Rum Balls


Chocolate rum balls! These easy no-bake treats are perfect for your next holiday party.

Photography Credit: Irvin Lin

Some of my friends make chocolate rum balls every year for their holiday parties, and these sweet little bites are always the first things to go. Maybe that says more about my friends who always reach for the boozy treats first, but I can’t blame them.

These rum balls are as easy to make as they are to eat. They’re the original no-bake treat!

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2016-11-12-rumballs-4Rum balls are also really easy to adapt to your personal tastes or to what you have in your cupboard. My friend Joanne uses Nilla wafers in her recipe, and I’ve followed her lead with my own recipe. But I also know other folks who use gingersnaps, Oreos or even stale brownies.

I’m not sure who these people are who leave stale brownies around the house, but the point is that you can substitute pretty much any crumbled cookie or baked good in this recipe and expect good results.

Rum BallsSomething else to play around with: the choice of alcohol in your rum balls! Any rum will work, so use your favorite. (Malibu coconut rum is great if you also plan to coat your rum balls with shredded coconut.) You can even mix things up with tequila, bourbon, or whiskey!

I like to roll half of my rum balls in dark Dutch-processed cocoa and the other half in powdered sugar so they contrast with each other in the cookie tin. You can also roll them in crushed nuts, sprinkles, or shredded coconut if you like.

Any way you make them, rum balls are a hit. They really are so easy and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser at your holiday party!

Looking for more treats for your cookie tray?

Rum Balls Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Chill time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 36 pieces

Store your rum balls in the refrigerator. They become even better and more deeply infused with alcohol flavor after a few days.

Feel free to customize your rum balls by switching up the alcohol (rum, tequila, bourbon, and whiskey are all great choices) and/or by rolling them in a coating of your choice (nuts, coconut, sprinkles, sugar, or cocoa).


  • 1 cup (170 g or 6 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (57 g) plus 1/3 cup (40 g) powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups (310 g or 11 ounces) crushed Nilla wafers
  • 1 cup (110 g) crushed walnuts
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder


1 Melt the chocolate: Place the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate in 30-second intervals at full power, stirring between each cook time until all the chips have melted.

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2 Make the rum ball dough: Sift 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar over the melted chocolate (sifting helps prevent clumps). Add the corn syrup, rum and salt. Stir with a whisk until the sugar dissolves and the rum is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

Add the crushed wafers and the walnuts. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated. The mixture will look crumbly.

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Rum Balls

3 Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

4 Shape the rum balls: Place the cocoa powder and remaining 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in separate bowls and keep them nearby. Use a spoon or small ice cream server to scoop out enough chilled mixture to roll a 1-inch ball. The mixture will be crumbly and hard but once you roll and squeeze it in your hands, it will come together.

Coat the rum ball with powdered sugar or cocoa powder and repeat with the rest of the mixture.

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5 Store rum balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days. The rum balls improve in flavor over the next few days.

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Rum Balls

Irvin Lin

Irvin Lin is an IACP award-winning photographer, food writer and recipe developer, blue-ribbon baker, public speaker, and occasional social media consultant. His blog is Eat the Love and his first cookbook is Marbled, Swirled and Layered.

More from Irvin

41 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Melanie

    Loved them! I’ve already made them twice. All my friends love them too. They do get better with time, if you can leave them alone!


  2. Nancy

    I made these last night and rolled them in a combination of the sugar and cocoa this morning. I made another recipe from the Washington Post as well, without chocolate, and rolled them in plain confectioner’s sugar so I could tell them apart. The Washington Post rum balls were definitely more delicious.

    These chocolate rum balls taste too dense and doughy. I wonder if I could reduce the amount of vanilla wafers? Is it a mistake in the recipe? These also made about 60 balls, not 35. If I made these again I’d reduce the vanilla wafers and increase the walnuts, or just reduce the vanilla wafers and see how the texture plays out.


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  3. Kathleen

    I use Graham crackers with great success..

  4. Tania

    Hi what i can substitute for corn syrup and for the Nila wafers?

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  5. Donna

    Do these stay firm sitting out at room temperature?

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Rum Balls