For the next twelve days, Lemon Baby is bringing you twelve mini-posts of our holiday favorites. Cookies, cakes, side dishes for the holiday meal, candies, soups, and even some edible gift ideas. Starting #12DaysofChristmas off right is a recipe for one of my absolute favorite cookies: The Meyer Lemon Snowball Cookie. They go by several different names (Snowballs, Meltaways, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Tea Cakes) but they all translate to a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie dusted with powdered sugar. 

Although normally I include finely chopped pecans, I have an abundance of Meyer lemons from our tree and wanted to try a citrus version. All I did to my original recipe was swap the pecans for finely grated lemon zest and the vanilla extract for lemon extract (in a pinch, lemon juice would work).

Do you have a cookie scoop? They’re like miniature ice cream scoops with spring levers, and they’re amazing. One of those babies makes quick work of a stiff dough like this.

No-Egg Cookie Dough

I was first introduced to these cookies by a friend’s mom, who made the most beautiful holiday cookie assortments to give as gifts. She made a more traditional version, but I’ll never forget the taste of those buttery, slightly crumbly, shortbread treats.

Meyer Lemon Cookies

Check out those lovely flecks of bright lemon zest. The great thing about Meyer lemons is that they have so much oil that when zested, it permeates everything with the most lovely floral fragrance and flavor.  Meyer lemons are a hybrid citrus–a cross between a regular lemon and an orange– so they’re a bit sweeter. It’s always a good idea to add a little regular lemon flavor if you want the classic tartness of a lemon, but in this cookie, Meyer lemon reigns supreme.

Meyer Lemon Snowball Cookies
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Meyer Lemon Snowball Cookies

Light and refreshing, melt-in-your-mouth morsels just right for gifting and snacking this holiday season.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 24
Author Amanda



  • 1 cup two sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or two teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar plus additional for dusting



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Add lemon zest, extract or juice, and then powdered sugar and mix until combined.
  3. Gradually add flour and mix until the dough is stiff. If it's too soft, refrigerate it for 30 minutes or so.
  4. Form into uniform teaspoon balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 9-12 minutes until bottoms are slightly browned. Cookies should not have much color.
  6. Let cool for five minutes and then roll in additional powdered sugar.

Meyer Lemon Snowball Cookies

3 thoughts on “1st Day of Christmas: Meyer Lemon Snowball Cookies”

  1. Homage to Judy Rosow who made the ones that Amanda references as her inspiration.
    Light as air

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