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Rum Balls Recipe

Are you looking for a fun and festive treat that’s perfect for the holidays or any special occasion? Look no further than these delicious rum balls!

These bite-sized balls of goodness are made by combining crushed cookies or cake with cocoa powder, rum, and other flavorful ingredients to create a decadent, boozy treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Rum Balls close up

Whether you are hosting holiday parties, looking for a sweet gift to share with friends and family, or simply in the mood for a delicious treat, these rum balls are the perfect homemade treat.

With their irresistible blend of flavors and textures, they’re a guaranteed hit with anyone who loves a good dessert. This is an excellent classic holiday treat!

Best of all, these rum balls are incredibly easy to make, with no baking required.

What are rum balls?

Rum balls are a sweet treat that is typically made by combining crushed cookies or cake with cocoa powder, rum, and a binding ingredient, like sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, or butter.

Sometimes walnuts or pecans are added to the mixture for a perfect texture. 

The mixture is then rolled into small balls and coated with additional cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or other toppings such as chopped nuts, sprinkles, or small chocolate shavings.

They should be approximately the size of a golf ball and are not cooked. Basically, this is a no-bake dessert.

Traditional rum balls recipe is believed to come from Europe and is often associated with holiday celebrations. 

They are popular in many countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, the United States, and various countries in Europe and Latin America.

The flavor of rum balls is heavily influenced by the rum used in the recipes.

Dark or spiced rum is often used to give the balls a rich, complex flavor, while white rum can provide a lighter, fruitier taste. 

Some recipes also include other ingredients, such as chopped nuts, coconut, or dried fruits, to add texture and flavor to the mixture.

Rum balls are also relatively easy to make, which makes them a popular choice for home cooks and bakers. 

Rum balls

The ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores, and the recipe requires no complex techniques or equipment.

Rum balls are typically served as a dessert or a sweet treat and are often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea. 

They can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days, making them a convenient option for entertaining or satisfying a sweet tooth.

Additionally, rum balls are often associated with holiday celebrations and special occasions, which can add to their appeal. 

Many people have fond memories of making or eating rum balls during the holiday season, which can make them feel particularly nostalgic and special.

Related: No Bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake 

In this recipe, we’ll be using a classic combination of crushed chocolate cookies, cocoa powder, rum, and butter to create rich and delicious rum balls that are sure to be a hit at your next party or gathering.

Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is easy to follow and yields delicious results every time.

So grab your apron and let’s get started! With a few simple ingredients and some easy steps, you’ll be whipping up a batch of delicious rum balls that are sure to impress.

What kind of ingredients do you need for the rum balls:

Cookies or cake – This is a versatile ingredient, as you can use different things as the base for rum balls. 

Choose one from the list and go with it:

  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Crushed vanilla wafer cookies
  • Shortbread cookies
  • Digestive biscuits
  • Butter cookies
  • Chocolate wafers
  • Leftover cake

You can also go gluten free and use gluten-free cookies or cake for a gluten-free rum balls version.

Butter – While traditional rum ball recipes often use sweetened condensed milk as a binding agent and add sweetness to the mixture, many variations of the recipe use alternative ingredients, like corn syrup or butter. 

Using butter instead of sweetened condensed milk in a rum ball recipe helps give the balls a richer, creamier texture and a more pronounced buttery flavor.

Recipes vary from region to region and family to family. All rum balls must include chocolate and rum, but the rest of the ingredients could be different.

Rum– This ingredient makes these rum balls unique and perfect for the holidays. If you do not like rum, you can use bourbon. 

What kind of rum you can use? In three words: whatever you like. There is dark rum, spiced rum, white rum, gold rum, coconut rum etc. It is all about budget and taste. Just keep in mind that your rumballs will take the taste of the rum you are using.

Rum or rum flavor?

Choose what suits you. If you are looking for a boozy dessert, use actual rum, or bourbon, if you don’t fancy rum. If you want an easy recipe dessert for kids or people who avoid alcohol, rum extract is a wonderful option.

Cocoa powder: I used unsweetened natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder. I particularly like the dark, deep flavor of the Dutch-processed cocoa powder.

Powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)

Heavy Cream– This ingredient will bring the rum balls mixture together, as we will bring it to a boil with butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. It also adds the moisture that is necessary for the cookies.

Walnuts or pecans– Choose what fits your taste and budget. Both work great in this recipe, especially if you toast them before to enhance their flavor.

Dried Fruits: these are optional but always a nice touch and a plus to the texture. 

Optional secret ingredient: I sometimes add a little pitted cherry in the middle of the rum ball, usually preserved in syrup. An almond or a piece of walnut is also a great idea. 

I think a maraschino cherry could be a fantastic surprise inside.

Rum Balls Vertical photo0

The rum balls can be covered in the following:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Coconut flakes
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Shaved chocolate
  • Colored sprinkles
  • Powdered sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder

You can go wild and use a little bit of each of these toppings to make the rum balls festive and good-looking on the platter.

Note: If you use powdered sugar or cocoa powder, you might have to reroll the rum balls again, as they tend to absorb a little bit of moisture while they sit in the fridge.

How to make this rum balls recipe:

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C and roast the nuts.

Place the walnuts on a baking tray, and roast them for about 8 minutes, until fragrant and lightly brown. You can do this in a skillet also, for a few minutes until the nuts develop their flavor.

Walnuts in a skillet close up

Let the nuts cool, chop them with a knife, or toss them in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Place them in a large bowl.

Step 2. Crumble the cookies.

Process the cookies of your choice (graham crackers, in my case) in a food processor until you obtain fine crumbs.

Graham crackers crumbs in a bowl0

Add the cookie crumbs to the nuts. 

If you do not have a food processor, place them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin or a bottle.

Step 3. Make the binding syrup.

Place butter, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and cocoa in a small pot and bring them to a boil. Do not simmer them. 

As soon as the cream reaches the boiling point, remove the pot from the stove and allow it to get to room temperature.

Add the rum or the rum extract


Please do not add the rum or the extract to the cream while bringing it to a boil, as the alcohol will evaporate. Allow the mixture to cool first.

Step 4. Combine dry with wet ingredients.

Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix everything very well. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes if it is soft.

Step 5. Form the rum balls.

Using your hands, form 1-inch balls and toss them in granulated sugar, coconut flakes, chocolate sprinkles, etc.

Place the rum balls in the refrigerator overnight in an airtight container.

Optional: Place a pitted cherry from syrup or a maraschino cherry in the middle of the ball, or almond, form a ball, then toss in your favorite toppings.

Keep them refrigerated and serve them cold.

Rum Balls Pinterest photo0

Do I need to roast the nuts?

It is not mandatory, but roasted nuts have more flavor than raw ones; therefore, the rum balls will taste better.

Can I make these boozy rum balls in advance, and how to store them:

If you want to have them for a party, making them in advance is a good idea. 

These little pieces of heaven are better the next day anyway, when all the flavors have time to get friendly with each other.

You can even refrigerate the mixture overnight and roll these beauties the next day.

They keep well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

The rum balls are great for the holidays, especially Christmas, when everyone appreciates them.

Make a holiday cookie platter with different kinds of treats and add these rum balls.

They make an excellent gift for family and friends, but they are also a fantastic, super easy-to-make dessert when we crave something sweet and decadent. 

Using good quality ingredients obviously will make them taste better. They are fantastic homemade treats for the entire family if you add rum extract instead of the rum.

Note: If you go with the real rum, don’t serve them to children. 

More recipes to love:

Easy Fudge Recipes For Christmas

Walnut Chocolate Rum Cake

Rum Raisins Cookies Recipe

Easy Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Cupcakes With Rum Chocolate Ganache

Hungarian Decadent Chocolate Cake- Rigó Jancsi

Rum Balls square photo0

Rum Balls Recipe

Looking for a fun and festive treat that's perfect for the holidays or any special occasion? Look no further than these delicious rum balls
4.59 from 99 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, Holidays treat
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 20 rum balls
Calories: 218kcal



  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  • Place the walnuts on a baking tray and roast them for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly brown.
  • Let nuts cool, chop them with a knife, or toss them in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Place them in a big bowl.
  • Process the graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. If you do not have a food processor, place them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin or a bottle.
  • Add them to the nuts.
  • In a small pot, place butter, heavy cream, sugar, and cocoa and bring to a boil without simmering them. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • Add the rum or the rum flavor.
  • Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix everything very well.
  • If the mixture is soft, place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  • Using your hands, form 1 inch balls and toss them in granulated sugar, coconut flakes, chocolate sprinkles, etc.
  • Place the rum balls in the refrigerator overnight in an airtight container.
  • Optional: stick a pitted cherry from the syrup in the middle of the ball, or an almond, then toss in sugar.
  • Serve cold.


The base for these rum balls could be:
  • Graham crackers
  • Crushed vanilla wafers
  • Shortbread cookies
  • Digestive biscuits
  • Chocolate wafers
  • Leftover cake
Cover the rum balls in:
  • Granulated sugar
  • Coconut flakes
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Shaved chocolate
  • Colored sprinkles
  • Powder sugar


Serving: 1g | Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 372IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating


Friday 23rd of December 2022

I'm wanting to make this recipe using cake. How do I measure the amount that I need? Would it still be 4 cups? Thanks

The Bossy Kitchen

Friday 23rd of December 2022

Good question. If you look at the bottom of the ingredients list, you will see that you can switch between the US customary to the metric system, where you have the ingredients in grams, so you can use a scale, to measure the cake.

I think that if you use cake (which is probably moister and absorbs less liquid) instead of crackers, you might have to use more cake, so you can keep the balance between dry and wet ingredients. Graham crackers are dry, so they will absorb the amount of butter and heavy cream mixture, but the cake has a different texture, and it needs less liquid.

Another option would be to use the same amount of cake(measured in grams) but less liquid. Add the liquid slowly and use your own judgment when to stop, as it all depends on how dry the cake is. The whole thing is to make sure that you do not end up with a soupy mixture. In that case, add more cake to balance it.

Let me know how it went and thank you for writing.

Debbi Meredith

Monday 20th of December 2021

Can I use artificial brandy flavouring instead of rum in this recipe?

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 20th of December 2021

Oh, I am sorry, I misread your question. The answer is yes, you can use whatever flavor you want, but you will miss that specific rum flavor that this dessert is famous for. However, I never tried the recipe with brandy flavoring, but I don't see why it would not work. If you make them, let me know, you made me curious. :-) Happy holidays!

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 20th of December 2021

Yes, you can find this information inside the article and also under the ingredients on the recipe card.


Sunday 12th of December 2021

Thanks for the recipe! How long would these last not refrigerated, just sealed in a container? Thank you!

Sarah Ann Omicioli

Monday 13th of December 2021

@The Bossy Kitchen, Yes that makes sense! I made them last night. They have a wonderful fudgy flavor - taste great. I like that this recipe doesn't use corn syrup too.

The Bossy Kitchen

Sunday 12th of December 2021

You should refrigerate them, as they have butter and heavy cream in them. They are not meant to be shipped, for example, but if you travel for just a few hours in a car, for example, and keep them in a cool place, they should be fine. Would that answer your question?


Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Can I add more rum?


Sunday 2nd of January 2022

@Mary-Anne, I added 1 cup of rum an then added more graham crackers an pecans until I got the desired consistency!

The Bossy Kitchen

Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Of course, just make sure you don't add too much and make them too wet. :-)) Happy holidays!


Saturday 12th of December 2020

Is it possible to use salted butter?

The Bossy Kitchen

Saturday 12th of December 2020

I never used salted butter in the recipe, so I would not know what to tell you about the final taste of the rum balls. A cup of butter that is used as a binder for the rest of ingredients is enough to change the taste of the dessert. You can experiment and make a very small batch for yourself to see if you like the rum balls saltier and let me know what you think.