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Butterball cookies are a classic old recipe that we’ve been making since I was a little girl—sometimes called snowball cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, or Russian tea cakes. These sweet, pillowy treats are made with butter, powdered sugar, flour, and walnuts.

A simple recipe that yields melt-in-your-mouth buttery cookies in less than 30 minutes.

Classic Butterball Cookie rolled in powdered sugar with a bowl of the sugar by the plate

These are also traditional cookies to make around Christmas time. These powdered sugar-coated goodies are commonly seen on cookie trays because of their white and fluffy, snowball appearance.

Easy to bake and easy to eat, butter ball cookies will be a hit with whoever you share them with. If you’re hosting a Mexican-themed dinner party, these cookies make a welcomed addition to your dessert spread. Serve them with a cup of coffee or tea for the perfect after-dinner treat.

Easy Butterball Cookies

Why You Need To Make These Yummy Cookies

  • 6 Simple Ingredients: These butterball cookies are made from such simple ingredients. You can probably toss them together without adding to your grocery list. You need 6 items, and they come out so delicious and buttery. Plus, you don’t need any leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder.
  • Quick Easy Recipe: This butterball cookie recipe doesn’t require any refrigeration time, so you can quickly whip the dough together and bake immediately. Did you forget you need a treat for this evening? No worries, these baked cookies are completely ready in less than an hour.
  • Finger Licking Suggary Coating: did I mention you give the warm, freshly baked cookies a powdered sugar coating? Reminiscent of powdered donuts, these cookies are so perfectly sweet without being overwhelming. They’re the perfect choice for special occasions.

To make these delicious treats, all you’ll need are these basic ingredents.

ingredients for butter ball cookies, flour powder sugar, butter, salt, vanilla chopped nuts
  • Softened butter – You’ll need room-temperature butter, so make sure you leave it out on the cupboard for about 30 minutes before you start baking!
  • Confectioner’s sugar – Also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar. Give it a good sift before using it if it’s a bit dry or lumpy.
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour – You can also make these gluten free with a high-quality gluten-free flour blend.
  • Salt
  • Chopped walnuts – You’ll want these chopped fine. Use a knife or toss them in a food processor for a few seconds.

That’s it! Seriously! So simple.

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

How to Make This Recipe For Moist Butterball Cookies Step-By-Step

  1. Grab a large mixing bowl and measure out the softened butter, 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar, and the vanilla. Use a hand mixer at medium speed to fully combine, about 2 minutes.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk to combine flour and salt. 
  1. Gradually add the flour into the wet ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to stir well, until all the ingredients are combined. 
  2. Using a large knife, rough chop the walnuts into small pea size pieces.
  1. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the dough. Use a spatula to gently fold the walnuts into the dough until they’re evenly distributed.
  2. Use a cookie scoop (or just your hands) to make small balls, about 1-inch in size. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. You may have to work in batches. These cookies won’t spread much, so you can put them pretty close together. 
Butterball Cookies dough balls on cookie sheet and cookie scoop making them into balls
  1. Bake until the cookies are lightly golden on the edges, but not overdone.
  2. ​Remove them from the oven and let them sit on the baking sheets to cool for 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the other 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a sifter or sieve. While the cookies are warm, place 5-6 of them at a time in a pie plate. Shake the sifter to sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar over top. Tip the pie plate back and forth while you sift so the cookies get fully coated in the sugar. Repeat for the remaining cookies.
  4. You can repeat the process of coating the cookies in sugar for a second time if you want them.
Butterball Cookie rolled in powdered sugar with sifter shaking more on

Tips and Helpful Hints

  • For a lemony twist, add 1-2 tsp of lemon extract to the batter to make lemon butterball cookies. Top with powdered sugar and a bit of lemon zest.
  • Add some mini chocolate chips for a bit of extra chocolate flavor (you can never go wrong adding chocolate). 
  • These cookies are best when made on the smaller side. They just cook better, so try not to make them too big.
Classic Butterball Cookie rolled in powdered sugar with a bowl of the sugar by the plate

Why are my butterball cookies flat?

Ugh. If your cookies came out flat, it’s most likely because your butter was melted, not just soft. Instead of microwaving your butter to soften it in the future, just leave it out on the counter for about 30 minutes. You can cut the butter into small chunks if you need to speed up the process. You may also have mismeasured. Butterball cookies come out flat if there’s too much butter or too little flour.

Tips For Storage and Making Ahead

  • On the counter – You can keep butterball cookies in an airtight container or Ziploc bag on the counter for up to a week. You can also keep them in the fridge if you prefer.
  • In the freezer – Butterball cookies can be frozen so they keep longer. Store them in a Ziploc or container with a tight lid for up to 2 months. Just allow them to come to room temperature before you serve them.
  • Make ahead – ​You can also make this dough ahead of time and freeze it for later. I suggest making the dough balls and freezing them. Then, thaw overnight in the fridge. Next day, allow them to come to room temperature and follow the stops for rolling in powdered sugar and baking.

You can’t beat a cookie party, and Butterballs are a great recipe to include because they’re simple to make and almost impossible to ruin. I’ve got plenty of ‘favorite’ Christmas cookies! It’s just so hard to choose at that time of year. If you’re hosting or attending a Christmas cookie party, participating in a cookie exchange, or making a cookie tray for an event, here are some ideas for a bright and cheerful selection with something everyone will enjoy.

Pistachio cookies have a pale green ‘Grinchy’ hue. Coconut cranberry cookies provide a bright pop of red that will look so pretty with your other goodies. Bourbon and brown butter cookies have a distinctly grown-up flavor (and I cut mine into stars so they’re extra festive).

Set these on a tray alongside classic M&M Christmas cookies.

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

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Classic Butterball Cookie rolled in powdered sugar with a bowl of the sugar by the plate
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Classic Butterball Cookie Recipe (Mexican Wedding Cookies)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 31 minutes
Servings: 25 cookies
These classic butterball cookies are a delightful treat. One of our all time favorite cookies for the holiday season, these pillowy cookies are made with 6 simple ingredients and don't require you to chill the dough. Full of chopped walnuts and coated in a blanket of confectioner’s sugar, these cookies are easy to eat, and you'll be happy to share them with friends and family.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

hand showing you to tap on the ingredient to add to your walmart and target list.

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl and measure out the softened butter, confectioners sugar, and the vanilla. Use a hand mixer at medium speed to fully combine, about 2 minutes. If you prefer you can use a wooden spoon to stir until the dough is well combined.
    1 cup butter, 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk to combine flour and salt.
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Gradually add the flour to the wet ingredients. Use a mixer on low or a wooden spoon to stir well, until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Using a large knife, rough chop the walnuts into small pea size pieces.
    3/4 cup walnuts
  • Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the dough. Use a spatula to gently fold the walnuts into the dough until they’re evenly distributed.
  • Use a cookie scoop (or just your hands) to make small balls, about 1-inch in size. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. You may have to work in batches. These cookies won’t spread much, so you can put them pretty close together.
  • Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until they are lightly golden around the edges.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets.
  • Meanwhile, place the other 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a sifter or sieve.
  • While the cookies are warm, place 5-6 of them at a time in a pie plate. Shake the sifter to sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar over top. Tip the pie plate back and forth while you sift so the cookies get fully coated in the sugar. Repeat for the remaining cookies.

Notes

Tips
  • If you desire, you can give the cookies a second coating of powdered sugar for an extra layer of sweetness.
  • For a lemony twist, add 1 tsp of lemon extract to the batter to make lemon butterball cookies. Top with powdered sugar and a bit of lemon zest.
  • Add some mini chocolate chips for a bit of extra chocolate flavor (you can never go wrong adding chocolate). 
  • These cookies are best when made on the smaller side. They just cook better, so try not to make them too bit.
Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 89kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 0.4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 57mg, Potassium: 41mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 17IU, Vitamin C: 0.05mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Author: Gina Dickson

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