Italian Amaretto Butter Cookies

Saturday, November 28, 2020
These Italian Amaretto Butter Cookies are a basic butter cookie that melts in your mouth with the first bite.

The popular butter cookie is also known as snowballs, pecan butterballs, Mexican wedding cakes, Mexican tea cakes, Russian teacakes, butterballs cookies, pecan sandies, viennese sugar butterballs, whatever alias you name them they are a delicious addition to any cookie collection!.

This easy recipe can be modified easily with flavoring and nuts of choice but always dusted at the end and rolled into a snowy powdered sugar.

They make the perfect addition to any cookie tray around the holiday season.

We love Christmas time for baking cookies and you may also like to try several other holiday cookies we love that add that spirit to the season of baking.

The additions and changes are pretty much endless when you get creative so don't miss my optional suggestions below

Scroll down to my printable recipe card for this melt in your mouth simple buttery cookie recipe.

this is a Christmas sleigh full of butter cookies covered in powdered sugar that look like snowballs

these are butterballs cookies rolled in powdered sugar they look like snowballs

Classic Butter Ball Cookies

If you love buttery cookies with a touch of sweetness, this will be your new favorite cookie butter ball recipe.

The cookie is not only flaky with buttery goodness it's pretty like a snowball on the Christmas cookie tray and a must-make every year.

Even though these can be any flavor extract you like we prefer the pistachio almond flavor.

If you really want Authentic tasting cookies try making my Homemade Amaretto Liqueor, we always make a huge batch for the holidays and it's super easy!

these are cookies rolled into powdered sugar in a ball shape

Other Additions:

  1. lemon extract
  2. mini chocolate chips
  3. toffee chips
  4. orange, mint, maple, or other flavored extract substitutes
  5. coconut shredded
  6. for Christmas, colors add chopped maraschino cherries and white chocolate chips
  7. pistachios, macadamia nuts, pecan, walnuts, or for nut allergies pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  8. whole cloves in the center
  9. zest from lemon or oranges
  10. chopped dried fruits
  11. cranberries or raisins with cinnamon added to the batter

this is the directions on how to make Amaretto Butter Cookies or Snowball Cookies

Ingredients You Will Need (scroll down for exact measurements)

  • powdered sugar and more for garnishing
  • vanilla
  • butter
  • flour
  • egg yolk
  • Amaretto
  • almond extract
  • Optional:
  • other flavored extracts
  • zest of lemon or oranges
  • coconut
  • assorted flavored chocolate chips
  • see the list above for other options to add

this is cookie dough chilled wrapped in wax paper


  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • mixing bowl
  • fork or spatula
  • nut chopper if using
  • baking cookie sheet
  • parchment paper

this is cookie dough being made in a kitcheaid mixer bowl for butterballs

Pin for Later

this is a pin for later on how to make butter ball cookies

More Recipes To Try:

Banana Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Chocolate Spice Cookies

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cookies

these are snowball cookies also called Mexican wedding cakes in a sleigh with fake snow and Christmas decorations in the background

Popular Names

These cookies have so many names through the years that we've baked them maybe you remember them called: Butterballs, Nut Butterballs, Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Italian Butterballs, Snowballs, Pecan Butterballs, Classic Butterballs.

The cookie is simple to make and basic so you can name them anything you want and a new name is born just by the nuts and flavorings you choose, and viola a new cookie is invented.

It's still one of the best-tasting cookies on the planet no matter what you call it and is perfect for any Holiday or Wedding cookie tray.

Italian Amaretto Butter Cookies

Italian Amaretto Butter Cookies

Yield: 24
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 25 Min
This is an easy butter cookie we make around the holiday season. The flavor can be changed to anything you prefer however we make these with Amaretto and almond extract then they are rolled in powdered sugar.


  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of regular salted butter softened (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup of chopped toasted almonds, pecans, pistachios, macadamia, walnuts, or hazelnuts (if you have nuts allergies substitute with roasted pumpkin seeds crushed or sunflower seeds unsalted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Amaretto liqueur or for stronger flavor use
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract 
  • Garnish: more powdered sugar for garnishing and rolling the cookies in (around 2 cups)
  • Note:  you can also substitute almond extract for vanilla, lemon, orange, maple, zest from fruits, even peppermint, or another flavored extract and make any flavors you prefer and omit the liquor.


  1. Soften butter and cream together with sugar and beat together for around 3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg yolk, and the flavorings and mix well.
  3. Add flour and beat again.
  4. Add nuts. 
  5. Chill for 2 hours wrapped in wax paper.
  6. Shape dough into walnut-sized balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
  8. Place on wax paper and cool for 10 minutes, cover cookies in powdered sugar while slightly warm, then again when completely cooled.



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)

amaretto butter balls, butter ball cookies, almond butter cookies, Italian almond butter balls
cookies, holiday cookies, Amaretto recipes, cookie recipes
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pin for Later

these are how to make snowballs cookies pin for later for Christmas and the recipe

More Recipes To Try:

25 Holiday Cookies

One-Stop Cookie Shop

these are cookies rolled into powdered sugar and look like a snowballs

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2009. It was edited and re-published in 2020.


  1. Your Amaretto Cookies look delicious! I was thinking about making a "snowball" type cookie and I think you just gave me the cookie to make! I'll be working in the kitchen tonight! :o)

    Also, if your family is in Utica, NY then they are not very far from me at all! I am about a 2 hour drive north of Utica!

  2. Well I hope one holiday very soon everyone can fly down to Florida for Christmas and cookie baking!! I love your amaretto butter cookies - when I lived in Brooklyn I would always be attracted to those kinds of sugar-dusted cookies at Regina's Italian Bakery, which was just a couple of blocks from my apartment. Mmmm, those were the days!

  3. Such gorgeous cookies! I would love to have one of those boxes filled with Amaretto cookies... I'm sure you'll be very busy these few weeks for the preparations huh! So, what are you asking for this X'mas? hehe....

  4. Those little balls look delicious indeed!

  5. I love the amaretto flavor, scrumptious cookies!

  6. That's such a beautiful spread of mouth-watering Christmas cookies. Must be awesome Christmas atmosphere in your house. I love that.

  7. you had me at amaretto! These look amazing.

  8. I love it when you share stories about your family! So warm and I feel I am in the same room with you guys~ -- - Miss you my friend

  9. I would pay a million dollars for a cookie tray from your family! These look wonderful, I love this basic recipe, I make something similar but the Amaretto really makes these special. I bet they smell wonderful when They're baking.

  10. Oh how tasty. I've never made these ... yet. Now I will. And - you can have our snow.

  11. Wow, these look amazing! Geez... another cookie recipe to add to the TODO list. Thanks Claudia! ;)

  12. This is one of my faves as well, Mother made these, sans Amaretto, but I know that could only improve hers...soory a day late, power was out last nite...

  13. What a great Christmas cookie. Very festive. I love the post and your two great nieces:)

  14. They look so scrumptious! Thanks for sharing!

  15. These snowball cookies with Amaretto are a delight...absolutely sinful, with all the batch :)



  16. I'm a California native (LA) so we never had snow either. My Christmases were filled with beaches and palm trees. It's refreshing to be living in MAnhattan now with a winter storm on its way!

    P.S. I totally need a Santa outfit when I cook in the kitchen! Love it :)

  17. I love snowball cookies and I think they are a must for the holiday cookie tray. These look fantastic, Claudia.

  18. One of my favorite cookies but I always eat way too many.

  19. These are by far my favorite Christmas cookies. Always delicious. Always buttery. Always the first ones to disappear!

  20. I think I am addicted to these yummy cookies! I need to make another batch already!

  21. These are my favourite Italian cookies!

  22. What should I replace the amaretto with if I want to omit that from the cookie? Another liquid?

    1. if still using the almond extract I would just add more vanilla extract around 1 more teaspoon will be enough or if you love almond flavoring add the teaspoon more of almond extract either one is fine and omit the Amaretto

  23. Can I freeze these cookies?

  24. I love snowball cookies and these amaretto butter cookies look delicious! So crisp and soft...I wish I had one right now :D


Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia