Rum Balls with Vanilla Wafers

Rum Balls are one of the easiest and tastiest treats you can make for the holiday season. With rum, vanilla wafers, and nuts, these rum balls have a flavor that cannot be beaten.

a stack of rum balls on a plate.

What Are Rum Balls?

These classic rum balls with vanilla wafers are a sweet confection similar to a cake ball or a truffle. While these have a different base, the idea is quite the same.

Traditional rum balls are an easy no bake treat you can prepare ahead of time and enjoy as an appetizer or finger food at a party or as a dessert! They are great for homemade holiday gifts.

Do rum balls contain alcohol?

Why yes, yes they do! It’s how they got their name. There isn’t an excessive amount of rum in the recipe, but enough to provide great flavor.

rum balls made with vanilla wafers, chocolate, and nuts.

Ingredients Needed for Rum Balls

This is a simple recipe so you don’t need a lot of ingredients. Just take a glance at this list of rum balls ingredients to make sure you have everything to get started on your no-bake rum balls.

  • Cocoa Powder
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Rum
  • Light Corn Syrup
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Walnuts or Pecans
rum balls ingredients.

What type of rum should you use in rum balls?

Since rum is the star of the recipe, this is a great place to use a very flavorful rum.

If you are buying rum specifically for this recipe, I would suggest either gold rum or dark rum.

However, if you’re a rum drinker, get your favorite kind so you can enjoy it after making the rum balls.

Do I need to use rum?

If you like the idea of the rum balls but can’t stand the taste of rum that is okay! Switch it out for something you enjoy. You can use substitute rum with your favorite alcohol or liqueur. Here are some suggestions:

  • Bourbon
  • Brandy
  • Whiskey
  • Madeira

Can I make rum balls without rum?

You can make rum balls without rum, you would need to use a rum extract or you can omit the rum extract if you desire. Use 2 teaspoons of rum extract instead of the rum.

How to Make Rum Balls

  1. Whisk cocoa and powdered sugar together in a large bowl.
powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl.
powdered sugar and cocoa powder mixed together in a bowl.
  1. Add rum and corn syrup. Stir to combine.
adding corn syrup to powdered sugar and cocoa mixture.
chocolate mixture for rum balls in a bowl.
  1. Crush the vanilla wafers with either a food processor or by placing the wafers in a plastic bag and crush them buy using a rolling pin.
  2. Fold in the crushed vanilla wafers and chopped nuts.
crushed vanilla wafers and pecans in a bowl.
rum balls mixture in a bowl.
  1. Roll the dough into balls. You can use a cookie scoop to portion it out so you have the same size balls.
  2. Roll each ball in powdered sugar.
rum balls coated with powdered sugar on a plate.

How to Make Rum Balls without Alcohol

If you want to make these rum balls without alcohol, then you can use apple or orange juice as a substitute for the rum. However, this will change the overall flavor of the rum balls.

What can you roll rum balls in?

When making these rum balls you don’t have to use powdered sugar as the coating. Here are a few suggestions of coatings for rum balls that will also be tasty:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Crushed peanuts, pecans, or walnuts
  • Sprinkles
  • Sweetened shredded coconut

You can also dip rum balls in melted chocolate (milk, dark, and white) as you would with peanut butter balls and chocolate truffles.

How to Coat Rum Balls Perfectly

  1. Once you are ready to roll the rum balls, put a generous amount of the coating ingredient in a large container. A pie plate works well.
  2. Place a rum ball in the coating and gently use a fork or a spoon to roll the ball around.
  3. Once the ball is completely covered, use a fork to pick it up from the bottom and place it in an airtight container.
  4. Continue doing this for the rest of the rum balls until they are all covered.
powdered sugar coated rum balls stacked on a black plate.

How long do rum balls last?

Rum balls must be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They are actually best when made a day or two ahead of time to let the flavors meld together.

Rum balls will last for 2 weeks in the fridge, or they can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months!

Can rum balls be frozen?

Yes, they can be frozen. Place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 2 months.

a pile of rum balls on a plate.

Great Boozy Holiday Recipes

Favorite Holiday Treats Recipes

Check out more of my easy dessert recipes and the best Christmas recipes here on CopyKat!

Thanks to tlczoo for sharing this recipe.

a stack of rum balls on a plate.

Rum Balls

These no bake rum balls made with vanilla wafers, chocolate, and nuts are a wonderful treat.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cookies, Rum balls
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 36
Calories: 101kcal


  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 cups powdered sugar to roll balls in


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cocoa and powdered sugar.
  • Add the rum and light corn syrup. Stir to combine.
  • Fold in the vanilla wafers and chopped nuts.
  • Roll the mixture into balls, and roll each ball in powdered sugar.


Store rum balls in an airtight container.
Tip: Use plastic freezer zip bags to crush vanilla wafers (remove excess air) and to coat the balls in powdered sugar.


Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 0IU | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Sheila Hutchinson

    I’ve heard they can be made with rum extract or flavoring, i LOVE rum, but don’t do alcohol. Anyone have recipe or thoughts on how I could try this? I know it won’t be near the amount as the rum drink. Thank you

  2. Tanja

    5 stars
    I loved this reciepe… I used 1/2 walnuts and 1/2 pecans along with fresh coconut. (Left out the cocoa for those who don’t do chocolate).
    Blended them all up in the blender to get the base.
    Turned out amazing!

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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