Homemade Holiday Rum Balls

This is the best recipe for Homemade Holiday Rum Balls, possibly ever! I love everything about these sweet and delicious rum-soaked cookie balls, right down to the endless decorating possibilities. You’re sure to be making, eating, and gifting these sweet truffles all season long!

Looking for more Christmas dessert ideas? Try these Peanut Butter Balls or these Chocolate Covered Cherries!

Decorated holiday rum balls in candy cups, arranged on a plate, one with a bite missing.

Easy Holiday Rum Balls Recipe

There’s something about rum balls that’s just so special – they’re like a little reminder every year that the holidays are here! This is my favorite easy recipe for simple and beautiful holiday rum balls. These sweet no-bake cookie balls are made with crispy vanilla wafer cookies and chopped pecans, flavored with a generous shot of rum and honey. They’re perfect for rolling and coating in cocoa or powdered sugar, and decorating any way you’d like!

I just know you’ll be enjoying many variations of these sweet treats at all your upcoming holiday parties, from Christmas to New Year’s! Rum balls also make a tasty and festive gift for wrapping up and sharing with family and friends.

Decorated holiday rum balls in candy cups, arranged on a plate, one with a bite missing.

What You’ll Need

There are only 5 ingredients and a single bowl needed to make these rum balls! If you’re going to be gifting them, it’s also handy to have some small paper candy cups on hand to protect the powdered balls.

Here’s the short list of ingredients:

  • Vanilla Wafer Cookies: 1 whole box, finely crushed. You can also use chocolate wafer cookies if you prefer.
  • Pecans: Finely chopped for these bite-sized cookies. You could also use walnuts!
  • Powdered Sugar: Fine powdered sugar will bind everything together and give these cookies a smooth texture. Also good for rolling the balls in afterwards!
  • Rum: I like to use a dark spiced rum for this recipe due to its rich depth of flavor. However you can use light or dark rum if you’d prefer! Or mix it up and use a different kind of liquor! Bourbon would make great Bourbon Balls!
  • Honey: Naturally sweetens these rum balls and helps to hold the ingredients together. You could also use light corn syrup as well.

Do Rum Balls Contain Alcohol?

Yes! As the name would suggest, rum is added to the mixture. And since this is a no-bake recipe, the alcohol won’t cook off – however, the amount of rum in this rum balls recipe is minimal enough that the individual cookie balls aren’t overly boozy but you can indeed taste the rum!

HOWEVER – You can omit the rum in the recipe and sub in rum extract. Just add a teaspoon (or more to achieve the desired flavor). And use 1/4 cup of water in the place of the rum in the recipe!

The ingredients for holiday rum balls are combined in a mixing bowl.

How to Make Rum Balls

They are so simple to make, but pack loads of sweet, rum-infused flavor and crunchy cookie texture. They come together in a few easy steps:

Combine the Dry Ingredients:  First you’ll stir together the crushed vanilla wafers, chopped pecans, and powdered sugar into an even mixture in a large bowl.

Rum balls dough in a blue mixing bowl.

Add in the Wet Ingredients: Next, in go the rum and honey. Give it a mix to get everything combined, then use your hands to knead the rum balls mixture into a thick dough. 

Rolled rum balls on parchment.

Roll Out the Balls: Roll the mixture into balls about a tablespoon in size. This will end up being about a 1-inch ball.  Then place them on a large enough plate or baking sheet. 

An assortment of holiday rum balls being rolled in bowls of cocoa powder, sprinkles, and powdered sugar.

Coat: If you’d like, you can roll the rum balls in a coating of powdered sugar or cocoa powder. See my tips for success below if you’ll be coating these in sprinkles!

That’s it! You are ready to gift or enjoy at your next holiday gathering, from Christmas parties to potlucks. Gifting is easy using small candy cups or mini cupcake liners!

An assortment of holiday rum balls rolled in sprinkles, cocoa powder and powdered sugar, with bowls of decorations in the background.

How To Make Them Pretty:

Over and above powdered sugar and festive sprinkles, you can roll rum balls in a variety of toppings! Get decorating with these suggestions:

  • Desiccated Coconut or toasted coconut
  • Crystal sugar
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Crushed nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts)
  • Edible glitter
Holiday rum balls decorated with sprinkles, cocoa, and powdered sugar, placed in candy cups.

Tips for Success

  • If you’re coating the finished balls with sprinkles: It helps to dampen your hand with a little bit of water before you roll the mixture into balls; this way the sprinkles will stick more easily to the balls when decorating.
  • Use a cookie scoop! Measuring out the mixture for the rum balls is easy and quick using a cookie scoop.
  • Use a food processor:  A food processor or blender is super handy when crushing and chopping the cookies and pecans. Just pulse it until the cookies are a fine crumb. You can use a rolling pin if that’s what you have on hand as well.
  • If you notice the mixture is too dry: The cookie crumbs can make these a little dry, but it’s an easy fix! Go on and give it another splash of rum. Otherwise, if you find it’s too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar until you reach the right consistency. You’ll know you have it right when the mixture holds together easily when squeezed!
Holiday rum balls decorated with sprinkles, cocoa, and powdered sugar, placed in candy cups.

How Long Do Rum Balls Stay Good For?

Rum balls will stay fresh enough when stored in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 7 days. You can also freeze these in an airtight, freezer-safe container or resealable bag for up to a month. 

To freeze, place the balls on a baking sheet and allow them to pre-freeze until solid. Then transfer the balls to a container for storage. Thaw frozen rum balls overnight in the fridge before serving.

More Easy No-Bake Dessert Recipes

Print

Easy Holiday Rum Balls

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield Yield: 30 balls 1x
  • Category Category: Dessert
  • Method Method: No-bake
  • Cuisine Cuisine: American

Description:

An easy holiday rum balls recipe for sweet and delicious, rum-soaked cookie balls. Rum balls are the best bite-sized treat for holiday parties and festive gifting!


Scale

Ingredients:

  • 1 (11- ounce) box vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans (approximately 1 cup whole)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Optional for rolling: 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or nonpareil sprinkles
  • Optional for gifting – small paper candy cups.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mix together the crushed cookies, chopped pecans, and powdered sugar. Mix until evenly combined.
  2. Add in the rum and honey and mix until incorporated. Using your hands knead the mixture together until it becomes a thick dough.
  3. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll into balls. Place on a plate or baking sheet.
  4. Roll the rum balls in powdered sugar or cocoa powder to coat. See note if coating in sprinkles.
  5. Place in candy cups for gifting.

Notes:

I like to use a food processor or blender to crush and chop the cookies and pecans. You want them both to be a fine crumb.

If you notice the mixture is too dry, you can add a splash more rum. If it’s too wet, add a tablespoon more of powdered sugar. The mixture should hold together easily when squeezed.

If coating the finished balls with sprinkles, you will need to dampen your hand with water slightly and roll the mixture into balls so the sprinkles adhere easily.

Store airtight at room temperature for up to 7 days.

Freeze airtight for up to a month.

Keywords: easy rum balls, no bake cookies, christmas cookies

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Osleidys
January 4, 2022 2:15 pm

I made this recipe for Christmas and it was a success. I used Biscoff cookies. Thank you for sharing.

Lisa
December 18, 2021 4:07 pm

Cocoa is missing from the ingredients for the holiday balls! How much cocoa? Mine turned out okay but after the fact, I realize cocoa is missing from the ingredient list. 🙁

Lisa
December 22, 2021 9:49 am
Reply to  Shelly

Cocoa is in the photo in the bowl above which is misled me. Your final balls, before rolling, look a lot darker than the ones I made and I followed the recipe exactly, using dark spiced rum. Thanks for clarifying.

Mary
December 7, 2021 8:46 pm

I want to make these every holiday season but my husband has a nut allergy. Any suggestions to make them nut free?

Margot
December 7, 2021 11:06 am

The picture of your unmixed ingredients appears to have cocoa in it. Is there an option that includes cocoa – besides as an option to roll them in ?

susana
December 7, 2021 9:49 am

Hello, Nice recipe. Thanks. Can I use ice cream cones instead the waffers?, I have a ton broken!!!!!

nicole
December 7, 2021 8:29 am

would you wait to roll them in powered sugar until after they are thawed if freezing?

Marisa
December 6, 2021 7:36 am

This looks delicious! I live outside the US, is there a substitute for vanilla wafers?

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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