Italian Butterball Cookies

Italian butterball cookies are soft, buttery, melt in your mouth deliciousness.

Italian Butterball Cookies stacked on a red plate.

There are so many different names for this very popular cookie. Italian Wedding Cookies, Butterball Cookies with Pecans, Italian Cookies, even Mexican Wedding Cookies. But we call them butterball cookies in our house.

I usually only make these during Christmas time but have been known to have a craving hit during the year.

Try our Peanut Butter Balls!

Italian Butterball Cookies

Italian Butterball Cookies - chopped pecans on a wooden cutting board

How to make Italian Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Finely chop the pecans. You don’t want big chunks in these cookies. Sorry about the ginormous photo of the cutting board. I had help with the pics on this post from my daughter.

Cream the softened butter with 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar. Add the egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract. 

In a separate bowl whisk the all-purpose flour, salt, and, baking powder together. Stir in the chopped pecans.  

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix just until combined.

Italian Butterball Cookie dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake about 10 minutes, keep an eye on them. You don’t want them to brown.

Italian Butterball Cookies on a wire rack

Let cool completely.

Italian Butterball Cookies coated in powdered sugar on a wire rack

Roll in the powdered sugar to coat evenly, shake off extra.

Italian Butterball Cookies stacked on a plate


Try our Monster Cookies!

Italian Butterball Cookies stacked on a red plate.

Italian Butterball Cookies

Italian butterball cookies are soft, buttery, melt in your mouth deliciousness.
4.34 from 75 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cookie, Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories: 142kcal
Author: Don’t Sweat The Recipe


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter – softened
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 oz pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (up to 1/2 cup to coat)


  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Chop the nuts, set aside.
  • In a large bowl cream together the softened butter and 3/4 cup confectioners sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract.
    1/2 cup unsalted butter – softened, 1 large egg, room temperature, 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir in the chopped pecans. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated. Scraping down the bowl as needed.
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 4 oz pecans, finely chopped
  • Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until firm. Watch closely, you don't want them to brown too much on the bottoms. Cool on the baking pan for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from cookie sheet to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  • Place 1/4 cup confectioners sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll the cooled cookies in the confectioner's sugar to coat.
    1/4 cup confectioners sugar


If using salted butter omit the salt in the recipe.
Storing – Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Freezing – You can freeze with or without powdered sugar. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. If you freeze without the sugar, bring them to room temperature before rolling the powdered sugar. 


Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 160IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

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    1. Hmmm, I’ve never had this happen. I would recommend checking that your ingredients are expired. The baking powder and the extracts, even the pecans.

    1. We’ve never tried that before. All we can say is ‘you can try!’. If you do, let us know what you thought. Thanks!

    1. Yes, they keep well in the freezer for 1-2 months. Freeze the baked cookie in a sealed container, but do not coat with powdered sugar. When you defrost and prepare for serving, finish coating with powdered sugar.

  1. Hi there, quick question before I make these…do you spoon and level or scoop and level the flour? Thank you in advance.

          1. Hi there, made these…follow the recipe exactly, they are delish! Since this is my preference, I would reduce the amount of sugar next time. Thank you for the delicious cookie recipe. Love it!5 stars

  2. This looks delicious and want to make it for my hubby. I’ve never made cookies before. I’ve baked cakes. For creaming the butter and sugar, how long do you cream them? Is this the same as baking cakes like 5-6 minutes before adding the eggs?

  3. My recipe (from the 50s or 60s) says to roll in powdered sugar while hot – never works, they break up! I dumped a lot of sugar on the top and cooled them, turned out fine. But waiting until they cool sounds a lot better. Also, I’m glad to see that the bottoms are flat in your picture – I thought mine ended up wrong, but I see not. Thank you!5 stars

  4. I grew up eating these. My my grandmother religiously made these at Christmas and I’m so happy to have found a recipe that taste JUST like them! Thank you!4 stars

  5. I have a question. I just mixed this recipe And the dough is super sticky. Is that normal? I’m assuming if it is I will need to either grease my hands or flour them when I’m rolling the balls to bake.

    1. Hi, Betty. This has never happened to me but my suggestion is to check the temperature of your oven. Low oven temperature can contribute to more cookie spread. I would also suggest making sure your baking powder is still good. To test if baking powder is still active, spoon 1/2 teaspoon in a bowl and pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over it. It should bubble up actively right away. If it does, it’s still good. I hope this helps!

    2. I’ve bee searching forever for a recipe for Italian wedding cookies that use an egg! Eurica!! I used to have on but lost it. I have made without but to me they crunble easily and are dry and choking. Adding these to my christmass baking list. I always freeze ahead and toss with a little extra powdered sugar when thawed. As well all my baking is gluten free, will just modify this one. Thank you so much for this post. I’m on my way to check out your snickerdoodle recipe, Linda

  6. These tasted exactly as I hoped they would! So easy, and doesn’t make a ton. Great for our household of two. I frequently bought these same cookies from a famous Italian bakery at the mall, and they cost $1.75 PER COOKIE! I would indulge occasionally, but now I can make them easily myself. Thanks!!!5 stars

  7. First time making these and they turned out perfect! I am comparing mine to others I’ve tried. Wow. I’m a new baker of Christmas cookies and these will be a staple. Oooooh so good! Thank you for sharing the recipe🎄5 stars

  8. It is very good and me and my daughter made this italian butterball. Cookies. For my granddaughter birthday.4 stars

  9. These are similar to the Mexican cookie called Polvorones. Also delicious. I’m definitely going to try these!

  10. I’ve been searching for a recipe that resembles my grandmothers cookies for over 40 years, and haven’t found the right one. Can’t wait to try these.

    1. Hi, Paula! Please come back and let us know how close this comes to your grandmother’s recipe! Warning, even if these aren’t as good they are addictive! 😉

  11. Your Italian Butterball Cookies look amazing, we will just love them! Thanks so much for sharing this awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen5 stars

4.34 from 75 votes (61 ratings without comment)

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