Russian tea cookies are commonly found at Christmas time. The Christmas cookies are powdery, buttery, and typically filled with nuts such as pecans or walnuts and then covered with powdered sugar. These holiday cookies are also known as Mexican wedding cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, Russian tea cakes, Butterballs, and Snowball cookies. Learn how to make Russian tea cookies with this easy-to-follow recipe using six simple ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.

What Are Russian Tea Cookies?

These holiday treats are easy to make using six simple ingredients you probably already have in your cabinets: butter, flour, salt, vanilla, nuts, and powdered sugar. If you don’t like nuts or have a nut allergy, try swapping out the nuts for chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, or toffee chunks.

These tea cookies are quick and easy to make with a prep time of 25 minutes, cook time of 10 minutes, and a total time of 35 minutes. Our recipe makes 40 cookies. If you’re looking for nutrition information, these cookies are typically around 70 calories and contain one gram each of sugar, fiber, and protein along with 5 grams of fat.

powdery russian tea cookies

Russian Tea Cookies Recipe


  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter (unsalted butter — softened, not melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts – finely chopped)
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)


  1. Start by preheating the oven to 375° F.
  2. Line two ungreased cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Combine the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until the mixture becomes fluffy. Slowly add the flour, 1 tsp salt, and chopped pecans or nuts until the cookie dough becomes crumbly. It’s best to use an electric mixer or a stand mixer, as hand mixing takes much longer.
  4. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to scoop out the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on the baking sheets. If you’re having a hard time scooping out the dough because it’s too sticky, set the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes before trying again.
  5. Bake the cookies for 6 to 8 minutes. The bottoms should be slightly brown when you remove them from the oven.
  6. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack for a minute or two. Roll the butter balls in powdered sugar. 
  7. Let the cookies cool completely to room temperature then serve and enjoy!
Russian tea cookies tea party

Pair Your Russian Tea Cookies With A Mug of Tea

Russian tea cookies are sugar cookies that are popular at Christmas time and weddings. The yummy warm cookies contain a mix of butter, powdered sugar, flour, and nuts with a hint of vanilla. You can play up the recipe by adding things like peanut butter or almond extract or keep things simple by using the traditional ingredients. Make sure to store your cookies in an airtight container so they don’t get stale. 

You don’t have to be Betty Crocker to make delicious Russian tea cakes. Whether it’s your first time or this is a recipe you love coming back to each year, these cookies are the perfect complement to a cup of tea. Serve them up next to other cookie recipe delights such as shortbread cookies and finger sandwiches at your next tea party. Enjoy the tasty notes of cream butter, powdered sugar, and nutty goodness and wash it all down with a delightful loose leaf tea.