Bourbon Balls

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Crushed vanilla wafers are the base of this Bourbon Balls recipe. This sweet candy rolled in powdered sugar has pecans and a hint of cocoa. They are no bake which makes it an easy recipe for the holidays and gift giving.

closeup of a bowl of bourbon balls

Bourbon Balls Recipe

OK, so I’m going to be 100% honest here when I say this recipe is a slight stretch for me. I don’t like bourbon. In fact? I don’t like alcohol at all. So why am I posting a recipe for bourbon balls? The story goes like this. I love looking through old cookbooks. One recipe that is common in old cookbooks is bourbon balls. I bought a bottle of bourbon for a barbecue sauce recipe and had about ¼ cup left. Because I didn’t want the bottle sitting in my cupboards, I flipped open my cookbooks and looked for a recipe I could use it in. Bourbon balls call for ¼ cup of bourbon. Boom. Problem solved!

I don’t mind the slight flavor of bourbon in baked goods or candies and these no bake candies are easy to make. This recipe is a win, and if you love bourbon or know someone who does, these bourbon candies are something new to try!

Bourbon Balls with Vanilla Wafers

Vanilla wafers are the base to this easy bourbon ball cookies recipe. You’ll want to crush the cookies very finely so that the bourbon balls have the best texture.

How to Make Bourbon Balls

Here are a few tips.

  • Make sure that the cookie crumbs and pecan crumbs are crushed finely.
  • Don’t skip the corn syrup. This helps the bourbon balls stick together.
  • Roll the balls in powdered sugar once, or even twice if the powdered sugar starts “melting” in.
  • Allow the cookie balls to sit for at least 12 hours before serving so the flavors can meld together.

Substitute for Bourbon

I found several recipes that allowed for different types of alcohol to be used in place of the bourbon, such as rum, whiskey, etc. Again, I don’t love alcohol so I would not be a good judge of the different flavors. I racked my brain for a non-alcoholic substitute for the bourbon and I really just couldn’t think of anything. The bourbon obviously gives this recipe it’s flavor, but if you happen to know of a substitute, I’d love to hear it!


bourbon balls in a bowl with one cut in half

Tools I Used to Make Bourbon Balls

  • Cocoa Powder: We love this raw cacao powder for baking. A guilt-free superfood.
  • Ninja Express Chop: Mini food processor…this is one of my most-used kitchen tools and perfect for grinding cookie crumbs and pecans!
bourbon balls christmas recipe
bourbon balls christmas recipe

Bourbon Balls

5 from 1 vote
Crushed vanilla wafers are the base of this Bourbon Ball recipe. This sweet candy rolled in powdered sugar has pecans and a hint of cocoa. They are no bake which makes it an easy recipe for the holidays and gift giving.
Servings 36
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

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  • 2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons white corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)


  • In a medium bowl, mix together the vanilla wafer crumbs, cocoa, 1 cup of powdered sugar and pecans.
  • Add the corn syrup and bourbon. Mix well.
  • Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in powdered sugar.
  • Store in an airtight container for at least 12 hours before serving.
  • These will keep for 4-5 weeks at room temperature.


The calories shown are based on the recipe making 36 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 bourbon ball. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.


Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 20mg | Sugar: 7g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 74
About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
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4 years ago

If you like coffee, coffee would be a good substitute.