Pecan bourbon balls are a perfect adult treat. They take the classic southern flavors and turn them into an easy 4 ingredient no bake treat.
If you are looking for a fun treat for the adults in your life, you are in the right place. Pecan bourbon balls are a perfecy addition to your holiday menu, as a quick and easy gift or a simple make ahead dessert any time of year.
Desserts don’t have to be all over the top recipes with step after step of precise measuring and beautiful decoration. Nor do they have to be geared toward children.
These pecan bourbon balls are super easy to make and are a fun Christmas treat for adults. They are a great make ahead dessert with just a hint of alcohol in a fun to eat package.
If you can run a food processor and roll dough into a ball you can make them. The best part is they just take a handful of simple ingredients and a few minutes to put together.
Making the Bourbon Balls
Each year I make batch after batch of holiday treats. There are cookies, candies and fudge galore.
But with all of the available options, my husband always gravitates toward the rum balls. He likes his made strong so they bite back a bit.
So this year I thought it would be fun to do a southern twist on the classic. Instead of almonds I used toasted pecans.
And instead of a strong rum I used bourbon. I have to say the results were delicious.
You start by lightly toasting the pecans. This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does round out the flavor more and makes the pecans even better.
After the pecans are toasted, add them to a food processor and pulse them a few times to get them into small pieces. You don’t need a paste, but you don’t want big chunks.
Now add a box of vanilla wafer cookies, like the kind you use on banana pudding. Pulse the cookies together with the pecans until everything is a sandy texture.
Drizzle in just a bit of corn syrup and bourbon and process until the mixture comes together into a dough. That’s about it.
Now you just have to scoop out a bit of the mixture and roll it in powdered sugar or cocoa powder. I like using a small cookie scoop to keep them consistent, but really you can make them any size you want.
That’s really it. You can have a batch done in just a few minutes.
Storing Bourbon Balls
One of the best parts about bourbon balls is not only can they be made ahead of time, they are actually better made a bit in advance. Put the balls in an airtight container in the fridge for several days to allow the flavors to develop and to help set the balls.
They can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks or longer. They can be frozen for several months.
While they stay good for longer in the refrigerator, it is OK to store them at room temperature as well. They will be fine on a cookie tray delivery or sitting out all night at a holiday party.
There is actually lore that my great grandma stored rum balls in a lead crystal dish. The story goes that the sun hit the lid and heated it up so much that the lid blew off.
She must have been like my husband and used some strong rum! 😳 It would have been funny to see!
Frequently asked questions
Can you get drunk off bourbon balls?
It is highly unlikely you would get drunk off of bourbon balls. There is about 4 oz. of bourbon in the whole batch, so you would have to eat half of a batch to get the equivalent of a standard pour. That’s a lot of bourbon balls to eat! You would likely get a tummy ache before you got drunk.
Can you dip bourbon balls in chocolate?
Yes! If your prefer a chocolate shell rather than a roll in powdered sugar or cocoa powder, that is yummy too! Just roll the balls and put them on a wax paper lined tray. Freeze for at least a half hour and then dip into melted chocolate. Top with a toasted pecan half for a fun garnish.
How do you toast pecans?
You can put the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 325F for 7-10 minutes. Alternatively you can put them in a dry skillet over medium low heat for 3-5 minutes. Either way they should smell toasty and look a slightly deeper shade of brown.
More Great No Bake Holiday Treats
No bake cornflake wreaths are always a classic as well. They are quick and easy to make and always taste so good.
Get the best part of the cookies without the oven in no-bake peanut butter cookie dough bars. The white chocolate frosting takes them to the next level and a dusting of festive sprinkles is all you need to dress them up for the holidays.
Or try making no bake sugar cookie balls. They are another easy cookie dough inspired treat.
Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!
Pecan Bourbon Balls
- 8 oz. pecan pieces
- 11 oz. box vanilla wafers
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ cup bourbon
- Lightly toast pecans in a skillet over medium-low heat.
- Pulse pecans in food processor until they are small pieces. Add vanilla wafers and pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs.
- Add corn syrup and bourbon, mixing until it form a ball.
- Scoop at tablespoon of the mixture into a small bowl of powdered sugar or cocoa powder. Roll around to form a ball.
- Chill for an hour to set. Then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.