Easy, Festive (and Boozy!) Rum Balls Recipe
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
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. 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.
PS: Soft and Chewy Molasses Crinkles
PPS: Simple Classic Shortbread
How to Make Rum Balls, Step by Step
Gather your ingredients: Vanilla wafers, rum, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and confectioners’ sugar.
First: pulse the vanilla wafers in a food processor until they are finely ground:
Next: add the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and corn syrup:
Pulse until finely ground:
Finely: Add the rum, and pulse until the ingredients form a cohesive mass:
Transfer the “dough” to a separate vessel. Pour some confectioners sugar into a small, rimmed sheet pan:
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.
Transfer the confectioners’ sugar-coated balls to a clean tray or storage vessel:
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 🙂
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.
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.Print
Easy, Festive (and Boozy!) Rum Balls Recipe
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 40 rum balls
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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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
Keywords: rum, balls, holiday, baking, cookies, dessert, Christmas
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
153 Comments on “Easy, Festive (and Boozy!) Rum Balls Recipe”
Can you substitute honey for the corn syrup?
Possibly! The corn syrup gives them a bit of a chew, which is nice, and the honey may not provide that same texture, but it will still be delicious. I say go for it!
Easy, fast, delicious. I did not have rum available so grabbed my Kahlua and wow, getting all kinds of compliments.
So nice to hear this, Nancy!
Makes sense as Kailua is a rum based liqueur.
Fantastic. Perfect for Christmas !
What type of rum works best (dark, spiced, white, etc)?
I think a dark rum is best!
These are easy, festive and delicious! Also made a gluten-free batch with a butter cookie that turned out terrific. Thanks, Ali, so glad I discovered your site!
So great to hear this, Jillian! Glad you discovered it, too 🙂 Thanks for the tip on the g-f butter cookie, too — so helpful for others!
I made these today and eliminated the cocoa powder, added crushed pecans (almost powder) and a tablespoon of real vanilla extract. I added Bailey’s Irish Cream and they are delicious!! I can’t wait to see how they taste after being in the fridge for a few days. I will finish them by rolling in pecan pieces. Thanks so much Alexandra for providing a great recipe that can be adjusted to suit a person’s individual taste.
So nice to hear this, Susan!! I find these absolutely irresistible. Love that you were able to adapt the recipe to your tastes and preferences. Thanks so much for writing!
Excellent. They won’t need to be stored for 3 months. My family will eat them a lot sooner.
Wonderful to hear, Chrisa 🙂 🙂 🙂
I can’t find the Nilla Wafers anywhere in Canada – is there a substitute cookie that would work similarily? Maybe a shortbread cookie?
Hi Colleen! Any neutral-ish flavored cookie will work. I think shortbread will be great!
One thing I’m thinking’s of using is Biscoff cookies. They’ve got a caramelized brown sugar flavor I think would go great with the rum.
That sounds amazing! Go for it.
Hi Colleen, I found Nilla Wafers at Save On Foods.
Cannot find vanilla wafers. I’m going to try graham crackers. Not sure amount. After they’re pulsed, how much should I have?
Any neutral-ish sugar cookie will do. Use the same amount: about 3 cups (311 g) unpulsed. I’m not sure of the post-pulsing volume.
I am having a heck of a time finding the Nilla cookies this year could we use graham cracker crumbs instead?
Hi Shannon! I think Graham crackers would be fine — really any neutral or vanilla-flavored sugar cookie will work. If you can find a shortbread cookie, that might be better.
HELP!! I made the dough and let it sit in the fridge too long and know it is too dry to form into balls. How can I make it soft again? Should I just add more rum??
Hi! I’m probably too late here. A few thoughts: you could let it sit at room temperature and see if that softens it? You could also throw it back into the food processor maybe… a little bit at a time so as to not break your food processor. More rum is never a bad idea! What did you end up doing?
I have never made rum balls, but I sure do love em. It looks pretty simple, and I will most likely double the rum, LOL
I can’t wait to make these! For gifts, can I mail them or would it be too long out of refrigeration? Nothing in it seems like it would spoil. What do you think? Thanks!
Totally fine to mail! I have done it successfully. Enjoy and happy baking!
Have you ever tried dipping these in a chocolate coating (like the truffles recipe you already posted)? We would like to try and are curious if you think the flavors would be complimentary.
I have not, but I think that would be delicious. Go for it 🙂 🙂 🙂
Been making them for years. Blender or food processor really works well. I also add a cup of finely chopped walnuts or pecans. (actually pretty much nut butter when put thru food processor). Measure carefully all ingredients. Do not add more rum than called for or you will get sticky goo. My balls are a lot bigger.
Was out of rum so I used coffee moonshine.
I love Graham crackers. Vanilla-flavored sugar cookie will work too. If you can find a shortbread cookie, that might be better.
Can you use sugar alternatives (stevia, etc)? Can you use any other syrups or wafers (GF,etc)?
I haven’t tried, Adam, but I imagine alternative sugars and sweeteners would work just fine. Go for it!
Easiest Rum Balls I’ve ever made (and I’ve tried several different recipes!) However, I also added about a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans – well, actually pulverized in the food processor. Doing so calls for a bit more liquid, (Rum!) But another nice addition is a liqueur called “43” (CUARENTR Y TRES, not sure if that is the correct spelling?) It is sweet! With the addition of the walnuts or pecans I’ve found that a quarter cup of Rum and a quarter cup of “43” works fine. My husband doesn’t like the “43” so I make his with just Rum and roll them in the powdered sugar. I make mine with the addition of the “43” and roll the balls in pulverized pecans (or walnuts). They’re YUMMY!
Great to hear all of this, Jill! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes 🙂 🙂 🙂 I will look out for 43 … I know I would love it.
Love this recipe. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and always a hit. I dip mine in chocolate and add coconut or pecans. I also do some plain chocolate dipped ones and some powdered sugar ones. I use the captain Morgan’s spiced rum. I may try using other rum flavors this year.
Yum to all of this! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes, Yvonne 🙂
So delicious!! My first time making rum balls and these are so dangerous! I could eat all of them myself. I know our Christmas guests will gobble them up.
I did make a few changes: first I used graham cracker crumbs because I couldn’t find vanilla wafers. Second, I don’t have a food processor so I just mixed using a spatula which wasn’t bad at all. Finally, I dusted half with icing sugar and the other half with coconut. Both are amazing but we both enjoyed the coconut ever so slightly more.
10000/10 make this recipe.
Yay! Great to read all of this, Miranda! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. I could eat all of these myself as well 🙂 🙂 🙂
My co-workers loved them. I just had to add more rum. Lol
Great to hear, Larry 🙂 🙂 🙂
Can no longer find Nilla cookies. Any suggestions on what I can replace them with?
I think any cookie could work. Can you get a shortbread-type cookie? Or as someone else suggested, a Biscoff-style cookie?
These are delicious. I used Kinnikinnick GF graham style crumbs and dark cocoa and 1T honey and 1T confectioners and added some black cocoa and cinnamon to the mix I rolled them in. My batch made 55 because I used a level 1tsp cookie scoop. These are excellent. Thank you.
Great to hear, Ean! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes.
Great easy festive recipe. Thank you!!!
Great to hear, Donna!
I’m thinking of using TJs ginger thins instead of vanilla wafers(an equal weight of crumbs).What do you think?
YES!! Sounds amazing.
And Cointreau! Zomg!
Made these today. So quick and easy! Used Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Wafers and a few Biscoffs to get to 311 g. Worked great. Video helped with seeing the consistency of the mixture and your scooping/rolling method. I will be making these again very soon. Thanks!
Great to hear, Leslie! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your cookie notes — some people have a hard time finding Nilla wafers, so it’s great to know what other cookies out there work well.
Hello. Have you ever substituted bourbon?
Hello Alexandra these look delicious, I’m making them for the holidays. Could shredded coconut be added to the dough or perhaps rolled in coconut.
I love rum and coconut flavour combo 😊 Thank you for all the wonderful recipes
Happy Holidays to you and your family
Sure! That sounds delicious! And very pretty. Report back if you give it a go 🙂
I wonder why they would require refrigeration? I would think they could be left at room temperature like other cookies. what are your thoughts?
I actually now leave mine at room temperature. I edited the recipe a few days ago, but there must be a spot in the blog post itself that calls for refrigeration… I’ll find it. Thanks!
I didn’t have corn syrup so I used 1 T. honey and 1 T. simple syrup. also, I substituted Kahlua for the rum. they turned out great!
Yay! Great to hear! Thanks for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂