These vegan pecan snowball cookies are easy to make in one bowl with just a handful of ingredients and are perfect for Christmas and other special occasions.

Powdered sugar-coated snowballs cookies in a small bowl.

About the Recipe

This easy snowball snowball cookie recipe is a variation on shortbread cookies. They’re coated in confectioners sugar to look like little snowballs for a fun and festive effect.

Classic snowball cookies go by different names, such as Russian tea cakes, Italian wedding cookies, or Mexican wedding cookies though all variations look similar, featuring a buttery cookie coated in icing sugar.

The simple cookie is made with butter, flour and icing sugar for a delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture and they always disappear quick from a Christmas cookie tray.

You’ll love these sweet treats for the holiday season! Don’t miss these pecan pie balls, vegan seven layer cookie bars, vegan chocolate coconut macaroons, chocolate snowball cookies and lemon shortbread cookies too, they’re all lovely and perfect for Christmas time.

Ingredient Notes

All the ingredients needed for making a pecan snowball cookie recipe. Each ingredient is labelled with text overlay.
  • Butter: Use your choice of vegan butter such as Melt Organic, Miyokos or any other brand. I used a salted butter and still added a bit of salt to the recipe. If you’re using unsalted butter, you may want to add a pinch of extra salt.
  • Powdered Sugar: Also known as icing sugar or confectioners sugar. Wholesome makes an organic vegan powdered sugar, otherwise any brand works or you can make your own.
  • All-Purpose Flour: This recipe works with all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose baking flour.
  • Cornstarch: You should be able to substitute tapioca starch for this.
  • Pecans: Use pecans with no added salt or oil. Chopped walnuts or almonds (or any chopped nut) work as a substitution. Use toasted pecans for extra flavour!

Please see the printable recipe card below for the complete ingredient list with amounts and detailed instructions.


  • Lemon Snowballs: Add 1 tbsp lemon zest to the dough when you add the cornstarch and flour.
  • Almond Snowballs: Substitute the vanilla extract for almond extract and use chopped almonds instead of pecans.
  • Chocolate Chip Snowballs: Use mini chocolate chips instead of chopped pecans.
  • Peppermint Snowball Cookies: Add 1 tsp peppermint flavor to the cookie dough.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Butter and powdered sugar beat together in a mixing bowl into a light and fluffy consistency.

Step 1: Use a hand mixer to beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. This should take about 2-3 minutes.

After you’ve combined the butter and sugar, add the vanilla and beat briefly on low speed to mix it in.

Quick Tip: If you’d like to toast the pecans for extra flavour, add them to a cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 F while you prepare the dough.

Flour, sugar and butter mixed into a dough in a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Add flour, cornstarch and salt and start beating on low, slowly increasing the speed until everything is combined.

Raw pecan snowball dough in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Add the pecans and chill the dough.

Stir in the pecans or beat briefly to combine. Once you’ve mixed those in, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dish towel and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

18 baked pecan snowball cookies on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Step 4: Shape the cookies and bake.

When you’re almost ready to start baking, preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Use a small cookie scoop to make approximately 18 snowballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet.

If you don’t have a cookie scoop, you can use your hands to create the snowballs using a generous tablespoon per cookie. Bake them for 13-15 minutes until the bottoms are light golden brown.

A snowball cookie being coated in icing sugar in a small bowl. There is a sheet pan of cookies beside the bowl.

Step 7: Cool and coat.

Cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the baking tray. Prepare a shallow bowl with powdered sugar then coat the cookies in sugar, placing each on a cooling rack.

Quick Tip: Place the wire rack rack on top of a baking pan to help catch any excess sugar.

Once you’ve coated all the cookies, let them cool completely on the cooling rack.

18 pecan snowball cookies on a baking cooling rack sitting on top of a baking sheet.

At this point, you can enjoy your cookies but I prefer to add another coating of sugar after they’ve cooled.

The first coating will somewhat melt into the cookies and make them a bit sticky, which is perfect for adding a second coating and the prettiest snowball effect!

Coat to your liking then enjoy your cookies!

A stack of 4 pecan snowballs cookies coated in icing sugar. The one on top has a bite taken from it and you can see bits of pecans inside the dough.

Recipe FAQs

Do I have to chill the dough?

Chilling the cookies helps the creamed butter (fat) solidify so the cookies maintain their classic snowball shape.

You don’t have to chill the dough but we prefer these cookies after chilling the dough 30 minutes. Without chilling, the cookies will spread more and be denser.

Can I omit the pecans?

No. You can omit the pecans for regular snowballs and to make the cookies nut-free!

If you don’t need them to be nut-free, you can also substitute walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts or any other nut you enjoy.

Can I make gluten-free snowballs?

Yes. You can make these cookies gluten-free by substituting a gluten-free all-purpose 1:1 baking flour such as Bob’s Red Mill.

How do you store pecan snowball cookies?

Let the cookies cool completely before storing. Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Can you freeze pecan snowballs?

Absolutely. These cookies freeze well for 3-4 months. To freeze, cool completely then store in a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bag.

Expert Tips

  1. If you are toasting your pecans, you can put them in the oven at 350˚F (177˚C) for 5-8 minutes while preparing the dough. 
  2. It’s highly recommended to use a digital scale to measure ingredients for accuracy and to ensure success.
  3. For best results, coat the cookies in sugar twice, once after cooling for 10 minutes and again once fully cooled.
  4. A small cookie scoop will help you get uniformly-sized snowballs.
  5. Use room temperature butter when starting the recipe.
  6. You can prepare the cookie dough as much as 24 hours in advance and chill overnight.
Pecan snowball cookies in a small bowl. The cookie on top has a bite out of it so you can see the inside texture.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Powdered sugar-coated snowballs cookies in a small bowl.

Vegan Pecan Snowballs Cookies

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 52 minutes
  • Yield: 18
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Save Recipe


Buttery snowball cookies with toasted pecans coated in powdered sugar for a classic Christmas cookie perfect for cookie platters or a cookie exchange.


  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp vegan butter, softened at room temperature (140 g)
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar (43 g) + ⅓ cup for coating (43 g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (160 g)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch 
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted if preferred (48 g)


  1. Beat Butter and Sugar: In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add Vanilla: Add the vanilla and beat until fully combined.
  3. Add Flour, Cornstarch & Salt: Slowly beat in the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Start at a low-speed and increase to medium-high speed until you have a uniformly mixed dough.
  4. Add Pecans: Once the dough is uniformly mixed, briefly beat in the chopped pecans.
  5. Chill Dough: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours). If you’re making the dough the day before, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in a sealed container to store.
  6. Prepare for Baking: Preheat the oven to 350˚F (177˚C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  7. Bake Cookies: After chilling, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and use a small cookie scoop to create approximately 18 cookies, placing them on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until bottom edges are just lightly browned. I baked mine for 15 minutes.
  8. Coat in Powdered Sugar: Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. While they’re cooling, add the remaining powdered sugar to a small bowl. Coat each cookie in sugar, transferring each to a cooling rack after coated to finish cooling. Once fully cooled, coat a second time in powdered sugar (optional). The first layer of sugar will somewhat melt into the cookies and the second coating will create that pretty snowball effect!


Storing: Once cooled, place cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. For long-term storage, baked cookies can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

Toasted Pecan Snowballs: Preheat the oven to 350 F while you’re preparing the ingredients. Toast the pecans on a sheet pan for 5-7 minutes while you’re preparing the dough.


  • Serving Size: 1 snowball
  • Calories: 93
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 81 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Keywords: pecan snowball cookies, snowball cookies with pecans