No Bake Rum Balls!

You know those days when you really, really, really want a homemade cookie, but the thought of the mixing and the baking and the cooling and the cleaning up makes you reach for the box of supermarket cookies instead, when what you really wanted was the homemade deal?  That is where these delectable little rum balls come in.  They require exactly no oven, no cookie sheet, no baking, no cooling and about 15 minutes from “I think I want a cookie” to popping into your mouth.

Ironically, they do START with supermarket cookies – Nilla Wafers, to be precise.  You’re going to pulverize about 2 cups of wafers to make about 1 3/4 cups of Nilla Wafer crumbs…this is best done in your food processor.  Do the same thing with walnuts – about 3/4 cups to make 1/2 cup of finely ground walnuts.  Now dump all of that into your stand mixer with some powdered sugar, some butter, some water and a little rum extract (which you can find in the baking aisle next to the vanilla extract).  Let the mixer rip until you have a nice stiff dough.

Now roll the dough into little balls (about one inch across), and then roll the balls in a little powdered sugar until the are nice and coated.  And that’s it – you’re done.

Seriously!  Done.  Homemade cookies.  Ready for the eating.  Sometimes the easiest things are also the most delicious!

No Bake Rum Balls!
Serves: About 30 rum balls
  • 1¾ cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup Nilla Wafer fine crumbs (from about 1½ cups cookies processed to crumbs in food processor)
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts (from about ¾ cup walnut pieces processed to crumbs in food processor)
  • 6 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon rum extract
  1. Combine sugar, cookie crumbs, walnuts, butter, 2 tablespoons water and extract in mixer. Mix until a stiff dough forms, adding another tablespoon of water if needed to make the dough come together.
  2. Take scant tablespoons of dough and roll them in your hands into ball shapes, and then roll in powdered sugar to coat.


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  1. Karen Nelson says

    Those look great!
    Do you remember the “melting moments” recipe I sent?
    They look like this:-).
    I will give these a go… I have to make cookies later this month..
    think this is it!

  2. says

    these remind me a LOT of the rum balls I made around Christmas time…except those were chocolate. And as it turns out I don’t really LOVE rum and chocolate together. But rum and vanilla…that might just do it!

  3. ArmyMum says

    WOW!! I make rum balls every year for Christmas and I have never seen this version with the butter. The ones I’ve seen/used always use corn syrup. Will have to give these a try, especially because I always have butter on hand, but not corn syrup (and its the only thing I ever used it for).

  4. Mitzi Moodle says

    Made these tonight but they just tasted like raw cookie dough. My taste testers (who will eat anything) weren’t impressed. I am now experimenting with using the dough as a base for a cheesecake or something else.

    • Kate says

      Oh no! Sounds like you might have needed to add in a few more cookie crumbs…but a cheesecake base is a great idea too!

  5. Barbara says

    I made a colossal mess making these but they were good. I didn’t actually measure the finished crumbs of the vanilla wafers or the finely chopped walnuts. Mine kind of tasted more like sweet butter balls than rum balls. Maybe I should have made sure I had enough vanilla wafers. Do you store these in the fridge? Mine are quite soft. I also only ended up with about 25. Rough count since I ate a few as I was making them!
    Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Kate says

      I stored mine (for as long as they lasted :) ) in a jar on the counter, but they weren’t around that long! I’m guessing that a few more cookie crumbs would have firmed them up more…that could have affected the final count as well. But sounds like they tasted good, so that part is great! :)

      • Barbara says

        Mine didn’t last long either! The Marine liked them and that goes a long way. He doesn’t like just everything that comes along. He even had someone at work ask for the recipe. Our daughter came home for the afternoon from college and took some back with her. I guess she liked them too. One more question. I stored them, for the time they lasted, in a tupperware bowl. The next morning, the powdered sugar coating had melted into the cookie. I know that happens, but do you have any idea of how to slow down the process?

        • Kate says

          If you put them in the fridge that will definitely slow down the sugar-melting process. Glad your family is liking them!

  6. Christal says

    Just made these for my brother since he asked for non alcoholic kind they turned out amazing used half vanilla wafers and the other chocolate, i put the mixture on a metal pie plate covered in the fridge for an hour to firm up the mixture to make it easier to form into balls. Changed it up for the finishing rolled some in unsweeted coconut, some with sprinkles, and some with just icing sugar. Absolutely perfect. Thank you for posting this recipe.

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