Russian Tea Cake Cookie Recipe

Russian Tea Cake Cookies are a favorite holiday cookie

These buttery cookies are a melt in your mouth treat.  When you bite down into the cookie, you get a powdered sugar mustache and the delicious old-world flavor of nuts.  These are a super rich, buttery, and crumbly cookie.  Russian Tea Cake Cookies always seem to be a favorite of men and also a favorite Christmas Cookie.  I know your family will love these as much as mine does.

They are known by many different names around the world, such as Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Tea Cakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterball, Snowdrop, Viennese Sugar Ball, Sand Tarts, and Snowballs.  Regardless of what they are called, they always contain finely chopped nuts and are twice rolled in powdered sugar.


Russian Tea Cake Cookie


More favorite Cookie Recipes and Secrets To Making Perfect Cookies.   Also learn How To Have A Successful Holiday Cookie Exchange or Cookie Swap.


Russian Tea Cakes Recipe:
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
32 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian
Keyword: Russian Tea Cakes Recipe, Russian Teacake Cookies Recipe
Servings: 4 dozen
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar), sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup nuts of your choice, toasted and finely-chopped**
  • Powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
  1. In a large bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

  2. Sift in flour and salt; stir until well mixed. Mix in nuts.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls.  Tip: A small ice cream scoop is ideal for making uniform-sized cookies.

  5. Place dough balls onto ungreased cookie sheets with about 1-inch of space between them.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown.  Remove from oven and cool slightly on wire cooling racks.

  6. While cookies are baking, place the powdered sugar in a shallow dish.  While still warm, roll cookies in powdered sugar until completely coated.  When cookies have cooled, roll them again in the confectioners sugar to give them a nice even coating of sugar.  The first rolling allows the sugar to melt into the cookies - the second rolling gives the finished snowy-white topping.

  7. Store in an airtight container.

  8. Variation: Substitute 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips for the nuts.

Recipe Notes

* To ensure recipe success, do not use self-rising flour.

** How to toast nuts - Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking pan (one with walls is best) for toasting in the oven. Cook at 400 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes or until the nuts start to turn golden. Shake the pan halfway through toasting.


Source:  This recipe is originally from a 1950’s Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Russian Teacake Cookies


Additional Family Favorite Christmas Cookies:

Honey Butterball Cookies
These holiday Honey Butterball cookies look similar to Mexican Wedding Cakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, Russian Tea Cakes, etc., but they are a softer cookie.

High Tea Lemon Cookies
This is an old-fashion recipe that is very rich and delicious.  Be prepared though, all your friends will want this recipe after they taste these delicious cookies.

Peppermint Snowballs
This is a great-tasting holiday cookie and these cookies are very pretty on your holiday cookie plate.

Oreo Truffle Balls
This candy/cookie is so easy to make and so good!  This no-bake Oreo Truffle Balls makes a great Christmas candy as everyone seems to love them! Everyone who tries them has loved them and wants the recipe.

Pistachio and Cherry Mexican Wedding Cookies
A wonderful and delicious version of the Mexican Wedding Cookies.



Christmas Cookies    Cookies    Dessert Recipes    Molded Cookies   

Comments and Reviews

14 Responses to “Russian Tea Cake Cookie Recipe”

  1. Renee

    I’ve enjoyed Russian Tea Cakes since childhood, with my mother’s melt-in-your-mouth cookies. I’ve tried replicating since she passed, but I’ve never achieved the melt-in-your-mouth effect until – I added more butter!!

  2. Sandy bohling

    Is dough crumbly? I used this receipe n it is.

    • Linda Stradley

      The dough can be a little crumbly. Press the dough into balls.

  3. Cheyenne

    Do you just mix the nuts in before rolling the dough into balls?

    • Whats Cooking America

      Yes, the recipe instructions tell you to mix the nuts in with the dry ingredients of flour and salt before adding the wet ingredients.

  4. Lorrie Andersen

    i’ve been making these cookies since 1978, every year for Christmas. They are easy to make and are my sons favorite cookies. We just love these.

  5. Elizabeth Wilson

    Have you tried using 1/2 cup Crisco and 1/2 cup butter?

    • Linda Stradley

      I, personally, never use shortening in my cooking.

  6. Linda Erickson

    Lost my recipe for Swedish Tea Balls which contained cake flour instead of all purpose and were baked for like 40 minutes at a low temp. They were way more tender than those made with all purpose. Can anyone help me out? Thanks.

  7. Jolene

    My cookies flattened out instead of staying in the ball shape when baked and were very crumbly. Flavor is delicious, but would like to have the traditional ball shape for the cookies. What did I do wrong?

    • Whats Cooking America

      Make sure your dough is well chilled before shaping and baking. That will help hold the ball shape when baking.

  8. Chelagat

    These were perfect! The recipe I used last Christmas season was too crumbly and frustrating to form into balls. This recipe seems to have the butter to flour ratio just right. I was doubling the recipe and ran out of vanilla so substituted some almond extract, yum.

    • Nancy

      Glad you like them, and thank you for stopping by What’s Cooking America! Merry Christmas!

  9. Linda Pazdzinski

    Try substituting 1/2 cup of cornstarch for part of the flour. My recipe calls for less flour and it really does melt in your mouth.


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