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.
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!
For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below
- Vanilla wafers
- Powdered sugar
- Cocoa powder
🥣How to Make Traditional Rum Balls
- Mix dry ingredients – Crush the vanilla wafers and pecans using a food processor. Mix them together with powdered sugar and cocoa.
- Mix wet ingredients – Combine the rum, honey, and water in another bowl.
- Combine – Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and stir well.
- Make balls – Use a cookie scoop or your hands to roll the mixture into balls about 1 inch around.
- Decorate – Roll the balls in additional powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
🎄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
💭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.
⭐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.
No, they will keep at room temperature. But they keep better and longer in the fridge, so I recommend storing them there.
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.
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Rum Balls Recipe
- 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.
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Nutrition facts are estimates.