Snowball Cookies

Snowball cookies are quite possibly the most underrated Christmas cookie. If you’ve not had the privilege of eating one before, they are tender, flaky, light little balls of shortbread which actually look like a miniature snowball! And they almost melt in your mouth the way a real snowball would, too. Elegant, yet simple and playful in appearance, a tray of snowball cookies would be welcomed at any holiday gathering!

Growing up, snowball cookies were some of my absolute favorites! It was tradition for my grandma to make them each year for Christmas, making this allergy-friendly recipe remake extra special. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

A few comments on the ingredients: Palm shortening is a replacement for butter in this recipe. Palm shortening is solid at room temperature, like butter, and has a very neutral flavor which makes it a good choice for this type of baking. The gelatin powder is included to help bind the cookie dough together. Often gluten-free baking flour mixes contain different gums (often xanthan gum), which have been linked with various health concerns. To avoid the inclusion of these processed and questionable ingredients, gelatin is used here to accomplish the same goal. An additional tip for ensuring the dough will stick together is to chop the walnuts very finely. Larger bits will make it more challenging for the dough to come together. I chopped mine with a chefs knife, but the food processor may do a nice job in a fraction of the time.

Happy holiday baking!

Snowball Cookies

Also known as Russian Teacakes and Mexican Wedding Cookies, these light, airy shortbread Christmas cookies actually look like little snowballs! (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chill Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 cookies


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup palm shortening
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-1/2 tsp gelatin
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Reserving 1/2 cup powdered sugar on the side for later, mix all other ingredients together with clean hands and form dough into a ball. If dough is too crumbly still, add additional water in tiny increments - 1 tsp or so at a time until dough will stick together. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Form cookie dough into 1" balls. Dough may be a little more crumbly than traditional snowball cookie dough; may require a little extra effort to shape. 
  • Form 24 cookies and place on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 10 minutes; cookies should be "set" but NOT browned. Remove from oven. 
  • Allow cookies to cook for 3 minutes, then while the cookies are still warm, roll them in the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar to coat them. Rolling cookies while warm ensures the powdered sugar will stick to the outside. 
  • Consider a second roll in powdered sugar just before serving to freshen up the powdered sugar coating.


May be made in advance. Cookies freeze well.