No-bake Rum Balls are a classic holiday treat that everyone loves! They’re chocolatey, boozy truffles with a powdered sugar glaze that will keep for weeks in the fridge and be ready to pull out for all of your holiday events.
Rum Balls are a popular treat at Christmastime all over the world!
They are said to have originated in Denmark, where rum balls are enjoyed year-round, but you’ll also find them on holiday spreads in America, England, Germany, Australia, and many other countries.
Traditionally, this sweet treat was made to use up leftover cake or cookies, and in that way, it’s similar to the modern-day cake pop or cake truffle!
This old-fashioned American version of rum balls uses crushed Nilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa, chopped walnuts, and spiced rum. It is the most delicious rum balls recipe, and I’ll bet it’s exactly the same, or very, very similar to the dessert that you remember your grandma or great-grandmother making for Christmas too.
How Much Alcohol is in Rum Balls?
As a kid, you may have been forbidden from tasting the rum balls, due to their slight alcohol content, but now you can enjoy them without any rules!
There really are only six tablespoons of rum in the whole rum balls recipe, so less than a tenth of an ounce of rum in each rum ball though, so intoxication shouldn’t be a concern. Of course, enjoy these in moderation!
Why You’ll Love This Easy Rum Balls Recipe
- Easy No Bake Holiday Treat – This is such a simple recipe. Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then roll the mixture into tasty boozy rum balls.
- Traditional Rum Balls Recipe – This recipe has been around for a long time, and I haven’t made any major changes to it! Enjoy making rum balls just like your grandmother or great-grandmother did.
- Make Ahead– The flavor of these balls actually gets better with age, and they can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. I love that this is a holiday recipe that I can make well in advance and have ready to go when I’m entertaining.
Ingredients In Rum Balls
Here’s what you need to make this holiday treat:
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Vanilla Wafers: Crushed cookies make up the base of the rum balls. You’ll need 3 cups of cookie crumbs to make this recipe, which can be made by crushing about 70 Nabisco Nilla Wafers, or about 1 box.
- Powdered Sugar: This is what makes the rum balls sweet like candy! We’ll also use more powdered sugar to coat the balls once they’re made.
- Light Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is sticky, and helps to bind all of the ingredients together. You can also use honey if you prefer.
- Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder is one of the main flavor ingredients in this rum balls recipe. The higher quality your cocoa powder is, the richer they will taste.
- Walnuts: Chopped walnuts give these truffles a chunky texture that makes them feel substantial and rich.
- Rum: I like these made with spiced rum, like Captain Morgan, but you can make them with white rum or whatever rum you have in the cabinet.
How To Make Rum Balls
- Crush the Cookies: A food processor makes quick work of crushing cookies into fine crumbs. Pulse until the crumbs are fairly uniform. You can also crush the cookies with a ziplock bag and a rolling pin.
- Combine All of the Ingredients: Add the crushed vanilla wafers to a large bowl, then add powdered sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, chopped walnuts, and rum. Stir until a dough-like mixture forms. If needed, add a few more drops of rum or a few more teaspoons of sugar to get the right consistency.
- Scoop and Roll: Use a small cookie scoop to portion out the rum ball mixture, then roll the balls smoothly with your hands. Roll each ball into additional powdered sugar to coat.
Make rum balls a day or two in advance. Store them in the fridge to let the flavor develop fully.
- Rum can be replaced with any type of liquor that you like. Flavored vodka or bourbon both work well in this recipe.
- Instead of walnuts, try these with finely chopped pecans or almonds.
- Don’t have vanilla wafers? No problem, rum balls can be made with any kind of cookie. Digestive biscuits or graham crackers work well too.
- The flavor of rum balls gets better with age. Store these in the fridge for at least 1 or 2 days to let the flavor ripen.
- Before serving, roll the balls in more powdered sugar. Some of it will absorb into the balls while they’re in the fridge.
Alternate Rum Ball Coatings
Switch up the outer coating of your rum balls to add different flavors, textures, and colors. Try any of these:
- Cocoa powder
- Finely chopped nuts
- Holiday sprinkles
- Shredded coconut
- Shaved dark chocolate
Store Rum Balls in the Fridge: Kept in an airtight container, these holiday treats can be stored for up to 2 weeks!
In the Freezer: Freeze rum balls on a tray until solid, then transfer them to zipper bags and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Holiday Cookie Platter Ideas
We have so many amazing, easy, and festive Christmas desserts for you to make! Here are a few of my favorite Christmas cookies:
- Gingersnap Cookies
- Christmas Puppy Chow
- Candy Cane Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Peppermint Chocolate Macarons
- Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Stained Glass Cookies
You would need to eat at least 10 of these to ingest an ounce of rum. The amount of alcohol in each run ball is less than a tenth of an ounce, and should not cause intoxication.
Yes, they will be fine at room temperature, as long as your room is fairly cool. The flavor and texture of these is best when they are chilled though.
You may need to add a bit more liquid to the mixture if it seems too dry to make into balls. Add a few extra drops of rum or water to get it perfect.
This recipe for rum balls is such an easy one! It’s also a classic that I don’t think will ever go out of style, so make sure you Pin the recipe to save it for next year too.
- 3 cups crushed vanilla wafers about 70 Nilla Wafers
- 1 cup powdered sugar plus more for decorating
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 6 tablespoons rum spiced or not
- Crush the vanilla wafer cookies using a food processor or blender until they are turned into fine crumbs. Measure out 3 cups.
- Add the cookie crumbs to a mixing bowl along with the powdered sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, chopped walnuts, and rum.
- Mix with a spoon or spatula until the mixture is well combined.
- Use a small cookie scoop to portion the mixture, then use your hands to roll each portion into a smooth ball.
- Dip the rum balls in additional powdered sugar to coat.
- Store in an airtight container for 1-2 days to let the flavors develop fully.
- I find it easiest to crush the cookies using a food processor, but you can also add them to a heavy zipper bag and crush them finely with a rolling pin.
- Instead of vanilla wafers, use any type of cookie, digestive biscuits, or graham crackers.
- Replace the rum with any other type of liquor you like. Flavored vodka or bourbon both work well in this recipe.
- The flavor of rum balls gets better with age. These are best on day 2 or 3, once the flavor ripens.
- If the powdered sugar coating seems to disappear in storage, simply re-roll the rum balls in more sugar just before serving.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Rum balls will last for up to 2 weeks stored properly.
- To Freeze: Place the rum balls in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 2 months.
- Alternate coatings: cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, chopped vanilla wafers, holiday nonpareils, shredded coconut.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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