Christmas Rum Balls(Or Bourbon Balls)

"These balls are so quick and easy to make. They make a nice addition to the baked goodies that you give as gifts. Make these about a week before you want to serve them as they mellow and the sharp strong alcohol taste blends in more with the other ingredients. Store in a tin with a tight lid. This year I couldn't find the Vanilla wafers so I used chocolate and I like them even more. To form the balls I use two teaspoons as the dough is quite moist. I store them in the freezer - they don't go hard and they are so good ice cold"
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by DeeDee photo by DeeDee
photo by Marg (CaymanDesigns) photo by Marg (CaymanDesigns)
photo by Rushncook photo by Rushncook
photo by Marg (CaymanDesigns) photo by Marg (CaymanDesigns)
Ready In:
2 dozen


  • 2 12 cups vanilla wafers, crushed (a 250g box of Christies vanilla wafers equals 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 14 cups icing sugar
  • 12 cup spiced rum (the rum is called Spiced Rum) or 1/2 cup Bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons white corn syrup (one brand is Karo)
  • 1 cup pecans or 1 cup walnuts, broken


  • Sift the cocoa with 1 cup sugar.
  • Stir in the spiced rum mixed with the syrup.
  • Add crushed vanilla wafers and nuts.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Shape mixture into walnut sizes balls and dredge with remaining sugar or leave them plain.
  • Store in a tin.

Questions & Replies

  1. why wont my mixture stick together to make balls, what can I do?
  2. Can you use dark rum instead of spiced rum?
  3. Can you freeze these?
  4. Do we store these in the fridge if just made and will take to a party in 2 days? Thanks!
  5. Can you make this without the nuts?


  1. Fantastic! Not only are these both fast and easy to make, but the taste is terrific. Two comments: 1) I used a one-inch scoop and my yield was 40 rum balls; and 2) I'd recommend chilling the mixture for 15-30 mins before forming balls as it makes the process easier. Bergy, I'll be making these EVERY Xmas.
  2. I just finished a double batch and they are wonderful. I'm sure after they set a couple days they will be even better. The refridgeration for 30 min. made forming the balls much easier. I used brandy, only because that is what I prefer. This recipe was fast, easy, and I definitely plan on making them again. I will be putting them out for X-mas before dinner.
  3. I made one substitute for the rum I used cocoa liquer....yum!
  4. These were VERY tasty and very easy to make! Pay attention to the "let them mellow for about a week"-it could not be more true! Most people forget or don't know that and are disappointed because the rum flavor is too strong. These rum balls need to "season" for at least a week, so plan ahead! I let mine sit in the fridge in a container for at least a week (and have made these weeks ahead of time and put them in the freezer - they don't harden!) and they come out lovely! I made two different versions of these this year: I used Nabisco Chocolate Wafer cookies and Malibu Rum (coconut rum); I also used vanilla wafers with Bailey's Irish Creme. They both were HUGE hits! Thanks for posting!! :)
  5. I have been using this same recipe for years. Everyone loves them. I also add a little extra rum just for the reaction.


  1. I use molasses...fantastic flavor with the rum
  2. Tasty! These are great, and let me preface that with the fact that I messed up all over the place. See, I started out making this one recipe--and I ground up 4oz dark chocolate with 1cup powdered sugar, then I realized that I actually was supposed to use granulated sugar, so I used that ground up chocolate and powdered sugar for these and just didn't add the cocoa. Then, I used amaretto and almonds instead of rum and pecans--delicious! I used Lennie's suggestion of refrigerating the dough before shaping and it was a breeze! Dredged them in powdered sugar to finish, and they just look great. Did I mention that this is my first time making these? Great recipe, fool proof. Love it!
  3. We made Rum Balls just like this in Germany for many years. Typically stale cake or sweet breads are used instead of the wafers. I used stale German Stolen (a kind of fruit bread) and substituted almonds for the nuts. This recipe is superb and can take on so many variations according to which "wafer" you use. Thank you for posting it for us.
  4. Delicious. We made these Gluten-free by using Mi-Del arrowroot cookies instead of vanilla wafers. We used 2 whole 8oz bags. We ended up with 81 balls, not 2 dozen. So yummy.
  5. These were great! I made these as a last minute thought for a party- Since I didn't have time to let the rum mellow, I used Kahlua instead of rum and boy were they good! No mellowing time needed! The Kahlua was not too strong and the flavor mixed so well with the cocoa....I'm thinking to try Irish cream next. Thanks Bergy!


On January 10 2010 I will celebrate 9 years of Life with Zaar. I can't imagine being without it! It has become part of my daily routine. I feel very privileged to be one of the hosts on the Photo Forum. Taking photos of my culinary efforts is a full time hobby and I love it. My friends all know what to expect when they come to dinner "Are you finished taking pictures?" or "Did you get a photo of so & so?" I never let them wait too long and the food is NEVER cold! I now have over 6000 photos on Zaar - some fairly good and some definitely not so good. I am happy to say that practice does help. My roots are in Vancouver BC Canada - a very beautiful city that holds many wonderful memories for me. In 1990, I decided that for my retirement years I may want to settle in a smaller community and found a slice of heaven in the North Okanagan B.C. I love living here but every once in a while I miss the bright city lights, the Broadway shows and some of the small wonderful ethnic restaurants that Vancouver abounds in. That is easily resolved. I just take a trip to the coast, visit with friends for a weekend see a show and feast on Dim Sum or other specialty foods. I am getting a bit long in the tooth but was a very adventurous person. I have river rafted Hell's Gate on the Fraser river, been up in a glider over Hawaii (no not a Hang Glider!), gone hot air ballooning in the Napa Valley & the Fraser Valley, driven dune buggies on the dunes in Oregon, Para sailing in Mexico and tried many other adventurous, challenging, fun things. I have yet to try bungee jumping or sky diving. I may do them yet. I love to travel and experience other cultures. Mexco has been a favorite haunt. I have visited that lovely country many many times. Australia is another favorite as is England! In the past 16 months I have taken off 61 pounds and feel wonderful. I am off all medications and all systems are GO! In years I may be 79 but in spirit I am still in my forties. We are only as old as we allow ourselves to feel. Always think positive. Do something a bit challenging every day & always do something silly every day. Be a kid again! Laugh every day - it is internal jogging. Here are a few of my photos <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" allowNetworking="all" allowFullscreen="true" src=" slideshow/d95d7a18.pbw" height="360" width="480">
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes