When I entertain during the holiday season I love putting together a holiday cookie platter or a dessert tray with all sorts of different sweets. These rum balls are a necessary addition every year.
While many cookies take a bit of time to bake (and decorate), these little no-bake boozy treats come together in no time. And they’re always a hit!
I like to roll them in nuts, confectioner’s sugar, or shredded coconut but there are lots of ways to dress up these truffle-like treats. Also, if you need or want to you can easily swap out the rum for non-alcoholic substitutes.
If you’re looking for a fun holiday treat to make for a party (or just to snack on at home), these easy rum balls are the way to go.
Common Questions about Rum Balls
Does the alcohol evaporate in rum balls?
Since you do not bake rum balls, the alcohol does remain in the dough. So, if you don’t want any alcohol in these, you can use substitutes like fruit juice for the rum or just omit it.
Where did rum balls come from?
These sweet treats originated in Denmark and are called romkugler or romkugeln. Their history is steeped in preservation as they were supposedly created by Danish bakers who were trying to make their baked goods last another day by repurposing their end-of-day leftovers into these rum soaked truffles.
Can you get drunk by eating rum balls?
Given the small quantity of rum in this dessert, it’s unlikely that you’ll get drunk from eating these. In fact, you’d probably get far too full before you could eat enough to get tipsy.
Making Rum Balls Ahead of Time
You can make the rum balls up to a day ahead of when you’re planning to serve them. Or, instead, you can mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients ahead and then combine them when you are ready.
Rum balls are easy to store — you can pop them in the fridge or the freezer.
Refrigerator: Store rum balls in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Freezing: In a freezer-safe container, rum balls can be frozen for up to 3 months. If you don’t have a freezer-safe container, you can store them in a ziploc bag instead.
Tips For The Best Rum Balls
These are incredibly easy to make! However, there are a few tricks that can make them even easier.
- To make the rum balls extra smooth, and avoid dough sticking to your hands, try spraying your hands with cooking spray or coating your palms slightly with a neutral oil.
- To crush the wafers so that they are extremely fine, place them in a sealed plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin. Alternatively, you can use a food processor.
- Make sure to combine all of the dry ingredients first so that they are evenly dispersed before you add the wet ingredients.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make the most delicious rum balls.
- Crushed vanilla wafers
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Pecans (finely chopped)
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Dark spiced rum
- Vanilla extract
Coating for rolling
- Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
- Sprinkles (optional)
- Chopped pecans (optional)
- Shredded coconut (optional)
- Cocoa powder (optional)
Kitchen Supplies You’ll Need
There are only a few simple supplies that you’ll need to make these rum balls.
- Whisk or wooden spoon
- 2 bowls
- Cookie dough scoop
- Cookie sheet or casserole dish
- Parchment paper or wax paper, Silpat Liner
- Rolling pin or meat mallet (for crushing cookies)
- Food processor (optional)
How to Make Rum Balls
This easy recipe comes together so quickly you might just make these your new go-to dessert!
- Pour the cookie crumbs, confectioner’s sugar, pecans, and cocoa powder into a large bowl.
- Using a whisk or wooden spoon, combine the ingredients completely. Set aside.
- Then, add the dark rum, honey, water, and vanilla extract to a separate bowl.
- After adding the rum mixture, with a small spoon or whisk, combine the wet ingredients until all ingredients are mixed well.
- Next, pour the honey mixture into the mixture of dry ingredients.
- Using the small cookie scoop, portion the dough evenly. Then place each scoop onto the prepared baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Then, roll the dough between the palms of your hands to form small balls.
- After forming the balls, roll them through the coating option of your choice.
- Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.
What to Serve With Rum Balls
These boozy balls are a great little treat all on their own, but they also pair perfectly with beverages, sauces, and other desserts.
- Coffee – Whether it’s a steaming cup of regular or decaf brew or an espresso-based drink, coffee goes well with nearly all desserts.
- Caramel sauce – Offer a store-bought or homemade salted caramel sauce for dipping. Pierce the rum balls with toothpicks or skewers to make them easier to dip.
- Cocktails – An espresso cocktail is a natural pairing, as is a classic eggnog (with or without the alcohol).
- Hot chocolate – Whip up a warm cup of cocoa for a wholesome after dinner treat to go with these.
- Ice cream – Use rum balls as a garnish for a big scoop of ice cream.
- Chocolate sauce – Serve alongside a warm bowl of chocolate sauce to dip the rum balls into.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
There are so many good reasons to make this recipe, we struggle to think of a reason not to make these!
- No-bake – You don’t even have to turn on your oven to make these tasty little treats.
- Convenient – The ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store if they’re not already in your kitchen.
- Customizable – There are so many different options to coat these rum balls with, you can serve a different variety every time you make them.
- Easy – With few kitchen accessories necessary and no need to bake, these are an easy way to get a dessert made quickly.
Variations and Add-ins
This standard recipe will yield some amazing traditional rum balls but there are other ways you can customize them, too.
- Type of rum – While dark rum imparts spicy flavor notes into the rum balls you can try lighter varieties or other flavors. One option is making coconut rum balls with Malibu coconut rum.
- Other liquor – Instead of rum try another liquor. A popular variation is to make whiskey or bourbon balls.
- Liqueur – Add a little bit of Bailey’s, Grand Marnier, or brandy, or substitute one of them for some or all of the rum.
- Non-alcoholic – Since you aren’t cooking these balls the alcohol will remain in the dessert so these aren’t suitable for pregnant women, children, or non-drinkers. You can easily just leave the rum out or substitute it with other flavors — orange juice is a popular option and you can try apple juice as well.
- Cookies – Swap out the wafers and try using shortbread cookies instead. Or, for some spicy flavor, try ginger snaps.
- Nuts – Instead of pecans, try different nuts. Choose just one that you like, or combine several and crush them together.
- Melted chocolate – Experiment with melting white, milk, or dark chocolate and drizzle it over top. Then, allow the chocolate to set before serving.
- Rum extract – You can add this extract or you can substitute some or all of the rum for it.
- Heat – While it may not be for everyone, some people like their sweets with a bit of a kick of heat. Try adding cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes to the dry ingredients when mixing.
- Chocolate chips – Incorporate more chocolate flavor by folding miniature chocolate chips into the mixture.
If you love this easy Rum Balls recipe, you’re going to love these other no-bake treats too. Please click each link below to find the easy, printable recipe!
Other Delicious No-Bake Desserts
Include these treats in a beautiful Christmas Cookie Board
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- 2 ½ cups crushed vanilla wafers
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup pecans finely chopped
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup dark spiced rum
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
COATING – for Rolling
- confectioner’s sugar optional
- sprinkles optional
- chopped pecans optional
- coconut optional
- cocoa powder optional
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
- Start by combining the wafer crumbs, confectioner’s sugar, pecans and cocoa powder in a large bowl until well combined.
- In a small bowl combine the rum, honey, water, and vanilla extract.
- Stir the honey mixture into dry ingredients until well combined.
- Divide the dough equally using a cookie dough scoop.
- Form into ball and then roll in any of the coating options – confectioner’s sugar, sprinkles or chopped pecans.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate. Please double-check with your own dietary calculator for the best accuracy. We at Taste of the Frontier cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.