Rum balls are festive and fun and perfect for adult parties or New Year’s Eve celebrations. The recipe for these easy gluten-free rum balls has been improved and updated as of December 2020. The original rum ball recipe from 2015 is no longer available. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
My Aunt Ayala is a phenomenal baker. As a child, I would enjoy going to her house because she made the best rugelach and rum balls. In fact, these two items were and still are in high demand!
As a child, I once remember making rum balls with Ayala. I asked her to teach me.
She show me how she crushed vanilla wafers, added Karo corn syrup to batter to make it sticky, and how she even used a combination of wax and melted chocolate to coat the rum balls in delicious, hardened chocolate.
While I have fond memories of Aunt Ayala’s rum balls, I decided that I would make a new version of rum balls – one that is free from gluten, corn syrup and wax.
That’s when I came up with this wonderful recipe for gluten-free rum balls.
How to Make Gluten-Free Rum Balls
You’ll be able to make gluten-free rum balls in a few simple steps at home.
Step #1: Gather Your Ingredients
The first step to making rum balls is to gather your ingredients. You’ll need:
- 1 cup gluten-free vanilla wafers crushed
- 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp honey or corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup rum
- 1/4 cup sparkling sugar, optional (or use powdered sugar)
You’ll want to fully crush the wafers and pecans into finely ground pieces for the best results. I use my food processor to get the job done.
You can find gluten-free vanilla wafers at many grocery stores. I use vanilla wafers by Kinnikinnick Foods, which you can find at Sprouts and on Amazon. If you can’t find gluten-free vanilla wafers, you can use a gluten-free shortbread cookie instead.
Please note you can use most brands of rum. Rum is naturally gluten free as it’s distilled from sugar cane vs. wheat or barley. Read my full guide to gluten-free alcohol to decode if your brand of rum is gluten free.
I also love using sparkling sugar and Bob’s Red Mill makes a wonderful sparkling sugar perfect for making these gluten-free rum balls. If you don’t have sparkling sugar, you can use powdered sugar instead.
Step #2: Form Your Dough
Add all your ingredients to a large bowl and mix together well. I find it easiest to use my hands to mix everything together.
Slightly wet your hands and then roll the dough into 12-one inch balls. Wetting your hands first will prevent them from sticking to your hands.
Roll each rum ball in the sparkling or powdered sugar, then place in a mini muffin liner. Place the balls on a baking sheet, plate or serving tray, cover with plastic wrap, and place in your fridge to chill for one hour or overnight.
This recipe is perfect for your Christmas or holiday parties – and I especially like to serve it for New Year’s Eve. It’s a glamorous dessert with a little kick.
Plus, no one has to know it only took you a few minutes to make. No baking required. These gluten-free rum balls will definitely be the belle of the ball. Enjoy!
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Gluten-Free Rum Balls
- In a large bowl, combine crushed wafers, pecans, confectioners sugar and cocoa. Whisk together. Add honey, vanilla and rum and mix well until well combined and mixture sticks together when you press it together with your hands.
- Roll mixture into 12 1" ball and then roll each ball in a bowl of sparkling sugar (or powdered sugar). Place balls into mini muffin tin liners on a small baking sheet, plate or serving dish.
- Cover balls with plastic wrap and place them in your fridge and allow it to cool for 1 hour or overnight for best results. Rum balls taste best when they've had 24+ hours to develop their flavors.