A Christmas Classic! These Butter Balls, also known as Russian Tea Cakes, are so easy, but so delicious and perfect little snowball bites of Christmas!
Next try our Peppermint Snowball Cookies!
It's the final countdowwnnn! Can you believe we're just a couple of days away? We're wrapping up our Christmas Cookie Platter Gifts for our neighbors and no cookie plate would be complete without Classic Butter Balls!
Although these are now more commonly known as Russian Tea Cakes, I prefer Butter Balls because lets be honest, that's exactly what they are. Little sugar-coated balls of butter. So simple, yet so perfect.
These are up there as one of my husband's favorite cookies, which is why he has requested that we give away 99% of them, otherwise if he makes eye contact with the little snowball butter bites, we'll end up only having 1% to give away. 😛
The best thing about these cookies? They're so stinkin' easy. Less than 20 mins and you'll have dozens of Butter Balls ready to decorate any cookie tray.
May your Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever you observe) be filled with many delicious treats! Now that we've finished all of our cookie baking, we're ready for the rest of our Christmas Cooking Traditions. Next up, Christmas Eve Pierogis!
Enjoy! As always, if you make this recipe or any of my others, I love to hear what you think! Leave a comment below, email me, or you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!
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Classic Butter Balls
- 1 cup soft unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar + 1/4-1/2 cup more for dusting
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl mix together butter, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla until well incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Add walnuts and mix.
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place on un-greased cookie sheets. They don't spread so they don't need to be spaced far apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two, then add another 1/4-1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar to a small bowl and then roll just out of the oven balls in sugar (don't worry, they wont fully coat, yet). Let cool and then roll again to get the full sugary coating.
Nope. Not enough moist ingredients. MAYBE if increase butter by 1/2 stick and you MUST whip the butter like there is no tomorrow then you may be able to form balls. This should be written in recipe. Too bad. Knew “too simple” of a recipe.
Hi Crockett, sorry you had difficulties with this recipe. Adding a 1/2 a stick of butter would be WAY too much butter and we would not advise that. As written, it does have the right amount of “moist” ingredients, but you do need to make sure you measure your flour by spooning and leveling it, but I will also be sure to add weights to ensure the most accurate measurements.
We’ve got a nut allergy and I was wondering if I should increase the flour by 1/4-1/2 cup in order to omit the walnuts?
Oh definitely! No need to adjust the flour, it should be fine. But you can also add some peppermint - like in our Peppermint Snowball cookies: https://www.servedfromscratch.com/peppermint-snowball-cookies/
I just finished making these. I doubled the recipe since my family loves these cookies. They turned out great. They're not really sweet when taken out of the oven... but once you roll them in powder sugar they're wonderful. The only reason I gave this 4 stars is because I agree with another poster that the oven temperature is too high. When I make them again... next Christmas... I will set the oven for 325 degrees... as someone else suggested and hopefully the cookies won't have a brown bottom.
Happy holidays Tracy and all - I appreciate that you shared all your answers with us to help all of us confused bakers - so many other recipe listings do not answer questions and then it’s hard to make a great cookie! Thanks again.
Thank YOU B!! Happy Holidays to you and yours! 😀
Love this recipe so much! I can't wait to make it again!!
So glad you enjoyed them, Angela! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review 🙂
Awesomeness ,so easy and so good !
So happy to hear it, Karen! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
I’m so confused. I made two batches separately. The Dough will not form into a ball. I put it the refrigerator as well. Help!
I'm making the butter ball cookie recipe, do not know why but the butter and sugar plus vanilla added to flour is so dry I can't mix it into dough???
Hi Chris, did you mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla first before adding the sifted flour?
how do you keep them if you're making them like 2 or 3 weeks ahead?
Won't they get all wet in the freezer? How about putting them in a tight tupperware in the frig?
Hi Sandie! For anything more than 2 weeks, I'd freeze. Just be sure they cool completely and then store in a freezer-safe container. Or in an airtight Tupperware for up to 2 weeks before. 🙂
I followed the instructions about coating them with more confectioners sugar out of the oven- and they fell apart. Do you have any idea why they did that? Should I wait a few minutes before coating.
Hi Melissa, I'm sorry that wasn't clear - they should cool a minute or two before the first coating and then fully cool for the second.
Deborah L Tyler
Hi Tracy, just found your recipe and wanting to try this year. Do you use salted or unsalted butter in this recipe. You do not indicate either and sometimes it makes a difference in the taste.
Hi Deborah! GREAT question, thank you! I just updated the recipe card to note that it is unsalted butter - but you could use salted butter and then just omit the added salt. Thanks again for asking and enjoy!!
Diane Guy Benedis
I refrigerate my dough for at least an hour before rolling. And let almost completely cool before rolling.
Can you use cake flour as a substitute for the All purpose flour???
Yup! Use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour. So for this, you’ll want about 2 1/2 cups and 1/2 tablespoon of cake flour. Enjoy!
Melissa.…..I make these all the time an this is my exact recipe however the cooking temperature and time is not the same an I believe that's why yours fell apart. I cook mine at 325 for 20 minutes. They do not burn on the bottom an they don't fall apart. Good luck !
I just made a batch and the first one I touched out of the oven disintegrated in. my hand. I waited 3 minutes and tried it again and it worked perfectly. One thing.that might help is using 2 tablespoons to scoop up the cookie, roll it and put it back on the cookie sheet. BTW,this recipe is perfection. I put one in my mouth and had a flashback to being a kid
Why did my recipe flatten out?
Oh no, sorry that happened, Helen. What that means is your butter was probably too soft which means it melted in the oven causing the cookies to flatten. To help prevent this in the future, you can cool your cookie dough in the fridge before baking.
Can I make the recipe and refrigerate the dough for a day or two?
1 day, yes! Just store it in the fridge. Then when you’re ready to use just take the dough out about 30 minutes before you’re ready to roll into balls.
Thank you. What about freezing balls before baking for a few days?
Can these be frozen after making to be kept for a few days before serving? I want to make a week before Christmas.
Id like to know this as well plz
Hi Jen! Updated the recipe to state that it's for unsalted but you can use salted, too and just omit the added salt!
This is the exact same recipe my mom used. 🙂