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Rum Balls

4.63 from 8 votes

posted: 12/22/20

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

Over the summer we were having a 6 foot picnic with my dad and his wife. She mentioned a cookbook a family member wrote with lots of family recipes. My dad said,

“Don’t give it to Lisa! I’ll never see it again.”

He’s not wrong. I have snagged so many of my grandmas, mom’s, and aunt’s recipes. I should have rebranded to The Recipe Thief.

You’re welcome.

Here is another great snagged recipe from my dad himself. 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 add 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.

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


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


If you would like to make this ahead of time, they are easy to freeze.

  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
4.63 from 8 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.


  • 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)


  • 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.

Reader Interactions


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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.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners