A beloved holiday treat, these peppermint candy cane snowball cookies are a must-try! Sweet buttered shortbread cookies, crunchy pecans, minty peppermint, and hints of vanilla combine to form an unforgettable festive masterpiece. These candy cane snowballs will undoubtedly be a crowd-pleaser at all of your holiday parties.
Christmas is right around the corner, and you know what that means! Cookies, cookies, and more cookies. One of my favorite types of cookies to make is snowballs!
My go-to Christmas snowball recipe is made with red and green M&Ms, but this year I wanted to branch out a little and make peppermint candy cane snowball cookies as well!
I was not disappointed! These little guys are made with pecans for some crunchiness and real candy canes for a festive flavor–they’re the perfect cookie for Christmas time!
Don’t miss this list of my favorite Christmas cookies recipes!
Why You Should Make Candy Cane Snowball Cookies
- Cookies and peppermints are guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit!
- Snowball cookies are simple, and perfect for kids to help with. They will love rolling the cookies around in the powder sugar! Create a new family tradition by doing it together.
- Aromas of vanilla, butter, and peppermint candy canes will fill up your kitchen with holiday warmth
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioners sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Chopped pecans (ignore the whole pecans in the photo above, I hadn’t choppen them yet)
- Candy canes
Substitutions and Variations
- Pecans- If you don’t enjoy pecans or don’t have any on hand, use your favorite type of nuts instead. Walnuts work great! You can also simply omit the nuts in the recipe.
- Vanilla extract- using almond extract instead of vanilla extract will add an extra nutty flavor to your peppermint snowball cookies. You can also use half vanilla and half almond.
- Butter- Salted butter will work in this recipe too. If salted butter is all you have, I suggest omitting the added salt to this recipe.
- Mixing bowls
- Hand-held or stand mixer
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 large baking sheets
- parchment paper or silicone baking mats
- Wire cooling rack
How to Make Peppermint Candy Cane Snowball Cookies
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Step 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, cream the butter and a ½ cup of confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract
Step 3. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour and salt. With the mixer on low, gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in pecans and crushed candy canes.
Step 4. Roll the dough into 1″ balls (or use a small cookie scoop) and place on a cookie sheet 1″ apart.
Step 5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are just turning light golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, or until they can be handled.
Step 6. Add remaining 1 cup of confectioners sugar to a shallow bowl and roll each cookie in it. Place rolled cookies on a cooling rack to cool fully, then roll them all confectioners sugar once more.
Storing Your Peppermint Snowball Cookies
If you have any snowball candy cane cookies leftover after making this recipe, they can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They also freeze beautifully!
To freeze, place the cookies in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper or in a single layer in a freezer baggie. Your pecan balls will freeze well for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then bring to room temperature on the countertop. Roll in powdered sugar once more to give them a nice fresh coat of “snow” before serving.
Tips For Making The BEST Snowball Cookies
- These cookies do not spread as they bake, so you can place them closer together than a traditional cookie.
- Make sure the candy canes are well crushed, as too big of pieces may be difficult to bite through.
- Watch the cookies closely to be sure that they do not overbake. Overbaked snowballs will be very dry.
Cookies will crumble if you don’t follow these two steps. The first is butter, and the second is flour. To begin, ensure that the butter has been at room temperature for a while. It’s important to use room-temperature butter so that it may be evenly distributed throughout the dough. Second, be meticulous when measuring the flour; make sure to fluff it before measuring. Then, fill the measuring cup with flour and level off any excess using a flat edge or knife.
Yes! If you love peppermint as much as I do, then adding a little peppermint extract to the cookie dough will take the snowball cookies to the next level. I suggest adding a few drops and then adjusting the peppermint flavor to what you like.
The best way I have found to crush candy canes is to put them in a freezer bag on a cutting board and smash them with either a rolling pin or meat hammer. Using a food processor or blender works well too!
Yes! These snowball cookies are so versatile that you can add any candy, nut, sprinkles, or flavors to make them for any holiday. Make them even more fun by adding a little food coloring to your dough for a colorful surprise when you take a bite!
More Peppermint Dessert Recipes
If you love these Snowball Peppermint Cookies try these other great peppermint recipes!
- Peppermint Bark Muddy Buddies
- Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
- Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
- Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1½ cup confectioners sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 2 candy canes, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, cream the butter and a ½ cup of confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour and salt. With the mixer on low, gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in pecans and crushed candy canes.
- Roll the dough into 1" balls (or use a small cookie scoop) and place on a cookie sheet 1" apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are light golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, or until they can be handled.
- Add remaining 1 cup of confectioners sugar to a shallow bowl and roll each cookie in it. Place rolled cookies on a cooling rack to cool fully, then roll them all confectioners sugar once more.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.