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Easy and Delicious Citrus Snowball Cookies

Easy and Delicious Citrus Snowball Cookies

I have been making these citrus snowball cookies as my family’s Christmas cookies for years because they are so amazing. This dough is actually for my regular cutout sugar cookies and I adapted it to this easy recipe.

This citrus snowball cookie recipe was something that I began making when I decided there had to be a better way to work with those left over scraps that you end up with after rolling out your cutout cookies.  This snowball cookie idea has become the way I make use of those cookie dough scraps.

You know, after that first re-roll but there were still scraps of dough left.  I just roll these scraps into little balls and bake them in the oven.  They are very forgiving as in I squish the dough until it is pliable in my hands to roll into a beautiful balls. You just cannot over work it!

The steps to making these citrus snowball cookies:

  1. Make your dough and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Remove your dough from the fridge and begin taking small chunks of dough a warming them in your hands.
  3. When your dough is a little pliable start rolling them into little round balls.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  5. As soon as they are out of the oven, roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar.
  6. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet and let cool completely.
  7. You can dust them with more powdered sugar after they cool (optional)

When they come out of the oven, I roll them in some powdered sugar while they are still nice and warm and they absorb that yummy sweetness.  Some of the powdered sugar will be absorbed into the cookie and some will remain on the outside of the cookie.

I dusted these cookies with a little more powdered sugar after they were cool.

You know what, these are the most sought after cookies in our family and now I make the cookies straight from the dough without waiting for the scraps. I love when things come together like this!   As I mentioned above, this is the same dough I use for my holiday cookie recipe when I am making shapes.   

I have also evolved this recipe even more by adding in warm eggnog spices and creating the most delicious eggnog snowball cookies. I may invent another use for this dough!

citrus snowball cookies
These are the eggnog snowball cookies. Same dough with the addition of warm holiday spices!

You can make these cookies by starting with the cutout cookies and then make the snowball cookie with scraps or you can just make this snowball cookie from the full recipe below like I now do. 

Working with the Dough:

This dough can be a little tricky to work with because it is a little drier than most cookie doughs out there, but let me tell you it is worth it for the flavor!  Remember that there is really no overworking the dough in this recipe.

Just keep rolling and squishing it in your hands until the ball of dough comes together. It is actually kind of fun doing this. Get others involved and it makes the process much faster.

Having a drier dough from the start is what gives you the perfect light texture after baking. Trust me, I would not write up a recipe that is too difficult. Trust in the squish and roll in your hands process 🙂

Give this recipe a try and you will have a new favorite cookie! Once you see how easy these are to make you will be adding these to your Christmas cookies rotation for years to come.

Citrus Snowball Cookies

A delicious classic snowball cookie perfect for the holidays
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 dozen (approx)


Cookie Dough

  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • the zest of one lemon with a microplane or zester
  • the zest of 1 orange with a microplane or zester
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg


  • 1 cup of powdered sugar in small bowl


  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.
  • Using electric mixer, beat butter, lemon peel and tangerine peel in large bowl until light.
  • Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.
  • Beat in egg.
  • Add dry ingredients.
  • Using spoon, stir until mixture forms a crumbly dough. You can use your hands to mix it together as well.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Take 1 tsp of cookie dough at a time and roll into a ball in your hands. If the dough is dry just squish it in your hands to warm the butter in the dough and try rolling it again.
  • Transfer cookies to ungreased nonstick baking sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart.
  • Repeat this process until you rolled all of your dough into cookie balls.
  • Bake until cookies turn lightly brown on bottoms, about 10-15 minutes. At 10 minutes I like to check the cookies by gently lifting up one cookie on the pan and looking at the bottom to see if it is a brown.
  • Once they are done, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack
  • Let cookies stand on sheets 1 minute. Using a small spoon or fork, transfer cookies to a bowl of powdered sugar, rolling them around so they get nice and coated.
  • Now transfer cookies to a cooling rack to fully cool.
  • Repeat this process until you have coated all your cookies with powdered sugar.
  • Let cookies fully cool on cooling rack, about 30 minutes and then enjoy!
  • Dust with a little more powdered sugar before serving.


The recipe originally comes from Epicurious and over the years I have made my own adjustments to suit my own taste.

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