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Easy No-Bake Rum Balls Recipe

These easy no-bake rum balls are a fun treat for the snack or dessert table. Bring them to any get-together, and you can pretty much count on them being a big hit!

Rum Balls for Special Occasions

Plates of rum balls

These no-bake rum balls are so good people have asked me to bring them to parties. I usually oblige once, twice, or even more times.

In fact, many years ago, my husband’s assistant requested a second batch after trying one at the office celebration.

Of course, I was flattered enough to bring more. He encouraged me to make more and offered to “take them off my hands.” In case you’re wondering, I made a third batch.

The following year, he reminded me that he loved rum balls. That made me laugh because there was no way I could forget how much he enjoyed them.

Plate of no-bake rum balls

Eat Them Responsibly

There isn’t much rum in these rum balls, but since it’s not baked, the alcohol remains.

So I don’t recommend giving them to children … that is, unless you alter one ingredient in the recipe. If you want them to be child-friendly, use rum flavoring instead of the alcoholic version.

In fact, if you want to be really safe, make all of them with rum flavoring. No one will know the difference.

Although these no-bake rum balls are easy to make, they’re pretty messy. As a matter of fact, I think anything with powdered sugar is messy because it’s light as air and drifts.

Any time I use it, I wind up with it all over me. But that’s okay. That’s what a shower is for.

Besides, it’s so worth it. Once you taste them, you’ll agree!

In fact, you might even go back to the kitchen to make some more.

No-bake rum balls on a small plate

These rum balls are a great party food. You can make them any time of year, but they’re particularly welcome at a holiday party.

If you have time, make one of these 3-tiered platters and display them on top.

Ingredients in No-Bake Rum Balls

In order to make rum balls, you need vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and pecans.

Those are the dry ingredients. You also need corn syrup and rum.

Powdered sugar, vanilla wafers, rum, corn syrup, cocoa powder, and pecans

Make sure you understand that corn syrup is completely different from cornstarch.

So don’t get them mixed up, or your rum balls won’t be moist enough to form them into balls.

The reason I bring this up is that I’ve given this recipe to friends through the years, and it’s happened. More than once, I’ve gotten a call asking why the recipe isn’t turning out.

At first, I couldn’t figure it out, but then one person said, “Maybe I put too much cornstarch in them.” After that, the first question I asked was whether or not they used corn syrup.

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.

How to Make No-Bake Rum Balls

First of all, you’ll need to crush the vanilla wafers. You can put them in a food processor if you’re in a hurry.

Or if you don’t have a food processor, you can put the cookies in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

Just make sure they’re finely crushed before you use them. Otherwise, they’ll crumble apart.

Mix the crushed vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chopped pecans, corn syrup, and rum.

Rum ball batter in a bowl

You can use light or dark corn syrup. Since I couldn’t find the light, I picked up the dark.

Pinch off pieces of the batter and form them into small marble-sized balls. Roll them in the powdered sugar and set them on a plate.

Rolling the rum balls in powdered sugar

After a few minutes, roll the balls in the powdered sugar again for a second coating.

Allow them to rest for a few hours before serving.

More Great Recipes

Easy-to-make rum balls on a plate

These rum balls are wonderful additions to any party snack table. Put them with the desserts, such as these yummy peanut butter cookies.

If you like party food, check out these stuffed mushrooms. Make sure you have at least 3 or 4 per person at the party. They’ll disappear quickly, so maybe you need to make even more.

This spinach dip is another party favorite. You can serve it either hot or cold, so it’s easy to serve for a variety of get-togethers.

We also enjoy these mini stuffed peppers. They’re great for the party table, but they also make a great main course for a meal.

If you’re looking for more sweet treats, check out the recipe for this creamy orange fudge. It is so good! I’m thankful to the person who asked me to make it.

And if you like it, take a look at these 3 fudge recipes that are all super easy to make.

Another recipe that’s perfect for parties, try this barbecue party peanuts appetizer from Julia’s Simply Southern. I also like these muddy buddies from Back to My Southern Roots.

See this recipe shared at Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, and Full Plate Thursday.

Plate of rum balls

No-Bake Rum Balls

Yield: 20 rum balls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These no-bake rum balls are a fun party food that will quickly disappear.


  • 2-1/2 cups of crushed vanilla wafers
  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup of chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons of corn syrup (light or dark)
  • 1/2 cup of rum (or 1/4 cup of rum flavoring + 1/4 cup of water - see notes)
  • Additional powdered sugar for the coating


    1. In a food processor, crush the vanilla wafers until they are fine crumbs.
    2. Combine the crushed vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chopped pecans, corn syrup (not corn starch), and rum.
    3. Stir until mixed. I used my hands because it’s much easier.
    4. Pinch off pieces and roll them into balls the size of a large marble. Roll each on in powdered sugar.
    5. Set them aside on a plate. Let them rest for about 10 minutes and then roll them in a second coating of powdered sugar.
    6. It’s best to wait a few hours before eating. It takes a little while for all of the flavors to bloom.


If you prefer bourbon balls, all you have to do is substitute bourbon for the rum.

If you don’t want the alcohol, you can also use rum flavoring instead, but cut the amount in half. I recommend tasting them and adjusting the amount of rum flavoring because the strength varies.

Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 250Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 69mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 1gSugar 30gProtein 1g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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J. Neal

Thursday 21st of November 2019

Thank you for your follow-up to my rum flavoring question. I think I'll try making the mixture, refrigerating it as is (waiting to form the balls) so I can taste the actual "developed" flavor. More flavoring, sweetening, and/or moisture can be added then (or not). Some very, very finely grated orange zest may be a nice addition, too, with a little bit of orange juice instead of water, if more moisture is needed in the mixture. Once the mixture is right, the large end of a melon ball scooper would be helpful to portion the mixture more uniformly in size before rolling into smooth balls between one's palms and coating in confectioners' sugar. Not sure if I'll use store-bought vanilla wafers or my own vanilla wafer recipe to make the crumbs, but, either way, I may scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean pod into the mixture for a boost of vanilla flavor. Looking forward to making these no-bake rum balls for a Christmas party. I'm sure they'll be a hit. Thanks again for the recipe and for your response.


Thursday 21st of November 2019

Wow! I love your idea of using orange juice and orange zest! That will add a whole new layer to the flavor! Please let me know how they turn out.

J. Neal

Thursday 21st of November 2019

To avoid the alcohol, you recommend substituting rum flavoring for the 1/2 cup rum listed in the ingredients in this recipe. How much rum flavoring? The flavoring I bought came in a 1-ounce bottle. Would you use a teaspoonful? A tablespoonful? Would one also need to add something else to boost the moisture to be more equivalent to what the rum itself would have provided?


Thursday 21st of November 2019

I'm glad you called this out. Rum flavoring comes in a variety of strengths, so I'd probably start out with a teaspoon and give it a quick taste to see if that's enough. I think the flavoring I've had in the past was watered down, so I used the same amount or half. For moisture, if you want more sweetness, you can add a little more corn syrup. Or you can add some water if you don't want them sweeter. I'll add this information to my recipe. Please let me know what you wind up doing. I'd love to hear how they turn out.

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