Mexican Tea Cakes

Mexican Tea Cakes

The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 23 mins
Servings: 48 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
84 Calories
5g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 48
Amount per serving
Calories 84
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 37mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 17mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These traditional cookies are not only popular at Christmastime, but are also commonly found at a variety of celebrations such as weddings, christenings, and bridal showers. They are also known as sand cookies, butternut cookies, and Mexican wedding cakes. These tender little cookies don't change their shape while they are baking. They are really a shortbread cookie but baked in the shape of a drop cookie. They are mild and tender and crumbly and buttery, just perfect for any taste.

Try forming some of the dough around unwrapped chocolate kisses, maraschino cherries, other types of candy, such as candy bars cut into small cubes, or nuts to form a surprise center. The first coating of powdered sugar on the cookies melts to form a thin icing, which is sealed in by the next coating. So make sure to coat them twice!

Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, if they last that long!


  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, divided

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Mexican Tea Cakes ingredients

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  2. Cream butter with 1/2 cup powdered sugar until well blended and smooth. Beat in vanilla, then add flour and salt.

    creamed butter in a bowl, hand mixer

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  3. Mix until just combined. You don't want too much gluten to form; the cookies should be tender. Add nuts, if using.

    dough and nuts in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  4. Cover dough and chill for several hours - or overnight - in refrigerator.

    dough mixture in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  5. When ready to bake, bring dough to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  6. Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. The dough will not spread at all during baking, so you can place them pretty close together.

    dough balls on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  7. Bake cookies for 8 to 12 minutes. The cookies should not brown on the top, but instead just become very pale gold on the tops and lightly golden on the bottom.

    baked Mexican Tea Cakes on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  8. Immediately take cookies, one at a time, off hot cookie sheet and drop into a shallow bowl full of remaining powdered sugar. Roll and place on a rack to cool. When cookies are cool, roll again in powdered sugar to coat.

    Mexican Tea Cakes covered with powdered sugar

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo