rum balls

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Rum Balls

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


This Christmas-party staple comes from my good friend Mary Anderson’s grandmother, Olphina Fulmer Laidlaw, who died in 1962. It’s very similar to a 1997 Bon Appétit recipe.


1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. good-quality cocoa powder
¼ cup dark rum
Tbsp. light corn syrup
¼ cup powdered sugar for dusting


  1. In a large bowl or food processor, combine the wafer crumbs, pecans, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. Blend in the rum and the corn syrup. Mix well.
  2. Let the mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes before shaping into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in a bit of powdered sugar, then chill for at least an hour before serving.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 46 comments on this item
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Average Rating 4
17% recommend this recipe
1. by Eric on Dec 11, 2008 at 12:16 PM PST

These totally look great and they’re so easy. I’m definately going to include these on my holiday dessert plates!

2. by LOVESTOBAKEJUSTLAZY on Dec 11, 2008 at 12:21 PM PST

great recipe..thanks

3. by dusksunset on Dec 11, 2008 at 12:21 PM PST

I made rum balls once. They were really easy and everyone loved them.

4. by Ali on Dec 11, 2008 at 12:31 PM PST

Ooh, these look pretty, delicous, and easy. I might add them to the baking line-up off all the usual holiday suspects this year!

5. by pscheel on Dec 11, 2008 at 12:31 PM PST

I don’t think I’ve ever had a rum ball. They look pretty easy and anything with rum in it is good, right?

6. by Christina Eng on Dec 11, 2008 at 12:35 PM PST

Boozy is right, and utterly addictive.

7. by cdziuba on Dec 11, 2008 at 1:02 PM PST

Wow, that’s a lot of rum. I like the recipe, have never had a rum ball, ever.

8. by ptreskovich on Dec 11, 2008 at 1:19 PM PST

these are yummy--have made similar kind for years

9. by Marilyn Noble on Dec 11, 2008 at 1:19 PM PST

This recipe is a Christmas standard in our family. My mom makes them by the hundreds from the recipe my grandmother passed down. I make them, and so do both of my grown kids. We give them away for gifts and take them to any holiday cookie exchanges we might be going to. If you want to dress them up a bit, flatten the balls and add a pecan half. Tightly sealed, they keep for weeks.

10. by mary on Dec 11, 2008 at 1:58 PM PST

These look like they’d be so much fun with after-dinner drinks!

11. by dolls123 on Dec 11, 2008 at 2:03 PM PST

I’m gonna have to try this. They look yummy !!!!

12. by weth on Dec 11, 2008 at 2:04 PM PST

Tasty after dinner treats! Recipe works well with other nuts, too, like almonds or walnuts.

13. by hotmama on Dec 11, 2008 at 2:09 PM PST

We’ll enjoy nibbling these by the fire (the DVD that you can put in for a faux crackling fire) while listening to Bette Midler’s “Cool Yule” CD. PARTY!!!!

14. by scavalie on Dec 11, 2008 at 2:11 PM PST

MMMM. boozy sweets. sounds good!

15. by faither on Dec 11, 2008 at 2:53 PM PST

I had completely forgotten about these, but seeing them and reading the recipe, brings back the tastes and smells of my mother making them in the 50’s and 60’s. Am going to have to make to see if the finished product compares to the memory.

16. by Liz Crain on Dec 11, 2008 at 2:59 PM PST

We make these every year! Usu. we’d set up by the sink -- my mom, my brother and I and take our stations. The roller is by the faucet (sticky hands), the jimmies station (we rolled ours in chocolate jimmies) is next in line, and the third person places them on waxed or parchment paper lined tray on which we freeze them. Thanks or bringing these tasty treats to light!!

17. by jnmacdonald on Dec 11, 2008 at 3:17 PM PST

These look delicious and easy too!

18. by Xanthippe on Dec 11, 2008 at 4:23 PM PST

As I’m a bourbon girl, I sub it for the rum and Bob’s your uncle! Always a holiday favorite whatever the liquor.

19. by kmg365 on Dec 11, 2008 at 4:54 PM PST

Would you believe I’ve never had a rum ball? I didn’t realize they were so easy.

20. by nicole309 on Dec 11, 2008 at 5:15 PM PST

I don’t really like rum balls, but I sure like joy of cooking and chocolate!!

21. by Fran Z on Dec 11, 2008 at 5:26 PM PST

Dang! A great way to get some holiday cheer! I never knew these could be so simple!

22. by AsTheNight on Dec 11, 2008 at 6:00 PM PST

I thought I had picked out all the cookie recipes I wanted to make next adding rum balls.

23. by drala625 on Dec 11, 2008 at 6:44 PM PST

These look delicious and not too much rum.

24. by ivy on Dec 11, 2008 at 6:58 PM PST

I made rum balls quite awhile ago(years)and have always loved them. Time now to treat myself to a
special gift of goodness.

25. by Teacher A on Dec 11, 2008 at 7:22 PM PST

You know, I’d never thought to make these until now.

26. by lisalmg25 on Dec 11, 2008 at 7:23 PM PST
Rating: five

I’ve never tried Rum Balls but this recipe looks really easy to make and this would be a great new addition to the cookies and candies I make for Christmas!

27. by The Lucky Ladybug on Dec 11, 2008 at 7:44 PM PST

These sound yummy :) Thanks for the giveaway!

28. by Diane on Dec 11, 2008 at 8:20 PM PST

These remind me of parties my parents had when I was a child. They’re next on my list of sweets to try. And I love the fact that it’s a no-bake recipe. Can’t beat that!

29. by macaronibirds on Dec 11, 2008 at 8:55 PM PST

Yum, I love rum balls!

30. by intime on Dec 12, 2008 at 3:00 AM PST

looks good

31. by Darlene936 on Dec 12, 2008 at 6:00 AM PST

I’ve got to try this recipe!

32. by L321 on Dec 12, 2008 at 6:13 AM PST

Love rum balls during the holidays. I have never made them, but these look easy to make and look delicious.

33. by Mommykat on Dec 12, 2008 at 7:33 AM PST

These rum balls looks so simple to make. When I was growing up, my aunt would make these and I thought you had to be an adult to eat them, because they had RUM in them and you would get DRUNK. LOL. Thanks for the great recipe! I love baking and collecting cookbooks! Thanks for the chance!

34. by dddiva on Dec 12, 2008 at 9:26 AM PST

I haven’t seen these in years and forgot all about them- I think I just may have to try them this year. :)

35. by flip58 on Dec 12, 2008 at 10:07 AM PST

Yummy, my grandmother made these. However, I would substitute brandy for the rum.

36. by That's nuts! on Dec 12, 2008 at 10:20 AM PST

The look like grown-up chocolate munchkins!

37. by bettycd on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:20 AM PST

Thanks for reminding me about Rum Balls. It’s been years since I’ve had them at the holidays.

38. by Liz Rousseau on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:26 AM PST

okay - i was already making this saturday, so i had to comment when i saw this! This was one of my grandma’s treats she would make for the holidays. she would always ask us kids if we were 21 before we had one :) truffles with grand marnier, rum balls & bourbon balls. mmm!! thanks for posting this classic!

39. by Terry C on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:46 AM PST

These sound so god and super easy to make!

40. by damons on Dec 12, 2008 at 12:09 PM PST

Can’t do these myself, as I don’t do any alcohol, but I’m sure they’re great for almost everyone else!

41. by rtysons on Dec 12, 2008 at 12:11 PM PST

My family’s rum ball recipe uses gingersnaps instead of Nilla Wafers. I think I like them better that way (with the gingersnaps). One year Mom made them with 151 proof rum! Wow was it intoxicating when the tin was opened!! I think we had to air them out before we could even eat them (apparently it was the only rum in the house, and she didn’t want to go out for more...)

42. by miriama59 on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:16 PM PST

I printed this of. I am making them this year.

43. by klrocks on Dec 13, 2008 at 7:58 AM PST

I have been searching for years to find a bourbon ball recipe!!!! I am so excited to make this recipe! Thanks.

44. by susan heath on Dec 22, 2008 at 7:52 PM PST

Crushed vanilla wafers? Are you kidding me?

You tout homemade........Come on.

45. by Caroline Cummins on Dec 26, 2008 at 5:39 PM PST

Susan -- We called for vanilla wafers, a generic type of cookie you can easily make at home, instead of Nabisco’s popular (and chemical-full) Nilla Wafers. Try making your own vanilla wafers with these recipes from Baking Bites and Epicurious.

46. by Lisamary Wichowski on Dec 2, 2009 at 1:03 PM PST
Rating: three

My mom made these and sent them to school with me for the nuns. They were really funny after lunch that day. She made them with bourbon and I do that plus switch out local Oregon filberts.

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