Candy Cane Snowballs

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The moment I spy those iconic red-and-white striped candy canes lining the supermarket shelves, I know the holiday season has arrived. As much as I love candy canes on their own, I get even more excited to bake them into sweet treats like these Candy Cane Snowballs. 

They deliver all the nostalgic peppermint flavor I crave with a texture that literally melts in your mouth. This recipe transforms simple sugar cookie dough into a melt-in-your-mouth experience by rolling balls of dough into crushed candy canes. A gooey powdered sugar glaze ties everything together, melting over the cookies to add a delicious sweetness and glossy sheen.

 The end result looks lightly dusted with snow, hence where they get their name! Keep reading to learn why you’ll fall head over heels for these Candy Cane Snowballs.

Why You’ll Love Candy Cane Snowballs

  • They have the most incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture thanks to the incorporation of powdered sugar into the dough. Every tender, delicate bite simply dissolves on your tongue!
  • The crushed candy canes mixed throughout add delightful pockets of sweet and tart peppermint flavor in every cookie. You get little sugary bursts in each bite.
  • Drizzling on a rich vanilla glaze takes them over the top in terms of flavor and appearance. The powdered sugar icing looks just like freshly fallen snow!
  • They come together quickly with just 1 bowl for the dough. You can easily customize and adapt the recipe to what you have on hand too.
  • Kids of all ages get a kick out of rolling the balls of dough in sugar or crushed candy pieces. It’s a fun, festive project for the whole family!

Handy Tips for Making Candy Cane Snowballs

  • Use mini candy canes to make crushing easier. You want small pieces so they distribute well without weighing down the dough.
  • Chill the dough for at least an hour before baking if possible. This allows the ingredients to mingle so you get maximum flavor!
  • Bake the cookies 1 sheet at a time. Overcrowding causes uneven baking.
  • Press extra crushed candy into the warm cookies right after baking if you want an extra peppermint punch!
  • Drizzle the glaze over cooled cookies but while the glaze is still warm for the best consistency.

The Key Ingredients


Butter gives the cookies their iconic rich, delicate texture and incredible flavor. Margarine or oil just can’t compare! Use softened for easy mixing into the dough.

Peppermint Extract

This clear liquid provides that cooling, quintessential peppermint taste without altering dough color like food coloring would. A little goes a long way when paired with candy canes!

Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar not only sweetens the dough, but also gives it an almost shortbread-like sandy texture that melts away with the first bite. Use it in both dough and glaze.

Candy Canes

Mini candy canes or regular ones crushed into small pieces infuse every inch of dough with bursts of sugary sweet peppermint. Their iconic stripes peek through the powdered sugar coating too!

How to Make Candy Cane Snowballs

Make the Dough

Beat the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy.

Mix in egg, extracts, and candy cane pieces.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Gradually mix into a butter mixture.

Cover bowl and chill for 1+ hour until firm.

Shape & Bake Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough. Roll into balls between your palms.

Roll dough balls in granulated sugar to coat then place 1 inch apart on trays.

Bake 10-12 minutes until set but not browned around edges.

Finish with a Peppermint Glaze

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar with milk until smooth and thick but pourable.

Drizzle glaze randomly over cooled cookies and quickly sprinkle with any remaining crushed candy.

Allow glaze to set 5 minutes before serving. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container.

Fabulous Pairings for Candy Cane Snowballs

  • Hot cocoa or peppermint tea
  • Vanilla or eggnog milkshake
  • Spiced apple cider
  • Gingerbread cookies or cake
  • Sugar cookie or snickerdoodle recipes
  • Red and green M&M cookies
  • Frosted sugar cookie cut-outs


  • Granulated sugar instead of powdered in the dough
  • Vegetable oil instead of butter
  • Peppermint oil for the extract
  • Any red/white hard candy instead of candy canes


How do you crush candy canes?

Place candy cane pieces in a ziplock bag and go over it gently with a rolling pin. Watch pressure to avoid creating powder.

Can I freeze the unbaked dough balls?

Yes! Place dough balls on a sheet pan and freeze until solid. Transfer to an airtight container or bag, storing up to 3 months. Add an extra minute or two to the baking time when ready to use.

Why do they spread and flatten as they bake?

The powdered sugar absorbs moisture, causing the cookies to spread more than a standard sugar cookie. Make sure not to overbake them or this may be even more pronounced.

How long do they keep after baking?

Properly stored in an airtight container at room temp, they’ll last 5-7 days. The glaze may weep a bit over time but won’t compromise taste or texture. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Can I make them egg-free?

Yes, swap the egg for 1 tablespoon of milk, applesauce or banana. You may need a couple extra tablespoons of flour since egg helps bind the dough.

Why do I get cracks in my snowball cookies?

Cracks happen if the dough gets too warm during baking. Make sure not to overbake them so they remain tender and crack-free. Resting the shaped dough balls in the fridge helps too.

What do you do with leftover candy canes?

Break any leftover candy canes into pieces and use as a garnish for hot chocolate or milkshakes, or stir them into ice cream sundaes. You can also use them to decorate baked goods year-round.

Candy Cane Snowballs

Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time37 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Candy, Cookies
Servings: 24 cookies


  • Electric mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin (optional)


  • 1 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup crushed candy canes divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Beat butter and 3/4 cup powdered sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla, peppermint extract, and egg, beating until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup crushed candy canes by hand.
  • Form dough into small balls using about a teaspoon of dough. Roll these in granulated sugar to coat, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are just set but not browning.
  • Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Make the glaze:

  • Mix the remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar with milk to create a thick but pourable glaze.
  • Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies and sprinkle immediately with the remaining crushed candy canes.