The recipe for these gluten-free rum balls has been improved and updated as of November 2018. The original rum ball recipe from 2015 is no longer available. This post contains affiliate links.
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.
Gluten-Free Vanilla Wafers are a Thing!
The good news is you can buy gluten-free vanilla wafers now. The gluten-free packaged food community has come a long way.
I found gluten-free vanilla wafers from Kinnikinnick Foods at Sprouts, and I also found them on Amazon too. You’ll need one box to make this recipe. If you can’t find vanilla wafers, you can use a gluten-free shortbread cookie instead.
You’ll also need a few other ingredients to make this recipe work:
Pecans: These are easy to find in any grocery store. Just make sure they have no gluten ingredients in them and avoid the bulk bins due to potential cross contact with gluten.
Rum: You can buy most any brand of rum. Rum is naturally gluten-free as it’s distilled from sugar cane vs. wheat or barley.
Raw honey: I really like to the Rice Family Raw Honey, but any honey you find will or have in your pantry will work.
Sparkling Sugar: Yes, sparkling sugar is a thing and Bob’s Red Mill makes a wonderful sparkling sugar that will last you a long, long time!
Mini muffin liners: You can get mini muffin liners on Amazon. They work really well to contain the rum balls and they look pretty when you serve them too.
The key to making this recipe is patience. Once you mix all your ingredients together, you must wait until the ingredients cool. This will help you roll the mixture into solid balls.
I usually slightly wet my hands before rolling each ball, as it helps them from sticking to you hands.
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 — and no one has to know it only took you a few minutes to make. Shhh!
These gluten-free rum balls will definitely be the belle of the ball. Enjoy!
Gluten-Free Rum Balls Recipe
I loved eating my Aunt Ayala's rum balls, but alas, hers are not gluten-free. So I set out to make my own. Aunt Ayala would coat hers in chocolate, but I decided to coat mine in sparkling sugar for a shimmery look. This dessert is perfect for your holiday and New Year's Eve celebrations! Please note that rum is gluten-free as it's distilled from non-gluten grains.
In your food processor, pulse vanilla wafers until completely crushed. Add wafers to a large mixing bowl.
Add pecans to your food processor and pulse until completely crushed. Add pecans to the mixing bowl.
Add to mixing bowl sugar, cocoa, rum, honey and water. Mix together well.
Chill for 1 hour, then roll into about 14-16 balls. Roll each ball into sparkling sugar, then place each one inside a small muffin liner.
Keep balls refrigerate until serving. This recipe freezes well, so make these rum balls in advance of your celebration.
If you want to add more rum to the mix (have fun!), nix the water and add more vanilla wafers until the texture is just right.