Traditional (no bake) Rum Balls Recipe

Rum BallsThese traditional rum balls are very easy and quick to make (no baking required!), make great Christmas gifts and are perfect for when friends drop round during the silly season.

Recipe makes approximately 30-40 balls (depending on size of balls). I usually make double (or triple) quantities, as they go so quickly!

Rum Ball Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 packet plain sweet biscuits (Nice, Arrowroot, Marie or Wheatmeal Biscuits)
  • 3 tblspns cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk**
  • 2-3 tblspns rum (Bundaberg rum works well)*
  • 1 cup extra coconut (for rolling finished balls in)

Rum Ball Recipe Method

Finely crush biscuits in a food processor (or you could put them into a zip lock bag and crush with a rolling pin). Add cocoa power, coconut, sweetened condensed milk and rum to crushed biscuits. Combine all ingredients well (you should end up with a stiff mixture). If it is a particularly hot day, or your mixture isn’t quite stiff enough for the balls to hold their shape, put the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes or so before rolling.

Take large teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls using your hands, then roll balls in extra coconut to coat. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet or shallow plastic container and put in freezer. Once frozen, put into a container and keep in the freezer until ready to use.

Rum balls will last for weeks in the freezer, so you might want to make a couple of batches, well in advance of Christmas. For a great Christmas gift idea place 5-6 balls into the centre of a square of cellophane, bring ends of cellophane together in a parcel and tie with a ribbon.

If you have some extra time, and want to make the Rum Balls slightly more special, take whole roasted almond or macadamia nuts, encase in the Rum Ball mixture, roll into balls, then dip into melted chocolate and place in the freezer.

*NB If you have kids, you might want to leave out the rum all together.

**Sweetened condensed milk is a sweet syrupy milk based product made by Nestle.


  1. Hi there, thank you for the recipe, I used the quantities as best I could, but some are fairly non-specific so I had to make adjustments – so he is what I used:
    600g finely ground Nice Biscuits
    10 level tablespoons of cocoa power
    200g desiccated coconut
    150ml dark navy rum
    1x 405g can condensed milk

    Used a mixture of coatings: cocoa powder, mixed chopped nuts, chocolate sprinkles and grated chocolate. All of which look (and taste) fabulous.

    So thank you for the idea.

  2. Hey Claire

    If you had to put nuts in rum balls which nut would you recomment…

  3. Just found this receipe on the internet…. Can’t wait to make these tomorrow …. lovely idea for christmas presents…… looks like a nice and easy receipe…… yay…

  4. Hi Just found this rum balls recipe and read all the comments and cannot wait to try them out tomorrow.

    Lovely idea for christmas pressies…… yay…

  5. I can’t buy rum where I am – is it possible to substitute rum essence? If so, how much should I use?

  6. I have been looking for a recipe for rum balls like the ones I remember from my childhood for a while – and here it is! Made these the other day and loved them! So easy but delicious (I was going to freeze some but they disappeared before I could do that!) Look forward to trying some other variations.

    • Glad you like the recipe Amy! I’ve just made my first batch for Christmas… only half the batch made it into the freezer (and are fast disappearing!!)

  7. Lamont Cranston says:

    could chocolate biscuits, like choc ripple, be used?

  8. sous chef chris says:

    theres a easy way than this recipe taste like ass with
    the arrowroot biscuits! you can use up old spongecake mix
    and christmas cake combine it with sweeten condense milk
    then produce balls and roll it coconut and rum! much quicker than this recipe.
    worked well in my old buffet restaurant!

  9. Hey
    I just made these now and they are wonderful and will taste even better at christmas as they age

  10. blah blah hello says:

    Hi this is so helpfull! thanks

  11. This recicpe is good! Found one on another site and it was totally wrong! Second time lucky haha

  12. i thought they were great i loved the idea of melted chocolate


  13. They are really good. I don’t love liking the condents milk

  14. Thanks for the fabulous recipe. Good on you for sharing the Christmas spirit. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New year Clair.

  15. Hi Clair,

    What liquid can I substitute for rum to make it more kid friendly?


  16. krystal crombie says:

    this is my very first christmas out of home an im looking for ideas on what would be best to make my family! Im 21 and im looking forward to making these as a part of my starters an snacks but does anyone else have some ideas as to what i can put on the table for my family to impress them an show them i can handle it!!! Thanks if anyone can help!!

    • How exciting – you can create your own traditions! We have some good (mostly sweet!) recipes on the site, just search the site using ‘Christmas’ to find them.


      • You could always try (if you want something sweet) a gingerbread house as a centrepiece. It would be very pretty to sit on the table during christmas dinner, and could double as a dessert. They are really quite easy to make, and if you have any kids in the family, they would have heaps of fun helping to decorate I am sure.

  17. hay hay hay

  18. i love this recipe you should try it to you will like it or you should love it like me i love it at christmas.

  19. i love this recipe you should try it to youwill like it or you should love it like me i love it at christmas.

  20. i love this recipe

  21. I also use the base of this reciepe condenced milk, crushed biscuits and add mini marshmellows, choc bits and any flavoring you like form it into a biscuit log put it in the fridge and slice later when ready. The kids love it and sooooo easy.

  22. Synthia says:

    I want to use your recipe for a kids cooking class (minus the rum of course). I am however under some time constraints.
    1) How long do these take to set?
    2) if we were to use chilled condensed milk, would this expediate the setting if the rum balls?
    Thanks :):):)

    • Hi Synthia

      Sure, this is a great recipe to involve kids in. If you put the balls in the fridge they can set in a few hours, but to speed it up, you can put them in the freezer for 1/2 an hour to an hour or so.

      You could probably use chilled condensed milk, but bear in mind that the mixture will probably heat up slightly when mixing (especially if you are mixing with your hands).


  23. Anna Heidy says:

    I’m just wondering… how long can I keep the rum ball…
    so if I make it 2-3 weeks before Christmas and serve it for Christmas day…
    is it still taste good?

    • Hi Anna

      As long as you freeze the balls after you make them, they would be fine to make up to 2-3 weeks (I would consider keeping them up to a month in the freezer) prior to Christmas.


  24. I made this recipe for Xmas, as well as the chocolate coated balls with a macadamia nut and they were delicious.

  25. Hi Clair, are these rumballs moist? My friend makes them herself but they are really dry. I don’t want to make them if they will turn out dry.
    Thanks, Lauren :-)

    • Hi Lauren

      The rum balls in this recipe are quite moist (well I think they are :)), they aren’t crumbly, but are firm (to hold their shape).

      What I would suggest, if you are worried about them not being moist enough, is to make the recipe using only 1/2 a cup of the 1 cup coconut stated. Once you have made up the mixture, taste it, and if you think it is moist enough then finish up there (or you can keep adding up to the full cup of coconut, tasting as you go). Bear in mind that it will be less firm using only 1/2 the coconut, so the balls may not hold their shape as well.

      Alternatively, make up the original recipe and just add a couple of extra spoonfuls of rum to the mix, as this will also make it more moist.

      Hope this helps!

      Clair :)

  26. Clementina Jordam says:

    Hi Clair
    just wanted to say what a grate recipe this is I made this recipee for christmas this year I also doubked the recipee and needless to say they all went down like there was no tomrow im now going to make anouther batch except three trimes the recpie so i can freze them so thankyou once again

    • Hi Clementina

      Glad that you liked it so much! I know what you mean about doubling/tripling the recipe – you kinda have to with everyone munching on them all the time ;)


  27. Thanks for the recipe, mine are now in the freezer and i can’t wait to try one.

    I like the second pic with the bottle of rum in the background. Is that how much you use? ;-)

    • You’re welcome Renae! Glad you like it :) Have been making them for years, and they are still great (I might need to make another batch of them for tomorrow, there are about 2 balls left in our freezer!!)

      No, not quite that much rum… ;)

      Merry Christmas!

  28. Tin of condensed milk in Australia is 395g – 400g, depending on brand used. I just make some chocolate brandy balls (chocolate cookies used and brandy) and apricot balls (diced dried apricot (about 100gm). Hardening in fridge now. Drizzled with white chocolate, these make an exceptional looking treat and present for colleagues.

  29. Hi there,
    What is the size of the can of condensed milk?

    • Hi Sam

      As Helen mentioned, the can is 395g (I used Nestle Sweetened Condensed Milk in the recipe). Hope this helps!


  30. Jill Cutuk says:

    Hi Mary,
    I love this recipe..much nicer than the crushed weetbix type of rum balls. I also soak some sultanas and glace cherries in rum and add them to the mix as well.

    • Hi Jill

      Thanks for your comment! It is a great recipe (have been using it for years!) Soaking some sultanas and glace cherries in rum and adding them to the mix is a great idea.

      Thanks for letting us know.


  31. These sound great, and much like the ones my Australian friend makes. Just one question: what is the weight of the packet of biscuits? I have a funny feeling packs are much larger over here in North America!

    Thanks so much

    • Hi Mary

      Thanks for your question. The weight of the biscuit packet is around 250g. Hope this helps!

      P.S Love the name of your blog! Very clever :)

  32. Hi all

    I have amended the recipe slightly and provided some additional tips to ensure success every time! Below are the changes/additions:

    *Increased coconut in the rum balls from 1/2 to 1 cup (to stiffen up the mixture and ensure the rum balls hold their shape)
    *Added tip on putting mixture in fridge for 30 minutes before rolling balls to stiffen up the mixture and ensure the rum balls hold their shape
    *Added tip on moving rum balls from flat baking sheet to a large (lidded) container once frozen to save freezer space – crucial at this time of year!

    Hope you enjoy this recipe!


  33. hi im wondering i know these are rum balls , but do you think id be able to use this recipie and change the rum for something like baileys irish cream? aileen

    • Hi Aileen

      You could use any spirit that goes with the chocolate flavour of the rum balls, so I would think that baileys would be fine (it just might not be as strong as rum). I have used brandy previously (when I didn’t have rum on hand) and it was fine.

      Hope this helps!


  34. how many does it make?

    • Hi Ellen

      Sorry for leaving this out. Depending on the size of the balls (I make them slightly smaller than a ping pong ball), you will get around 30-40 balls out of the recipe.

      Hope this helps!


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