Mexican Wedding Cookies

4.85 from 19 votes
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Mexican wedding cookies are delicate treats made using equal parts walnuts-to-flour, and each bite crumbles easily. The dough balls are rolled in powdered sugar twice for extra sweetness.

Stack of homemade Mexican wedding cookies.

Mexican wedding cookies (aka Russian tea cakes or snowballs) are popular for special occasions, especially during the holidays. What makes them so desirable is their melt-in-your-mouth buttery texture. The cookie dough base comprises chopped nuts, flour, sugar, and butter. There are no leavening agents or eggs, so these cookies keep their shape with little spread.

Each cookie is rolled in powdered sugar, giving its distinctive decadent coating. However, I still think they taste amazing without it too. This recipe is easy to whip up in a stand mixer and does not require refrigeration. It’s a favorite holiday treat that I always add to cookie platters and for edible gifts.

Step 1: Set the oven rack to both the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Preheat to 325ºF (160°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Roast the walnuts

Roasted walnuts on a baking sheet pan.

Step 2: To enhance the walnut flavor in the raw nuts, toast them in a preheated oven at 325ºF (160°C) before chopping. This helps activate the natural oils, releasing their flavor into the cookie base. The heat also makes the nuts more fragrant and crunchy. If you have pre-roasted nuts, you can skip this step.

Chop the nuts (two-ways)

Chopped walnuts in a food processor.

Step 3: Finely chop half of the walnuts in a food processor. Breaking them down into very small pieces will add a nutty flavor to the dough while making it more compact.

Chop the rest of the nuts more coarsely to create bigger chunks for a satisfying crunch. Stir the all-purpose flour and salt together with the chopped walnuts to create a nutty dry mixture.

Cream the butter

Creaming butter and sugar in a stand mixer to make Mexican wedding cookies.

Step 4: No leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder are added to the Mexican wedding cookie recipe. The characteristic dome shapes rely completely on pockets of air trapped inside the fat in the cookie dough.

Soften the butter until it’s still cool but malleable, between 60 to 65ºF (16 to 18ºC). Use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar together.

Mix the dough

Crushed walnuts, combined with flour in a mixer bowl.
Mexican wedding cookie dough in a stand mixer.

Step 5: To finish making the cookie dough, mix in the vanilla extract, then add the flour and walnut mixture. Don’t overmix the dough! Combine just until a light brown mass is formed, about 30 seconds. You don’t want to press the air out of the dough, or it won’t hold its shape.

Portion the dough

Round cookie dough balls lined up on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.

Step 6: Measure the dough into 1 tablespoon-sized portions. This gives a dainty two-bite portion and the right crisp cookie-to-powder sugar-coating ratio. They don’t spread much. Space them about 1 inch apart on parchment paper lined sheet pans.

Bake the cookies

Freshly baked Mexican wedding cookies lined up on a sheet pan.

Step 7: Bake the cookies until they turn golden and the bottoms are browned. You don’t want them browned, or they will be too crispy. The process takes about 16 to 18 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the warm baking sheet for 5 minutes for carryover cooking. They should still be warm when you add the first coat of powdered sugar.

Double coat with sugar

Rolling cookie dough in a bowl of powdered sugar.

Step 8: The best way to coat these Mexican wedding cookies is when they are still warm and then again after they have cooled. Tossing them when fresh out of the oven lightly melts the sugar on the surface so that it sticks better.

However, the pure white color is not as consistent. The second coating of sugar when the cookies are cooled completely ensures an even, prettier appearance.

Storing and freezing

  • Refrigerate rolled cookie dough for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • Freeze rolled cookie dough for up to 1 month in a resealable plastic bag. Defrost before baking.
  • Baked cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month before rolling in powdered sugar. Allow to defrost to room temperature, then coat in sugar.

Customize the recipe

  • Chopped pecans are a tasty switch-up
  • Use almond meal and roughly chopped almonds
  • Hazelnut flour and chopped hazelnuts
  • Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract instead of vanilla
  • Add cinnamon or other spices to the powdered sugar

More holiday cookies

Mexican wedding cookies on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.

Soften the butter, but not too much

Use softened butter that’s cool yet pliable enough to cream with the sugar. Target 60 to 65ºF (16 to 18ºC) or the butter indents with slight resistance if pressed. The butter keeps the dough cohesive and holds its snow globe shape. If the butter gets too warm, especially after whipping with the sugar, the fat molecules will melt and be unable to keep their ball shape.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican wedding cookies are easy to make using equal parts walnuts-to-flour, and the rounds are rolled in powdered sugar twice for extra sweetness.
4.85 from 19 votes
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time24 minutes
Total Time1 hour 24 minutes
Servings 46 cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 cups raw walnut halves, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to 60 to 65ºF (16 to 18ºC)
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, more as needed for rolling

Instructions 

  • Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to both the upper-middle and lower-middle position. Preheat to 325ºF (160°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Roast the Walnuts – Place the walnuts in the oven on a small baking sheet for 6 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer to a plate and allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Crush the Nuts – Add 1 cup of walnuts to a food processor and pulse about 15 times until finely ground texture is achieved. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl.
    Add the remaining 1 cup of walnuts to the food processor and pulse 3 to 5 times until roughly chopped. Combine them with finely ground walnuts. Add flour and salt to the walnuts, and stir to combine.
  • Mix the Butter and Sugar – Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the softened butter and granulated sugar on medium speed, 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
  • Add the Crushed Nuts – Add vanilla and mix on low speed until incorporated, 30 seconds. Add the walnut mixture and combine on low speed until just incorporated and the dough comes together, 30 seconds.
  • Portion the Cookie Dough – Measure the dough into leveled 1 tablespoon (15g, ½ ounce) portions. Roll into balls about 1" in diameter, and place 1" apart on the baking sheets. Place 20 to 23 cookies per pan.
  • Bake – Bake until lightly golden in color and the bottoms are browned, about 16 to 18 minutes. Rotate the pans and switch positions halfway through. Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes.
  • Roll in Powdered Sugar – Add powdered sugar to a shallow bowl. Roll the cookies inside while still warm until completely coated, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
    Once cooled, roll them in powdered sugar for a second coat or sprinkle on top with more sugar, shaking off any excess. This can be done right before serving for the most attractive appearance.

Notes

  • Quicker Option: Use store-bought roasted walnuts instead of raw. Skip roasting (step 2).
  • Nut Substitution: Use pecans in place of walnuts.
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free baking flour.
  • Make Ahead: Refrigerate rolled cookie dough for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 1 month, defrost before baking. 
  • Storing: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month before rolling in powdered sugar. Allow to defrost to room temperature, then coat in sugar.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 46 cookies
Calories 64kcal (3%)Carbohydrates 6g (2%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Cholesterol 11mg (4%)Sodium 26mg (1%)Potassium 7mgFiber 1g (4%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 123IU (2%)Calcium 2mgIron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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8 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Connie says

    These sound and look amazing. Great idea for filling Christmas tins for our neighbors and friends. Also a cute cookie for Santa. Thanks for sharing. Love reading your blog of wonderful recipes.

  2. Donna says

    I have been making a version of these for Christmas for over 30 years, but decided to try your recipe this time. So glad that I did! I liked my old recipe, but the cookies were a bit too dry. Yours are so good – I think that the finely ground toasted walnuts in the batter makes a huge difference, elevating both the taste and texture. Needless to say, I’ll be making your version from now on! Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      No, I would not substitute bread flour because it has a higher level of protein, making tougher cookies. Do not use self-rising flour because it already has leavening agents in it and you can’t control the amount.

  3. Soren Reynolds says

    I never knew these were so simple to make. They are my wife’s favorite. I made them without a food processor (crushed the walnuts with a potato masher) and they still came out excellently! Happy Wife= Happy Life!

    I will be making these again!

  4. Catherine says

    They are really delicious. The finely ground walnuts and finely chopped walnuts elevated the cookies to the next level. They simply melt in your mouth.