Rum Balls are a perfect bite-sized popular holiday treat, with a rich chocolate cake-like texture and a warm boozy kick from the rum.
These easy-to-make no bake rum balls are decorated to impress any guests after a holiday dinner and are one of the most sought-after cherished holiday food gifts to receive.
Rum Balls Recipe for the Holidays
You just want to pop these Christmas rum balls in your mouth don't you? Rum truffle balls really are a special treat to look forward to on the holiday dessert tray.
If you've not tried boozy rum balls yet then you have to try these delicious favorite rum or Bacardi rum balls.
When our children were younger of course they thought they were special holiday mini donuts or truffle balls all nicely decorated and were disappointed not to be able eat them.
So we made sure to make some rum cake balls without the rum the next year, decorated just for them with holiday sprinkles.
Rum balls origin
Danish bakers first whipped up a batch of these rum balls, before these scrumptious 'holiday rum balls' spread around the world.
We decorated the rum balls with vanilla wafers in various ways, such as pecan rum balls, rum fudge balls with powdered sugar or cinnamon and cocoa rum balls with sprinkles. They are so easy and fun to customize your way!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy old fashioned rum ball recipe
- Boozy rum balls are the perfect adult holiday treat
- So easy to customize
- Make ahead holiday recipe that stores very well
- Most sought after perfect holiday food gift
- Vanilla Wafers
- Pecans - ground
- Powdered Sugar
- Cocoa - for chocolate rum ball recipe
- Vanilla Extract
- Corn Syrup
- Nuts - for coating
- Additional Powdered sugar - for coating
- Sprinkles - for coating decoration
Best rum for rum balls?
I used Bacardi gold rum in this rum recipe, some people prefer using spiced or dark rum. Many types of rum could be used as substitutes:
- Spiced rum
- Dark rum
- Light rum
- Vanilla rum
- Coconut rum
Can you make tradtional rum balls without vanilla wafers?
Yes you can, substitute the Nilla wafers using graham crackers or shortbread cookies. They will have different flavors and textures than the vanilla wafers.
Substitute the pecans by using walnuts to make rum balls with walnuts. Hazelnuts and almonds can also be used as a substitute for pecans.
You can make coconut rum balls by using shredded coconut and or with coconut rum.
Make rum balls without nuts by using cinnamon, powdered sugar, sprinkles, nonpareils, coconut and cocoa powder.
Customize rum balls for your holiday theme by using Christmas sprinkles, Easter sprinkles and Halloween sprinkles!!
We make non alcoholic, rum balls without rum for the kids to enjoy by simply not using the rum and substituting it with rum extract and maple syrup. We also decorate them differently to help keep track.
Step by step instructions for how to make rum balls at home
You can find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this page. I also have a handy 'jump to recipe' button at the top of every recipe post.
STEP ONE - Stir together wafers, pecans, sugar, cocoa and salt until thoroughly combined.
STEP TWO - Add rum, vanilla, and corn syrup, stir until thoroughly combined, and no dry bits remain.
STEP THREE - Roll into tablespoon size balls, or weight 20 grams of mixture and roll, place on parchment lined baking sheet until ready to coat. Coat balls in your choice of powdered sugar, cocoa, ground pecans, or sprinkles. Enjoy!
German rum ball recipes are often made with leftover cake and and are an excellent classic rum ball.
Dip rum balls in melted chocolate, whether you prefer milk, white or dark chocolate is up to.
You can use chopped up dates or raisins in the dough to make date rum balls.
If you prefer gluten free, a gluten free rum balls recipe link.
Rum balls are one of the best holiday gift ideas
I used to own my own gourmet food company and specialized in holiday food gifts ideas. I still really enjoy giving boxed food gifts away. It is fun to add little touches that help make the gift special, like ribbon or holiday twine.
These holiday rum balls are one of the best food gifts to give and as I have found out people start counting on and look forward to getting them!! The two pictures above are gift box examples to use to gift them!
Top tips for making the best rum ball recipe
- Using the best high quality ingredients will make a difference in flavor
- Use a food processor to get nuts and wafers finely ground
- Make this recipe ahead of time by using our storing instructions in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. This also helps to meld the flavors
- Toasting the nuts before using them on a cookie sheet in the oven can enhance the flavor (toast in oven at 350°F for 5 to 7 minutes)
What is the rum balls alcohol content?
You should not get tipsy from eating rum balls, as the whole recipe only has of ½ cup or 4 ounces of rum in it, for a serving size of 36 rum balls.
Why are my rum balls too runny?
If your mixture is too wet add come cocoa powder or more crushed vanilla cookie to help soak up the moisture.
Storage and freezing instructions
How to store rum balls?
Rum balls can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days in an air-tight container, or up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
We like them best stored in the fridge, as they stay together better and the flavors meld together giving better flavor after two days.
You can let them to sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Cocoa and powdered sugar-coated balls may need to be recoated before serving especially if handled too much.
Can you freeze rum balls?
Rum balls freeze very well and can be frozen for 1 to 2 months, by placing in a freezer zippered plastic bag or freezer safe container.
Thaw at room temperature before serving.
Cocoa and powdered sugar-coated balls may need to be recoated before serving if not using immediately the coating tends to melt after a while.