Reader’s Recipes: No Bake Bourbon Balls

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Reader’s Recipes: No Bake Bourbon Balls ~ these classic chocolatey bourbon balls are a holiday cookie staple, and best of all, you don’t even have to turn on the oven to make a batch!

Reader's Recopes: No Bake Bourbon Balls

recipe box Hi all — welcome to my Reader’s Recipes series of holiday cookies. I’m going to be sharing YOUR family recipes here every weekend from now until the New Year. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent in recipes for me to try!

This recipe for No Bake Bourbon Balls was sent in by Tricia, who lives in Fredericksburg Virginia.  Tricia is a reader, a friend, and a blogger herself, at Saving Room for Dessert.  This is her mother’s recipe, and one of her family’s favorites.  I can see why, they’re out of this world, but be forewarned — it’s a simple cookie but it’s a potent cookie — Tricia says you will definitely get a buzz if you eat too many on an empty stomach!

No Bake Bourbon Balls make a fabulous holiday food gift

Tricia’s recipe called for crushed Nilla Wafers, but since I didn’t have any, I pulled a little switcheroo, like so many of us do with recipes.  I went with what I had, which were deep chocolate Nabisco Famous Wafers.  Luckily you can probably substitute any plain cookie you like for the crumbs in this recipe, as long as they are dry and finely ground.  Graham crackers or gingersnaps would work, while filled cookies like Oreos, or chocolate chips, wouldn’t.

no bake chocolate bourbon balls

This one is for all you non-bakers out there —  it’s probably the easiest recipe I’ve featured so far in this series because there’s no cooking involved at all.  The dough is tossed together, scooped out, rolled in small balls, and coated in powdered sugar, twice, just to make sure they get good and snowy white.  I love the stark contrast between the sugar and the deep chocolate center.

Adding bourbon to No-Bake Bourbon Balls

These innocent looking cookies cookies pack quite a bourbon wallop, which gives them a really festive vibe.  I think because they are so liquor heavy they would make a really nice after dinner treat.  Set out a small tray of them with some of the same bourbon, (I used Maker’s Mark) and coffee….très elegant!

Making Chocolate Bourbon Balls

   They also make a nice offering to bring to an adult dinner party.

A classic No-Bake Chocolate Bourbon Ball recipe for the holidays

Another adaption you can make to these cookies, besides using different cookie crumbs, is to use an alternate alcohol.  Tricia suggests bourbon, rum, or whiskey, and I think a liqueur like amaretto or frangelico would also be fantastic.  Really any alcohol you like would work, as long as it has flavor.  And by the way, use good quality stuff — it’s the holidays for gosh sakes!

An easy holiday food gift of No-Bake Chocolate Bourbon Balls

These cookies get even better the next day so they can be made ahead with confidence.  The flavors mingle, the whiskey mellows, and the texture becomes almost like fudge — delish!.  I liked them best chilled, and Tricia says her mom used to put them out in the garage to stay cool.

Easy no-bake holiday cookie recipe: Chocolate Bourbon Balls

notes ~

  • I used my food processor to grind the crumbs and the pecans because you want  a nice, even, fine texture.
  • If your dough seems a little bit too wet to form into balls, add a little bit more crumbs.  My dough as not super stiff, and the bottoms flattened a bit when I sat them on the tray, that was fine with me.  The heavy sugar coating holds them together.
  • This is a fun recipe to play with and make your own.  Vary the cookie crumb, the type of nut, and the liquor, and you can create your own custom cookie.
  • These are not for children, keep them out of sight.  (Tricia confesses she and her brothers used to sneak the cookies from the garage so stay vigilant!)

Tricia thank you so much for letting me share these!  I’m going to be a very happy girl for many nights to come with our yummy stash.


Easy no-bake holiday cookie recipe: Chocolate Bourbon Balls
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3.4 from 10 votes

Reader’s Recipes: No Bake Bourbon Balls

Reader's Recipes: No Bake Bourbon Balls ~ these classic chocolatey bourbon balls are a holiday cookie staple, and best of all, you don't even have to turn on the oven to make a batch!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
Yield 45 small cookies


  • 3 cups finely crushed Nilla Wafers, I used Nabisco Famous Wafers and I needed a package and a half
  • 1 cup ground pecans
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon, rum, or whiskey


  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted


  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour in the liquids and mix well.
  • Form small balls and roll in powdered sugar. Set on a tray and let sit for an hour.
  • Roll once more in the powdered sugar, and then refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • These cookies can be served chilled or at room temperature.


Recipe slightly adapted from Saving Room for Dessert


Don’t forget to pin these No Bake Bourbon Balls!

Reader's Recipes: No Bake Bourbon Balls pin.


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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    This recipe is identical to our old family recipe and has been a tradition in our family for over 50 years at Christmastime. Note that these cookies usually absorb a bit of the powdered sugar as they sit, so I make sure I have a thick coat of p. sugar on before storing or serving.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    November 28, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Now these look fun, I am so up for that shot of bourbon ;).

  • Reply
    2 sisters recipes by Anna and Liz
    November 24, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    These cookies sound wonderful – thank you Sue and Tricia! I love the fact no baking involved!
    And with endless possibilities with flavors and liqueurs !! Wow Can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply
    November 24, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Wow!! These look amazing… definitely perfect for a Christmas/ holiday party! Love it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Barely Vegan
    November 23, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    This recipe is giving me so many ideas!! I love it. I want to try this recipe with some pistachio cookies i have. They are pretty dry cookies so I think it’ll work. And maybe some type of non-alcoholic flavorful liquid to make a kid-friendly version. We’ll see! That’s awesome of you to share your readers recipes. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    November 23, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    These look fabulous and I love a little booze in my cookies 🙂 Great recipe, Tricia!!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Whew these look strong! Just what I need to get me through the holidays. 😉

    Sue, I loved your ebook… really nice!!

    • Reply
      November 23, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Thanks Jen!

  • Reply
    genevieve @ gratitude & greens
    November 22, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Oooh, I love making dessert with bourbon. It just seems to bring out the best flavours of anything I make with it! Pecan pie, chocolate cookies… you name it. Yum!

    • Reply
      November 24, 2015 at 7:12 am

      I agree, I think it’s the new ‘vanilla’ 😉

  • Reply
    November 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you for the eBook, the recipes look wonderful!

    • Reply
      November 22, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Thank YOU for your continued support Barbara — I hope you enjoy the recipes, and Happy Holidays!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Great idea to share other bloggers recipes!
    This recipe is very tasty-))) Thank you!



  • Reply
    November 22, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Sue and Tricia. You mention making these the day before, but I was hoping they could be made a week before (and kept in the fridge.) What are your thoughts?


    • Reply
      November 23, 2015 at 8:42 am

      I’m also wondering…

      • Reply
        November 23, 2015 at 9:29 am

        It would be fine to make them up to a week ahead,. I would make sure to wrap them well in plastic and keep in the fridge.

    • Reply
      Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
      November 23, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Julie – I think they will be fine in the refrigerator for several weeks. We often had them around for a long time during the holidays. Keep them in a sealed container so they stay fresh and don’t dry out. Thanks!

      • Reply
        December 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm

        The longer they sit, the mellower the flavor. I usually try to leave them for a week or so before serving. (Note: *try* is the key word here).

  • Reply
    November 22, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I can already imagine the possibilities with different flavors with these! I love that you used chocolate wafers too. I can see these being a family favorite!

    • Reply
      November 22, 2015 at 10:27 am

      That really is the fun of a simple recipe like this — so many possibilities, so little time!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 22, 2015 at 8:41 am

    My mom would be proud Sue! These sound great especially since I am such a chocolate fan. Thank you for featuring this recipe – it is a favorite of my entire family.

    • Reply
      November 22, 2015 at 8:49 am

      Thanks for letting me ‘borrow’ the recipe 😉 We are enjoying them, I can tell you that!

  • Reply
    Maria White
    November 22, 2015 at 8:29 am

    This is one of our family favorite Cmas recipes! Only differences: 1/4 c liquor and we let them sit 3 days. I think the switch of Nilla Waffer to Chocoalte Waffer will be a nice change. I’ll be making these this year for sure! Merry Ho Ho!

    • Reply
      November 22, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Interesting, I saw recipes on the web that also used 1/4 liquor, Tricia’s mother was a bold cook!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s+Recipes
    November 22, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I love Tricia’s recipes! These no bake cookie balls look amazing, Sue.