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Rum Balls

4.78 from 18 votes
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posted: 12/14/22

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

These Rum Balls are a family recipe and Christmas tradition you will fall in love with. Easy to make and easier to eat, you will love this no bake recipe.

a bowl full of rum balls

This is a great snagged recipe from my dad. This is his Rum Ball recipe, one of my favorite Christmas traditions. My dad, in classic Italian form, tends to use his recipe as a guide and just adds a little more of this and that as necessary.

I altered his recipe a little so that there is no this and that needed. I think you will love these little bites of heaven.

overhead photo of rum balls on a baking sheet

How to Make Rum Balls

This is a simple recipe that I can make – including rolling time – in under 20 minutes. Make sure to head to the bottom of the post for the full list of steps and measurements.

  1. Crush the cookies. You could certainly use a rolling pin and a plastic bag, but I find that a food processor makes quick work of making cookie crumbs.
  2. Chop the pecans. Again, you can use a knife to chop up the pecans, but given that we want them to be small, I suggest keeping that food processor out. Make sure not to run it too long or you will have pecan butter.
  3. Mix all the ingredients. Combine everything with a metal spoon or stiff wooden spoon.
  4. Scoop them into balls. My dad always just used a spoon. I like using a tablespoon so that they are all the same size.
  5. Roll them in more sugar. Finally, you roll the little guys in some powdered sugar and let them dry.
overhead of a bowl full of rum balls

Making Bourbon Balls

You could definitely switch this recipe up and use bourbon or a different liqueur for a different flavor with this recipe. The important thing to consider when you change up the alcohol is to keep the amount the same. That way they will still come together.

Adding Chocolate

My dad never did this, but making chocolate rum balls by dipping them in some chocolate would be a delicious and festive addition.

Simply skip the rolling in powdered sugar. Then freeze them for 20 minutes. Dip them in some melted chocolate (almond bark works best). Then allow them to set completely on wax paper.

close up of a rum ball that's been rolled in powdered sugar on a baking sheet

Storing

These Rum Balls should be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They will be fine, once rolled in powdered sugar, to be stacked on top of each other.

Freezing

If you would like to make this ahead of time, they are easy to freeze. Start by flash freezing them and then store them in the freeze for up to three months.

  1. Once you’ve rolled them in powdered sugar, place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet.
  2. Place in the freezer for an hour.
  3. Remove and transfer to an airtight container. Return to the freezer storing for up to three months.
close up of a rum ball that has a bite taken out of it

Other No Bake Treats

If you are looking to make easy cookie boxes for friends and neighbors, here are some other ideas:

If you make this rum ball recipe, leave me a comment and let me know what you think! I love hearing from you.

a bowl full of rum balls
4.78 from 18 votes

Rum Balls

Serves: 30 Rum Balls
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
These Rum Balls are a family recipe and Christmas tradition you will fall in love with. Easy to make and easier to eat, you will love this no bake recipe.

Ingredients

  • 11 ounces vanilla waffer cookies crushed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (approximately 1 1/4 cup prior to chopping)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (plus approximately 3/4 cup more for rolling)
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup rum (I prefer using dark spiced rum)

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together with a kitchen spoon or a stiff wooden spoon. The mixture will be thick and sticky.
  • Use a tablespoon to make balls. Roll them in extra powdered sugar before transfering to a wax paper lined tray. Let dry for 30 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
a bowl full of rum balls

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Rum Balls

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Meggie says

    I was wondering if I could use rum extract as a substitute for the run?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Not really. You don’t want to swap it out one for one because Rum Extract has just as much alcohol in it as actual rum. And if you don’t use the same amount of liquid it will throw off the consistency of the recipe. You could use orange juice concentrate. A reader did this swap and enjoyed it.

  2. Tami says

    This may sound like a dumb question but with the rum can kids eat these

    • Lisa Longley says

      That is really a personal decision. Keep in mind that these do not bake, so there will be no cooking off of the alcohol. Doing the math, if you get 30 rum balls out of your batter, you are looking at about 1/3 teaspoon of alcohol per rum ball.

  3. kathleen hoynes malfi says

    4 stars
    Delicious. I used Spiced Rum, and the longer it sits/ferments, the stronger the alcohol taste, which my friends Love…My son and his wife OTOH thought way to strong. lol

  4. Laura jarvis says

    I was sadly disappointed in his crumbly these were & how hard they were to roll, not much to hold them together. They just kept falling apart 😢

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so sorry that was your experience with these. If the powdered sugar was packed that could play a roll.

  5. June says

    This sounds delicious. Wondering if you could use ginger cookies instead of vanilla wafers?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t tried that, but I think it could work.

  6. Lesley says

    5 stars
    I have made these for years& have always rolled them In granulated sugar. I am going to make some today & do 1/2 in granulated sugar & 1/2 in powdered sugar. It’s a great recipe!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you love them in the powdered sugar!

  7. Peggy says

    5 stars
    These are absolutely delicious. Everyone loves them.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad to hear that!

  8. Travis says

    5 stars
    I made a batch and had to make a 2nd batch because I ate the 1st batch as I was rolling. These are great and easy

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked them!

  9. Janet Fritz says

    When using 11oz of vanilla wafers which was a whole box, do you use the entire box or do you measure out 11oz after you crush them? I used the whole box crushed and could not get everything to mix completely together. I even added extra corn syrup and extra rum and they still didn’t hold together. Any suggestions for the next time I make them? They do taste good

    • Lisa Longley says

      I do use the whole box. Unfortunately, more syrup and rum will make it harder for them to stick together. I’m so sorry this didn’t work for you.

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