4-Ingredient Pecan Balls

These easy 4-ingredient Pecan Balls (5 for a chocolate version) make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!4-ingredient pecan balls (or 5, for a chocolate version!) make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!


Happy September! It’s Kathryn from Family Food on the Table, back with another recipe for you.

And today I’ve got a fun game day/snack time/anytime appetizer for you.

This recipe comes from my Aunt Edith, who also is behind my 3-ingredient quickie crab dip (another great appetizer!)

It’s a traditional pecan balls recipe, with just 4 ingredients: butter, flour, pecans and sugar. I added a pinch of salt to help bring out the flavors.

4-ingredient pecan balls

The result is a nutty, buttery, crumbly cookie ball that just melts in your mouth. It’s not super sweet, but it really hits the spot.

Perfect for serving on game day as people are munching and milling about.

4-ingredient pecan balls make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!

Oh, and looky there, I also added chocolate. 😉 Cause that’s never a bad idea, right?!

The chocolate makes these more of a dessert ball, so you can do some pecan balls plain and some with chocolate – whatever works for you!

Either way, these little pecan nuggets are an easy, make-ahead snack that would be great for tailgating, picnics, even holiday parties.

(I’m still adjusting to the fact that it’s September, though, so let’s not get too ahead of ourselves!)

4-ingredient pecan balls (or 5, with a chocolate drizzle!) make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!

A few notes on these pecan balls:

  • If your butter isn’t at room temperature — mine never is — you can microwave it for about 20 seconds to soften it. You don’t want it melted.
  • I buy pecan pieces – they are cheaper than whole, in-tact pecans, and they just need a rough chop to break up the big pieces for this recipe.
  • The mixture is crumbly but the dough does stick to itself to be able to roll into balls. You can wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.
  • These are crumbly straight out of the oven, too, so be sure to let them cool on the pan so they can set up. Then they’re ready to share or transport!

(They’re also ready to drizzle or dunk with chocolate, if you’re so inclined!)

4-ingredient pecan balls (or 5, for a chocolate version!) make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!

If you are feeling all about the football food like me, you should also check out my cheesy baked black bean dip or Shawn’s scrumptious looking cheesy taco sticks and Mexican layered hummus dip.

Note to self: I need to have a party ASAP so I can make all this delicious food. 😉

Happy football season, friends. Enjoy!

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4-ingredient pecan balls

Easy 4-ingredient pecan balls make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!

  • Author: Kathryn
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 22 pecan balls


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional chocolate drizzle: 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar and flour with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  3. Fold in the pecans and salt and stir until combined. The mixture will be crumbly but will stick to itself.
  4. Roll the dough into small balls (about 1/2-inch across) and place on an ungreased baking sheet. (You can wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.)
  5. Bake at 275 degrees F for 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to an airtight container. These pecan puffs keep for up to a week on the counter or in the pantry.
  7. To make the chocolate sauce: Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave in 30 seconds intervals until chocolate is melted and can be stirred together. Drizzle melted chocolate over cooled pecan balls or dunk balls in the chocolate sauce.


  • Serving Size: 22

4-ingredient pecan balls (or 5, for a chocolate version!) make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!

About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes with a bit of life sprinkled in. Mom to 4 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
218 Responses
  1. Tuija

    i made these and experimented with it, i added about 1/2 cup, 6tbsp of Baileys Irish Cream, they were fantastic, thanks for the recipe, 🙂

  2. Wanda Reinert

    well margaret, you finally posted something i made just last week. i ate all but a couple. i hated to share. need to do it again.

    hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. i am still waiting for that cobbler you were to bring.

  3. Andrea

    When would you coat in powdered sugar? Warm or cooled or partially cooled? I don’t want them to fall apart but I want to make sure the powdered sugar sticks.

      1. linda

        I wouldn’t add the separate salt if salted butter was used. I think it would be a bit too much.

        Made them. They turned out well, but a bit not sweet enough for me, and I don’t have a sweet tooth. (I think I also thought these might be a bit more like a Russian Tea Cake – but those are definitely sweeter).

        I tried drizzling my chocolate on top but couldn’t get it thin enough to drizzle, so I dunked the tops. They’re crumbly so that didn’t work too well. I just spooned a little chocolate on top instead.

        A few of them I just dusted with powdered sugar (like a tea cake) rather than using chocolate. Yum!

  4. Carol

    Can I use sugar free (zing) in place of the sugar? I am just learning how to not use sugar and not sure if I can substitute sweet and low or other sugar free substitutes for sugar. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. ginny

      Swerve is an all natural sugar free no calorie sweetner that is especially for baking. I just made cupcakes with it, they were very good. You could give it a try.

    1. You can definitely try that. The baking powder in the self rising flour would give the cookies a different texture though. These cookies aren’t a fluffy cookie, they’re more coarse and crumbly.

  5. KOKE

    What about using artificial sweetener instead of sugar for diabetics. Everybody says artificial sweeteners are poison, but so is sugar to a diabetic. How about mentioning whether artificial sweeteners and low sodium salt is ok in your recipes?

    1. ginny

      I make desserts for my diabetic MIL using erythritol based sweetners (Truvia, Swerve, etc.). It is what is called a sugar alcohol, which is not at all like the alcohol that gets you drunk. It has no effect on insulin and no calories, and tastes very good. I just used the Swerve brand in some cupcakes, it’s a blend with other natural ingredients made especially for baking. You could give it a try!

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Shawn Syphus Hi, I'm Shawn and I'm a busy mom of four; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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