Rum balls are one of the easiest and most festive cookies to make and gift during the holiday season — they take no time to whip together, require no baking, and are incredibly delicious. Everyone loves them. What’s more? They can be made ahead and frozen, too.

Easy, festive, boozy rum balls — what’s not to love?

The virtues of rum balls include:

  • short prep time: the batter takes all of about 5 minutes to whip up
  • no-bake, which means short total time: start to finish these will take about 30 minutes to complete
  • high-yield: this recipe will make at least 40
  • taste: they are delicious, boozy bites of goodness
  • easy: can’t have too many easy recipes around the holidays
  • festive: perfect for holiday entertaining
  • pretty: a perfect gift
  • they can be made ahead of time (and even frozen!) — score!

I can’t think of a more perfect treat to have on hand for the holiday season. And if you’re looking for another low-effort, high-yield cookie recipe to gift all season long, try these melt-in-your-mouth Lemon-Almond Snowball Cookies.

PS: Soft and Chewy Molasses Crinkles

PPS: Simple Classic Shortbread

A tin of rum balls.

How to Make Rum Balls, Step by Step

Gather your ingredients: Vanilla wafers, rum, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and confectioners’ sugar.

Ingredients for Rum balls.
Ingredients for rum balls.

First: pulse the vanilla wafers in a food processor until they are finely ground:

Vanilla wafers for rum balls in a food processor.
Dry ingredients for rum balls blended in a food processor

Next: add the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and corn syrup:

Dry ingredients for rum balls in a food processor.

Pulse until finely ground:

Dry ingredients for rum balls pulsed together in a food processor.

Finely: Add the rum, and pulse until the ingredients form a cohesive mass:

The batter for rum balls in a food processor.

Transfer the “dough” to a separate vessel. Pour some confectioners sugar into a small, rimmed sheet pan:

The "batter" for the rum balls in a bowl aside a powdered-sugared filled tray.

Portion the dough into balls using a #100 scoop or a teaspoon or by simply pinching off small pieces and rolling them in your hands. Roll the balls in confectioners’ sugar.

Two trays set up for the rum ball making process: one containing the finished rum balls; the other containing powdered sugar and the un-rolled rum balls.

Transfer the confectioners’ sugar-coated balls to a clean tray or storage vessel:

A tray of rum balls.
A Tupperware filled with rum balls, ready to be frozen.

Can You Freeze Rum Balls?

Yes! Simply transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. I find these delicious straight from the freezer in fact, but if I am going to serve them, I let them thaw at room temperature overnight. Before serving, re-roll them in powdered sugar to freshen them up 🙂

a board of rum balls
Rum balls on a sheet pan.

How to Gift Rum Balls

To gift rum balls, simply find a festive gift box, load with small, paper liners, and load with your delicious, boozy, rum balls. I like these:

  • Mini Foil Wrappers — perfect rum balls or truffles or anything similarly sized.
  • Punch Studio book boxes — I can’t find a source for these. My mother found them at Marshall’s a million years ago and passed them along to me. Marshall’s or craft stores such as Michael’s and Hobby Lobby and JoAnn Fabrics are all good spots to find decorative gift boxes.
A gift box filled with rum balls.

Stationery boxes work well, too. I ordered a set of 50 many years ago, and I’m still using them around the holidays to gift rum balls, truffles, and chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls.

A box of rum balls.
Wrapped rum balls.
a board of rum balls
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A gift box filled with rum balls.

Easy, Festive (and Boozy!) Rum Balls Recipe

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These rum balls are the easiest, best, and most festive cookie to make and gift during the holiday season — they take no time to whip together, require no baking, and are incredibly delicious. What’s more? They can be made ahead and frozen, too.

If you’d like to gift rum balls, you may want to pick up a set of Mini Foil Wrappers, which are perfect for rum balls or truffles or chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls or anything else similarly sized.

A #100 scoop  is also particularly helpful for shaping, though you absolutely can use a teaspoon or simply your hands to pinch of portions of the dough and roll into balls. 


  • 3+ cups (311 g) vanilla wafers (a whole box of Nilla wafers)
  • 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar (plus more for rolling)
  • 2 tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons (44 g) white corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup (74 g) rum, plus more as needed


  1. Place vanilla wafers in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. There might be a few large pieces that don’t catch the blade at this step, but they’ll eventually end up getting pulverized, so don’t worry. (Alternatively, place vanilla wafers into a Ziploc bag and bash them with a rolling pin until they are fine pieces).
  2. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and corn syrup and pulse till combined. Add the 1/3 cup rum and pulse to combine. If necessary, slowly add more rum to the food processor until the mixture comes together and forms a mass around the blade or holds together when you pinch it. 
  3. Using a teaspoon or a #100 scoop, scoop out balls from the processor, roll them gently with your hands to form balls, then drop them onto a plate (or shallow tupperware) filled with a thin layer of powdered sugar. Shake the vessel to coat the balls, then transfer the balls to an airtight storage container until you are ready to serve them. Store at room temperature for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature briefly before serving.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Cookie
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American