Mum's Delicious Rum Balls

Mum's Delicious Rum Balls

Christmas isn't Christmas in our house unless there's rum balls. Although we usually have to make a few batches over November and December as we can't leave them for Christmas Day! 

Mum always made Rum Balls as gifts for our teachers and her work colleagues. The smell of rum and pine needles (we had real Christmas trees in our house) brings back so many great Christmas memories. It’s a super easy recipe, so why not give it a go this Christmas!


Rum balls were a tasty creation of necessity. At Christmas time when bakeries and cake shops are working in overdrive, there was inevitably a lot of leftovers and off cuts from the cakes and biscuits. In the early 20th Century, bakers began combining these leftovers with rum and chocolate and rolling the mixture in extra chocolate. Before long, ‘rum balls’ had become as popular as the cakes and biscuits they were made from and now you can find them as part of festive traditions throughout Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Although these Christmassy treats are very easy to make, here are a couple of tips I’ve learned from my Mum to ensure they work perfectly every time.

  • To give your rum balls a rich, gingery flavour, substitute half of the plain sweet Marie biscuits with Ginger Nut biscuits. This is a new tip I’ve learned and it makes the rum balls extra special.
  • Have an extra packet of biscuits and more coconut and cocoa on hand in case you (like me) are a little heavy handed with the rum. If your mixture is too wet, simply add more dry ingredients to ensure you have a sticky, firm texture.
  • If you’re working in a warm kitchen, pop the bowl with the rum ball mix in the fridge before rolling them into balls.
  • Wet your hands before handling the mix. This will prevent it from sticking and will allow you to easily shape the balls.
  • Store your rum balls in an airtight container in the fridge to prevent the rum from evaporating and to ensure they keep their shape. They also freeze very well.
Gingerfinch Rum Ball Recipe  

250g plain sweet biscuits like Marie Biscuits. (You can substitute some Marie biscuits with Ginger Nuts for a gingery flavour – around 125g Marie, 125g Ginger Nut)

1 cup Desiccated Coconut

2 tbs Cocoa

400g Sweetened Condensed Milk

3-4 (ish) tbs Dark Rum

extra Coconut for coating the rum balls


1 – Crush biscuits in the food processor. Make sure it is nicely fine (but not dust).

2 – Put crushed biscuits into a large mixing bowl. Add coconut and cocoa and combine.

3 – Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Add the rum to taste (you may need more that 2.5 tbs if you like a strong rum taste.

4 – Ensure the mixture is a sticky, thick consistency. If it is too dry and powdery, add more condensed milk and rum. If it is too wet, add more crushed biscuits and coconut (and a bit more cocoa). The mixture must hold together when rolled into balls.

5 – Roll mixture into balls around 2.5 cm diameter (I don’t like really big rum balls. They should be bite sized). Roll in the extra coconut and coat evenly.

6 – Put on a tray and into the fridge to set.

7 – When they are firm, store them in an airtight container in the fridge or even freeze them.

Makes around 20-30 rum balls.


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