Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Mexican Wedding Cookies are irresistibly tender, buttery, and crumbly. These butter-based, vanilla-flavored cookies are filled with pecans and rolled in powdered sugar.

Try our other flavor variations next: these peppermint snowball cookies or these chocolate chip snowball cookies.

Image of Mexican Wedding Cookies stacked on top of each other, with a bite taken out of one of them.

If you’ve never had a Mexican Wedding Cookie, you’re definitely in for a treat; these cookies basically melt in your mouth.

They’ve got a buttery and slightly nutty flavor, with a hint of vanilla. The baked cookies are rolled in two coats of powdered sugar, for the perfect finishing touch.

You’ll notice from the first picture, these Mexican wedding cookies end up a slightly more flat than a typical tight ball shape. This is intentional and exactly how we love them. They’ve got a rich butter flavor and are easier to eat than a compact ball (they basically melt in your mouth!).

To achieve this shape and texture, make sure to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then level the measurement with the back of a table knife. We also chill the dough instead of baking it right away. 

Process shot-- image of the pecans being chopped in the food processor for Mexican Wedding Cookies.

Other names for Mexican Wedding Cookies

These popular cookies are loved around the world, and have many different names. In the US we typically call them Mexican Wedding Cookies or Snowballs. Some of the other names you may have heard these cookies go by:

  • Pecan Balls
  • Italian Wedding Cookies
  • Mexican Teacakes
  • Italian Butter Nuts
  • Russian Tea Cakes
  • Swedish Tea Cakes
  • Pecan Sandies
  • Polvorones
  • Viennese Sugar Balls
  • Snowballs
  • Snowdrop Cookies

Ingredients in these cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies are easy to make and require only few ingredients.

  • Butter: Make sure to use real, unsalted butter, not margarine. Since the base for these cookies is butter, you’ll want to use the best quality butter possible.
  • Powdered sugar: Half of the powdered sugar is added to the cookies and the warm cookies are rolled in the rest.
  • Salt: Salt helps to balance the sweetness of the cookies and contributes to a more even flavor.
  • Vanilla: Again, good-quality vanilla makes a huge difference. The vanilla adds so much flavor to these cookies! Sometimes I use vanilla bean paste for beautiful specks of vanilla bean throughout the cookies.
  • Flour: Make sure to spoon and level the flour so you don’t pack in too much!
  • Cornstarch: The cornstarch contributes to the melt-in-your-mouth quality these cookies have. It’s my secret ingredient!
  • Pecans: We toast the pecans to add loads of flavor to these cookies. Then to ensure really small pieces, I pulse them in a mini food processor.

QUICK TIP

Why unsalted butter? The amount of salt added to butter varies greatly from brand to brand. Using unsalted butter lets you control how much salt goes into your cookies–or anything else you make.

How to make Mexican Wedding Cookies

The descriptions below correlate with the pictures in the collage.

  1. Beat the room temperature butter (not warm or melted at all) with the powdered sugar…
  2. …until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the cornstarch, vanilla extract, salt, and crushed toasted pecans.
  4. Beat together until smooth.
  5. Add in the flour.
  6. Mix until smooth. It may seem sandy and crumbly at first but keep going until a dough forms. 

Process shots-- images of the dough being made for Mexican Wedding Cookies.

Can Mexican Wedding Cookies be frozen?

Yes, these cookies freeze really well, either as unbaked dough or baked cookies. I recommend freezing the unbaked dough (as opposed to the baked cookies) if possible.

  • UNBAKED dough:  Shape the dough into balls, freeze on a baking sheet in a single layer, then transfer to airtight freezer bags for longer storage. Defrost overnight in the fridge and bake as directed by the recipe (you may need to add another minute or two to the baking time).
  • BAKED cookies: To freeze the baked cookies, roll them in powdered sugar while slightly warm, cool completely, and freeze on a baking sheet. Once the cookies are frozen solid, transfer them to airtight freezer bags; label and date. Thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours and then roll them in powdered sugar a second time.

Variations

  • Different nuts: Swap out the pecans for almonds, macadamia nuts, or walnuts (you’ll still want to toast and then chop them).
  • Stuffed: Add an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss to the center of these cookies or a miniature Reese’s cup
  • Spiced: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and/or 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for a pumpkin-flavored cookie
  • Lemon or lime: Add 2 teaspoons citrus zest to the batter or add lemon or lime extract to the batter (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon depending on strength of extract).
  • Chocolatey: Add 3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips into the batter or drizzle melted chocolate on top of the finished cookies.

Process shot-- images of the dough balls rolled out on a sheet pan, ready to be baked.

Tips for the best Mexican Wedding Cookies

  • Don’t melt or soften the butter; this will cause cookies to spread.
  • Don’t skip the chilling; the butter needs to be 100% cold and firm before going in the oven; otherwise these cookies will burn and spread!
  • Use a mini food processor to pulse the pecans for an even dispersion of pecan bits throughout the cookie. Watch carefully when pulsing, the pecans can go from perfect bits to pecan butter!
  • Use Silpat® liners or parchment paper for these cookies; otherwise, they’ll spread too much or get overly browned bottoms. Do not grease a sheet pan!

Number 1 tip:

Double dip your cookies in powdered sugar! Once the cookies have slightly cooled (but are still warm), cover them in one coat of powdered sugar. Let the cookies cool a bit longer and then dip them again for another coat. This double dipping ensures thoroughly powder-coated cookies which not only look more beautiful, but also taste the best!

Image of three Mexican Wedding Cookies stacked on top of each other, with a bite out of the top one.

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

5 from 1 vote
These Mexican Wedding Cookies are irresistibly tender, buttery, and crumbly. These butter-based, vanilla-flavored cookies are filled with pecans and rolled in powdered sugar.
Print Recipe

Mexican Wedding Cookies

5 from 1 vote
These Mexican Wedding Cookies are irresistibly tender, buttery, and crumbly. These butter-based, vanilla-flavored cookies are filled with pecans and rolled in powdered sugar.
Course Dessert, Snack, Vegetarian
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Mexican wedding cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Calories 85kcal
Cost $2.31

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (42g) whole pecans
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted good-quality butter Note 1
  • 3/4 cup (78g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Note 2
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (211g) white flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • powdered sugar for coating the cookies

Instructions

  • TOAST PECANS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans in an even layer on the sheet pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until they smell fragrant. Watch carefully; you don't want to burn them. Remove and allow to completely cool before transferring them to a mini food processor or cutting board. Pulse or finely chop into very small pieces. Avoid over-pulsing in the food processor or you'll end up with pecan butter.
  • WET INGREDIENTS: Either in a bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a large bowl (and using a hand mixer) combine butter and 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Cream together until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the vanilla, salt, cornstarch, and pulsed/chopped pecans. Beat until smooth and combined. Add in the flour and mix until combined and smooth. It will seem sandy and crumbly at first, but keep mixing; it will come together. Once combined, do not overmix.
  • CHILL: Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to chill.
  • BAKE: After being chilled, measure out cookie dough using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon (each ball should be exactly 1 tablespoon). If the dough gets overly warmed from being rolled or sitting in a warm kitchen, put in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a light-colored sheet pan with a Silpat liner (Note 3). Bake for 7-11 minutes (mine take 10 minutes). Remove from the oven, let stand on tray for 3-5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let cool for 2-3 or so minutes.
  • POWDERED SUGAR: Add powdered sugar to a bowl (I start with 1 cup, but you may need slightly more). Roll the warmed cookie in the powdered sugar and then return to the wire cooling rack. Let cool down a few more minutes, and then roll in the powdered sugar again.
  • STORAGE: Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Re-roll in additional powdered sugar as needed. Best enjoyed within 1-3 days.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: It's important to use good-quality butter, not margarine. Use unsalted so you can control the salt amount. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, not melted or softened. 1 cup is the equivalent of 16 tablespoons or 2 sticks.
Note 2: I'll sometimes use vanilla bean paste; one teaspoon of paste if using!
Note 3: I tested this recipe with no parchment paper, with parchment paper, and with a Silpat liner. Cookies turned out best every-time with the Silpat liner. The darker the trays, the darker the bottoms of the cookies. The best results I found were with a light colored tray.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 40cookies | Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.6g | Protein: 1.4g | Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 34.8mg | Sodium: 9.4mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 2g

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  1. 5 stars
    These are my mom’s favorite cookies!! Great recipe!! I love the variations you provide too (especially cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice).

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