My quick Russian Tea Cakes are an easy-to-make holiday classic that’s so perfect for your Christmas cookie table and cookie swaps! Tender, buttery cookies are filled with chopped walnuts and rolled in powdered sugar to make an irresistible treat!
Tender, sweet, and full of delicious nutty flavor – you and your family will love these delectable Russian tea cakes!
Russian tea cakes are a holiday classic beloved by so many! They’re known by many different names, but one thing remains the same - they’re delicious.
I love how these cookies are not only easy to make, but they also taste like you’ve spent so much time making them! Plus they look delicious - who could resist noshing on one?!
My Russian tea cake recipe is so quick and requires just a few ingredients with very little effort! Not a fan of walnuts? Check out my substitutions list for other nuts you can add to these wonderful little cookies!
Do your kiddos love to help make cookies during the holidays? This is the perfect recipe to get them in the kitchen! It’s straightforward, and they can help to portion and roll the dough balls or roll the cooled cookies in powdered sugar!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
A Holiday Classic! Russian tea cakes are a favorite for so many! These delicious cookies are always a hit at holiday parties or potlucks!
A Perfect Nutty Dessert! If you love nutty desserts, this is perfect for you! The walnuts fill the cookies with that rich, amazing nutty flavor.
An Easy Recipe! I love how easy this recipe is - it only takes 25 minutes to mix, portion, and bake. Cookies couldn’t be easier!
Delightful little Russian tea cakes are one of the easiest Christmas cookies ever! It only takes 5 ingredients to make these little beauties!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
- 1 cup Salted Butter – I like the depth of flavor that salted butter adds to these cookies! If you choose to use unsalted, add ¼ teaspoon salt for each ½ cup (1 stick) of butter.
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract – Try to use 100% pure vanilla extract here if you can! Vanilla extract adds that unmistakable sweet flavor we all love.
- 6 tablespoons + ⅓ cup Confectioner’s Sugar – You’ll use confectioner’s sugar to sweeten the dough plus more for rolling the baked tea cakes!
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour – The base of our cookies! You’ll need to use a scant 2 cups of flour (See Tips & Recipe Notes)
- 1 cup Chopped Walnuts – These will give the tea cakes a delicious nutty crunch! You can use pre-chopped walnuts or chop your own.
You can use any nut you like for the tea cakes! Pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds are great substitutions.
If you want a not-so-traditional flavor, switch out the confectioners' sugar for a cinnamon sugar blend instead! The flavor pairs exceptionally well with the walnuts!
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
This super easy recipe takes just about 25 minutes total! That makes it one of the easiest Christmas cookie recipes you can make!
Make the Cookie Dough
- Prep. Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C), then line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (silpat mat).
- Mix the dough. In a medium sized mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together 1 cup of salted butter (2 sticks) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract until the butter is smooth.
- Whisk the dry ingredients. Next, in a separate bowl, whisk 6 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar and 2 scant cups of all-purpose flour together. Then, add the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and mix until you have a shaggy dough (See Tips & Recipe Notes).
Roll & Bake Russian Tea Cakes
- Finish mixing and portion. Add 1 cup of chopped walnuts to the dough and fold in to incorporate. Be sure not to break up the nuts too much if using a hand mixer or stand mixer - folding is best done by hand! Then, using your hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them onto your prepared baking sheet. Give about 2 inches of space in between the cookies.
- Bake the cookies. Place the baking sheet into the center of your oven’s middle rack and bake at 350°F (175°C)for 10 to 12 minutes. You want to bake just until the bottom browns a little and the top no longer looks raw.
- Cool, coat with sugar, and serve. When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once fully cooled, roll the Russian tea cakes in the extra confectioner’s sugar and serve!
I love how delightful these little Russian Tea Cakes are! They’re so easy to make and look amazing when set out for your Christmas dinner!
You and your family will be snacking on these delicious little morsels all day! Enjoy!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Use a high-quality salted European butter to get the best flavor! If you can, I recommend using a butter like Kerrygold or Plugra to give the cookies the best flavor. In a recipe with few ingredients, I like to make sure they’re high-quality, so the cookies are still extremely flavorful.
- You’ll need to use a scant 2 cups of flour for this recipe. Measure your flour as usual, and simply remove a tablespoon from each cup! This will make sure there isn’t too much flour in the cookies.
- I recommend toasting the walnuts for an added depth of flavor! To do this, start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C), then line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Add your chopped walnuts, then place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the nuts are golden, fragrant, and slightly sizzling. Be sure to keep an eye on the walnuts, because they can burn easily!
- If the dough isn’t coming together, try using a little milk to help it come together. Sprinkle a tablespoon of milk at a time over the dough, then use your spoon, spatula, or hand to help the dough moisten and come together. Once the dough is moistened, but still a little crumbly (or shaggy) you’ll be ready to portion!
- Coating the Russian tea cakes with confectioners' sugar should be done once the cookies are cool enough to be handled easily or completely cooled. Any sooner, and the powdered sugar will simply melt from the heat.
I recommend storing these gorgeous Russian tea cakes in an airtight container with a layer of wax paper or parchment paper in between each layer of cookies. When stored properly, they’ll keep for two weeks, but they’re best within a week (besides, they won’t last that long!).
Freezing Russian Tea Cakes
I like to freeze these cookies exactly how I store them: in airtight containers with a layer of parchment or wax paper in between each layer of cookies. Make sure not to pack them too tightly!
Russian tea cakes keep their flavor best for up two months. When you’re ready to eat them, let them defrost on your counter for a couple of hours.
🎄 More Christmas Cookies
Some people know these cookies as Russian tea cakes, some as Mexican or Italian wedding cookies, and some even know them as butterballs or snowballs!
These cookies tend to vary in size and the type of nuts used, but they all have the same base recipe. While the origins of these cookies are unclear, one thing can be agreed upon—they’re incredibly delicious!
A shaggy dough is what we want our cookie dough to look like: it has mostly come together with no dry spots of flour, but the dough is a little crumbly and you can easily pull pieces off it!
There is little gluten development, so the dough should not be one cohesive dough ball.
Russian Tea Cakes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl cream together the butter, and vanilla extract.1 cup salted butter, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Next, in a separate bowl whisk the 6 tablespoon of confectioners sugar and the flour together. Then add the dry ingredients into the creamed butter. Mix until you have a shaggy dough.2 cups all-purpose flour, 6 tablespoon confectioners sugar
- Add the chopped walnuts, then fold them into the dough1 cup chopped walnuts
- Using your hands roll into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet with 2 inches of spacing between cookies.
- Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10 to 12 minutes - just until the bottom browns a little and the top no longer looks raw.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When the cookies are cool, roll them in confectioners sugar then serve.
- Any nut you like can be used in this recipe.
- Try rolling in cinnamon sugar for a not-so-traditional flavor.
- If the dough isn't coming together, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!