The most delicious snowball cookies without nuts that you'll ever make! These 4-ingredient snowball cookies are buttery, melt in your mouth, and are so easy to make (no chilling required)! Although these are nut-free snowball cookies, they're rich in flavor with my secret ingredient, powdered milk!
What Are Snowball Cookies
Snowball cookies are shortbread cookies. They're buttery, tender, and melt in your mouth. Yes, they're as delicious as they sound!
These cookies are known as traditional Christmas cookies. You'd be surprised that each country has its own version and variation of these cookies! Snowball cookies' other names are Mexican wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, melting moments, and polvorones.
In Malaysia, I know them as milky Arabic cookies or powdered milk cookies. They are served as Ramadan cookies along with our famous pineapple cookies (tart nenas), chocolate almond cookies, and coconut cookies.
Why This Recipe Works
Because these easy snowball cookies only use 4 basic ingredients, you don't need to chill the dough and they're perfect for you if you have nut allergies.
My secret to making them flavorful is by using powdered milk! You'll bite into tender cookies with a delicious milky flavor, oh wow!
This recipe is a winner also because we're only using powdered sugar to coat the cookies, not in the dough. So you can control the sweetness yourself. Do a single coat if you prefer less sweet. Genius!
The 4 Ingredients For These Cookies
Butter - Unsalted. Good butter matters, especially in these melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies, so find the best you can.
Powdered milk - My secret ingredient to flavorful snowball cookies without nuts! Full-fat or skimmed powdered milk works equally great, so no worries.
*See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
1. Mix butter and powdered milk. Add butter to a stand mixer bowl. Whisk for 4-5 minutes until fluffy on medium speed, using the paddle attachment. Then add in powdered milk and mix for another 1-2 minutes until everything is well combined.
2. Add in flour. Add in all-purpose flour in 2 additions. Mix well after each addition at the lowest speed. You'll get a crumbly dough, don't worry.
3. Bake. Grab 1 tablespoon of dough, press it in your hands, and roll it into a ball. Your hands' heat will bring the dough together. Place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes.
4. Coat. After 4-5 minutes and while still warm, coat the cookies one by one in powdered sugar. Place them back on the baking tray for them to cool completely. Then give them a second coat of powdered sugar. These snowball cookies without nuts are ready to be devoured!
Recipe Expert Tips
- Room temperature butter. This is important as you want the butter to be creamy and fluffy (think light, airy cookies!). You can't achieve those with cold butter. Butter that's too soft will make the dough too wet and baked cookies too greasy.
If your kitchen is too hot, or the dough is too soft, chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Warm cookies for the first coat. Wait for 4-5 minutes (while they're still warm) before giving the cookies their first coating in powdered sugar. Hot cookies will crumble to the touch. Cold cookies won't absorb the powdered sugar for the first coat.
- Cold cookies for the second coat. Wait until the cookies have cooled completely before coating them for the second time in the powdered sugar. The first coat will create a sticky layer. This will grab on to more powdered sugar in this second coating, giving them the beautiful snowy look!
How To Serve And Store
Serve - Not that they need special occasions to enjoy but these snowball cookies are typically served as one of the Christmas cookies and Ramadan cookies. You'd also want to try my delicious healthier Linzer cookies, Marco's family's fruitcake, and my Nutella stuffed chocolate chunk cookies!
Store - In an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
To freeze before baking - Place balls on a pan lined with parchment paper and freeze for 1 hour. Put them in a zip-lock bag and freeze them for up to 6 months. Bake for an additional 2-3 minutes.
To freeze after baking - Freeze coated snowball cookies in an air-tight container for up to 6 months. Don't use a zip-lock bag to prevent them from getting broken (remember, they're tender!).
Thaw in the fridge and then bring to room temperature. You might want to coat them again in powdered sugar to freshen their looks.
Each country has its own version and variation of these buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. Snowball cookies' other names are Mexican wedding cookies, Russian teacakes, butterballs, melting moment cookies, snowdrops, polvorones, milky Arabic cookies, powdered milk cookies, or maamoul cookies.
Most probably the butter was too soft, making the cookies over-spreading while baking. Use butter at room temperature. If your kitchen is too hot, chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
By double coating the cookies! The first coat is when the cookies are still warm. This will create a thin sticky layer on them. The second coat is when the cookies are completely cooled. The sticky layer will grab more powdered sugar in the second coating.
Absolutely! Freeze the baked coated cookies in an air-tight container. Freeze unbaked balls on a pan lined with parchment paper for 1 hour. Then place them in a zip-lock bag. Both ways, they last up to 6 months.
Related Cookie Recipes
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Snowball Cookies Without Nuts (Milky Arabic Cookies)
- 1 ⅓ cup unsalted butter , room temperature
- 1 cup powdered milk
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC), using top and bottom heat, without the fan.
- Place butter in a stand mixer bowl, and mix for 4-5 minutes until fluffy using a paddle attachment on medium speed. Add in powdered milk and continue mixing for 1-2 minutes.
- Add flour in 2 additions, mixing well after each addition, using the lowest speed. You'll get a crumbly dough. Grab 1 tablespoon of dough, press it in your hands, and roll it into a ball. The heat from your hands will bring the dough together.
- Place the balls on the prepared pan.
- Bake on a lower ⅔ rack for 15 minutes or until the bottom edges of the cookies are brown. Remove from the oven.
- Put the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Wait for 4-5 minutes or until the cookies are warm to the touch.
- Coat them in powdered sugar one by one, and leave them to cool completely on the baking pan. Give the cookies a second coating in the powdered sugar. Enjoy!
- Use the spoon and level method for cup measurements. A good kitchen scale is better because it's more precise.
- Use a portable oven thermometer to get the accurate oven temperature.
- The dough will be crumbly at first, the heat of your hands will soften the butter and brings the dough together to form perfect balls.
- The first coating with powdered sugar should be when the cookies are still warm.
- The second coating with powdered sugar should be when the cookies are completely cooled.
Originally published on Aug 16, 2017. Updated with improved text, recipe, and pictures on Mar 4, 2023.