The Best Air Fryer Russian Tea Cookies

Last Updated on February 9, 2021

If you listen closely, you can either hear the stillness of the night because you’ve wrapped up your holiday shopping, or you can hear the frantic shoppers trying to find the best deals. Either way, with Christmas less than a month away, you are probably looking for easy dessert recipes to serve to your family and guests. This recipe for The Best Air Fryer Russian Tea Cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth with their buttery, nutty goodness.

air fryer russian tea cookies


It’s very possible that you’ve heard of similar desserts throughout your travels across the interwebs or cookbooks. They are often called snowball Christmas cookies or Mexican wedding cookies. No matter what you call them, these Air Fryer Russian Tea Cookies are great for the holidays with their snowball look. Between you and me, I don’t always wait until the holidays to enjoy these tasty treats. That’s our little secret.  I think my love for these cookies truly began as a child. 

Growing up, I was always taught to embrace other cultures. From the Greek Festivals to the spectacular events the Russian Orthodox church held each year. One of my favorite treats was Russian Tea Cookies. While these tasty cookies are wonderful to eat at Christmas, as I said, they are perfect all year long too. 

Easy Air Fryer Russian Tea Cookies

It’s no secret that my Air Fryer is one of my most used kitchen contraptions. My love for my Air Fryer runs deep and I am so excited I was able to convert this traditional family recipe for Russian Tea Cookies into an Air Fryer recipe! I love making them in the air fryer. It is so easy, truly and the taste and flavor are amazing!

This recipe calls for common ingredients but is loaded with flavor. They are more than just another butter cookie. They are tender and mouth-watering and have nuts in them for added texture and flavor. Plus, as I said, they are made in the air fryer. That’s a total win in my recipe book!

These tea cookies are perfect and can be served as a dessert. They also make a nice afternoon snack. The powdered sugar coating is just the topping needed to make it perfect. The best thing is you know exactly what’s in these Air Fryer Russian Tea Cakes, or cookies. I hate to admit, sometimes when I make these, they don’t always make it to anything but a plate. Between myself and the kids- YUM! 

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air fryer russian tea cookies

Can these Russian Tea Cookies be frozen?

Absolutely! In fact, they freeze rather well. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them. Just let them thaw when you are ready to take them to a Christmas party or holiday cookie exchange. For the best results, freeze them as soon as they have cooled and been rolled in the powdered sugar the second time. They should keep about two months in the freezer.

When thawing the cookies, place about an inch apart on parchment paper. This will prevent them from sweating and sticking together. It can take a few hours for them to reach room temperature. 

Are these cookies really Russian?

No one knows for sure if they originated in Russia or not. They have been called many other names including snowball cookies, butterballs, Mexican wedding cookies, Granny’s cookies, Mom’s cookies, Aunt June’s cookies, and I think you get the idea.  What I do remember though is that growing up, my Grandmother, my mamaw, she sat with a lady from Russia, I called her Momma Wisebud. I always loved going with my Mamaw on her days sitting with Momma Wisebud because she told me of her time in Russia. She also shared…you guessed it, these glorious Russian Tea Cookies! So while no one truly knows for sure if they did come from Russia, between my time at the Russian Orthodox events, my time with my Momma Wisebud, I tend to think maybe they did come from Russia. It is fun anyway, a great recipe, and honestly, the memories I have are what makes these cookies so special.

What makes the Russian Tea Cookies different from other Christmas and holiday cookies?

Most cookies contain huge amounts of sugar, which I tend to try to avoid. Yes, I know, I know- confectioners sugar—shhhh! That doesn’t count does it?!

These snowball cookies have more butter which makes them delicious. I also love how the powder tastes,  how they crumble in my mouth when eating them. Since this recipe only has a few ingredients, it makes them a lot of fun to make too. Get the kids involved in the kitchen! Get the whole family involved, you may want to double the batch though because I promise, everyone will want to grab them as soon as they are done!

air fryer russian tea cookies


Can I substitute other nuts for the walnuts?

Well, you can. You can pretty much substitute or alter any recipe. For instance, the walnuts could be substituted with an equal amount of other chopped nuts. Pecans, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts are all good substitutes for walnuts. If you have nut allergies or just don’t care for them at all, you could leave them out. You might add something else like coconut. I do want to note that changing the recipe though WILL change the taste, can change the texture and you may need to modify the cooking time. 

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Air Fryer Russian Tea Cookies

air fryer russian tea cookies


This recipe makes about 36 tea cookies.

Directions for Making Air Fryer Russian Tea Cookies

air fryer russian tea cookies

Combine a cup of unsalted butter and six tablespoons of powdered sugar in a large bowl. Use an electric beater to beat the ingredients until they are light and fluffy.

air fryer russian tea cookies

Add the vanilla extract and beat for another minute.

air fryer russian tea cookies


Add the flour to the fluffy mixture in small batches folding it in with a spatula as you go.

air fryer russian tea cookies


Once the flour has all been added, fold in the chopped walnuts.


Use a small cookie scoop to form 1-inch balls of cookie dough.

Line the air fryer basket with parchment paper. 

Carefully place the cookie dough balls on the air fryer basket.


air fryer russian tea cookies

Air fry at 320-degrees (F) for eight minutes. 

Remove the basket from the air fryer and let them cool in the basket for about five minutes. Then, carefully transfer them to a wire rack. 

air fryer russian tea cookies


While the cookies are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar.

Repeat these steps with the rest of the cookie dough balls.

air fryer russian tea cookies


Once all the cookies are done, roll them once again in the powdered sugar. They need this second coat since most of the sugar from the first coat gets absorbed into the cookie. The second coat is what gives them the “snowball” look. 

Tips for Making Russian Tea Cake Cookies

  • Store the baked cookies in an airtight container in a cool location. They should keep for seven to 10 days.
  • You do not need to sift the flour, but if you want to make sure to measure it before sifting, not after.
  •  You can grate the nuts for a finer texture. Grating the nuts, especially pecans, will add a powdery, light texture. 
  • Serve these with hot tea or coffee for an extra special afternoon treat.

Don’t forget to print out the recipe for later!

The Best Air Fryer Russian Tea Cookies

The Best Air Fryer Russian Tea Cookies

Yield: Makes 36


  • 2 cups of All-purpose Flour
  • 6 tablespoons of Confectioners Sugar (or Powdered Sugar)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup of chopped Walnuts
  • 1½ cup of Confectioner’s Sugar for rolling the cookies


  1. In a large bowl combine a cup of unsalted butter and 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Beat with an electric beater, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and beat for a minute.
  3. Now add the flour in small batches and fold it in with a spatula.
  4. Once all the flour is incorporated, add the chopped walnuts and fold it in.
  5. Using a small cookie scoop, form 1-inch balls from the cookie dough.
  6. Line the air fryer basket with parchment paper.
  7. Carefully place the cookie doughs balls on the air fryer basket.
  8. Air fry at 320F for 8 minutes.
  9. Let it cool in the basket (outside the airy fryer) for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer to a wire rack.
  10. Roll the air fried cookies in powdered sugar while slightly warm.
  11. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough balls.


  • Once all the cookies have been rolled in powdered sugar, roll than again for a second coat.  Most of the sugar from the first coat gets absorbed into the cookies. The second coat gives them the ‘snowball’ look that they are so famous for.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only by Awe Filled Homemaker and is not to be considered in anyway as medical advice or instruction, medical nutrition therapy or individualized nutrition counseling. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. No content on this website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

These Air Fryer Russian Tea Cakes will look great amongst your holiday decorations. They are easy enough to make for parties or Christmas dinner. They are sure to be a hit no matter when or where they are served. You can enjoy these melt-in-your-mouth snowball cookies all winter long.


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