I have been making these Italian citrus snowball cookies as my family's Christmas cookies for years because they are so amazing. The snowball cookie dough is made with orange and lemon and is actually from my Citrus sugar cookies which I adapted to this easy recipe over the years. These snowball cookies are so delicious and perfect for the holidays.
About these orange and lemon snowball cookies
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 leftover scraps that you end up with after rolling out your cutout cookies. These orange and lemon-flavored snowball cookies became the way I make use of those scraps and I have been making this recipe for over 10 years.
We love these orange and lemon snowball cookies so much now that we make an entire batch of this dough and only make these cookies. These cookies are very forgiving.
You only need to grab a chunk of the dough, squeeze it in your hands, and then roll it into a ball. You just cannot overwork it!
The ingredients for these citrus snowball holiday cookies are so simple. Here is what you will need:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
How to make citrus snowball cookies
- Make your dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove your dough from the fridge and begin taking small chunks of dough a warming them in your hands.
- When the dough is a little pliable start rolling them into little round balls.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Place the cookies on a cookie sheet and let them cool completely.
- Roll in powdered sugar.
- You can dust them with more powdered sugar before serving. (optional)
This recipe has you roll the snowball cookies when they are cool. Sometimes I also like to roll the snowball cookies right when they come out of the oven.
When you roll them in some powdered sugar while they are still nice and warm 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.
The powdered sugar coating on these cookies is part of what makes these orange and lemon snowball cookies so good. These are basically Italian snowball cookies with the flavor of citrus and the powdered sugar coating.
These orange and lemon snowball cookies are the most sought-after cookies in our family. I also love entertaining with them.
As I mentioned above, this is the same dough I use for my holiday citrus cookie recipe. That recipe is for making shapes so you could make both types of cookies at once if you prefer.
I have also evolved this recipe even more by adding warm eggnog spices and creating the most delicious eggnog snowball cookies. I may invent another use for this dough!
Working with this citrus cookie dough:
Sometimes depending on how dry it is outside and how long you refrigerate the dough, the dough can be 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 snowball cookie recipe.
Just keep rolling and squeezing the dough 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 squeeze and roll in your hands process 🙂
Give these Italian snowball cookies 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.
Make these as Lemon Snowball Cookies
If you prefer to just make lemon snowball cookies, you can just omit the orange and follow the rest of the recipe the exact same way.
You can roll cookies in powdered sugar when they are cool or still warm. The powdered sugar does stay on the cooled cookies. When you roll snowball cookies in powdered sugar while the cookie is still warm the cookie will absorb some of that sweet powdered sugar.
Snowball cookies can be made from many different cookie dough recipes. The one thing all snowball cookie dough recipes will have in common is the dough will be drier so the cookies do not flatten when baking.
During the holidays, we love serving up these snowball cookies to follow a meal of pasta Genovese, Italian-baked meatballs, or Italian Baked ham with glaze. If you looking for some more ideas of what to serve with these citrus snowball cookies, here are some ideas:
More Ways to Enjoy These Cookies
We love making these cookies during the holidays and here are some of our favorite ways to use them:
- Homemade cookie boxes: We love making our Homemade Marshmallows our Snowflake Sugar Cookies and Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and our Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles for a festive holiday cookie box.
- Make a beautiful holiday table with baked goods: We like to make our Sugared Cranberries and Pumpkin Creme Brulee and our Pumpkin Cake and Italian Apple Cake for a holiday dessert table that no one can resist.
Italian Citrus Snowball Cookies
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature which is equal to 1 ½ sticks
- the zest of one lemon with a microplane or zester
- the zest of 1 orange with a microplane or zester
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup of powdered sugar in small bowl
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Using electric mixer, beat butter, lemon zest and orange zest in large bowl until light.¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, the zest of one lemon, the zest of 1 orange
- Add ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.½ cup sugar, ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Beat in egg.1 large egg
- Add dry ingredients.
- Using spoon, stir until mixture forms a crumbly dough. You can use your hands to mix it together as well.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Take 1 heaping teaspoon 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 ½ 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 cool completely then using a small spoon or fork, transfer cookies to a bowl of powdered sugar, rolling them around so they get nice and coated.1 cup of powdered sugar in small bowl
- Repeat this process until you have coated all your cookies with powdered sugar.
- Dust with a little more powdered sugar before serving.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here