cookie carefully into a bowl of powdered sugar
  3. Place the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Why Do the Cookies Need To Be Warm When They’re Rolled In Sugar?

It’s important to roll the cookies into the sugar when its warm so the sugar sticks to the cookie. The warmth of the cookie will melt the sugar ever so slightly adhering it.

If the cookies are cooled the sugar won’t coat the cookies very well at all.

Mexican Wedding Cookies on a plate

Looking For More Cookies Similar To This? Try These:


Russian Tea Cakes Cookies coated in powdered sugar


These Russian Tea Cakes are a holiday favorite cookie recipe that melt in your mouth! 


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix together the butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour mixing until the mixture holds together. Stir in the nuts.
  4. Using a small (1- tablespoon) cookie scoop portion out the dough and roll into 1- inch balls.
  5. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until completely set and lightly browned on the bottom.
  6. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle, but still warm.
  7. Place the remaining cup of powdered sugar into a bowl and roll each warm cookie in the powered sugar to coat. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Store airtight for up to 7 days. You can sub in mini chocolate chips for the nuts if preferred

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