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The Best Russian Tea Cakes Ever

3.82 from 27 votes

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Kevin’s favorite cookies are Russian tea cakes (aka the snowball cookie). As such I have heard endless requests for these cookies over the years.

The only issue…I hate them. Let’s make that hated them.
They were always dry and chalky and basically the least like a delicious cookie and its attributes that I could imagine.

I let Holli loose to make these for him this Christmas season to help satisfy his requests. When I finally decided on a whim to taste one of them and I was blown away! And I thought to myself THIS is what a Russian tea cake should taste like. Delicious, buttery, and melt in your mouth.

These cookies have many names like Mexican Wedding Cakes, Italian Wedding Cakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, Austrian Kipferin, Spanish Polverones, Greek Kourabiedes, Pecan Sandies, and just plain Butterballs or Snowballs.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye on the baking time and if the cookies are dry you should back off the baking time on your next batch by a few minutes.

Can you freeze Russian Tea Cake cookies?

Yes, you can free them. They last about two months in the freezer. Always freeze them raw after you have rolled into balls but before you roll them in powdered sugar. I layer my cookie balls out on a piece of parchment paper then place them on a cookie sheet. Then I place them in the freezer for two hours or until firm. Once frozen remove from cookie sheet and add cookies to a gallon ziplock bag or tuber wear container.

When defrosting place each cookie on parchment paper spaced 1 inch away from the other cookies. This keeps the cookies from sweating and sticking together. Allow the cookies to reach room temperature. This process can take a few hours depending on your house tempter. If you choose to cook these cookies frozen you will want to add 1-3 more minutes to your bake time.

russian tea cookies

How to make Russian tea cakes?

We started making these amazing Russian Tea Cake cookies by taking the melted butter and creaming it with the sugar.

snowball cookies

Grab the stand mixer and pour in the butter and powdered sugar and mix away.

russian tea cakes mixing

Let’s just take a second to appreciate to beauty of stand mixers. I mean, I am definitely not doing this by hand!

adding powdered sugar to russian tea cakes

Then add the flour and mix well. Make sure all the flour is absorbed.


Add the finely chopped nuts and mix.

chopped nuts for cookies

Now roll your dough into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 365 for 11 minutes or until they have plumped slightly.

Remove cookies a place on a cooling rack. Once cool to the touch roll each cookie in confectioners sugar and enjoy!

russian tea cakes
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Russian Tea Cakes Recipes

Our secret Russian Tea Cakes recipe is never dry. It’s always declared to be the best snowball cookie they have ever eaten!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 41 minutes
Servings 48 cookies
Print Pin Recipe


  • 2 cup of butter softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans we prefer pecans
  • Topping Ideas:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup of mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup of crushed peppermint
  • ½ cup shredded coconut


  • Preheat oven to 365 and cream butter and powdered sugar in mixer.
    Add vanilla paste and mix.
    Add flour and salt. Add chopped nuts. Mix well.
    Roll into inch sized balls and place 12 balls onto cookie sheet.
    Bake for 8-11 minutes the cookies will rise when done, do not brown.
    Place on a cooling rack. Cool for 5 minutes, then roll the cookies in powdered sugar until they are fully coated.
    Roll in other topping selection: crushed peppermint, shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips etc.
    Store in tupperware with parchment paper. Keeps for 1 week.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g
Author: Holli Butterfield
Course : Desserts
Cuisine : American
Italian Wedding Cakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, Austrian Kipferin, Spanish Polverones, Greek Kourabiedes, Butterballs, cookies, desserts, snowball cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, Italian Wedding cookies

If you enjoyed this recipe then you may also love these recipes; Mini Chewy Honey Cookies, Mom’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies and Gingerbread Crunch Magic Cake.


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About Holli Butterfield

Hi I'm Holli! My background is in baking and pastries. I love a good coffee, anytime of the day. I also love to tend my garden and explore the world with my husband and four growing daughters. I co-authored Stress Free Camping, a 120+ page cookbook on making epic food in the woods.

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3 thoughts on “The Best Russian Tea Cakes Ever”

  1. Going to give this recipe a try. I usually do clarified butter with powdered sugar add flower and pecans. Cook roll in powdered sugar. Easy, delicious. Been doing this way for ever! Looking forward to tasting your recipe this evening! Thank you!
    I’m 1/2 Armenian and have always thought these were from the Ottoman Empire. I do have recipes in one of my Mid Eastern Cook Books, yet they are not called RTCakes! They are called, translated to English, Shortbread cookies! Interesting!
    Will leave a comment later

3.82 from 27 votes (23 ratings without comment)

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