Light and crispy pecan shortbread rolled in powdered sugar make this butter cookie recipe a classic. This Butterball Cookie Recipe is popular and very delicious!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
No matter what name you know these cookies by – Mexican Wedding Cookies, Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowball Cookies, Pecan Balls – they’re all basically the same – buttery cookies with a few simple ingredients and a powdered sugar coating.
Where I come from we called them Butterball Cookies, and the tender, crumbly shortbread is an all-time favorite. Here’s a few good reasons to give them a try:
- Easy. This nutty shortbread is super easy to make and are tossed in powdered sugar. No eggs in this recipe!
- Try the optional flavored version by crushing some dehydrated fruit (I used strawberry) into the powdered sugar before rolling the baked cookies.
- Delicious for parties and gatherings like baby or wedding showers, holidays or office gatherings.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the full recipe and list of ingredients, please scroll down to the recipe card below.
- Flour: All purpose flour is what we’ll use.
- Powdered Sugar: Also called confectioners sugar.
- Butter: Two sticks of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor in these delicate cookies.
- Kosher Salt: Just a little.
- Pecans: For their wonderful punch of flavor.
- Freeze Dried Strawberries: Optional, if you’d like to try flavored butterballs.
Step-By Step Instructions
- Start by toasting and crushing the pecans.
- Next, whisk them together with the other dry ingredients in a medium or large mixing bowl.
- Beat the butter with an electric mixer over medium speed until light and fluffy – about 4 minutes.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients into the whipped butter mixture to combine.
5. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to make the dough into 1-inch balls, then drop onto a large prepared baking sheet. Use parchment paper on the baking sheet as in the photo above.
6. Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the cooking time. Cool on a wire rack.
6. Toss the cooled cookies in regular powdered sugar or powdered sugar sifted with crushed dehydrated fruit (I used strawberry.)
Tips and Possible Variations
- This is a great cookie simply rolled in plain powdered sugar, but give them extra flavor and color with dehydrated fruit that’s crushed into a powder and mixed with powdered sugar to roll the cookies in before serving.
- I used dehydrated strawberries (available at Trader Joe’s), but try other freeze dried fruits if you’d like, such as blueberries, mango, raspberries and blackberries.
- Toast the pecans on a large baking sheet for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool completely, then crush with a rolling pin (use plastic freezer bags to hold the nuts) or use a food processor until finely ground.
- Try almond extract instead of vanilla if you’d like.
- Cookies are always welcome, anytime, anywhere. Make these for a baby or wedding shower or add to a cookie plate if you’d like.
- Serve an assortment of cookies at your next gathering instead of one large (or complicated) dessert! Try these soft chocolate cookies (they’re outstanding) and it’s nice to have something lemon flavored, like these that I love so much.
- You’ll love these peanut butter thumbprints too, and these incredible apple butter cookies with chunks of fresh apple are soft and so good with coffee or tea.
- These cookies would be nice for Valentine’s Day with some White Chocolate Pretzel Bark.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Try toasted and crushed almonds instead. Use the same quantities and instructions.
An airtight container works best. These cookies will be fresh tasting for 2-3 days.
No! If you don’t want pink cookies with a slight strawberry flavor, just use powdered sugar, they’ll be delicious!
To rotate baking sheets, the halfway point of baking is a good time to do so. If you have one sheet of cookies on the top rack, and one sheet on the bottom rack of the oven, switch their positions and turn the pans around (180 degrees.) Rotating ensures even baking when baking two trays at the same time. You can also bake one sheet of cookies at a time instead.
More Recipes to Try
- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans: Just an outstanding version of the classic chocolate chip.
- Mini Blueberry Pies: Cute, fun and so delicious.
- Brownie Batter Hummus: A wonderful dessert hummus that’s perfect for parties.
- Baked Apples with Crumble Topping: A cozy, delicious dessert.
- Easy White Chocolate Pretzel Bark: An amazing, fun to make candy recipe.
- Decorated Chocolate Covered Strawberries: So pretty on a large platter!
- Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies: A delicious cookie with white chocolate drizzle.
- Hawaiian Shortbread Cookie Recipe: Inspired by all those shortbread cookies I ate in Hawaii.
- Butterscotch Shortbread Cookies: Truly delicious, these are soft and studded with butterscotch chips.
- Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies: A very tasty, soft cookie.
If you’ve tried Butterball Cookie Recipe, or any other recipe on Studio Delicious, please rate the recipe 5 stars and tell me how you liked it in comments below!
Looking for more tips and fresh, homemade recipes? Join my email list, tag and follow me on Instagram using #studiodeliciouseats, follow my boards on Pinterest, and see what I’m up to on Facebook and Twitter!
Butterball Cookie Recipe
- 1 ¼ cup Whole Pecans, toasted See Note
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Sticks (one cup) Butter, unsalted, room temperature
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- ½ cup Powdered Sugar for tinting, optional
- ½ cup Freeze Dried Strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toast the pecans by spreading them out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F degrees. Let them cool, then crush with a rolling pin (set the nuts inside a plastic bag) or use a food processor until finely ground. You don't want any big chunks of pecan.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, salt, cinnamon and ground pecans. Whisk together to combine.
- In another medium-sized bowl with an electric hand mixer on medium, beat the butter and one cup of powdered sugar until it's light colored and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a spatula. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter – in two or three batches – beating it together on low and just until it's incorporated. Don't over mix.
- Using a cookie scoop or spoon that's one tablespoon in size, place the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the cookies 2 " inches apart. Note that these cookies don't spread much.
- Bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheets in the oven half-way through (see note) for a total of 14-16 minutes, until set and just barely golden on the edges. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Sift the remaining ½ (half) cup of powdered sugar and place it in a bowl. When the cookies are cooled, roll them in the powdered sugar and serve. To make tinted cookies, crush the freeze-dried strawberries to a fine dust with a food processor or rolling pin (put the freeze dried strawberries in a large plastic bag first) and crush with a rolling pin until it's dust. Add this to the half cup of sifted powdered sugar, and mix to combine. Toss the cookies in this mixture for tinted cookies.
- Toast the pecans on a large baking sheet for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool completely, then crush with a rolling pin (set the nuts inside a plastic bag first) or use a food processor until finely ground.
- Use other freeze dried fruits if you’d like, such as blueberries, mango, raspberries and blackberries.
- To rotate baking sheets, the halfway point of baking is a good time to do so. If you have one sheet of cookies on the top rack and one sheet on the bottom rack of the oven, switch their positions and turn them 180 degrees. Rotating ensures even baking if you are baking two trays at the same time. You can also bake one sheet of cookies at a time instead.
- Super important to read the whole recipe before you begin
- Pay attention to the ingredient list and photos for the recipe
- If possible, prep your ingredients a little before you start
- Always use a sharp knife for safety
- Use the size of pan called for in the recipe
- For savory recipes, taste and season as you go
- Buy fresh, organic ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible