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Bourbon Balls are no bake treats that are loaded with flavor and super easy to make. These old fashioned cookies are perfect for the holidays!

bourbon balls rolled in red and green candy sprinkles on a plate

It wouldn’t be Christmas without this no bake bourbon balls recipe! If you’re looking for a super easy dessert or treat to serve at your holiday party or share with friends or neighbors, you’ll love this one!

This is my grandma’s recipe for bourbon balls, and she used to make these every Christmas. My grandmother was the baker of the family, and she used to make nearly all of the Christmas treats each year. My mom and I made sugar cookies, but that was about it — the rest was all done by Grandma.

My dad tried making bourbon balls once. Even though he was definitely not a baker, bourbon balls are super easy to make, so he figured that he could easily do this.

But halfway through the recipe, he decided the mixture could use more bourbon. So he added more and a little bit more, until he was left with a sticky, gooey mess — good times!

Don’t let that stop you from trying these little gems. Bourbon balls are super easy — just follow the amounts called for, and you’ll be fine!

How to Make Bourbon Balls

You only need a few ingredients to make the bourbon balls:

  • Vanilla wafers
  • Ground walnuts
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Corn syrup
  • Bourbon
  • Granulated sugar for rolling the balls

Add the crushed wafers and nuts to a mixing bowl. Then, and add the remaining dry ingredients, and stir in the corn syrup and bourbon.

mix ingredients in bowl for bourbon balls

Now, roll the mixture into small balls. The mixture will be sticky!

roll bourbon ball mixture into small balls

Right after rolling the balls, drop them, one by one, into a small bowl filled with sugar. You can also mix colored sugar and holiday sprinkles in the same bowl.

roll bourbon balls in sugar

Can you Use Rum?

Actually, you can — Grandma used to make both! Use the same ingredients and same amounts, but substitute rum for the bourbon.

How to Store Rum Balls

Place the balls into a container, cover, and store in a cool place until ready to serve. Place a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper between layers so that the balls don’t stick together.

The flavor intensifies the longer they stay covered, so if you think they’re not too strong at first, just wait until the next day — wowza!

bourbon balls rolled in red and green candy sprinkles on a white plate

Do Bourbon Balls Need to be Refrigerated

No need to refrigerate these cookies. They last for 2 to 3 weeks if you keep them in a cool place so that they don’t become too soft. If your kitchen is warm, you can keep them in the refrigerator.

These little treats are definitely not for the kiddos. You can share easy no bake treats like Peppermint Bark, Fantasy Fudge, Chocolate Peppermint Fudge or Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge with your kids.

bourbon balls on a plate

Bourbon Balls Recipe

5 from 1 vote

Bourbon Balls

By: Dee
Bourbon Balls recipe is an easy no bake classic cookie recipe that’s perfect for the holiday season
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 50 balls


  • 1 cup crushed vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • granulated sugar (for rolling the balls)
  • candy sprinkles for decoration (optional)
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  • Add the crushed cookies, powdered sugar, chopped walnuts and cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl
  • Stir in the corn syrup and bourbon, and mix well
  • Take small portions of the mixture and roll into 1-inch balls
  • Roll balls in granulated sugar and sprinkles and place on cookie sheet until mixture has been rolled into cookies


Keep bourbon balls tightly covered in a container so that they don’t dry out.
These are for adults over 21.


Calories: 38kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 15mg, Sugar: 3g, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Like this? Leave a comment below!
Post was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2019.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Abby says:

    Have you made these a few days in advance and then froze them? Trying to get all my baking in before Christmas.

    1. Dee says:

      They actually keep very well without freezing. Just keep them in an airtight container, and they should be fine. 🙂

  2. Kara says:

    Can yousub graham cracker crumbs or do the wafers add flavor with the vanilla?

    1. Dee says:

      I haven’t tried it, but you can probably use graham crackers, as well. The vanilla wafers don’t add any extra flavor, and you taste the bourbon more than anything.

  3. Rev. Terri Cooper says:

    I would like to make these bourbon balls for Xmas but the recipe lists a bake time so am confused.
    Are they no-bake or do you bake them? The last line of the recipe directions says ….until mixture has been
    rolled into cookies”. Are they balls or are they cookies? Help!

    1. Dee says:

      They are no-bake balls. The reason I added the cook time is so that there would be a total time shown and not just prep. The cook time is the estimated time it takes to roll them. So sorry for the confusion — I’ll add a note! 🙂

  4. VICKIE G says:


    1. Dee says:

      It makes about 50 small balls.

  5. Miz Helen says:

    What a fun Holiday treat! Hope you are having a great weekend and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen5 stars

  6. Dee M says:

    Aw, what a fun story! I may have to get the recipe since I have a bottle of bourbon to use up now. 🙂

  7. Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest says:

    These will always remind me of my mother in law – hers are the only ones I have ever had, She's funny too – never drinks – but my oh my she can eat a whole plate of these things. : – )

    Good memories about your father, love that, so funny! My daughter did that once to bourbon chicken – one of her specialty dishes – but it was inedible, and she was inebriated making it, sip, sip, more making, more sips, you get the picture. We're still laughing about that disasterous dinner party of hers!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hugs.