Rum Balls are sweet, no-bake adult cookies that are perfect for holidays and parties. These easy, chewy cookies are a combination of crushed vanilla wafers, nuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, honey, dark rum, and cinnamon. Roll them in some more crushed nuts, cocoa powder, or powdered sugar as a finishing touch. These rum balls will last a long time in the refrigerator or freeze them to enjoy later.
Rum Ball are the best possible dessert for adults. First of all, we don’t have to share it with the kids, no matter how much they beg. These cookies are also so easy to make, there is no baking required. And of course, it’s loaded with rum.
These cookies are soft, chewy, and rich in flavor. You can adjust the recipe a little bit to make it fit your own taste pallet by choosing different nuts, rum, and you can even make them gluten free. Choose between pecans, walnuts, almost and hazelnuts for the rum balls. I love using hazelnuts but it can run a little pricey. It’s probably the most expensive nut option and pecans are the second most expensive. Good news is that stores always have pecans on sale around the holidays.
If you have extra time and want to add a little more flavor to these cookies, it’s best to roast nuts first. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet, in one even layer, and bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes. (Be careful not to burn them.) Let them cool and then pulse in a food processor until small crumbled appear.
Wondering what rum to use? It’s actually a very common question about making rum balls. It’s best to use a more flavorful rum like gold rum or dark rum. You can even use 151 rum for a higher alcohol content.
HOW TO MAKE RUM BALLS
To toast nuts first: Preheat oven to 350° and spread pecans (or other nuts) on a baking sheet in one layer. (Don’t overcrowd them.) Bake them for 6-8 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Cool them down before adding to the food processor.
Pulse vanilla wafers in a food processor until all crumbled and transfer crumbs into a large mixing bowl. Pulse nuts in the food processor next, until all crushed and crumbled, and add them to the mixing bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and whisk it all together until evenly combined.
Whisk rum and honey together until smooth and add it to the cookie mixture. Use a spatula to mix the dough together. If the dough it a little warm, pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling out. It will make it easier to roll it into the balls.
Scoop cookie dough with a cookie scoop and roll it into balls. (I use either #40 r #50 cookie scoop but you can use even smaller one to make more.)
Roll each ball in powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or crushed nuts. You can choose to roll all cookies in one kind of coating or make some of each.
(You can also dip rum balls in chocolate coating.)
HOW TO STORE RUM BALLS
Store rum balls in an air-tight container. It’s best to store them in the refrigerator to prevent rum from evaporating and they will last longer too. For the best results, make rum balls ahead of time and let them sit for a day to give the ingredients time to come together.
You can also freeze rum balls. Place rum balls on a baking sheet and freeze for about 2 hours. Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag, get as much air out as you can, and freeze for up to 2 months.
CAN I MAKE GLUTEN FREE RUM BALLS?
Yes, you can make gluten free rum balls! Instead of vanilla wafers, use gluten free graham crackers, gluten free shortbread cookies, or gluten free sugar cookies instead. Just make sure to use hard cookies without any filling, not soft cookies.
Double check the rum out are using and make sure it’s gluten free as well.
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The Best Rum Balls
- 11 oz vanilla wafers
- 1 cup crushed pecans (can also use walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dark rum (can also use 151 rum or gold rum)
- 3 tbsp honey
- powdered sugar
- cocoa powder
- crushed pecans
- (Optional) To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350° and spread pecans (or other nuts) on a baking sheet in one layer. (Don’t overcrowd them.) Bake them for 6-8 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Cool them down before adding to the food processor.
- Pulse vanilla wafers in a food processor until all crumbled and transfer crumbs into a large mixing bowl.
- Pulse nuts in the food processor next, until all crushed and crumbled, and add them to the mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk it all together until evenly combined.
- Whisk rum and honey together until smooth and add it to the cookie mixture.
- Use a spatula to mix the dough together. (If the dough it a little warm, pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling out. It will make it easier to roll it into the balls.)
- Scoop cookie dough with a cookie scoop and roll it into balls. (I use either #40 or #50 cookie scoop but you can use even smaller one to make more.)
- Roll each ball in powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or crushed nuts. (You can choose to roll all cookies in one kind of coating or make some of each.)
Penny Albritton says
I followed the recipe exactly.
I made this recipe with GF ginger snaps instead of vanilla wafers and maple syrup in place of honey. Everyone said they were “to die for”. Fabulous 👌
Yum! Thanks for sharing a gluten-free option!
Just curious…Am noticing that every alcohol-ball contains some form of nut. Are nuts necessary for the recipe or can they be left out for allergies?
Mike G. says
This is probably my favorite and easiest delicacy recipe! I have made them multiple times!
Always a show stopper…
I do add a splash more rum though.. gives them a nice bite!
Coatings, I is cocoa powder with a dash of cinnamon… A sugar blend of palm and cane with roasted and chopped pecans (almonds make a nice addition too…. And powdered sugar… The three look amazing together!
Great for gifts and parties anytime of the year!
I am glad you liked it, Mike!
abigail L baker says
this is a great recipe, i used it last year and again this year, i dont use honey but i use corn syrup
I am so happy you liked the recipe, Abigail!
Easy to make, I used cinnamon whiskey and the “whiskey” balls are great. I followed the recipe with the one exception above.
Yum! Good idea, Donna!
Can you use cashews or macadamia nuts in place of walnuts, pecans, or almonds?
Yeah, that would work. Cashews are a little more oily but it won’t affect the texture much.
Made these for New Year’s Eve. They were awesome. My first time making rum balls. Won’t be my last. Thanks for a great recipe.
Yay! Glad you liked them, Kellie!
Can you substitute Light Corn Syrup
This recipe doesn’t have corn syrup. Did you mean to comment on a different one?