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Rum Balls — A traditional rum balls recipe made with crushed ginger snaps cookies, toasted pecans, melted butter, and spiced rum! Roll these FAST and EASY NO-BAKE treats in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, coconut, or dip them in melted chocolate! Great for gift-giving and cookie exchanges because you can make them far in advance!
Rum Balls Recipe
I’ve got a fast, easy, no-bake dessert recipe that’s sweet and slightly crunchy thanks to crushed ginger snaps cookies and toasted pecans – there’s also rum in it!
That’s right, rum balls are a bite-sized boozy dessert recipe that’s a cinch to make and also classic.
I remember my grandma always used to have these on her holiday table — although you should keep the kids away from the rum balls and reserve these holiday rum balls as an adults-only treat.
Making these holiday treats is as easy as whizzing together some ginger snaps cookies and pecans in your blender to crush them before adding confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, and rum. Truly so easy!
Tip: If you’re a fan of this type of recipe, also see my Fudgy Bourbon Balls recipe which is also fast, easy, no-bake, and uses bourbon instead of spiced rum.
Ingredients in Easy Rum Balls
All you’ll need are some very common and easy to find fridge and pantry ingredients for this holiday favorite rum balls recipe.
Set out the following items:
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make No-Bake Rum Balls
I’m a huge fan of no-bake desserts, especially at this time of the year because let’s face it we’re all so busy, and these rum balls are fast and easy to make!
Step 1: Line a baking sheet with either parchment or wax paper.
Step 2: Stir together the blended dry ingredients including the ginger snaps, confectioner sugar, and pecans. I use my Vitamix rather than a food processor for the blending and crushing.
Step 3: Add the wet ingredients, including the rum, corn syrup, and melted butter to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Step 4: Use a small-cookie scoop (0r whatever size you prefer) and form the balls.
And then roll between your palms to smooth them.
Step 5: Roll the rum balls in whatever coating you’d like including confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, or coconut. See below for more ideas!
Step 6: Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Coating or Dipping Ideas for Rum Balls
No-bake rum balls are much more fun and festive looking when they are dipped or rolled in a coding.
Here are some of my favorite coating and dipping ideas for rum balls:
- Confectioners’ sugar – Adds a “snowy” look perfect for the holiday season.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – Lends a chocolate flavor without being too sweet.
- Sweetened shredded coconut – Not pictured, but this is great for anyone who enjoys coconut and rum and coconut are a great match.
- Melted dark, milk, or white chocolate – Creates rum balls that are much more like truffles with a hardened coating or exterior.
Tip: I highly recommend using melting wafers specifically designed for melting and dipping because they melt smoother and stay smooth or longer so that you have time to work with the chocolate before it sets up. Ghirardelli is my go-to brand for this purpose. You can make these Fudgy Brownie Balls next if you have any leftover.
What Kind of Rum To Use in Rum Balls
While I have seen recipes for rum balls that use plain white rum it seems, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum is what I use.
There are so many brands of spiced rum, although that’s one of the most commonly known brands, but you can use your favorite brand of spiced rum.
Do I Have to Use Rum in Rum Balls?
Yes, in order to have rum balls you do need to use rum.
I’ve seen recipes that use less than my recipe for rum balls, and you could perhaps use 1/4-cup rather than 1/2-cup like I do, if you then increase the amount of either the butter or corn syrup, but you’d have to play around with it.
You cannot substitute rum extract in place of the actual rum. Extract is best used by the teaspoon, and the rum balls would simply not have a good flavor if you were to try to use a half cup of extract.
If for some reason, you’re trying to avoid alcohol, this is probably not the recipe for you because you cannot substitute the rum.
I have heard from a couple readers that apple juice does work in place of the rum. Personally, this wouldn’t be for me, but it may be for you, so I’m sharing the tip.
Can I Use Graham Cracker Crumb Instead of Ginger Snaps?
This time of year there are so many ginger snap cookie options in the stores. I used these Nabisco Ginger Snaps because they’re easy to find most everywhere, throughout the year.
But if you see a seasonal offering at Trader Joe’s, or another supermarket, go ahead and use what you can have.
Tip: Make sure that you select crunchy ginger snaps. You want crunchy rather than soft and chewy ginger snaps for this recipe because the cookie crumbs need to be dry in order to soak up the wet ingredients in the recipe.
What Kind of Nuts Should I Use?
Just how I mentioned that the rum is not optional, the nuts aren’t either. You need to use finely chopped pecans.
However, you can substitute for the pecans with finally chopped walnuts. The rum balls are not as traditional that way, but the recipe will work.
I like to lightly toast the pecans in a dry skillet for a minute or two before blending them.
If you have a nut allergy or dislike nuts, this is probably not a great recipe for you.
Serving and Storage Suggestions for Rum Balls
After I form the rum balls, I chill them in the fridge for about one hour before I coat or dip them.
It’s not mandatory to chill them, but I do it because I prefer working with them slightly chilled especially if I’m adding melted chocolate so it sets up quicker.
Rum balls will easily keep airtight in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or more. They’ll also keep airtight in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Because of the alcohol content, it’s tricky to actually get them to freeze super solidly and they thaw quickly, so you can store them in the freezer without worry.
Tip: You may feel like some of the confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder coatings “disappear” a bit after storing the rum balls. That’s because it just soaks into or absorbs into the rum balls. You can always quickly re-roll them through confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if they are looking a little skimpy.
Tips for the Best Rum Balls
This is such a fast and easy, no-bake, holiday recipe but I have a few parting tips and tricks for the best tasting and prettiest looking rum balls!
Ginger Snaps Cookies – As I mentioned, there are so many types on the market. Make sure you select crisp and crunchy ginger snaps not soft and chewy. You want those crumbs to be nice and dry in order to absorb the liquid ingredients.
Cookie Scoop – I highly recommend using a cookie scoop to ensure that all of the rum balls are the same size.
Yield: Mine rum balls are on the medium size, but are still a two-bite treat. When made this size, you’ll yield about 18 rum balls.
If you use a smaller cookie scoop, you can stretch the recipe and you will yield approximately 24 to 30 rum balls. Personally, I don’t have the patience to roll out 30 and then dip 30, but if you do, more power to you! But that’s why I made 18!
Use up the rest of the bottle with my 10-Minute Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce recipe or make Chocolate Caramels.
Too Wet vs. Too Dry – When you’re mixing together, the mixture it will be moist, but it shouldn’t be sloppy wet.
If it seems too wet, add another tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs, or whatever you need to, so that the mixture comes together nicely.
Conversely, if it’s too dry, add a bit more corn syrup until it’s moist enough to hold its shape.
Gift Giving: If you’re looking for a fun, festive and delicious way to reward someone special, wrap up a gift of these rum balls in some holiday-themed cellophane baggies and you’re set.
Make Ahead: The other great bonus about this no-bake holiday treat recipe is that you can make these rum balls far in advance. Easily two weeks in advance. That’s music to my always-in-a-preholiday-rush ears!
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and blended into fine crumbs (walnuts may be substituted)
- 3 cups ginger snaps cookies, blended into fine crumbs (graham cracker crumbs or Nilla Wafers may be substituted)
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar; divided
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon spiced rum (such as Captain Morgan or your favorite)
- 1/4 cup light or dark colored corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- Chocolate melting wafter, as desired for dipping
- To a dry skillet, add the pecans and cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Shake pan to flip the nuts nearly constantly.
- To the canister of a high speed blender or food processor, add the toasted pecans, and blend on high speed until you have fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl; set aside.
- Add the ginger snaps cookies to the blender (probably about 15 to 20 cookies, depending on their size), and blend on high speed until you have 3 cups of fine crumbs. Tips – You can also use graham cracker crumbs or crushed Nilla Wafers. They are not as traditional, but will work fine.
- Add the cookie crumbs to the bowl with the pecans.
- Add 1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (reserve the remaining 1/4 cup for rolling) and stir to combine.
- Add the spiced rum, corn syrup (dark or light) melted butter, and stir to combine.
- Using a small cookie scoop form approximately 18 equal sized balls, and roll each between your palms to smooth. You can also use an extra small cookie scoop and you will yield closer to 24 to 30 balls. Tips – When you’re mixing together, the mixture it will be moist, but it shouldn’t be sloppy wet. If it seems too wet, add another tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs, or whatever you need to, so that the mixture comes together nicely. Chilling also helps reduce the “tacky” or overly sticky vibe a bit. Conversely, if the mixture is too dry, add a bit more corn syrup until it’s moist enough to hold its shape.
- Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper and at this point, I like to pop it in the refrigerator for 1 hour to help chill the balls before rolling them, although chilling is optional.
- Roll the balls through the reserved 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and/or dip them in melted chocolate*, as desired. Allow any that were dipped in melted chocolate to set up fully before storing. If desired, you can also chill them before serving, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
- Rum balls will keep airtight in the refrigerator for at least two weeks or in the freezer for up to four months. Tips – Because of this, there are a great make a head treat for gift giving and cookie exchanges.
*I highly recommend using melting wafers specifically designed for melting and dipping because they melt smoother and stay smooth or longer so that you have time to work with the chocolate before it sets up. Ghirardelli is my go-to brand for this purpose. I like this trio in Dark, Milk, and White Chocolate.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 189Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 2g
More Easy No-Bake Holiday Recipes:
15 Easy No-Bake Christmas Treats — No time to bake? Here are 15 FAST and EASY no-bake desserts! Whether you want chocolate, peanut butter, bark, or truffles, these recipes have you covered!!
Fudgy Bourbon Balls — These bourbon balls only take 15 minutes of prep and you can make them days (or weeks) in advance, and just one appliance is dirtied!
Fudgy Brownie Balls — Looking for things to make with brownie mix? Look no further! These brownie balls are made with brownies, chocolate frosting, and dipped in melted chocolate! The combination of all that rich chocolate is absolutely PERFECT!
White Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookie Balls – Easy, no-bake recipe for the classic truffles that everyone loves!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks – Easy, no-bake treats that are a holiday favorite! They have it all: Salty, sweet, crunchy, and gooey with chocolate and peanut butter! Great for cookie exchanges or impromptu parties!
Christmas Chocolate-Covered Oreos — Oreo cookies dipped in chocolate and loaded with sprinkles are an irresistible holiday treat! Fast, EASY, no-bake, can be made in advance! Perfect for cookie exchanges and hostess gifts. Get ready to break out the sprinkles and have fun making and then eating these family favorite Christmas cookies!
Chocolate-Covered Sponge Candy — A classic homemade Christmas candy that’s light and airy candy inside and chocolate-dipped on the outside. Easy to make! Great for cookie exchanges and hostess gifts because it keeps fresh for a long time!
Melt in Your Mouth Homemade Toffee — Irresistible, buttery, ADDICTIVE, and just melts in your mouth!! EASY and perfect for holiday parties, gift-giving, or cookie exchanges!!
Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe’s Copycat Recipe – Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet and supremely good!
Graham Cracker Toffee (aka Graham Cracker CRACK) – Sweet, buttery, caramely, perfectly chocolaty, topped with toffee bits for extra crunch! Lives up to its name and extremely addictive! An easy holiday and party favorite!
Christmas Crack — A highly addictive, salty-sweet, crunchy, EASY Christmas treat that’s IRRESISTIBLE!! Great for gifts and cookie exchanges because it stays fresh and everyone LOVES IT!! (Almost no-bake and only bakes for 5 minutes!)
Reindeer Chow — A holiday twist on classic Muddy Buddies that’s EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and perfect for hostess gifts or cookie exchanges!! Chex, chocolate, peanut butter, pretzels, M&M’s, and sprinkles make this dessert snack mix totally IRRESISTIBLE!!
Loaded Christmas Puppy Chow — This fast, easy, no-bake holiday treat is LOADED with all the good stuff! Chocolate, peanut butter, sugar, M&Ms, peanut butter cups, and pretzels for a salty-sweet, crunchy, and addictive snack! Makes great little gifts because it keeps well and everyone LOVES it!
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