Russian Tea Cakes Recipe (2024)

| Updated | Heather Warburton


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This Russian Tea Cakes Recipe creates melt in your mouth buttery cookies that have pecans and are rolled in powdered sugar. A classic holiday cookie to share with everyone you love!

This recipe is super simple, requires very minimal ingredients and are quick to make. These cookies are great to make for the holidays because they can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. A perfect cookie for cookie exchanges or cookie gift boxes!

My kids love to call these cookies snowballs because obviously they look like snowballs. They are often also called Mexican wedding cakes. Whatever you want or do call them, there is no denying how popular they are around the holidays.

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe (1)

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe Ingredients

Substitution Suggestions:

  • Salted Butter: Feel free to use unsalted butter, but add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the cookie dough.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: If you like you can substitute with almond extract for a different flavor profile. Or use half vanilla and half almond. Also, use pure extracts, not imitation. The imitation leaves an unpleasant after taste to baked goods.
  • Finely Chopped Pecans: Our favorite way to enjoy these cookies are with pecans, but they are also really good with walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts and pistachios. Use your favorite! Or if you want them nut free use mini chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate.
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How to Make Easy Russian Tea Cakes

  1. In a stand mixer or with hand beaters, cream together the softened butter, ½ cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
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  • Russian Tea Cakes Recipe (4)
  1. Add the flour and finely chopped pecans and mix on low until it starts to form a dough that will stick together. This can take a few minutes.
  2. Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop dough and place 1 inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  3. Then roll the scoops into smooth balls.
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  • Russian Tea Cakes Recipe (6)
  1. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 10-12 minutes until cookies are set and the bottoms are just golden brown. The tops should not be browned.
  2. Let cookies cool on pan for 5 minutes, then roll in powdered and place on wire rack or cooled sheet pan.
  • Russian Tea Cakes Recipe (7)
  • Russian Tea Cakes Recipe (8)
  1. Let cookies cool completely and then roll again in powdered sugar.
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Tips for Making Russian Tea Cakes

  • Fluff your flour before measuring. Then spoon and level the flour to measure. I say this all the time, but it is so important. Especially in this cookie recipe. Too much flour will make the cookies crumbly.
  • Chop the pecans fine. Fine, small pieces will help the dough come together a lot easier and hold together a lot better.
  • The dough will take a few minute to come together in the stand mixer. Just let it keep mixing on low until the dough starts to form and stick together.
  • Don't let the cookies cool for more than 5 minutes. They need to still be warm when rolled in powdered sugar the first time so the sugar will stick to the cookie.

Storing Cookies

Storing: Store cookies in an air tight container between layers of wax paper. Store them for up to 5 days on the counter.

Freezing: These cookies freeze so well! Place the finished cookies in a freezer safe air tight container between layers of wax paper. Label, date and freeze. The cookies will last up to 4 month (sometimes longer) in the freezer.

Thawing: To thaw cookies, place them on the counter at room temp for a few hours. Or you can place them frozen right on the cookie tray and let them thaw while you wait for your guests to arrive!

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FAQs About Russian Tea Cakes

What is the difference between Mexican Wedding Cakes and Russian Tea Cakes?

There really isn't a difference. Both cookies are a butter shortbread cookies with nuts that are rolled in powdered sugar.

Why did my Russian Tea Cakes go flat?

Most common issue is the measuring of ingredients. Make sure the flour and powdered sugar is fluffed before measuring. Spoon and level them to measure. Also, make sure the butter isn't melted or too warm when making the dough. The butter should just be softened to the touch.

Why do they call them tea cakes?

The most common theory for why they are called tea cakes is the cookies were served with afternoon tea.

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More Holiday Cookie Recipes:

  • Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies
  • Chewy Molasses Cookies
  • Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
  • Peanut Butter Temptations
  • Gingerbread People
  • Italian Almond Cookies
  • Butter Spritz Cookies
  • Frosted Pumpkin Drop Cookies
  • Monster Cookies
  • Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies
  • Confetti Sugar Cookies

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4.60 from 5 votes

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe

This Russian Tea Cakes Recipe creates melt in your mouth buttery cookies that have pecans and are rolled in powdered sugar. A classic holiday cookie to share with everyone you love!

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 20 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes minutes

Plus Cooling: 5 minutes minutes

Servings: 48 cookies

Author: Heather



  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  • In a stand mixer or with hand beaters, cream together the butter, ½ cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract until creamy.

  • Add flour and pecans, mix on low until the dough starts to form and stick together. It can take a few minutes.

  • Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop dough and place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.

  • Roll the scoops into smooth balls.

  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes until cookies are set and the bottoms are golden brown. Tops should not be browned.

  • Let cookies cool on pan for 5 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar and set on wire rack or cooled sheet pan.

  • Let cookies cool completely and then roll in powdered sugar again.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Tried this recipe?Please rate the recipe, leave a comment and tell me how much you loved it!

Share the Recipe!Please share it and tag @heathershomemadekitchen and use #heathershomemadekitchen!

More Cookie Recipes

  • Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Birthday Cake Cookies
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Frosted Cookies and Cream Cookies

Reader Interactions


  1. Rita says

    I just tried these, and they are very crumbly. I tasted them and they taste like flour. Help what did I do wrong..


    • Heather Warburton says

      It sounds like there may be too much flour. Fluff flour and spoon it into measuring cup and level off. Also, the nuts should be chopped fine. The dough is crumbly at first but will come together. I hope that helps!


  2. Robert Potter says

    Russian Tea Cakes Recipe (17)
    This is a very simple recipe but one to not overlook being accurate with your measurements. I have my 2nd batch of the day in the oven our dog helped me drop the very hot 1st pan full on the floor reason for 2nd batch. Yes making again they are that good.


    • Heather Warburton says

      I'm so glad you like them!


Leave a Reply

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe (2024)


Why are they called Russian tea cakes? ›

Some people believe that Russian Tea Cakes originated in Eastern Europe, but as far as I could tell, they inherited the name from the 19th-century American fascination with Russian tea culture.

Why are cookies called tea cakes? ›

Outside the South, the words “tea cake” mean any cake served with tea. But to Southerners, tea cakes are more than that. They are the nostalgic cookies—crispy and golden around the edges, soft and cake-like inside—that are perfect for tea, or just about anything else you choose to drink.

What are tea cakes made of? ›

Tea cakes are soft roll-out cookies that are tender, chewy and pleasantly dense. They are a cookie with a cake-like texture. The ingredients are very simple (flour, sugar, butter, milk, nutmeg, and eggs), and the gentle flavor of nutmeg is what makes these so special.

Can you freeze tea cakes? ›

Suitable for home freezingTo enjoy our baking at its best, store in a cool dry place - ideally not refrigerated. Warmer conditions will reduce storage life. If freezing, freeze as soon as possible after purchase.

What is the white stuff in tea cakes? ›

The Tunnock's Teacake is a sweet food often served with a cup of tea or coffee. It was developed by Sir Boyd Tunnock in 1956. The product consists of a small round shortbread biscuit covered with a dome of Italian meringue, a whipped egg white concoction similar to marshmallow, although somewhat lighter in texture.

What is Louisiana Russian cake? ›

Russian Cake is prepared by mixing our almond cake, gold cake and devil's food cake with raspberry jelly, rum flavor and a hint of anise oil (licorice flavor). It is then topped with buttercream and nonpareils (aka sprinkles).

Why is it called Texas cake? ›

The origins of this cake are murky. Some sources say it may have first shown up in a Texas newspaper, which is why it's called "Texas" sheet cake, while others claim the name comes from the fact that it's the size of Texas. Regardless of its origins, this cake is truly a crowd-pleaser.

Why do they call them Mexican wedding cookies? ›

Regardless of the name you're familiar with, these cookies have a fascinating history deeply rooted in cultural traditions. Originating from medieval Arab culinary influences that made their way to Spain, these delicate treats eventually found their place in Mexican celebrations, particularly weddings.

Are tea cakes African American? ›

Tea cakes are an integral part of African American food culture. Originating over 250 years ago, these cookies were a recipe passed down verbally through generations. In fact, one of America's earliest tea cakes were the Edenton Tea Party Cakes.

What is Princess cake made of? ›

Swedish Princess Cake (Prinsesstårta) is a classic Scandinavian torte with layers of sponge cake, raspberry jam, vanilla custard, and whipped cream. It is traditionally dome-shaped and covered with a layer of sweet marzipan tinted green. Princess Cake has been on my baking bucket list for ages.

Do tea cakes have jam in them? ›

Product description. Jam centred mallow on a biscuit base covered in chocolate flavoured coating. The mix of biscuit, mallow, jam and chocolate is a delightful combination, to enjoy with afternoon tea or as a snack at any time of the day.

What is baking in England it is called tea cakes? ›

England. In most of England, a teacake is a light, sweet, yeast-based bun containing dried fruits, most usually currants, sultanas or peel. It is typically split, toasted, buttered, and served with tea. It is flat and circular, with a smooth brown upper surface and a somewhat lighter underside.

What is the shelf life of tea cakes? ›

Tea Cakes and brownies have average shelf life of 3-4 days if kept outside in AC room, wheres in fridge they will last for around 10 days. Other items have long shelf life of 40-80days.

Are teacakes the same as hot cross buns? ›

Teacakes are often larger and flatter with a slightly harder consistency, meaning they can be enjoyed with a range of condiments, including jams and marmalades. A Hot Cross Bun is softer, with more spices baked in, so is often just enjoyed with butter.

Are tea cakes healthy? ›

A quite healthy teatime option if eaten with low fat spread and/or jam. One teacake supplies around 10 per cent of your daily fibre intake – required for a healthy digestion and normally functioning bowels.

Why are Mexican wedding cakes called that? ›

Some even refer to them as Russian tea cookies. Yet, speculation indicates that in the 1950s, the name changed to Mexican wedding cake or cookies in the U.S. to diverge from any Cold War context due to the strained relations with Russia at the time.

Why is black tea called Russian tea? ›

As you can probably guess, this drink originated in Russia dating all the way back to the early 1800s. It was traditionally composed of black tea with lemon and sugar, orange and pineapple juices, cinnamon, clove, honey, and lemon or orange wedges for garnish.

What is a British tea cake called? ›

In Kent, the teacake is known as a "huffkin", which is often flavoured with hops, especially at the time of harvesting hops in September. In Sussex, a luxurious version of the teacake with added aromatics such as nutmeg, cinnamon and rose water is still sometimes made and called a manchet or Lady Arundel's Manchet.

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