Mexican Wedding Cookies

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

Mexican Wedding Cookies (snowballs) are buttery pecan cookies rolled in confectioners sugar. They are a classic Christmas cookie, add them to your holiday baking list this year. 

Mexican wedding cookies rolled in powdered sugar.

Mexican Wedding Cookies are a Christmas cookie favorite, but there are SO many different names for these little buttery pecan cookies.

  • Snowballs
  • Russian tea cakes
  • Pecan balls
  • Sand Tarts
  • Mexican wedding cakes
  • Southern pecan butterballs

What do you call them? I call them Mexican Wedding Cookies because that is what my family calls them. To be honest though, when I was little I didn’t really like them. I always went for the snickerdoodles, gingersnaps, and chocolate chip cookies instead. BUT now, I LOVE these cookies, because I have found the BEST Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe EVER! You want to know my secret ingredient? It is a game changer! You HAVE to try this recipe!

Mexican wedding cookies on cooling rack.

This is the BEST Wedding Cookie recipe because I use a secret ingredient…CANDIED PECANS.

Traditionally, snowball cookies are made with pecans or walnuts. I prefer pecans so I made them with pecans and they were delicious. But then I made a batch of my favorite candied pecans and decided to try them in the cookie recipe. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but it was a pretty genius idea:)

I tried the cookies right away and yep, best idea ever! I used half regular pecans and half candied pecans and I am telling you these are hands down the BEST Mexican Wedding Cookies…snowballs, Russian tea cakes, pecan balls, sand tarts, and southern pecan balls…whatever you want to call them, they are the BEST!

Mexican wedding cookies being rolled in powdered sugar in bowl.

The candied pecans add a little extra sweetness with a hint of cinnamon and brown sugar and that extra candied pecan crunch is SO good! The cookies are buttery, crisp, and they melt in your mouth! They are the perfect holiday cookie.

And it is ok if you make a powdered sugar mess because it looks like snow. You can call it “decorating” for the holidays:)

Mexican wedding cookies with powdered sugar.

Tips for making Mexican Wedding Cookies

  • I use half pecans and half candied pecans. You can use all pecans or even walnuts, but I think the pecan/candied pecan ratio is the best.
  • There are equal amounts of nuts and flour in this recipe so you can really taste the pecans.
  • Grind half of the pecans in a food processor so the nuts can release their natural oil. This will help hold the cookies together and the cookies won’t be dry.
  • Chop the other half of the nuts so you get the perfect texture and nut crunch.
  • Roll the cookies in confectioners’ sugar twice to make sure the cookies are well coated.
  • You can freeze these cookies. Defrost and roll in confectioners’ sugar again before serving.

These are a classic Christmas cookie and I promise you will LOVE them. Make these pretty and delicate cookies a holiday tradition!

Mexican wedding cookie cut in half with pecans inside.

Find MORE cookie recipes HERE and in my cookie cookbook, Let’s Eat Cookies!

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies are the perfect Christmas cookie, add them to your holiday baking list this year and every year!
4.84 from 31 votes



  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Set aside.
  • Place 1 cup pecans (plain pecans) in a food processor and process for about 15 seconds or until the texture is similar to coarse cornmeal. Transfer the pecans to a medium bowl. Place the candied pecans, if using, in the food processor and process until coarsely chopped, about 10 seconds. Add the chopped pecans to the bowl with the ground pecans.
  • Stir the flour and salt into the pecans. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed with the beater blade until fluff, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the nut mixture. Mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and mix until the dough comes together. Give the dough a final stir by hand to mix in any remaining flour.
  • Roll the cookie dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until cookies are pale golden and the bottoms are beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Pour confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl and roll the cookies in the sugar until the are well coated. Before serving, reroll cookies in sugar and gently shake off the excess sugar.
  • Notes-you can use just regular pecans, but I love using half candied pecans. They are SO good in these cookies. You can also use walnuts if you wish. To make super fine sugar, place the sugar in the food processor and process for about 30 seconds.


Calories: 116kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 42mg, Potassium: 26mg, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 140IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.4mg
Keywords Mexican wedding cookies

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.84 from 31 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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  1. My mom use to make these during the holidays. I think she called them Sandies. I better give your recipe a try… they sound delicious.

  2. I roll them in powdered sugar when they are still warm. The sugar melts some and then when they are completely cool, I roll them again in the powdered sugar. It sticks to the cookie better due to the melting from the roll in sugar while warm. But definitely agree they need to be rolled twice. Russian Tea Cakes (what we always called them) look a little sad when only rolled in powdered sugar once.

  3. Whatever you call them, they are delicious! Love the use of candied pecans. So smart! I will try that next time for sure!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve always made Mexican Wedding Cookies (Snowballs) during the holidays. I’ve also always used the handwritten recipe from my mother’s college ruled spiral note book/recipe book. This year, I tried these. I must say, the candied pecans really add depth and a nice crunchy crunch to an already delicious cookie.
    I’m in the process of rewriting my mother’s ‘cookbook’ into my own college ruled note book. Adding some of my own, removing some of hers….These Mexican Wedding Cookie have made the cut and will be the new ‘Snowballs’.
    Thank you for a lovely recipe.
    p.s. I’ve found that rolling the cookies in powdered sugar before and after baking helps the sugar from being absorbed as much….

  5. 5 stars
    Yep, genius. I’ve made something very similar for years & people go wild about them–the main reason is that other recipes have H A L F the nuts. B o r i n g. But this with half candied pecans does sound even better than mine. Bravo! Will try soon. Thanks for being brilliant! 

  6. 5 stars
    I tried making these mexican wedding cookies last night… They were burnt, like bad. I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong? They also were dry. This is the first recipe I’ve ever had difficulty with. 🙁

    1. Did you over bake them? They have never burned or been dry for me…and I just made two batches yesterday! 🙂 Sorry you had issues!

  7. I am making cookies for a friend’s daughter’s wedding. I found your mini-chocolate chip recipe. I am excited to try it! The friend gave me a small glass job for chocolate chip cookies and Mexican wedding cookies. I would like to use your recipe. Would you have a suggestion for the baking time if I make them small and without the pecans (nut allergies?)

    1. When I have a cookie recipe I like and they come out flat, next time I put the raw formed dough on the cookie sheets and put them in the fridge to chill prior to baking. Usually does the trick.

  8. 4 stars
    Really this would be special and great mexican wedding cookies! Love healthy food! I would add honey to it! Thanks for sharing!

  9. 5 stars
    I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never had Mexican wedding cookies! This recipe looks great though so hopefully that will change! Thanks for posting it!

  10. My favorite Holiday Cookies are Mexican Wedding Cookies, so I can’t wait to try your take on them with Candied Pecans.

  11. I didn’t get 42 with my batch but 24 about a ping pong ball size. 

    Nevertheless that is less for me to eat as they go down too easy like popcorn. 

    Perfect cookie for everyday sharing during cold winter months! 

  12. Love these! I have never made them before but have always enjoyed them. I’m making them for my nieces wedding later this month (love the Pittsburgh cookie table tradition!) and they came out great! I’ll roll them in sugar, freeze them and then roll them again when they thaw.
    Thanks for such a great recipe!

  13. 5 stars
    Thank You for the idea of super fine sugar – it does make cookies more tender and just melts in your mouth Made at bridal shower and a big hit. Make them small so you can put a whole cookie in your mouth and not get powdered sugar on your shirt or outfit. Loved the grind to fine pecans so the nuts and nut oils stay in the tight balls. My new go to recipe. I did chill before scooping because of time error on my part – worked great.

  14. I can not wait to try these cookies. I think they will be prefect for the holidays. Can I substitute another type of filling?

  15. These cookies go back to my childhood. I always loved them. When they were gone I would stick my finger in the powdered sugar in the bottom of the cookie tin and get an extra treet!

  16. Thank You for the idea of superfine sugar – it does make cookies more tender and just melts in your mouth Made at a bridal shower and a big hit. These cookies go back to my childhood. I always loved them. When they were gone I would stick my finger in the powdered sugar in the bottom of the cookie tin and get an extra treat!

    this link;

  17. I have recipe for Swedish Tea Cakes in my old cookbook…to my kids they are just Snowball cookies…I also add mini chocolate chips, maybe not so many nuts…. One year I was able by accident, to make them so there was a crispy sugar coating…and haven’t been able to duplicate that deliciousness since then. I am going to follow your recipe and see what happens.

  18. So, when I worked in a bakery and we made hundreds of these we would push them onto cooled oven racks and have a parchment lined tray under the rack. Then SIFT AWAY OVER THE HOT COOKIES , so high the sugar would come up to the bottom of the cookie

  19. I learned to make these in my 7th grade Spanish class. I still call them Pastelitos de Boda. They are my daughter’s favorite Christmas cookie.

  20. I didn’t find any note about the super fine sugar. Do I simply include it in the cookie or is there something else I should do? I have read that rolling cookies in granulated sugar before rolling them in powdered sugar helps the powdered sugar to stick. What do you think?

  21. Oh my goodness, these are my absolute favorite Christmas cookies. We called them Mexican Wedding Cookies, too, even though we were from Boston and moved to Florida when I was 9! Looks like I’ll be baking some cookies after all this season!

  22. 5 stars
    Making these again for the second time this Christmas! These Mexican Wedding Cookies are honestly the best cookie I’ve ever tasted. Out of this world!! And so easy!

  23. 5 stars
    If I had to choose only one cookie to eat for the rest of my life, this might be it. These mexican wedding cookies are the best I’ve ever had. They’re so light and the sweetness is absolutely perfect. SO good.

  24. 5 stars
    I was excited to find this recipe because I loved these a kid at my grandparents house for Christmas. Brought back great memories.

  25. 5 stars
    Maria, your recipe for these cookies is the best out there, hands down! No one else uses the same quantity of pecans as flour. That takes them over the top. I like to toast the nuts before chopping them – brings out that wonderful flavor! One or two of the reviewers had trouble with the cookies crumbling when they rolled them in the powdered sugar. Try putting the sugar in a good sized zip lock bag, then put only 5 or 6 cookies in at a time, then gently turn the bag over a few times. Hope that helps.