Coconut Rum Balls are an easy and classic treat to enjoy during the holidays. Tropical rum and chocolate pair in these no bake dessert bites.
Chocolate and coconut rum is a mouth watering combination! These little bites of rum ball love make a great dessert for entertaining as well as gifting through the holiday season.
This is where I pause and wait for my family to start making boozy balls jokes, because I know it’s gonna happen.
But enough about them, let’s talk about rum balls!!
Why you’ll love this rum ball recipe
Fun - Hello, it’s the holiday season, where munching on rum infused chocolate balls is totally acceptable. Live it up! And when you get tired of rum balls (you won’t), you can always whip up a batch of No Bake Bourbon Balls.
Versatile - these traditional rum balls can be made gluten free with a few easy modifications and can even be made alcohol free. Basically, there’s something for everyone in these little chocolate nuggets.
Make Ahead - you can make this recipe ahead of time. In fact, you must make this recipe ahead of time, which means you have a ready to go treat when visitors stop by on Thanksgiving weekend.
Vanilla wafer cookies - I used Nabisco Nilla Wafers. Any kind of vanilla wafer cookie will work, even gluten-free if you’d like to make gluten free rum balls for your guests!
Coconut rum - you can substitute with spiced rum if you prefer. I used Captain Morgan Coconut Rum, which is gluten-free. Captain Morgan spiced rum is also gluten-free. I’m not sure about regular rum, though.
Confectioner’s sugar - the fancy word for powdered sugar
Dark cocoa powder - I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder. You can substitute with regular unsweetened cocoa powder of your choice.
Pure maple syrup - you hear me say this all the time, but I’ll say it again. Use 100% pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup for this recipe.
Pure vanilla extract
How to Make Coconut Rum Balls
Step 1: Crush vanilla wafers - If you have some holiday aggression to get out, you can totally add your vanilla wafers to a resealable plastic bag and give them a (gentle) hammering with a rolling pin.
It’s very therapeutic. Ask me how I know!
On the other hand, you can also put the vanilla wafers in your food processor or high speed blender and pulse them into fine crumbs.
Either way, the end result is the same - crushed vanilla wafers.
BTW, I’ve had this Vitamix blender and it’s a total workhouse. I’d totally recommend it after 10 years of continuous use.
Step 2: Add the rum ball ingredients - This is where the party starts to happen. Add the coconut rum, wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, syrup, cornstarch, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon to a large bowl. Stir to combine well and it will come together in one giant ball.
Step 3: Chill, then scoop - The chill time here makes these coconut rum balls easy to scoop and form. I like to use a medium sized cookie scoop to make uniform rum balls.
Otherwise, at your Christmas party, Aunt Martha is going to be fighting you off for the king sized rum balls.
You know how it goes.
You could also use a small cookie scoop to stretch the recipe further.
Step 4: Dust in cocoa powder or confectioners sugar - You can roll these rum balls in both toppings or just one. It’s your rum ball, you get to do it how you want!
Pop them back in the fridge until it’s time to serve!
How to make coconut rum balls ahead of time
Coconut ball meal prep? It’s a thing, or at least - is as of right now.
You can make these rum balls ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple weeks. Pull them out as you need them.
And do we ever need them over the holidays!
You can also make rum balls ahead of time and freeze them.
How to freeze rum balls
Place your rum balls on a baking sheet and make sure they are not touching. Freeze for 1 hour.
Once the rum balls are frozen solid, place them in a freezer-safe container and keep them frozen for up to 2 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator and coat with more confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder right before serving.
Can I make these rum balls without alcohol?
Yes, you can totally make rum balls without rum! Swap out the coconut rum for 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk and 2 teaspoons of rum extract for a non-alcoholic version of these treats.
Can rum balls get you drunk?
I love keeping things light and fun here, but I’m gonna put on my serious hat here.
Be sure guests know these rum balls have alcohol in them. This recipe contains a relatively low amount of alcohol per rum ball.
With this low amount it’s unlikely that you would become intoxicated after eating them unless you consume a large amount.
But be cautious if you are sensitive to alcohol at all or you have children who may pop one in their mouth. Okay, I feel better now.
Why do rum balls taste stronger after they sit?
I don’t have a scientific answer to this, but I'll give it my best shot.
I’m guessing as they sit, the vanilla wafers soak up the rum, which more evenly disperses the rum flavor, making them taste stronger.
That’s a pretty good theory, right?
How long will rum balls keep in the fridge?
These chocolate rum balls will keep for 2 weeks, refrigerated.
I’d say you should probably start making these chocolate coconut bites now. And then a batch in October for quality assurance.
And you should probably keep these in your fridge throughout November and December.
You know, for guests.
When you make these no-bake rum balls, leave a comment or review below. I love to hear from you!
Other no bake dessert recipes
Coconut Rum Balls
- 1 11 ounce box vanilla wafers
- ½ cup coconut rum
- ½ cup powdered sugar plus more for rolling
- ⅓ cup dark cocoa powder plus more for rolling
- 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Place the vanilla wafers into the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Alternatively, you can add the wafers to a large resealable plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
- In a large mixing bowl stir together the crushed wafers with the rum, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, maple syrup, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon until well-combined.
- Place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Use a medium sized cookie scoop to shape the mixture into balls. You may want to lightly roll the balls in your hand to shape and smooth them.
- Allow the rum balls to sit in an airtight container in the refrigerator and develop flavor for 2-3 days. *If you are short on time, you can skip this step.
- When you are ready to serve, roll half of the rum balls in additional confectioner’s sugar to coat. Roll the other half in additional cocoa powder to coat.
- Serve chilled.