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These Russian tea cakes are rolled in powdered sugar for a sweet finish and a snowball-like appearance. My grandmother "Bubba" brought this Russian tea cake recipe with her when she came from Lithuania, and now my family has made it for many generations. I pass it on in the true spirit of the holiday season!

Recipe Summary

20 mins
15 mins
15 mins
50 mins
3 dozen cookies

Russian tea cakes (a.k.a. snowball cookies) are incredibly easy to make with pantry staples. The melt-in-your-mouth dessert is a simple way to satisfy your sweet tooth during the holiday season. 

Russian Tea Cake Ingredients

Believe it or not, you'll need just five ingredients to make this bakery-worthy Russian tea cake recipe: 

· Butter: These easy Russian tea cakes start with a stick of unsalted butter. 
· Vanilla: A teaspoon of vanilla extract enhances the flavor and adds complexity. 
· Flour: All-purpose flour adds structure and holds the dough together. 
· Sugar: You'll need powdered sugar for the dough and to roll the tea cakes. 
· Walnuts: Finely chopped walnuts add nutty flavor and welcome crunch. 

Russian Tea Cakes I sprinkled with powdered sugar
Credit: Philly Ry

How to Make Russian Tea Cakes

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make Russian tea cakes: 

1. Make the dough: Cream the butter and vanilla. Mix the flour and sugar together, then stir the dry mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the walnuts. 
2. Bake the dough: Roll the dough into balls and bake until the edges are golden. 
3. Roll in sugar: Cool the baked cookies, then roll in powdered sugar. 

How to Store Russian Tea Cakes

Store the Russian tea cakes in a shallow, airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. 

a low angle, close up view of a pile of Russian tea cakes, one on top has been broken in half revealing a crumbly nutty interior.
Credit: Victoria Jempty/Allrecipes

Can You Freeze Russian Tea Cakes?

Yes! But it's best to freeze Russian tea cakes before you roll them in powdered sugar. Arrange them on a baking sheet, cover, and flash freeze for a few hours or up to overnight. Transfer the now-frozen cookies to a zip-top bag or another freezer-safe container. Thaw in the fridge, then roll in powdered sugar before serving. 

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I made these as a wedding gift for a friend, and my whole family is blown away at how good these cookies are," says Lilith Brown. "I'm an ultra-novice baker and these were super easy and delicious!"

"So simple, so easy, so good," raves Carrie Taylor. "It ain't Christmas till my kitchen smells like Russian tea cookies! This is the easiest and best recipe. Whipped up a quick batch after the kids went to bed for our cookie walk at school tomorrow."

"I followed the recipe exactly and the cookies turned out buttery and melt-in-your-mouth soft," according to Grace Kim. "For the walnuts, I used a food processor to chop them because I wanted my cookies to be velvety smooth with a fine crumb."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Original recipe yields 36 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  • Cream butter and vanilla together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Whisk flour and 6 tablespoons powdered sugar together in separate bowl. Add to the butter mixture and stir until just blended. Add walnuts and mix until incorporated; mixture may be crumbly.

  • Take small scoops of dough and roll between your hands into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until edges are just turning golden, about 12 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

  • Place remaining 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. Roll cooled cookies in the powdered sugar once or twice.

Nutrition Facts

102 calories; protein 1.3g; carbohydrates 8.2g; fat 7.3g; cholesterol 13.6mg; sodium 36.6mg. Full Nutrition