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Old Fashioned Date Balls

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This vintage recipe for date balls comes straight from my grandma’s recipe box. They are a classic no-bake treat that is perfect for the holidays or any time you need a little something sweet.

Small bowl of classic date balls coated in powdered sugar, ready to eat.

Date balls have the perfect mix of crunch and sweet, buttery goodness. The contrast between the dates and rice krispies makes them delicious.

They would make a quick and easy addition to your Christmas treats. Or make them any time of the year for a simple but fabulous dessert.

While dates are delicious all year long, for some reason, I only think of them around the holidays. It is probably because the containers of dates meant for gifting hit the shelves then.

Ingredients including dates, pecans, an egg, butter, sugar, and rice krispies ready to be made into date balls.

My husband’s grandma always bakes date nut loaves for Christmas as well. They are so delicious and packed with flavor.

So, when I saw this recipe for date balls in my grandma’s recipe box, I knew I had to make them. The recipe looks like it was clipped for a newspaper quite a few years ago.

So long ago, in fact, that the newspaper clip is so yellowed it almost matches the cardboard she glued it to. I think that the fact that she took that extra step to protect the recipe is another indicator that she thought it was a good recipe.

Yellowed newspaper clipping with vintage date ball recipe glued to piece of cardboard.

You know we are all about classic recipes around here. I love recipes that have been passed through the generations.

There is just something special about making something that you know your mom made and her mom before her. Plus, you only hang onto recipes that are good, so if they are stuck around this long, you know they are special.

Why You’ll Like This Recipe:

They are quick and easy to make.

They only take 6 ingredients to make. 7 ingredients if you roll them in powdered sugar.

They are no-bake, so they don’t take any room in the oven.

They have a great mix of buttery chew and crunch.

They last 10-14 days in the refrigerator, so you can make them in advance.

Tips and Tricks

You need chopped dates for this recipe, but don’t use the ones that are already chopped.

The dates that are chopped and meant as a snack are coated to keep them from sticking together. That coating also makes it harder to get these date balls to stick together.

When you buy dates, they should either be whole pitted dates or chopped dates that are stuck together in a clump in the bag.

You can omit the nuts if you would like. I used pecans and thought they were delicious, walnuts would work too if that is your preference.

Grease your hands before rolling the balls. The mixture is a little bit sticky, and that makes it easier.

I used a small cookie scoop to portion out about a Tablespoon of the mixture. Using a scoop makes it easier to keep the balls uniform in size.

Rolling date balls in a small bowl of powdered sugar.

If you want to fancy them up a bit, you could roll them in colored sugar instead of powdered sugar. I have even heard of people rolling them in red sugar and shaping them like strawberries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do date balls taste like?

These date balls have almost a caramel like flavor to them. They are buttery and sweet with a nice crunch from the cereal and nuts.

Can you freeze date balls?

I wouldn’t recommend freezing these treats. The rice cereal will soften. Luckily, they are really quick and easy to make, so you can just make them as you need them.

Hand holding a date ball with a bite missing showing the cereal and nuts held together by a caramel like filling inside.

How fine should you chop the dates?

The finer, the better. In fact, using a food processor is a good idea. While the date balls in these pictures were delicious, I wish I had chopped them finer so they would have melted into the butter and sugar mixture more.

More Classic Christmas Treats

For another fun no-bake Christmas dessert that has withstood the test of time, try making cornflake wreaths. My family never gets old of that easy but festive recipe.

You could also make a batch of Rice Krispie buckeyes for another candy that is both creamy and crunchy. If you love the creamy original buckeyes, the crunchy version is a fun way to change it up.

Small bowl of classic date balls coated in powdered sugar, ready to eat.

For the adults, you can make rum balls. They are another simple confection that is sure to delight.

What are your favorite Christmas recipes? Be sure to tell me about them in the comments below.

Small bowl of classic date balls coated in powdered sugar, ready to eat.

Old Fashioned Date Balls

Servings: 48 Date Balls
Author: Carlee
This vintage recipe for date balls come straight from my grandma's recipe box. They are a classic no-bake treat that is perfect for the holidays or any time you need a little something sweet.
5 from 2 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 8 ounces pitted dates
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 cups Rice Krispies
  • ½ cup chopped nuts optional


  • Chop dates finely. You can use a food processor to get them super fine.
    8 ounces pitted dates
  • Put dates in saucepan. Stir in sugar and egg.
    1 cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg
  • Add stick of butter and cook over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is thickened.
    ½ cup butter
  • Remove from heat and stir in cereal and nuts.
    3 cups Rice Krispies, ½ cup chopped nuts
  • Use lightly greased hands to roll about 1 Tablespoon of the mixture into a ball. Continue until all of the mixture has been formed into balls.
  • If desired, roll in sugar. Powdered sugar works well, but so does granulated sugar or even colored sugar.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Serving: 1date ballCalories: 62kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 26mgPotassium: 41mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 182IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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