rum balls in a white bowl
Rum Balls are a no-bake treat that offer a sweet bite with a kick of booze.
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Rum Balls are a delightful blend of chocolate, nuts, and a hint of rum. These no-bake treats are a breeze to whip up and are a hit at parties!

rum balls stacked on top of each other


What is a Rum Ball?

A Rum Ball is a no-bake sweet treat made from a mixture of crushed cookies, nuts, cocoa, and a binding liquid such as rum, and then coated with various toppings like powdered sugar or cocoa powder.

These Rum Balls are the perfect boozy bite for your Holiday celebrations!

Our chocolate Rum Ball recipe is a classic Christmas no-bake treat, made with crushed vanilla wafers, cocoa powder, walnuts, confectioners’ sugar, honey and rum and come together in 30 minutes.

Moist, chewy, crunchy, and full of nutty, chocolatey, boozy flavor, this easy-to-make mixture is rolled into little liquor balls and coated in powdered sugar, sprinkles, or your favorite fun and festive colors.

This recipe for rum balls lets you have your cocktail and cookie all in one bite, but it is strictly for adults only because none of the alcohol is baked off.

Serve these delicious bite-sized boozy balls in paper candy cups and hand them out as hostess gifts or arrange them on a dessert tray; each sweet package has the perfect complimentary rum kick.

Why You’ll Love this Easy Rum Balls Recipe!

  • Quick and easy to make and they are no bake.
  • Uses simple pantry staple ingredients.
  • Fun and festive homemade holiday treats.
  • Rich, chocolatey, nutty, boozy bites that melt in your mouth.
  • Perfect for a holiday cookie platter, dessert tray, or for packaging as gifts.
Rum Balls ingredients

Rum Balls Recipe ingredients

  • Vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
  • Walnuts
  • Powdered sugar
  • Dutch-process 100% cocoa powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Light corn syrup
  • Dark rum
  • Nonpareils sprinkles (holiday colors)
  • Chocolate jimmies sprinkles
  • Finely chopped walnuts
  • Finely chopped Heath brand candy bar crumbs

What is the best rum for Rum Balls?

The best rum for Rum Balls is a dark or spiced rum, as its robust flavor complements the other ingredients and adds a rich depth to the flavor profile.

Rum Ball Recipe substitutions and additions

  • Create Your Crumbs: You can substitute graham cracker crumbs, crushed shortbread cookies, crushed Digestive Biscuits, crushed ginger cookies, or crushed chocolate wafers for the vanilla wafers.
  • Coat Your Rum Cookies: Roll your rum balls in shredded coconut, crushed vanilla wafers, or other cookie crumbs.
  • Replace The Rum: You can substitute a spiced rum for the standard dark rum. You can also make these rum balls with coconut rum and roll them in finely shredded toasted coconut for a more Caribbean flair.
  • Swap The Sweetener: You can substitute dark corn syrup, honey, or even Lyle’s Golden syrup for the light corn syrup in this recipe. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is made from cane sugar. You must note that the light corn syrup is the mildest in flavor, so you will get slightly different flavor profiles from the honey or Lyle’s syrup if you use them.
  • Use Another Nut: You can swap the walnuts with pecans for this recipe.

Can I make Rum Balls without alcohol?

Yes, you can replace the alcohol with orange juice or apple juice in this recipe, although they will no longer be considered classic rum balls and it will affect the flavor and texture.

rum balls on a tray
bitten rum balls in a bowl

How to Make Rum Balls

  1. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Crush vanilla wafer cookies in a food processor, then transfer to a big bowl.
  3. Blend walnuts in the processor, and add to the cookie crumbs. Mix in powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in vanilla extract, corn syrup, and rum.
  4. Shape mixture into small balls and roll balls in different coatings.
  5. Place coated balls on baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 8 hours or more.

How to Serve Rum Balls

Rum balls are a versatile treat that can be served in various ways for different occasions. Here are some ideas:

  • Holiday-Themed: For festive occasions, use themed sprinkles or edible glitter that matches the holiday, such as red and green for Christmas or pastels for Easter.
  • Traditional Platter: Serve them on a decorative platter or tiered dessert tray, perhaps mixed with other bite-sized treats like truffles or cookies.
  • Gift Boxes: Package them in small gift boxes or cellophane bags tied with a ribbon, perfect for holiday gifts or party favors.

Rum Ball Recipe Easy tips

  • Be sure to use a brand of rum that you would enjoy drinking.
  • If you choose to use powdered sugar, or Dutch-process cocoa powder, to coat your rum balls, you will need to re-roll them before serving. Both the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder will absorb into the rum balls while being refrigerated.
  • Be sure to keep these treats out of the reach of the kids. The alcohol in these rum balls will not burn off due to the no-bake nature of this dessert.
  • I use a Dutch-process 100% cocoa powder in this recipe due to the darker color and milder flavor that comes from the Dutch processing of the cocoa. Because these are no-bake, and you do not require any baking soda or baking powder to be used, you can substitute a standard 100% unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe. There are quite a few great articles explaining the differences between the two cocoas and when you should or should not use them in baking, but for this recipe, either one works just fine.

How to store Rum Balls

  • To Store: You can make these a couple of days ahead and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator before serving them.
  • Refrigerate: These rum balls will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze them in an airtight container for up to 2 months. You will need to thaw them in the refrigerator before serving them. 
a couple of rum balls on a tray

Easy Rum Ball Recipe FAQs

Can eating rum balls get you drunk?

You will unlikely get drunk from eating rum balls because the alcohol is combined with other ingredients and made into many individual balls. However, the alcohol in the rum does not cook out in these balls because they are not baked.

What is the easiest way to crush my cookies and nuts?

The easiest way to crush the vanilla wafer cookies and walnuts is to use a food processor. Make sure to crush them separately! However, you can crush them using a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin if you don’t have a food processor. 

How do you thicken rum balls?

To thicken Rum Balls, you can adjust the amount of binding liquid (rum) and the use of ingredients like sweetened condensed milk or melted chocolate to achieve the desired consistency for shaping.

Does alcohol evaporate out of rum balls?

Yes, alcohol does evaporate out of rum balls over time. While the initial alcohol content is retained, some of it can dissipate gradually during storage, leaving behind the flavor.

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3 pieces of rum balls on a plate

More like this Rum Ball Recipe

5 from 1 vote
rum balls in a white bowl

Rum Ball Recipe (Easy)

Serves — 26
Rum Balls are a no-bake treat that offer a sweet bite with a kick of booze.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Chill Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups finely ground vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (from an 11-ounce box)
  • cups finely ground walnuts (from a 6-ounce bag)
  • cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup Dutch-process 100% cocoa powder (Ghirardelli brand)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ cup dark rum (Bacardi GOLD brand)

Optional coatings

  • Nonpareils sprinkles (holiday colors)
  • Chocolate jimmies sprinkles
  • Finely chopped walnuts
  • Finely chopped Heath brand candy bar crumbs
  • Powdered sugar
  • Dutch-process cocoa powder

Instructions
 

  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the vanilla wafer cookies into very fine crumbs for 30 seconds. Pour the cookie crumbs into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
    3 cups finely ground vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
  • To the same bowl of the food processor, add the walnuts and pulse for 30 seconds or until the nuts are very finely ground. Pour the ground walnuts into the bowl with the cookie crumbs. (Note: there is no need to clean the bowl of the food processor between steps 2 and 3)
    1½ cups finely ground walnuts
  • Add the powdered sugar and Dutch-process cocoa powder to the bowl and stir all the ingredients together until well combined.
    ⅔ cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup Dutch-process 100% cocoa powder
  • Add the vanilla extract, light corn syrup, and dark rum to the cookie mixture and stir well, using a rubber spatula, until the rum ball mixture is evenly mixed, and all the ingredients are well blended.
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup, ½ cup dark rum
  • Using a 1½-inch cookie scoop, scoop out a rum ball and roll it in the palm of your hand to shape a smooth ball with the mixture. Place the rolled rum ball onto the lined baking sheet and repeat until all the mixture has been rolled into balls.
  • Roll each of your rum balls into the different optional coatings (one coating per rum ball) until you have coated all the rum balls with a coating. Once you have rolled a rum ball in a coating, you will return it to the baking sheet.
    Nonpareils sprinkles (holiday colors), Chocolate jimmies sprinkles, Finely chopped walnuts, Finely chopped Heath brand candy bar crumbs, Powdered sugar, Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • Refrigerate the rum balls for at least 8 hours or up to overnight before placing them onto a plate and serving.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
You can make these a couple of days ahead and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator before serving them. These rum balls will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, you can freeze them in an airtight container for up to 2 months. You will need to thaw them in the refrigerator before serving them. 
Tips:
  • Place each individual coating you plan to use in a small shallow bowl for rolling the rum balls in to coat them.
  • Be sure to use a brand of rum that you would enjoy drinking.
  • If you choose to use powdered sugar, or Dutch-process cocoa powder, to coat your rum balls, you will need to re-roll them before serving. Both the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder will absorb into the rum balls while being refrigerated.
  • Be sure to keep these treats out of the reach of the kids. The alcohol in these rum balls will not burn off due to the no-bake nature of this dessert.
  • I use a Dutch-process 100% cocoa powder in this recipe due to the darker color and milder flavor that comes from the Dutch processing of the cocoa. Because these are no-bake, and you do not require any baking soda or baking powder to be used, you can substitute a standard 100% unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe. There are quite a few great articles explaining the differences between the two cocoas and when you should or should not use them in baking, but for this recipe, either one works just fine.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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