Bourbon Balls Recipe

Bourbon Balls,

Or Opt for Brandy Balls 
or Rum Balls

Believe it or not, the Bourbon Balls recipe reminds me of Jello Shots and watermelon. You know, it's that "eat and drink at the same time" thing.

Prepared with cookie crumbs, cocoa, nuts and confectioner's sugar, Bourbon Balls (Rum Balls or Brandy Balls, if you prefer) are not cooked, so the alcohol does not dissipate; you get the flavor and the effect. A sweet treat just for adults.

The balls can be prepared up to 2 weeks ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. The flavors just get better.

Bourbon Balls

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, divided
1/2 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (16-ounce box)
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

First, sift the cocoa powder and 1 cup of confectioner's sugar together. Stir in the rum and corn syrup. Now add the vanilla wafers and nuts, and stir again. Refrigerate the mixture for at least a half hour, preferably longer, to make the Bourbon Balls easier to form.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a shallow dish.

Using a small scoop or tablespoon for measurement, press and roll the cocoa mixture into 1-inch (walnut-size) balls. Roll the balls in the sugar to coat, and set them on a cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to set.

To store the Bourbon Balls for a week or two you can stack them up in a tin or covered plastic storage container, but separate the layers with wax paper. Pop them in the fridge or freezer.

Makes about 4 dozen balls, depending on how creative you get with "1 inch."


  • Rum Balls or Brandy Balls: Substitute dark rum, spiced rum, or brandy for the bourbon in the Bourbon Balls recipe. Prepare as above.
  • Roll the balls in sprinkles, chopped nuts, or cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar. Or, dip half of each ball in melted semi-sweet chocolate.
  • Substitute crushed chocolate wafers, graham crackers, or shortbread cookies (like Pecan Sandies) for the vanilla wafers.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon allspice or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne to the ball mixture.

Alternate Bourbon Balls Recipe:

Make Bourbon, Brandy or Rum Balls using chocolate chips and evaporated milk instead of cocoa powder and corn syrup. If you don't have one set of ingredients on hand, you may have the other.

1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brandy, rum or bourbon
2 1/2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar for rolling

In a double boiler or in the microwave on low heat, slowly heat and melt the chocolate chips with the evaporated milk, stirring occasionally. Remove and cool. Add the alcohol, crushed vanilla wafers and nuts. Chill the mixture, roll into balls, roll in confectioner's sugar and store as above.

Return to Easy Desserts for more like the Bourbon Balls recipe

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Join the party! Tell us how you were able to use or improve the recipe(s) or tips on this page.

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