Easy 30-minute no-bake Rum Ball Recipe. Chocolate, nuts, and rum meet up for everyone’s favorite holiday treat.
This super easy no-bake rum ball recipe is all you need to make the best homemade food gift ever! Everyone will be begging for them year after year! If memory serves me right, this recipe came from a bottle of Karo syrup back in the 80s.
The dough will seem a bit sticky when it’s first mixed together. Let it sit for a few minutes and it will start to firm up as the liquid is absorbed into the vanilla cookie dust. If you’re going to use jimmies or sprinkles, make sure you decorate those balls first. Doing this while your dough is slightly sticky makes it easier to get sprinkles to stick.
ONLY 6 INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR RUM BALLS
I use Nilla wafers but generic will work just as well. The original recipe called for 12 ounces of cookies because that was the size of the box 30 years ago. Somewhere along the line, the boxes became 11-ounces. I use 3 cups of cookie crumbs. Go ahead and buy a 15-ounce box and grind up a little less than the full box and use the leftover cookies to make some Candy Acorns.
Pecans are my favorite in this recipe. I have used walnuts before and I have to admit, they are pretty tasty too! You need 1 1/2 cups of ground nuts. Run them through a food processor or blender. The smaller pieces you make, the tighter your rum balls will be.
1/4 cup of regular cocoa powder is needed. You can use Dutch-processed cocoa if you want, but I think it’s a little too dark for this recipe. If you plan to roll any of your rum balls in cocoa powder, you will need an additional 1/4 cup.
You might find this called Confectioner’s Sugar in the store. It’s just the snow-white sugar you can find in bags, generally right next to the brown sugar. You need 1 cup for the recipe itself and more for rolling the rum balls for decoration.
Yep, this recipe uses corn syrup. I told you earlier it came from the back of a Karo syrup bottle. You are just going to use 1/3 of a cup for about 50 rum balls.
My favorite rum is just plain light rum. Spiced rum, dark rum, and even coconut rum are all delicious.
CAN I USE SOMETHING BESIDES RUM?
Sure! They won’t be rum balls though.
Brandy, cognac, peppermint schnapps, butterscotch schnapps, Kahlua, and Bailey’s Irish Cream are pretty great substitutes.
Even bourbon works, but we prefer to use that in our chocolate bacon bourbon balls recipe instead.
CAN I MAKE THESE NON-ALCOHOLIC?
You can! Substitute coffee or orange juice for the rum. They just won’t exactly be rum balls.
If you wanted to, you could add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of rum extract with the coffee or orange juice for rum flavoring without using a huge amount of alcohol.
TIPS FOR MAKING RUM BALLS
- Allow the rum ball dough to sit for 5 minutes or so before scooping it into balls. It won’t be as sticky.
- Scoop the rum balls out using a cookie scoop to keep them uniform size.
- Roll the balls between your palm to make them round.
- Roll in jimmies or sprinkles as soon as they are rolled. Allowing them to sit for too long dries out the outsides and you may have trouble getting those decorations to stick.
- Rum balls rolled in cocoa or powdered sugar can be coated twice for better coverage if needed.
- Allow the rum balls to sit at room temperature for at least 2 days for optimal flavor.
- Place the rum balls onto paper candy cups and place them into sealed holiday cookie tins for the ultimate homemade food gift.
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Rum Balls Recipe
- Combine cookie crumbs [3 cups], ground nuts [1 1/2 cups], cocoa powder [1/4 cup], and powdered sugar [1 cup] in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the rum [1/3 cup] and corn syrup [1/3 cup] and stir until combined and the dough is thick and sticky.
- Set the dough aside for 5 to minutes.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and coat in colored jimmies, sprinkles, cocoa, or powdered sugar.
- Store in an air-tight container for at least 2 days before eating.
- Rum balls can be rolled into jimmies or other candy decorations while they are still slightly sticky.
- For storing rum balls longer than 2 weeks, keep in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.
- For storing rum balls longer than 1 month, store in a freezer in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. Allow to come to completely thaw and re-roll in cocoa or powdered sugar before serving.
- Substitute orange juice or coffee for the rum to make them kid-friendly.
- Substitute Kahlua, butterscotch schnapps, peppermint schnapps, or Irish cream for new flvaors.
- Substitute Bourbon for Bourbon Balls and Whiskey for Whiskey Balls.