Scrumptious pecan filled butter cookies made even better with a crackly sugar topping! Try this melt in your mouth cookie recipe for classic Pecan Sandies. You’ll want to keep a tin of these cookies handy all year long!
Love Pecans? Pecan Pie can be a favorite holiday treat…but year round we make these delicious Pecan Pie Truffles. Store in the freezer for a quick, popable treat!
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Why these Cookies are Amazing
Pecan Sandies are deceptively delicious. At first glance, they seem like your typical butter cookie.
You know, the generic kind you get in those big holiday cookie tins at any supermarket or drug store. Good, but not earth shattering.
These cookies? They’re the absolute perfect pecan cookie!
Made with real butter and powdered sugar, Pecan Sandies have a fine crumb, toasty nut flavor and a delicate crunch, similar to a shortbread cookie.
This cookie is crispy when you bite into it with a soft buttery taste that almost melts in your mouth.
Whether you call these snowball cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, or pecan sandies, just be sure to make a double batch today!
- Unsalted Butter – Real butter is essential for these cookies and I prefer unsalted so I can control the amount of salt in the cookies.
- Vanilla Extract – Homemade Vanilla Extract is especially delicious!
- Pecans – Chop the nuts finely (but not into powder) before using in the recipe.
- Powdered sugar – Using powdered sugar (or confectioner’s sugar) gives the cookies that light crispy texture. Do NOT sub for granulated sugar!
- TOPPING– use a glass dipped in granulated sugar to smash these cookies before baking (like I do in my Swig sugar cookie recipe). Or skip that step and dust with powdered sugar after cooling.
Make the cookie dough.
First, you’ll make a crumbly dough by combining the powdered sugar and butter, then adding the vanilla, flour and kosher salt. From here, use your hands to incorporate the pecans into the dough.
The warmth of your hands will help the dough stick together and form a ball. Scoop the dough by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet.
Flatten the cookies and bake.
Dampen the rim of a drinking glass then press it into a plate of granulated sugar. Use the sugared glass to flatten the cookies into disks then bake until the edges of the cookies are light brown.
Tips and Tricks
- Use soft butter: If you forget to let your butter sit at room temperature for a bit before making the cookies, you can speed up the softening process in the microwave. Place unwrapped sticks of butter in the microwave at 50% power for 5 seconds at a time until it’s soft enough to work with.
- Bake time: As written, this recipe will make a light and crumbly cookie. If you want a harder crunchier cookie, you can leave them in the oven for another minute or two. Just keep a close eye on them because these delicate treats can burn quickly!
- Topping: My family likes the taste and texture of the granulated sugar topping. If you prefer, you can skip it and add more powdered sugar to the tops of the cooled baked cookies instead.
- Chai: add some homemade chai spice into the cookies to make a delicious chai cookie instead!
For Pecan Sandies, the pecan pieces should be small but not pulverized into powder. I use the bags of pecan halves and pieces and chop them until they’re small but not crumb-like. It’s okay if you have some different sized pieces of nuts–they don’t need to be uniform in this recipe as long as the pieces are small enough to combine into the dough.
Store Pecan Sandies in an airtight container at room temperature. You can store them in ziploc bags, but they break and crumble easily so be careful when transporting them!
Yes you can freeze pecan sandies. The high butter content makes these great for freezing. Let thaw completely at room temperature before serving.
More Easy Cookie Recipes
- 7 Layer Bars
- Almond Bars
- Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
- Almond Cookies
- Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
- Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup pecans finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
- Cream butter and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Add flour, salt and vanilla. It becomes very crumbly. Use your hands to mix in the chopped pecans, until it becomes a ball.
- Using a 2Tbsp cookie scoop, scoop dough and place on baking sheet with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart.
- Dampen a paper towel and press a glass (or measuring cup with flat bottom) onto the paper towel. Then dip the glass in the reserved granulated sugar. Press glass onto cookie dough to flatted until about 1/2 inch thick.
- Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, just until lightly browned on edges. Remove and cool completely.
- Use soft butter. Cold butter will be hard to work into the dough and the cookie texture will be off. Did you forget to put your butter out at room temperature in advance? You can soften it with a few seconds in the microwave at 50% power!
- This recipe makes cookies that are lightly crispy and crumbly. That means you’re going to take them out of the oven before they’re browned. If you want a crunchier cookie, feel free to leave the cookies in the oven for another minute or two. Just keep a close eye on them! They can burn quickly.
- You can also skip the granulated sugar and sprinkle with powdered sugar after cooling instead. My family prefers the texture and flavor of the granulated sugar.
Light and crumbly Pecan Sandies may look simple but don’t let that fool you; these easy-to-make cookies are filled with irresistible buttery pecan flavor. You won’t be able to eat just one!
I made these for my hubby and also took some to work. Everyone LOVED them. They keep asking for more.
I made these today and followed the recipe exactly and they turned out perfect. I forgot that I used praline coated pecans because that’s what I had on hand. The cookies were delicious.
These cookies are to die for. I made them and rolled into logs to freeze. I left a little dough out to cook and see how they taste. Fantastic! Thanks for this recipe
Can you add coconut to this recipe?
The cookie was very easy to make. But it has to much flour. I used exactly 2 cups.
Yes I did follow the recipe to the letter.
They look perfect, just like the picture
Pecan Sandies are my favorite cookie, but these are a waste of baking supplies.
Be sure to measure your flour correctly by spooning it into the measuring cup, not dunking the cup in flour.
I made these today. Yum they are delicious! Definitely a keeper. Will be giving these out at Christmas to friends. Thank you !
This is the second time in the last month that I made these decisions cookies ! ! They are now my husband favorite !
Thanks for sharing you recipe .😊
Is it okay to salted butter instead of unsalted? I made them but I had to add more sugar after they were done but I couldn’t taste much salt or sugar
Nope. Most shortbread cookies don’t use eggs!
This recipe is perfect! Almost like the store bought pecan sandies. I love that it is an easy recipe that uses very few ingredients. Using only powdered sugar in the dough gives these cookies a subtle sweetness & that sandy crumbly texture that you want in this cookie. This recipe is going into my recipe box & I will be making these again!
So glad you enjoyed the cookies!
Can the dough be frozen and then thawed to form and bake cookies?
Yes! However I highly recommend scooping the dough FIRST, then freezing the dough balls instead.
My first time ever making Pecan Sandies. Easy to follow
recipe and a great tasting cookie. I will make these again!
I had to throw these cookies in trash, everything wasted, RECIPE CALLS FOR ONLY POWERED SUGAR. THAT IS WRONG. THEY WERE AWFUL, I AM THROUGH GETTING THESE RECIPES OFF PINTEREST
Hmmm, sounds like you made a mistake somewhere because, yes, powdered sugar is correct for this recipe. SOrry you had troubles.
You said the recipe used ONLY powdered sugar. Did you miss the flour that was listed?
It also calls for 2 Cups of flour
These are absolutely scrumptious! Perfect texture and flavor!
These are such a classic cookie! I remember my grandma always having some in her cookie jar when I was a kid. Total throwback recipe for me <3
These look so delicious and yummy! I can’t wait to give this a try! My hubby is going to love this recipe!