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No holiday season is complete without a batch of traditional Rum Balls! They are nutty, sweet truffle bites with a boozy kick from rum. They keep for several weeks in the refrigerator so you can make a big batch to last all through the holiday season.

Rum balls stacked in a white dish


Easy Rum Ball Recipe

I love holiday cookies, but sometimes it’s nice to make a sweet treat that’s not a cookie. Enter these candies! They are little balls of heaven made with pecans, crushed vanilla wafers, and a hint of rum. They’re sort of like a truffle and are very easy to make.

The best part about homemade rum balls is that they keep well for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. I love to make a big batch at the start of the holidays and stash them to have on hand when I need a last-minute gift for guests or my cookie platter.

These have the best flavor from the rum, cocoa and vanilla wafers. These are a classic holiday treat – everyone loves them (21+, that is)!

Do rum balls have alcohol in them?

Yes, rum is added to the mixture, which is how they get the name! Because rum balls are not baked, the alcohol in the rum does not cook out. But they are not overly boozy since there is a small amount in each ball.

ingredients in rum balls.

Ingredients Needed

  • Toasted pecans: learn two easy ways to toast nuts for this recipe! You can substitute almonds.
  • Vanilla wafers: these cookies are the body of the truffle. You can also substitute graham crackers. You want to use finely crushed wafer crumbs – which is why I use a food processor.
  • Powdered sugar and Cocoa: for sweetness and flavor, and also for rolling.
  • Corn syrup: for sweetness and it helps bind the mixture together. You can substitute honey if you prefer.
  • Rum: you must have rum in rum balls! You can use spiced rum, dark rum, or white rum.

How to Make Rum Balls

  • Place the nuts in the food processor and finely chop them. Be careful not to over chop them, so they don’t turn into nut butter. You want them finely chopped. Take them out and set them aside.
  • Finely chop the vanilla wafers in the food processor until they break down into fine crumbs. Pour the chopped nuts in with the cookie crumbs.
  • Add the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, corn syrup, vanilla, and rum. Process the mixture until it’s thick and well combined. If you’re using a large bowl instead of a processor, be sure to stir really well.
  • To make the rum balls, scoop 1-inch balls of the dough and roll it between your hands. Roll each ball in cocoa powder or additional confectioners’ sugar (or a combination of both).
Close up shot of rum balls stacked on top of eachother with top rum ball cut in half to show inside

Tip From Dorothy

Tip Title

  • The easiest way to make rum balls is with a food processor – it does all the chopping and mixing making this recipe so easy. If you don’t have a food processor, then crush the cookies in a large gallon size bag with a rolling pin.
  • A cookie scoop helps keep these homemade treats the same size. I use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop for this recipe.
  • Roll these in melted chocolate to completely coat rum balls for a more truffle-like dessert. Or roll them in coconut!
  • Swap out the rum for your favorite bourbon to make bourbon balls!
  • Store them in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator, and they will keep for up to two weeks. You can also freeze them for up to a month.

FAQs

What rum is best for rum balls?

I’ve used both spiced and white rum and like both. It really depends on your tastes, and I recommend using one that you enjoy drinking.

Can you freeze them?

You can freeze them for up to two months. Store them in a container in the freezer with wax paper separating the layers. That way, they won’t stick and freeze to each other.

Will the alcohol evaporate? 

Because they are not baked, the alcohol will not cook off. The amount of alcohol in each ball is small, though.

Close up shot of rum balls stacked on top of eachother with top rum ball cut in half to show inside

Classic Rum Balls Recipe

4.60 from 5 votes
These Easy Rum Balls are a classic no bake Christmas recipe. Boozy truffles with cookies and cocoa – these are super delicious and perfect any way you coat them!
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 40 truffles
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 (11 ounce box ) vanilla wafers (2 ¾ cups crumbs)
  • 1 cup (113g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) corn syrup
  • cup (79ml) spiced or white rum
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cocoa and/or powdered sugar for rolling
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Instructions

  • Place toasted pecans in a food processor and process until fine. Be careful not to process so much they turn into pecan butter. Remove the pecans from the food processor.
  • Add the vanilla wafers to the food processor and process until finely ground.
  • Add the pecans back into the food processor along with the powdered sugar, cocoa, corn syrup, vanilla and rum. Process until mixture is thick and combined.
  • Scoop 1 tablespoon size balls and roll between your hands. Roll in additional cocoa powder and/or powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • The easiest way to make rum balls is with a food processor – it does all the chopping and mixing making this recipe so easy. If you don’t have a food processor, then crush the cookies in a large gallon size bag with a rolling pin.
  • A cookie scoop helps keep these homemade treats the same size. I use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop for this recipe.
  • Roll these in melted chocolate to completely coat rum balls for a more truffle-like dessert. Or roll them in coconut!
  • Swap out the rum for your favorite bourbon to make bourbon balls!
  • Store them in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator, and they will keep for up to two weeks. You can also freeze them for up to a month.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

No holiday season is complete without a batch of traditional Rum Balls! They are nutty, sweet treats with a boozy kick from rum.

Favorite Classic Holiday Treats



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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8 Comments

  1. What brand bourbon and rum? I want to try both. Never bought any alcohol so no idea what to purchase. 🤣 Thank you.

  2. These were so simple to make with ingredients that I already had on hand plus they tasted absolutely fantastic! I used graham cracker crumbs mixed with maybe a 1/4 cup of vanilla wafers because that’s what was leftover in the box. I did as suggested and toasted the pecans. I make homemade vanilla with different alcohols and used the rum one for this recipe, so I did not add vanilla plus rum. I just used my vanilla rum. I rolled some in the powdered sugar, toasted coconut, chopped pecans and cocoa powder. The pecan rolled ones were my favorite but the cocoa powder ones tasted like a fudge. It was like getting multiple candies from one recipe. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Today I am going to try all vanilla wafers and see which I prefer. I shared the last batch and got texts from everyone that I shared with requesting the recipe. I shared, this time I’m saving for our Halloween get together… may try to make ghosts from the powdered sugar ones.

  3. Made these & accidentally ‘over processed’ them in the food processor. The dough was denser in consistency than it should have been (but still easy to roll into balls). Used Havana Club dark rum. These have a faint rum taste, certainly not overpowering. Question: for a stronger rum flavour, how could I adjust the recipe?

      1. (sorry AJ, I should have been more specific – my rating was based on the mildness of rum flavor in the balls (personal preference), not the consistency. If looking for mild rum flavor, which recipe does state, I should have indicated a 5 star rating).