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Rum Balls

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Rum Balls are a classic holiday treat. Boozy, chocolatey and rich, store these beauties in the refrigerator for several days for an even better flavor!

9 rum balls with assorted toppings arranged in a box for gifting

Ohio is clearly a little confused in terms of the weather right now. It was sunny and almost 50 degrees today which is a little disappointing considering Christmas is in 4 days and last year we were expecting a huge winter storm around this time.

What can I say? I’m all for a white Christmas.

Despite the warm and sunny weather, we’re checking off items on our holiday baking list one by one.

I’ve got all the ingredients for peanut butter blossoms, snowball cookies, gingerbread cookies, saltine toffee, peanut brittle and of course, rum balls.

Rum ball ingredients arranged on a blue and white tiled countertop

WHAT ARE RUM BALLS?

I was probably around 30 years old before I had a rum ball.

Can you believe it? These are such a holiday classic, yet somehow I just missed the boat for 30 years.

I’m glad that I finally figured out what all the fuss was about, though, because these babies are well worth making.

Dry ingredients for rum balls in a white bowl, about to be stirred together

Rum balls are pretty similar to turtle cookie balls or peppermint oreo cookie balls — just…boozier.

Rum balls are bite-size homemade treats made with vanilla cookie crumbs, pecans, cocoa, confectioners’ sugar, and spiced rum. 

These do taste like spiced rum, so keep that in mind. Although if rum isn’t your favorite, you could try making them with bourbon instead.

Don’t worry about getting drunk from rum balls. Because there is only 4 ounces of rum in the entire batch, you’d have to eat quite a few!

If booze isn’t your thing, you might try my no-bake cookies or my simple homemade truffles as easy no-bake holiday gifts.

Rum ball dough being stirred together with a wooden spoon in a white bowl

HOW TO MAKE RUM BALLS

Rum balls are incredibly easy to make. They’re a great option if you need a treat to share but don’t want to turn on the oven!

Grab a very large bowl to mix everything in, as well as a silicone spatula or a sturdy wooden spoon.

You’re also going to need to crush up some vanilla wafers. You can use a food processor, or put the cookies into a ziptop bag, close it, and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies.

Rum balls being shaped with a cookie scoop and rolled in crushed pretzels and cocoa powder

Pour the crushed vanilla wafers into the bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients to have everything evenly dispersed. 

Drizzle in the vanilla, corn syrup, and rum. Stir well to fully incorporate, making sure there are no dry bits. 

To make sure they are wet enough, scoop up a bit of the mixture and squeeze it into a ball in your hands. If it stays in a ball shape, you’re ready to roll!

Add small amounts of crushed wafers or more rum as needed to get the perfect texture.

Use a cookie scoop to roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, then toss them in a shallow bowl filled with your favorite coating. 

Two rum balls being rolled in cocoa powder

RUM BALL VARIATIONS

Wondering what you could roll your rum balls in?

You could use cocoa powder, powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar), crushed nuts, sprinkles, shredded coconut, or whatever else strikes your fancy — any of them are delicious.

Remember that you can do a little bit of everything, too! This recipe makes about 20 large rum balls, so I think it’s fun to do several of a few different toppings.

Overhead view of assorted rum balls in paper liners, arranged on a sheet tray

If you roll them in powdered sugar, keep in mind that you may want to re-roll them just before serving, as the powdered sugar tends to absorb a bit while they rest in the refrigerator.

You can also change up the flavor of your rum balls by trying different rum flavors. Instead of spiced rum, try:

  • Dark rum
  • Coconut rum
  • White rum
  • Vanilla rum
  • Bourbon

Out of vanilla wafer cookies? No problem! Rum balls can be made with other kinds of crushed cookies too, like graham crackers or butter cookies.

Three rum balls arranged on a white plate with more rum balls and a mug of hot cocoa in the background

STORAGE TIPS

Here’s the best thing about this recipe: They actually taste better when they’re made in advance AND they last forever in the refrigerator.

Ok, maybe not forever. But they will last for quite some time!

Much like fruitcake cookies, rum balls taste better when they’ve had a few days to sit and let the flavor develop.

Just pop them into an airtight container and stick them in the fridge for at least 2 days, and up to a couple of weeks.

You don’t need to store rum balls in the refrigerator as long as you keep them in a cool, dry place, but I find they have the best flavor and last the longest when kept cold.

Rum balls with assorted toppings in a white bowl

I keep mine chilled, packed in a holiday tin lined with wax paper, so they’re ready to go in case unexpected company comes by. 

Not sure when you might need your rum balls? Freeze them for longer storage! You can freeze rum balls for up to 2 months. 

I recommend packing them with as little air as possible, so if you have a vacuum sealer that will work great. 

You can also simply use a ziptop freezer bag and remove excess air before sealing. This will keep your rum balls fresh and delicious!

To thaw, simply remove them from the freezer and place in the refrigerator until they are soft enough to bite.

This is such a great make-ahead recipe for holiday parties, gift giving, or your own personal dessert stash.

Rum balls with assorted toppings in paper liners, arranged on a sheet tray
Rum balls with assorted toppings in paper liners, arranged on a sheet tray

Rum Balls

Rum Balls are a classic holiday treat. Boozy, chocolatey and rich, store these beauties in the refrigerator for several days for an even better flavor! 
4.48 from 437 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20 large balls

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ cup spiced rum

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, stir together the crushed vanilla wafers, 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and nuts. Drizzle in vanilla, corn syrup and rum.
  • Scoop and shape into 1 inch balls or larger. I used about 4 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture per ball which equaled 2 level scoops from a small OXO cookie scoop.
  • Roll Rum Balls in additional confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, sprinkles or whatever strikes your fancy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days to develop the flavor.

Notes

– If you chose to roll your Rum Balls in confectioners; sugar, you may need to recoat them before serving.
– I served my Rum Balls in mini cupcake liners that I picked up from Target.

Nutrition

Serving: 1rum ball | Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 0.2mg | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.4mg
The default measuring system on My Baking Addiction is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided as a courtesy; please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
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Recipe Rating




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Judy

Saturday 23rd of December 2023

One box of 11 ounce Nabisco Nilla Wafers equals 2.5 cups of crushed Wafers. I wasn't sure if I needed to buy two or three boxes. For anyone else wondering the same, you only need two!

ST

Saturday 23rd of December 2023

Perfect - used glucose syrup instead of corn syrup. The flavour mellows after a week. Gots lots of compliments, such as I usually don't like rum balls but these are good. Rolled in coconut and stored in freezer. Definitely making these again.

Jamie

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback. -Jamie

Cris Peterson

Tuesday 19th of December 2023

This is the second year I have made these from your recipe. It is the BEST! I give them boxed up as neighbor gifts and save some for the family desserts. As a note, I use vanilla rum and roll them in flaked coconut at the end...just delicious!

Jamie

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback. -Jamie

Elaine

Friday 15th of December 2023

Just made these! I am not a big fan of rum, but my son wanted me to make some! They were a bit too "harsh" for me at first, but have now sat in the fridge for a week and they taste very good. I am making some more tonight, but am going to use almonds and the Disaronno Velvet. Easy to follow recipe and came together fast. Thanks!

Jamie

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback. -Jamie

Patricia

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

I want to make these rum balls, but I am unclear about the vanilla wafer cookies. I thought that 'Nilla wafers were what was called for, but my niece pointed out that are Vanilla Wafer Cookie that are like a sandwich with cream in the middle. Can you please clarify this for me? Thank you

Jamie

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Hi Patricia- You are correct, Nilla Wafers is the name brand, that's what you're wanting for this recipe. -Jamie

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