Traditional Rum Balls for Christmas

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Traditional rum balls are the perfect choice when you’re looking for a delicious holiday dessert for grownups. These simple no-bake treats are rich in flavor, with a boozy kick from the rum.

One of the best things about homemade rum balls is they can be made ahead of time and then refrigerated or frozen until you need them! In fact, they taste even better after they sit for a day or so. So keep some on hand for holiday parties, last-minute guests, or to give as gifts.

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This is a simple recipe that you can make in minutes! Then roll these treats in powdered sugar, Christmas sprinkles, or cocoa powder to finish them off.

I like to decorate them in various ways so they look great on a cookie plate. Rum Balls are delicious and have a sweet chocolatey, nutty flavor with a kick of rum.

They melt in your mouth and are a perfect sweet bite. So make some classic rum balls this Christmas!

Looking for more boozy treats? Try mini rum cake, Guinness chocolate chip cookies, or Mojito Sugar cookies.

🎅Key Ingredients

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

  • Vanilla wafers
  • Pecan
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Rum
  • Honey
ingredients for rum balls
Rum Ball Ingredients

🥣How to Make Traditional Rum Balls

  1. Mix dry ingredients – Crush the vanilla wafers and pecans using a food processor. Mix them together with powdered sugar and cocoa.
  2. Mix wet ingredients – Combine the rum, honey, and water in another bowl.
mixing the dry ingredients.
Mixing the dry ingredients
combining the batter.
Combining the wet and dry ingredients
  1. Combine – Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and stir well.
  2. Make balls – Use a cookie scoop or your hands to roll the mixture into balls about 1 inch around.
  3. Decorate – Roll the balls in additional powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
batter after mixing.
Batter after mixing
coating the rum balls.
Coating the rum balls

🎄Coatings for the Rum Balls

Powdered sugar or cocoa powder are traditional for coating the rum balls, but there are many other options. Here are some suggestions:

  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sparkling sugar
  • Christmas sprinkles
  • Melted chocolate

Make some bourbon balls for the ultimate boozy dessert spread!

chocolate rum balls on a tray with plaid fabric

💭How to Store

Store the chocolate rum balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. They will also keep at room temperature for a week, but they taste better when refrigerated.

The rum flavor will get more mellow after a few days, and they taste best when they are made at least 1 day ahead of time. The powdered sugar will gradually be absorbed, and you might want to reroll them right before serving.

These also freeze very well. Freeze the rum balls on a baking sheet and then put them in a freezer bag or another container. They will keep for about 2 months in the freezer. To thaw, leave them on the counter overnight.

inside of a rum ball with chocolate sprinkles.

⭐Tips and Variations

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

There are very versatile, and you can switch up the recipe in many different ways.

  • Substitute graham crackers for the vanilla wafers.
  • Switch the type of nuts to almonds, pistachios, or walnuts.
  • Replace some (or all) of the rum with water or apple juice and use rum extract for flavoring.
  • Switch the type of alcohol used to brandy, bourbon, or whiskey. Or use a flavored or spiced rum.
  • Instead of honey, sweeten the treats with maple syrup or light corn syrup.
  • Use high-quality rum for the best flavor.


Do rum balls have to be refrigerated?

No, they will keep at room temperature. But they keep better and longer in the fridge, so I recommend storing them there.

Are rum balls alcoholic?

Yes, these are not cooked, so the rum does not burn off. Rum balls are not for anyone under 21 or anyone who avoids alcohol.

Did You Make This? Leave a Star Rating!

traditional rum balls for Christmas.
5 from 1 vote

Rum Balls Recipe

Published By Anne
Rum balls are easy no-bake treats that are perfect for holiday parties. This dessert has a rich chocolate flavor, along with a boozy kick!
Prep Time20 minutes
Chilling Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings: 24
Print Save Rate Pin


  • 2-1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookies crushed
  • 1 cup pecans ground
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Additional powdered sugar cocoa powder, or sprinkles for decorating


  • Use a food processor to crush the vanilla wafers to make cookie crumbs. Then use the food processor to finely grind the pecans.
    2-1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookies, 1 cup pecans
  • Mix the vanilla wafer crumbs, pecans, powdered sugar, and cocoa in a large bowl.
    1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • In a small bowl, whisk the rum, honey, and water.
    1/4 cup rum, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons water
  • Stir the rum mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients.
  • Use a cookie scoop to make 1-inch balls.
  • Roll the balls in additional powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or sprinkles.
    Additional powdered sugar
  • Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but preferably a full day, before serving.


These are meant for people over 21 because of the alcohol content. Substitute water or apple juice to make non-alcoholic rum balls.
Other possible coatings for the rum balls include nuts, coconut, sparkling sugar, or melted chocolate.
These are also good made with whiskey, bourbon, or brandy.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Nutrition Information

Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 0.05mg | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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rum balls on a tray with plaid fabric.

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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