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.

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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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  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.
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  • 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

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

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



  • 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

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  • 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? ›

Originating in Russia, as the name suggests, this cookie was intended to be a dessert to accompany teatime, similar to the way the English enjoy tea with pastries. It is not credited to being invented by any particular person since the whole point of the cookies is that anybody can make them.

How many calories are in a Russian tea cake? ›

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

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's the difference between tea cake and regular cake? ›

Texture: Tea cakesare typically denser than sponge cakes as they contain more butter and are often made with a lower amount of rising agents like baking powder.

What is the national cake of Russia? ›

Standing tall with at least eight tiers (and sometimes more than 20) of alternating layers of pastry and custard, the Napoleon cake has become a national Russian dish, inspired by the French mille-feuille.

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).

What is a Chinese tea cake? ›

Compressed tea, called tea bricks, tea cakes or tea lumps, and tea nuggets according to the shape and size, are blocks of whole or finely ground black tea, green tea, or post-fermented tea leaves that have been packed in molds and pressed into block form.

What are Scottish 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 were cupcakes called in Britain? ›

In Britain, cupcakes are called fairy cakes. Fairy cakes use a lighter glacé icing compared to the buttercream used by American bakers.

What does the doctor say about Tea Cake? ›

The doctor prescribes some pills and then pulls Janie out to talk to her privately. He reveals that Tea Cake has been bitten by a mad dog (in other words, one with rabies) and that Tea Cake's inability to drink water is one sure symptom.

What is birthday Tea Cake? ›

Celebrate in style with Bite's Birthday Tea Cakes, a confetti-flavored treat topped with sweet icing and sprinkles. Whether it's a birthday party or any festive occasion, these cakes are the perfect bites. We keep these tea cakes frozen and ship them refrigerated.

Which cake is often eaten during afternoon teas? ›

Foremost of the classic English cakes designed for afternoon tea is the Victoria sponge: a light two-layer cake with jam and sometimes buttercream or whipped cream filling, sprinkled lightly on top with sugar.

Why is Russian cake called Russian cake? ›

There is an interesting legend of how the Russian cake got its name. The story goes that a New Orleans baker made it because he ran out of ingredients to bake a proper cake for the visit of the Russian Grand Duke Alexis when he visited the city in 1872 for Mardi Gras.

Why is Russian 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.

Where did the name tea cakes come from? ›

In conclusion, although the word "tea cake" has a confusing history, it probably derives from the custom of having cake with afternoon tea. Tea cakes soon became a mainstay of the British tea culture as their popularity increased and they were increasingly associated with drinking tea.

Why is Tea Cake called Tea Cake? ›

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.


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