Mocha Butter Balls – Gluten-Free Christmas Cookie Recipe

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Are you looking for an easy gluten free Christmas cookie recipe? These Mocha Butter Balls are delightful bite-sized chocolate cookies covered in powdered sugar. They are super easy to make with just a few simple ingredients. Plus I’ll share the secret ingredients that make this gluten-free cookie recipe so much better than your average Christmas snowball cookies.

If you love Chocolate Snowball Cookies, you’ll love this version even more. Mocha Butter Ball Cookies are very similar. This recipe takes it to the next level making a few healthy adjustments to the classic recipe resulting in a rich, crumbly, chocolatey cookie perfect for celebrating the holidays.

This Mocha Butter Ball recipe has been a family tradition since the 1980’s so read on to get the full recipe. It’s sure to be your family’s next favorite Christmas Cookie too!

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What are Mocha Butter Balls?

If you’ve never heard of this cookie before, you are in for a treat. Mocha butter balls are very similar to snowball cookies except that they have 3 major differences:

  • chocolate
  • cream cheese
  • coffee flavor

So you might call these mocha balls, chocolate cream cheese snowballs, coffee snowballs, or mocha nut butterballs.

The origin of this recipe is unknown, but I’ve adapted this version from a typed copy that my family has used for years pictured below.

mocha butter balls original recipe

While there are a couple of versions of this recipe floating around the internet, none are quite like this one.

So scroll on and I’ll show you how to make your new favorite Christmas cookie.

Ingredients For Mocha Butter Balls

Here’s what you will need to make these easy gluten-free Christmas cookies.

  • Gluten free flour – After trying gluten-free flour blends for 7 years, I finally found one that works consistently. This one is the closest to regular all-purpose flour that I’ve found. You could also make this recipe with regular white flour as the original recipe calls for.
  • Salt – just a pinch if you use unsalted butter
  • Cacao – the original recipe (pictured below) calls for an “instant chocolate beverage”. We always used Nesquick. To make it slightly healthier and give these cookies a richer flavor I switched to Cacao in recent years. And wow does it make a difference. If you love dark chocolate these cookies are a must-try because of the deep cocoa flavor of the raw Cacao. This brand is a favorite.
  • Confectioner’s sugar – it’s what’s called for in the original recipe, but I’ve used powdered sugar too and it works just fine
  • Instant coffee – just the granules are needed. This brand is a local favorite that imparts a subtle chickory flavor that blends nicely with the cacao.
  • Butter – while you can also make these with coconut oil, butter lends to the rich flavor.
  • Cream cheese – this is the secret ingredient my friend that makes these cookies truly special.
  • Vanilla extract – do yourself a favor and get this vanilla. The concentrated flavor is a nice compliment to the chocolatey flavor.
  • Chopped pecans – don’t skip the nuts, they add a nice crunch and feel extra Christmasy.

So the big difference you’ll find between this recipe and other snowball cookies is the addition of cream cheese, pecans, and instant coffee. And using the raw cacao powder over the cocoa mix really takes it to the next level.

If you use the recommended pecans, coffee with hickory, and vanilla, which is commonly used in New Orleans, you’ll find these cookies even have a distinctive southern flavor.

You’ve got to give them a try!

How to Make Mocha Butter Balls

It’s really quite simple to make this recipe, that’s why it makes such a good Christmas cookie. And it’s fun to make with kids too because you do use your hands a bit and the cookie dough is safe to eat straight out of the bowl.

  1. Start by letting your cream cheese and butter come to room temperature. This will make it easier to mix.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. Add the soft butter, cream cheese, and confectioners’ sugar to a large bowl and mix until smooth with a hand mixer on medium speed.
  4. Next add the dry ingredients – flour, cacao powder, instant coffee powder, plus the vanilla. Mix using the mixer. The dough should have a soft texture.
  5. Mix in the pecans by hand using a spatula and form into a large bowl. The dough should easily stick together when pressed.
  6. Scoop using a tablespoon and shape dough into small 1-inch balls with your hands.
  7. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
  8. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then while still somewhat warm, toss balls in additional confectioner’s sugar and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

More Desserts

Clean Eating Desserts – a collection of healthier sweet treats for any occasion.

Coconut Oil Fudge – so good and soooo easy to whip up a batch. Plus it’s no bake and using the same cacao powder as this recipe!

Want more cookie ideas? This list of easy Christmas cookies has some good ones.

Mocha Butter Balls Recipe

Mocha Butter Balls Recipe

Yield: 40
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These bite-sized chocolate cookies covered in powdered sugar are a mocha-flavored twist on classic snowball cookies.


  • 1 3/4 cups Gluten free flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2/3 cup Cacao powder
  • 1/3 confectioner's sugar or powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee (granules)
  • 2/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 3 oz of cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped Chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup additional confectioner's sugar for covering


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Add the softened butter, cream cheese, and confectioner's sugar to a large bowl and mix until smooth with a hand mixer on medium speed.
  3. Next add the flour, cacao powder, instant coffee, and vanilla. Mix using the mixer until a soft dough forms.
  4. Mix in the pecans by hand using a spatula and form into a large bowl. The dough should easily stick together when pressed.
  5. Scoop the dough using a tablespoon and shape into small balls with your hands.
  6. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then while still somewhat warm, roll in an additional 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.


  • You can use powdered sugar in place of the confectioner's sugar.
  • It helps if your hands are slightly moist when rolling the balls.
  • Store in a cookie jar for up to 4 days and in the refrigerator for 14 days. (if they last that long!)
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 40 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 46mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

Did you make this recipe?

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Tips to Make the Best Chocolate Snowball Cookie

Ready to give these mocha butter balls better than snowball cookies a try? You might also want to keep these tips in mind when making this recipe.

  • Go for the full mocha flavor! Make sure to use the raw cacao powder and the instant coffee with chickory for the full flavor experience!
  • It doesn’t have to be gluten-free! You can use regular white flour to make this recipe or even wheat flour if you prefer, just like the original recipe.
  • Powdered sugar works just as well as confectioner’s sugar.
  • If you wet your hands slightly before rolling the balls, it will stick less to your hands.
  • Don’t have pecans? Walnuts work well in this recipe too.
  • Don’t have cacao? Use regular unsweetened cocoa powder or even your favorite hot cocoa mix.
  • You could also substitute espresso powder, or a shot of espresso for the instant coffee if you have it on hand.

How to store leftover Mocha Butter Balls?

Store leftover cookies in airtight containers, or cookie jar at room temperature for up to 4 days. This is the best way in my opinion.

They keep in the refrigerator for up to 14 days, which is another good option. You can also freeze any leftover mocha butter balls in freezer bags or storage containers for up to 6 months.

More Meal Planning Ideas

Clean Eating Family Meal Plan

Make Ahead Clean Eating Breakfast Ideas

Easy 5 Day Meal Plan for Busy Moms

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