Pecan Finger Cookies with Powdered Sugar

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Pecan powdered sugar cookies may be my favorite cookie of all time.  It’s a really hard call because my Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies are ridiculously good. My husband’s favorite by a landslide is the Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookie. Your job is to make all three and then report back!

Pecan Christmas cookies lightly dusted with powdered sugar

This is my family recipe for Pecan Christmas Cookies.

I know it’s a little early to start thinking about Christmas cookies. But then again, is it?

Maybe it’s the relentless heat that we have been having, but I’m so ready for Fall’s crisper air and all the comforting smells of holiday cooking.

What you’ll love about this recipe

  • This recipe is a classic: I’ve seen a million versions of pecan cookies with powdered sugar. But, this recipe is an old-time classic cookie recipe.
  • Perfect two-bite size: They’re nutty, sweet, and just a tiny bit salty. They are messy, sugary, magic!

Recipe Notes

This recipe comes from my Grammy Futrell. I make my Grammy’s rolled pecan cookie recipe every year during the holidays.

These cookies are similar to a shortbread cookie, and kind of like a pecan sandies cookie. Once out of the oven, and slightly cooled, toss these cookies in powdered sugar. The cookies themselves are more nutty than sweet.


  • Butter: I always use unsalted European butter to make these cookies.
  • Sugar: You’ll need powdered sugar and brown sugar.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is called or in the recipe. To make these gluten-free, I’ve used King Arthur’s One to One (affiliate link) and it works beautifully.
  • Pecans: I like to use pecan halves and toast them lightly before processing them in the food processor.
  • Vanilla: I usually use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla.
pecan christmas cookies on a plate

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cream together sugars and butter. 
  2. Add the vanilla and water. Mix.
  3. Add the flour, nuts, and salt. Mix until combined. 
  4. Cover the dough or wrap it in plastic. Set in the fridge for a few hours. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 250℉. Shape the dough into the desired shape: fingers, crescents or balls.
  6. Place on a parchment-lined or (ungreased) cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  8. Set on a baking rack to cool slightly.
  9. Roll warm cookies in extra powdered sugar.

FAQs and Expert Tips

How to make Gluten-Free Pecan Finger Cookies

These cookies also hold up well using a gluten-free flour blend. (affiliate link)

The batter of this cookie is made mostly of finely ground pecans. The small amount of flour is used merely as a binder.

Swapping a gluten-free flour blend for regular all-purpose flour will give you a slightly more crumbly cookie but there is almost no significant change in flavor and texture.

How to make this cookie a Vegan Pecan Finger Recipe

Truth be told my Grammy always made these with Crisco shortening instead of butter. Crisco or other vegetable shortening is naturally vegan.

I could never bring myself to consume all that hydrogenated fat. So I adapted this recipe to use butter instead.

When I make a vegan batch of these pecan fingers I use a vegan butter substitute or solid coconut oil

How long should you bake pecan shortbread?

The baking temperature on these cookies is really low. Only 250℉.

I promise you that it is correct. These cookies bake low and slow and the result is a crispy toasty shortbread cookie with perfectly slow-roasted pecans.

The flavor of this cookie is unmatched by any other pecan cookie I’ve ever eaten. It’s worth the wait.

These easy pecan finger cookies are also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes.

The recipes for these three cookies are essentially the same. The type of nut varies depending on which one you are making.

  • Mexican Wedding Cookies: Mexican wedding cookies are shaped into balls. After they bake, they end up being a bite-sized little dome of nutty deliciousness. You can use almonds are used instead of chopped pecans.
  • Russain Tea Cakes: These cookies are shaped like snowball cookies but typically contain walnuts.
  • Pecan Snowballs: Are all shaped as balls then baked. They’re rolled in powdered sugar while still warm.

You can either roll these cookies in powdered sugar (my favorite) or you can dust them lightly with powdered sugar.

Pecan cookies rolled in powdered sugar

Keto Pecan Christmas Cookies

Because I love these cookie so much, I’ve even created a Keto version of this cookie. With only 1 net carb per cookie.

Honestly, I couldn’t really tell the difference from the original.

Snowballs vs Cresent Shaped cookies

Most often Mexican wedding cookies are round snowball cookies covered with powdered sugar.

My mom would usually make these cookies and shape them like pecan crescents.

I’ve held on to my Grammy’s tradition of making these into fingers. Whatever shape you end up deciding to make, you will not be disappointed.


mexican wedding cookies covered in powdered sugar

Pecan Christmas Cookies

This old-school pecan finger cookie recipe is chock full of finely ground pecans and then covered in powdered sugar. It 's one of my absolute favorite cookies of all time.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Cookies
Cuisine Holiday
Servings 48 cookies
Calories 99 kcal




  • Cream together sugars and butter. 
  • Add the vanilla and water. Mix.
  • Add the flour, nuts, and salt. Mix until combined. 
  • Cover the dough or wrap in plastic. Set in the fridge for a few hours. 
  • Preheat the oven to 250℉. Shape the dough into the desired shape – fingers, crescents or balls. Place on a parchment-lined or (ungreased) cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  • Set on a baking rack to cool slightly.
  • Roll warm cookies in extra powdered sugar.

Laura’s Tips + Notes

Vegan Adaptable: Substitute vegan butter or coconut oil
Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free flour blend like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour.
Other Nuts: You can substitute almonds or walnuts for the pecans. 


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Calories: 99kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 49mgSugar: 3gCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword holiday cookies, pecan, shortbread
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  1. Are you certain that this is the oven temp and the length of time they bake? (the Pecan Finger Cookies – You can’t eat just one)

    I can see that maybe a lower temp & longer bake might make sense, but could someone explain the science of this? Why would we do it this way? I really want to try this, but my budget is such that I can’t ruin a single batch. Hope to hear from someone on this.

    1. Yes the temperature is correct. 250F for 40-50 minutes. This cookie is much like a shortbread and because of the high concentration of nuts you want to almost slow roast the nuts. Nuts can burn easily so we keep the temperature lower. The slow roasting gives these cookies a roasted pecan flavor that is really delicious. As will all ovens they can vary in temperature so it is still important to watch them. You will see that they puff ever so slightly with they are done and the color will be a light golden brown. They will still be soft and a little crumbly when you first take them out of the oven. Let them rest and as they cool slightly, the fats come down in temperature the cookie will be light and crispy. You can roll them in powdered su

      I promise you won’t be disappointed. They are worth the wait. Let us know how they come out. I really hope you’ll give them a try. ❤️ Laura

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