Coconut Snowball Cookies

Coconut snowball cookies on a white wooden surface.

When you make coconut snowball cookies, it’s guaranteed to be a white Christmas! These powdered sugar coated cookies have the best texture thanks to chewy coconut folded right into the buttery shortbread dough. They’re a family favorite.

A mug filled with coconut snowball cookies.

classic snowball cookies are rolled up with coconut for a new winter tradition

I’m going in for my second snowball cookie of the season (did you catch the Lemon Snowball Cookies?) because these easy little cookies are that good. They might not look super exciting, but trust me, they have such a lovely texture and flavor that I know you’ll be adding them to your regular repertoire. Lots and lots of chewy shredded coconut and a lovely flavor combination of vanilla and almond extracts make them unforgettable.

Coconut snowball cookies on a piece of parchment paper.

ingredients for coconut snowballs

  • moist sweetened shredded coconut ~ make sure you are getting the moist sweetened kind here, dry, desiccated, or toasted coconut will not give a good result. Look for Baker’s ‘Angel Flake‘, in the blue bag in your baking section.
  • butter ~ unsalted
  • powdered sugar
  • all purpose flour
  • vanilla and almond extract ~ you can use coconut extract if you like.
  • salt
Coconut snowball cookies coated in powdered sugar on a piece of parchment paper.

what makes these coconut snowball cookies special

  • Unlike most snowball cookies (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes) these are nut-free.
  • The sweetened shredded coconut adds lovely coconut flavor, of course, but also a really nice slightly chewy texture to these cookies, which I love!
  • The combination of almond and vanilla extract is so unusual and plays well with the coconut for a nice complex, but subtle flavor profile.
  • They stay nice and round in the oven because the coconut gives the cookies a little added structure ~ they really do look like snowballs!
A coconut snowball cookie broken in half.

troubleshooting tips and faqs for snowball cookies

How do I get the sugar coating to stick to my cookies?

The trick is to do your first coat while the cookies are still a bit warm. That gives them a base coat. After the cookies have cooled, toss them in the sugar again for a thicker, final coat. Be liberal with your powdered sugar, you can even go in for a third toss if necessary.

What kind of coconut is best for these cookies?

Definitely use moist, sweetened coconut, I like Baker’s Angel Flake, sold in the blue bags in your baking section. Dry or ‘desiccated’ coconut will not work as well.

How do I get all my cookies to be an even size and shape?

I use a small cookie scoop to portion out my dough, but you can also use a regular tablespoon to make sure you’re getting the same amount each time. These cookies do not spread or change much in the oven, so you can place them relatively close together on the baking sheet.

What’s the best way to store snowball cookies?

I like to store them at room temperature, covered with foil. They’ll last about 3-4 days.

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes, freeze them either before or after baking, but if freezing after baking, wait to coat them in sugar until they’ve thawed.

A bowl of coconut snowball cookies.

heads up coconut lovers!

Coconut snowball cookies on a white wooden surface.
Coating coconut snowball cookies in powdered sugar.
5 from 4 votes

Coconut Snowball Cookies

When you make coconut snowball cookies, it's guaranteed to be a white Christmas! These powdered sugar coated cookies have the best texture thanks to chewy coconut folded right into the buttery shortbread dough. They're a family favorite.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Yield 42 cookies
Calories 85kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (Baker's Angel Flake)


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a stand mixer or with electric beaters, cream the butter, sugar, salt and extracts until fluffy (about 1-2 minutes)
  • Add the flour, and mix briefly to combine. Then fold in the shredded coconut.
  • Roll the dough into balls (about 1 Tbsp of dough each), and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. They will not spread very much so you can place them fairly close together.
  • Bake for 11-12 minutes. They will still be a pale color, and soft to the touch. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Note: be careful not to over bake these.
  • While the cookies are still barley warm, coat them in the powdered sugar. When they are fully cooled, give them a second coat.

Cook’s notes

  • Use coconut extract in place of the almond extract if you like.  Start with 1/2 teaspoon as coconut extract can be intense.
*Recipe lightly adapted from Martha Stewart.


Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, I love “snowball cookies”. My mouth is watering just reading how to make these. I’m making these and the “Lemon Snowball Cookies” for Christmas. Thanks so much for both recipes!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    5 stars
    As a life long lover of Russian Tea Cakes, I am so excited; this recipe is a delightful, fresh new take on such a classic! Thank you so much for sharing, I will be adding this to my list of favorites and making them for years to come.

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