Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies are a buttery, tender, bite-sized cookie filled with mini chocolate chips. Because they only require six ingredients, no mixer, and they make a large batch, you’ll want this easy cookie recipe in your holiday rotation.
Though they go by many names (Chocolate Chip Butterballs, Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes), these simple cookies are a favorite around the world.
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These snowball cookies have many names and many variations. Growing up, I remember seeing them mostly with nuts – walnuts, pecans, or pistachios – and I was never very interested. But throw some chocolate in the mix and my interest is piqued!
What is a snowball cookie?
A snowball cookie is a small, two-bite cookie that is almost shortbread-like. They’re made with just six ingredients – flour, powdered sugar, salt, butter, vanilla, and mini chocolate chips (in this case).
Because they don’t have any leavening agents (baking soda or eggs), they keep their ball shape while baked, so they’re round and rolled in powdered sugar, making them look snowball-like.
The cookies itself is dense, but also tender and buttery. The mini chocolate chips are the perfect addition, in my opinion.
Why you’ll love this snowball cookie recipe
- It’s so easy! You only need six ingredients that you likely already have.
- They make a lot. Because these snowball cookies don’t spread much (even with all that butter!), you can make many per batch, making them a quick bake.
- No nuts! If allergy issues are a concern, this snowball cookie without nuts will fit in perfectly to your holiday cookie tray.
Equipment needed to make chocolate chip butterballs
- Mixing Bowls – I use these glass bowls the majority of the time lately.
- Pastry Cutter – A pastry cutter works really well at incorporating the butter into the flour, but a fork will work, too.
- Baking Sheets – I like lipped baking sheets, you don’t want your cookie balls rolling off & hitting the ground!
- Cookie Scoop – I have a variety of sizes and used my smallest scoop (2 tsp) for these cookies.
- Powdered Sugar Duster – If you don’t want to roll your cookies in powdered sugar, they also look really pretty with just a light dusting.
Ingredients for Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies
Below is a list of ingredients along with some possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
Flour – I’ve only made these with all-purpose white flour. Make sure you are scooping it correctly & not packing it into your measuring cup (lightly spoon the flour into the cup & level it off, don’t scoop it out of the canister). Too much flour will result in dry cookies.
Powdered Sugar – Sometimes called confectioners’ sugar, you only need powdered sugar for these snowballs, no granulated sugar. You’ll use them in the dough and then again to roll the baked cookies in.
Salt – For balance.
Butter – Unsalted butter at room temperature. Not margarine.
Vanilla Extract – Pure vanilla extract, not imitation. I know vanilla is pricey but using real vanilla is important for the best flavor, especially you have a cookie with so few ingredients. I buy it in bulk from Costco or Sam’s Club.
Mini Chocolate Chips – These cookies are bite sized so you need mini chocolate morsels, not full size.
How to make chocolate chip snowball cookies from scratch
STEP ONE: First, to a large mixing bowl, add the flour, powdered, sugar, and salt and give it a stir.
STEP TWO: Next, add the cubed butter and use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut in the butter to the flour mixture. It takes quite a few minutes to come together but it should look like coarse crumbs.
STEP THREE: Add in the vanilla and mini chocolate chips and mix until a smooth dough is formed. It may be easier to use your hands. The dough should not be crumbly at this point (no dry ingredients should be seen).
STEP FOUR: Use a small cookie scoop to scoop approximately 1.5 teaspoons of dough into a ball. Roll them in your hands to smooth and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 325° for 10-14 minutes. The cookies should be just firm, not golden. Do not overbake!
STEP FIVE: Remove from oven and immediately remove the cookies from the pan to cool. Once slightly cooled, roll each cookie in additional powdered sugar (or dust with powdered sugar).
What to serve with chocolate chip butterballs
Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies pair well with chocolate dipped butter cookies, dark chocolate stars, chocolate dipped shortbread, brown sugar hidden Kiss cookies, and chocolate shortbread cookies. You’ll have a theme of simple, buttery cookies.
You can also add them to a cookie tray with different varieties like Christmas pinwheel cookies, Christmas swirl brownies, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate peanut butter haystacks, and soft & chewy gingersnaps.
- Want nuts? Skip the chocolate chips and instead use 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Different shape? If you don’t want to make snowballs, you can roll approximately 2.5″ “fingers” of dough. They are good dipped in chocolate with nuts sprinkled on the ends.
- Want a different flavor? Skip vanilla and use a different extract like almond.
- If you don’t want to roll the cookies in powdered sugar, you can dust them with powdered sugar instead (slightly easier – I do both lol).
How to and store and freeze chocolate chip snowballs
How long do snowball cookies stay fresh?
Snowball cookies will stay fresh when stored in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature. I don’t recommend storing them in the fridge, they will dry out.
Can snowball cookies be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze snowballs. Preferably, freeze them before you roll them in powdered sugar. Place them into a large freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and then place in the freezer for up to a month. Once you thaw them, roll them in powdered sugar.
If you freeze them after they’ve already been rolled in sugar, you might need to give them a fresh roll once they thaw.
Chocolate Chip Snowballs FAQs
What are snowball cookies made of?
Traditional snowball cookies include ground pecans, butter, flour, and a little sugar. These chocolate chip snowballs are the same, but swap mini chocolate chips for the nuts. They’re not overly sweet but they’re rich and buttery.
Why are my snowball cookies dry?
Snowball cookie dough shouldn’t be crumbly. If the dough is falling apart, you might have not mixed it thoroughly enough. Or, you might have added too much flour or powdered sugar (don’t pack them into the measuring cups! Lightly scoop in & level off). You can add in a drizzle of milk, but it shouldn’t be necessary if you follow the recipe.
You also want to make sure you don’t over-bake these little cookies. They should come out of the oven when just firm, not golden and definitely not brown. Remove them immediately from the pan so they don’t continue baking.
Why won’t my powdered sugar stick?
If your powdered sugar is disintegrating immediately when you’re rolling them, your cookies might be too warm. Just give them a few more minutes to cool off and try again. Alternatively, you can sprinkle powdered sugar on instead of rolling them.
Need more Christmas cookie recipes? Try these:
Click here for my entire collection of cookie recipes.
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Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies
- 2 cups all purpose white flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- powdered sugar for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 325° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt.
- Cut in the cubed butter with a pastry cutter or a fork. This will take a few minutes but the dough should be a coarse crumb.
- Add in the vanilla and mini chocolate chips and continue mixing until a smooth dough forms. It might be easier to use your hands – all dry ingredients should be fully incorporated.
- Use a small cookie scoop (approximately 1.5 teaspoons) to form balls, rolling between your hands to smooth, and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-14 minutes, until just firm, not golden or brown. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the cookies from the cookie sheet so they don't continue baking.
- Once slightly cooled, roll each cookie in powdered sugar or dust with additional powdered sugar.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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