Simple Pecan Butterball Cookies

Pecan Butterball Cookies piled on plate

 The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 48 servings
Yield: 48 cookies
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
90 Calories
7g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 48
Amount per serving
Calories 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 31mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 25mg 1%
*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.)

There are more names for these popular cookies than in ingredients in the recipe: butterball cookies with pecans, Russian butterball cookies, Russian tea cakes, Italian wedding cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, snowballs, and snowballs. 

The preparation of these delicious cookies, made with only five ingredients, couldn't be simpler. What’s more, the cookie dough does not need to be chilled before baking, which makes these cookies the perfect candidates for impromptu cookie baking, for Christmas and any other time.

After they come out of the oven, the cookies are rolled in confectioners' sugar, which gives them their typical powdery white coating.

Pecans give these delicious little butter cookies extra texture. Whichever countries these cookies are attributed to, the pecans suggest that the cookies are an American invention (other variations of the cookies are made with walnuts or almonds). Pecan trees are the only nut trees native to North America. Most of the world’s pecans are grown in the United States, namely in Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas. That suggests that butterball cookies came from the American South.

Butterball cookies can be stored in airtight containers for a few days, but they really taste best the same day or the next. In most households, they vanish quickly and storage is usually not the problem.

Instead of letting the cookies go stale, it’s much better to refrigerate or freeze the cookie dough in an airtight container and only bake as many cookies are you will eat that day. Let refrigerated dough come to room temperature until it is soft enough to shape.

Cookie dough with high butter content like the butterball cookies also freezes well. Shape the dough into logs, wrap them tightly in waxed paper, put in freezer bags, and seal. The dough will keep in the freezer for up to three months. When you are ready to bake, let the dough thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours until it is soft enough to pinch off dough and shape the cookies into balls.


  • 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

  • 2 cups pecans, chopped

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven at 300 F.

    Pecan Butterball Cookies ingredients
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  2. Cream the butter and stir in the vanilla.

    Mixer creaming butter
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  3. Gradually work in the confectioners' sugar and flour.

    Confectioners' sugar and flour mixed in bowl
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  4. Add chopped pecans and work it into the dough.

    chopped pecans added to dough in bowl
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  5. Pinch off the dough and roll to form balls about the size of a quarter.

    Pecan Butterball Cookies dough rolled into balls
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  6. Place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets; bake for 10 minutes, then increase the heat to 325 F and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.

    Pecan Butterball Cookies balls on baking sheet
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  7. Roll the cookies in confectioners' sugar after they've cooled.

    Cooked Pecan Butterball Cookies rolled into confectioner's sugar
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  8. Serve and enjoy.

    Pecan Butterball Cookies on plate
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