Vegan Russian Holiday Tea Cakes

Vegan Russian tea cake recipe

The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins

Russian Tea Cakes, or Mexican Wedding Cookies, have long been a favorite--especially during the holiday season. Many families make these each year and some shape them into crescents. Some families call them moon cookies but they're still the same famous tea cake.

This recipe happens to be 100% vegan, but it is no less delicious than its traditional counterpart. You can also use almond meal in place of the ground almonds, but I find that grinding the almonds makes for an extra special touch. Feel free to shape these into any shape you'd like, although it's easiest to just go with simple round cookies.

Gluten Free Option: substitute 2 1/2 cups "Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free all purpose baking flour" and 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum, for "all-purpose flour" in recipe ingredients below. Be sure to mix these ingredients together before adding. Also, be sure your vanilla extract is gluten-free. Prepare and bake according to the recipe directions below.


  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup non-dairy margarine (such as Earth Balance, cold. You can sub in cold coconut oil by adding the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup almonds (finely chopped, roasted or raw)
  • 1 additional cup confectioner's sugar (for rolling)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegan Russian tea cakes
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and margarine or coconut oil until creamy. 

    Cream together
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  4. Add the chopped almonds to the sugar and margarine mixture, then gradually mix in the flour. Your dough will be crumbly but easily formed into a ball when worked slightly with hands.

    Add chopped almonds
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak 
  5. Form into balls, about walnut sized, or 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter, and place onto an un-greased cookie sheet. You then can go on to shape them into moons or another shape with your hands or leave them as spheres. Do not flatten these as you would peanut butter cookies. To retain the crescent shape keep them kind of on the slender side because they tend to spread a little bit.

    Form into balls
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  6. Bake the cookies an on un-greased cookie sheet on the middle rack of your preheated oven for about 12 minutes​ or until ever so lightly golden brown on edges. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet about 15 minutes. Roll generously in confectioner's sugar until very well coated.

    Vegan Russian tea cakes
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  7. Let cool an additional 20 minutes on wire rack before enjoying.

    Vegan Russian tea cakes
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak