These gluten-free snowball cookies have a light, fluffy texture and rich, buttery flavor! They are undetectably gluten-free and just like the classic cookies you know and love.

My TOP tips for perfect gluten-free snowball cookies – add a little cornstarch to the dry ingredients and chill the dough! Read on for more tips.

gluten-free snowball cookies in a bowl with ornaments surrounding the bowl

No holiday dessert table is complete without classic snowball cookies! They look amazing, they taste delicious, and are super fun to make, too!

There are many names for this popular cookie: Mexican wedding cookies, Italian wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, and Pfeffernusse cookie, just to name a few! No matter what you call them, these rich, buttery pecan cookies are always rolled in powdered sugar for a festive winter “snowball” look.

These shortbread cookies aren’t overly sweet, so the powdered sugar coating perfectly balances the buttery, nutty flavor.

Snowball cookies are such an iconic holiday treat, I knew I had to make a gluten free snowball cookie recipe that measured up to the traditional cookie!

The key tricks for AMAZING gluten-free snowball cookies are to use a high-quality gluten-free flour blend, powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar, and to add a little bit of cornstarch to the dough.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Light and fluffy texture
  • Delicious hint of almond flavor
  • Easy to make
  • Made from simple ingredients
  • Great for Christmas time or holiday neighbor gifts

These delicious cookies are great for cookie exchanges, Christmas parties, family dinners, school parties, or any other occasion.

They’re one of my favorite Christmas cookies, and I’m sure they’ll soon be one of yours, too!

For more gluten-free christmas cookies, try these recipes for gluten-free biscotti, gluten-free gingerbread cookies and gluten-free chocolate crinkle cookies.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for gluten-free snowball cookies on a counter top

Here are a few notes on the key ingredients needed to make these cookies.

  • Gluten-free baking flour: I recommend using a high-quality gluten-free 1:1 baking flour. You want to look for an all-purpose flour that contains xanthan gum as a binder. This will prevent the cookies from being too crumbly.  This is my favorite brand.
  • Pecans: Finely chopped pecans give these cookies great texture! You could also use walnuts, if you prefer.
  • Almond extract: Almond extract is the secret that makes these cookies so delicious!
  • Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar (instead of granulated sugar) is one of the key ingredients for light snowball cookies! It is used in the dough and for dusting on these iconic holiday cookies. I also use this trick in my gluten-free shortbread cookies.
  • Cornstarch: A little cornstarch also helps to lighten the crumb of these cookies.

You also might like these gluten-free thumbprint cookies, gluten-free molasses cookies and gluten-free sugar cookies.

Use Powdered Sugar

(instead of Granulated Sugar)

One of the key tricks for gluten-free snowball cookies is to use powdered sugar (aka confectioners sugar) instead of granulated white sugar. Powdered sugar hydrates more easily in gluten-free dough to create that classic sandy (rather than grainy) shortbread consistency.

How to Make Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies

Butter and sugar creamed in a bowl
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, (or use a large bowl with an electric hand mixer) add the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Dry ingredients mixed in with butter and sugar in a bowl
  • With the mixer running on low, slowly add the gluten-free 1:1 baking flour. Mix in the cornstarch followed by the chopped nuts. Mix for another minute or so until well-combined, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. 
  • Cover the bowl of dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days). (If chilling for longer than a few hours, though, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking for the right texture.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. 
gluten-free snowball cookies dough on a baking sheet
  • Scoop the dough into Tablespoon-sized balls, roll cookies between your palms to make round. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 3 inches apart. 
Gluten-free snowball cookies baked on a cookie sheet
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the bottoms are beginning to turn golden brown.
gluten-free snowball cookies rolled in sugar on a baking sheet
  • Cool cookies for 10 minutes, then roll the slightly warm cookies in powdered sugar. 
  • Place cookies on a wire racks. Let the cookies cool completely and then roll in the little snowballs powdered sugar a second time. 
  • Repeat baking and rolling with the remaining dough. Enjoy!
A stack of gluten-free snowball cookies on a counter top

Storage Instructions

Store these gluten-free cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

gluten-free snowball cookies on a counter top with ornaments around them

Snowball Cookies FAQ

What are snowball cookies made of?

This classic holiday cookie is traditionally made with wheat flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a few other ingredients. My gluten-free snowball cookies are made with gluten-free flour, making them safe for people with Celiac disease.

Why did my snowball cookies turn out flat?

Your gluten free snowballs may turn out flat if the butter is too warm, or if the dough is over-mixed. Ensure the cookies turn out fluffy by chilling the dough before baking.

Can cookies covered in powdered sugar be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze snowball cookies and other cookies covered in powdered sugar. I like to freeze the cookies on a cookie sheet before packing them into a freezer bag for storage.

Expert Tips & Tricks

  • The chilling time helps the cookie dough to hydrate so the dough is easier to work with and prevents the finished cookies from tasting grainy.
  • For best results, use a high quality gluten-free 1:1 baking flour that contains xanthan gum.
  • Use powdered sugar (aka confectioners sugar) instead of granulated white sugar. Powdered sugar hydrates more easily in gluten-free dough to create that classic light texture.
  • A little cornstarch added to the dry ingredients helps to lighten the crumb of the cookies.
  • Add almond extract for an extra delicious flavor!
  • Use pecans or walnuts – or any nut you like!
gluten-free snowball cookies in a bowl

More gluten-free christmas cookies

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try these gluten-free snowball cookies, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you!

gluten-free snowball cookies in a bowl
4.75 from 4 votes

Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies (Melt in Your Mouth!)

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 24 cookies
These gluten-free snowball cookies have a light, fluffy texture and rich, buttery flavor! They are undetectably gluten-free and just like the classic cookies you know and love.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened 226 grams (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar 130 grams (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free 1:1 baking flour 260 grams
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup walnuts or pecans finely chopped, 84 grams measured after chopping

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, (or use a large bowl with an electric hand mixer) add the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • With the mixer running on low, slowly add the gluten-free 1:1 baking flour. Mix in the cornstarch followed by the chopped nuts. Mix for another minute or so until well-combined, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Cover the bowl of dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days). (If chilling for longer than a few hours, though, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking for the right texture.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  • Scoop the dough into Tablespoon-sized balls and roll between your palms to make round. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 3 inches apart.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the bottoms are beginning to turn golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes, then roll the slightly warm cookies in powdered sugar.
  • Place on a wire cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely and then roll in powdered sugar a second time.
  • Repeat baking and rolling with the remaining dough. Enjoy!

Notes

RECIPE NOTES
  • The chilling time helps the cookie dough to hydrate so the dough is easier to work with and prevents the finished cookies from tasting grainy.
  • For best results, use a high quality gluten-free 1:1 baking flour that contains xanthan gum. This is my favorite brand.
  • Use powdered sugar (aka confectioners sugar) instead of granulated white sugar. Powdered sugar hydrates more easily in gluten-free dough to create that classic light texture.
  • A little cornstarch added to the dry ingredients helps to lighten the crumb of the cookies.
  • Add almond extract for an extra delicious flavor!
  • Use pecans or walnuts – or any nut you like!

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    While baking, my cookies kind of flattened out. Regular snowballs are round. I’m sure they are still good, but why did this happen?

    1. Hi Brenda! I’m sorry the cookies spread for you. I would make sure you used enough gluten-free flour. What brand did you use?

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve had Italian cookie recipes for years now. But since I now have Celiac Disease, I have not made them.
    My family miss those cookies so much, it makes me sad.
    How can I convert the “Italian Cookie Recipes from regular flour to Gluten Free Flour. (The ratio of flour)
    Doesn’t every Gluten Free flour already have Xanthum gum in it?
    I’ve seen many recipes call for that!
    Please help me out regarding making my Gluten Free Italian Cookies.
    I truly want to make all the cookies this Holiday Season.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Maria! I find that gluten-free flour is quite a bit denser than regular flour. I usually reduce the amount of flour by 15-20% of what a recipe calls for as a starting place to make it gluten-free. Cookies are easier to make gluten-free than other types of baked goods so you should have good results with gluten-free 1:1 baking flour. Just reduce the flour slightly! I hope this helps 🙂

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