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Easy and impressive rum balls are perfect for the holidays! Vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and rum create a truffle-like consistency bursting with rich flavors. A simple bite-sized dessert that every party needs!

Bite-sized holiday treats are always a good idea. That way you can taste a little bit of everything! Here are a few of my go-to holiday treats I bring to parties or give away as neighbor gifts. My Italian cookies are at the top of my list, along with Christmas crack, and this amazing fudge. All bite-sized and perfect for sharing.

Top close view of rum balls in mini muffin cups and stacked on a sheet pan.

What Are Rum Balls?

Rum balls are decadent rum-flavored dessert bites with a truffle-like consistency The base of the rum balls starts with vanilla wafer crumbs that get mixed with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and rum. It creates a sweet no-bake dough that is rolled into balls. Have fun with adding the finishing touch to these rum balls by rolling them in powdered sugar, sprinkles, nuts, or cocoa powder. They are easy to make and always a crowd favorite!

Every year I want to make ALL the Christmas treats, but I never have enough time. Lucky for me, some of my favorite treats have minimal ingredients making it even easier. And it doesn’t get easier than this 2-ingredient fudge or these fast no-bake cookies. Or you can skip any baking and just buy all the ingredients to make the world’s cutest charcuterie Christmas wreath.

Ingredients You Will Need

Here is the list of ingredients needed to make these tasty rum balls. The ingredients needed are quite simple and these are one of the easiest bite-sized desserts to make! Follow the exact measurements below on the recipe card.

  • Vanilla Wafers: Boxed Nilla wafers are the perfect sweet cookie to blend and use as the crumb base for these rum balls.
  • Powdered Sugar: Adds sweetness and structure to the rum balls.
  • Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder gives them a rich chocolatey flavor.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to balance out the sweetness.
  • Light Corn Syrup: Adds sweetness and helps to “stick” the ingredients together making them easier to roll into balls.
  • Spiced Rum: The star of the show in this rum balls recipe! See my tips below for rum substitutions.
  • Powdered Sugar and Cocoa Powder: Extra powdered sugar and cocoa powder for rolling the rum balls. It makes them SO pretty!

Rum Balls Recipe

Rum balls are quick and easy to assemble and don’t require any baking! The end result is so pretty and impressive and they look so professional. Perfect for the holiday season! Once you make them, you’ll see just how easy it is to create these beautiful and delicious treats at home!

  1. Pulse the Vanilla Wafers: Add all the vanilla wafer cookies to a food processor and pulse until you have crumbs.
  2. Add the Powdered Sugar, Cocoa, Salt, and Corn Syrup: Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and corn syrup. Pulse until combined.
  3. Mix in the Rum: Add the rum and mix until combined. The dough should come together if pinched and formed into a ball and should not fall apart.
  4. Scoop the Balls/ Coat the Balls: Scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. To coat the balls, add powdered sugar or cocoa powder in a small sheet pan or pie dish. Add the balls and shake gently until completely coated.
  5. Store and Serve: If desired, place the finished balls in mini cupcake liners. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to serve them.
First photo of cookie crumbs, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder in a food processor. Second photo of rum pouring into the food processor. Third photo of the dough mixed in the food processor. Fourth photo of the rum balls rolling in powdered sugar.

Tips and Variations

Get creative with these rum balls.  Make them each unique with different toppings and additional flavors.  There is no wrong way to make them, so have fun! I have a few tips and variations you can make below.

  • More Crumb Options: Instead of vanilla wafers, you may use 11 ounces of graham cracker crumbs, butter cookie crumbs, or even Biscoff cookies or gingersnap cookie crumbs!
  • Alcohol Warning: Please be aware that the alcohol of the rum does not cook out of these rum balls as they are not cooked or baked at any point. 
  • Rum Substitutes: You may substitute the rum for orange juice, apple juice, or black coffee if you want to make an alcohol-free version. If you like the taste of rum, add 1-1 ½ teaspoons of rum extract along with the rum alternative of your choice. 
  • Dough Tips: To adjust the texture of your rum balls, add either more cookie crumbs or a splash of rum. Cookie crumbs will help a dough that is too soft or runny, and a splash of rum will help if your dough turns out too dry and doesn’t hold together when pressed into a ball.
  • Decorative Ideas: While the recipe suggests rolling your rum balls in cocoa powder or powdered sugar, you may also roll them in chopped nuts, desiccated coconut, sprinkles, or coarse sugar.
  • Ball Size: It’s up to you to choose the size of balls you want to make! I like to make 1-inch bite-sized balls, but feel free to make them bigger! Just keep in mind that the nutritional information will change if you make them bigger.

Close side view of rum balls in mini muffin cups.

How to Store Rum Balls

You will be so happy to have leftover rum balls because they are great for freezing! Pull them out of the freezer for last-minute entertaining. The rum balls will age and mature as they are stored, resulting in a better flavor. I recommend making the rum balls a few days in advance for this reason!

  • In the Refrigerator: Place leftovers in an airtight container in a single layer then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
  • In the Freezer: To store rum balls, place them in an airtight container and use wax paper to separate layers. Freeze for up to two months.  

Close view of rum balls stacked on a brown plate.

More Holiday Desserts

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  • Add all the vanilla wafers to a food processor and pulse until you have crumbs.

  • Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and corn syrup. Pulse until combined.

  • Add the rum and mix until combined. The dough should come together if pinched and formed into a ball and should not fall apart.

  • Scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. To coat the balls, add powdered sugar or cocoa powder in a small sheet pan or pie dish. Add the balls and shake gently until completely coated.

  • If desired, place the finished balls in mini cupcake liners. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to serve them.

Calories: 34kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.002gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 7mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 6gCalcium: 1mgIron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.



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