Mexican Wedding Cookie Recipe

James Patrick
Mexican Wedding Cookies or cakes (Polvorones) are a delicious addition to any holiday!Photo bycourtesy of the website

Usually when you find a cookie swap or a cookie tree at a holiday gathering, you will find some variation of the famous Mexican Wedding Cake. It’s also known as butter balls or Russian tea cakes as well. The buttery taste with various nuts is a treat for any occasion, especially Christmas or New Years Eve. The origin of this cookie is interesting and unique.

According to the Institute of Culinary Education’s website (link below), these buttery cookies originated outside of Mexico. Their creation has been traced back to medieval Arab baking that predominantly featured ingredients like butter, sugar, spices and nuts. Mexican Wedding Cakes were brought to Mexico by European nuns or Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.

The name has gone through some transitions. The site also states that food historians say that the name of the cookie changed from Russian tea cakes to Mexican wedding cakes some time during the cold war due to the negativity surrounding Russia. Others call them snowballs, butter balls, & various other names.

The key to making these delicious cookies is to not overcook them. They should be cooked to a light brown to ensure the buttery rich flavor comes through. People use various nuts including walnuts, pecans, almonds or other types. This recipe is very easy to make and uses walnuts.

Also you can create variations of the flavoring. Some people use amaretto or almond extract instead of vanilla. They are usually eaten with coffee, tea or a liqueur such as amaretto. Especially in the Italian version of the cookie, ground almonds are preferred in the recipe. Below is a recipe by Chelsie Kenyon (link below) that is buttery and delicious. Visit website for this and other amazing recipes.

Mexican Wedding Cookies:


1 1/2 cups (12-ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
12 3/4 ounces (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted


Position two racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 325 F/163 C.

Place the butter, 3/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Cream the ingredients by stirring vigorously (or beat with an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) at medium-high speed until the mixture is well combined, fluffy, and light yellow. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.

Add the flour to the butter about 1/2 cup at a time, beating well to incorporate, scraping down the bowl occasionally after each addition before adding the next until the mixture is well combined. Carefully fold in the nuts with a silicone spatula.

Take a small amount of dough, and roll it into a 1 1/4-inch ball (about 1/2-ounce each). Place it on a cookie sheet, preferably lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat, about 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating the cookie sheets and transposing them on the racks halfway through baking time, until the cookies begin to turn light golden around the edges, about 11 to 12 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Stir together the remaining 3/4 cup of confectioners' sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place on rack to cool. If desired, roll cookies in sugar again once they have cooled completely.


  • Store your buttery Mexican Wedding Cookies in an airtight container. While tasty right away, they are even more delicious the day after they are made.
  • These cookies can be baked, then successfully frozen. Freeze the sugar-dipped cookies on a baking sheet in a single layer. Transfer to a freezer-proof container for up to 3 months (they are a great choice for a make-ahead treat).
  • The raw dough can be shaped into a disk, wrapped, and frozen to roll and bake later. Alternatively, shape the dough into balls, freeze on a baking sheet in a single layer, then transfer to freezer bags for longer storage. Defrost and bake as directed.
  • To toast the pecans: Place pecan halves, other nut or pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 F/178 C for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time. Keep an eye on them, as nuts tend to burn easily.
  • Chopping the nuts before toasting them will allow for more surface area to brown, adding richer flavor to the cookies.
  • Cutting cold butter into small pieces (about 1/2-inch) will help it come to room temperature quickly.
  • Sifting the confectioners' sugar over the cookies the second time will coat the cookies more evenly.
  • If you have the time, chill the rolled raw cookies for 30 minutes to 1 hour; they will spread less when baked.

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Writer & Host of The Forum Celebrity Podcast. I conduct Celebrity Interviews and cover Pop Culture & Trending News Stories! I've been a featured guest on several radio shows & podcasts. Twitter: @realjamespat

Fairfield, CA

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