Our traditional Southern recipe for Bourbon Balls is so deliciously festive, once you try them, you’re sure to make them a part of your holiday traditions!

Bourbon Balls topped with chopped pecans

No, the holidays are not a requirement for whipping up a batch of Bourbon Balls. Nonetheless, every single time I make them, I can feel the holiday spirit come over me. My Easy Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze gives me that feeling too.

That heartwarming feeling is definitely not coming exclusively from a batch of cookies (or the bourbon), no matter how tasty they might be. My Grandma never went a single year without including this Bourbon Ball recipe on her Christmas cookie tray. She made these from scratch, she didn’t care for the newer tradition of bourbon balls recipe vanilla wafers.

They’re like an old friend, always there. Holy nostalgia! Anyway, hang on to your twinkle lights, because I am about to share an incredibly exclusive recipe for Bourbon Balls. This gem is brought to you straight from my Grandmother’s handwritten recipe card…and it’s a great one!


  •         Super easy to make!
  •         Perfect for cookie bakes and party trays.
  •         No baking necessary! Now that’s Holiday helpful ♥ 

What Are Bourbon Balls?

A delicacy that originated in the South, Bourbon Balls are a popular addition to holiday cookie trays worldwide. They’re easy to make, incredibly delicious and combine chopped pecans and punchy bourbon rolled with butter and powdered sugar…and covered in a lovely chocolate coating. If you’re staying on theme, they make a fantastic compliment to my decadent Bourbon Brownies. Just sayin’.

My Grandma made her Bourbon Balls no bake only, which makes them incredibly appealing for holiday gift giving!  They leave the oven free, so you can technically make two types of cookies at once! We’ve all had those optimistic times that start out as a good idea but end with sleepless night and exhaustion getting the neighbors’ goodies finished!  Bourbon Balls can help change that. More treats, less bake. Good idea?

Bourbon Balls cut in half to show the cookie inside




What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Bourbon Balls?

While you can certainly make Bourbon Balls your own, through variations (more about that in the recipe notes) this recipe is simple and straightforward. Mine is a Bourbon Balls recipe without vanilla wafers, and therefore differs quite a bit from the Bourbon Balls recipe Southern Living has posted. To make the cookies, you’ll need only finely chopped pecans, high-quality bourbon, butter and confectioners sugar. The chocolate coating requires semi-sweet chocolate chips, vegetable oil, and more chopped pecans. That right there is a minimal ingredient list!

Prepared Ingredients for Bourbon Balls

How Do You Make Bourbon Balls?

Well, you don’t need an oven, so right away I feel like you’re pleased with me. Let’s continue! It takes just a tiny bit of prep to get these bad boys made. Start by soaking your pecans overnight in the whiskey. Use an air tight jar. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, set it aside. Mix up your butter and powdered sugar until crumbly. Stir in the soaked pecans, form them into dough balls and refrigerate them overnight. Boom, you’ve got the cookies.

For the chocolate coating, cover the chocolate chips in vegetable oil. Heat at 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously in between. Poke toothpicks into each ball, and coat it gently in the chocolate mixture. Return the ball to the tray and remove the toothpick. Cover with more chopped pecans!

Step By Step How To Make Bourbon Balls

Step By Step: How To Make Bourbon Balls

1. In a bowl, pour whiskey over chopped pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and soak overnight, or up to 3-5 days. Stir pecans occasionally to ensure it’s evenly soaked. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. Add butter to a mixing bowl and beat the butter until it’s creamy. Add powdered sugar gradually.
2. Beat until the mixture is dry and crumbly, like coarse salt.
3. Add soaked pecans to the mixture.
4. Mix.
5. Form dough into 3/4 inch balls and set on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate overnight.
6. Microwave chocolate chips and vegetable shortening on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Continue heating for 30 seconds until completely melted.
7. Poke a toothpick into the top of each ball. Dip it into the melted chocolate and cover ball completely.
8. Use spoon as needed to cover the top with chocolate.
9. Return the chocolate covered ball to the tray. Remove toothpicks and dab a little chocolate on the top to cover the toothpick hole.
10. Sprinkle the top of each bourbon ball with chopped pecans. Place in the fridge overnight to set.

Bourbon Balls topped with chopped pecans
4 from 1 vote

Bourbon Balls

Our traditional Southern recipe for Bourbon Balls is so deliciously festive, once you try them, you’re sure to make them a part of your holiday traditions!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 24 Pieces
Calories 224 kcal
Author Kathleen



  • 1 Cup Pecans, Finely Chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
  • 1 (16 Ounce) Package Confectioners' Sugar


  • 1 1/2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Teaspoons Vegetable Shortening
  • 1/3 Cup Pecans, Finely Chopped


  1. Add the chopped pecans to a small bowl. Pour whiskey over pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to soak for a minimum of overnight, or for best results, 3-5 of days. 

  2. Stir the pecans occasionally to make sure they all get a chance to soak up the bourbon. If the bourbon gets soaked up before you're ready to make these, I top them off with extra bourbon. 

  3. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside.

  4. Add butter to a medium mixing bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter until it is creamy. Gradually add in powdered sugar, beat until the mixture is dry and crumbly, like coarse sand. Stir in soaked pecans. 

  5. Form dough into 3/4 inch balls and set on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate overnight.

  6. Add chocolate chips and vegetable shortening to a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir vigorously. Continue as needed, heating for 30-second intervals and stirring until melted.

  7. Poke a toothpick a 1/4 inch into the top of each ball. Dip in melted chocolate and cover the ball completely, in chocolate, using a spoon as needed to cover the top with chocolate.  

  8. Return the chocolate covered ball to the tray so the chocolate can set. Remove toothpicks and dab a little melted chocolate on the top to cover the toothpick hole.

  9.  Sprinkle top with a few chopped pecans. Continue with the rest of the balls. Place in the fridge overnight to set completely.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Bourbon Balls
Amount Per Serving (1 /24 of the recipe)
Calories 224 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 35mg 1%
Potassium 90mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 25g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 23g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 2.5%
Vitamin C 0.1%
Calcium 1.2%
Iron 4.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Notes for Bourbon Balls

Bourbon: Check out this link for a little history on bourbons and what to look for in a high quality bourbon. There are a few recipes out there to take into consideration, such as Maker’s Mark Bourbon Balls as well as the bourbon balls Woodford Reserve has listed. If the bourbon has a bourbon ball recipe, then the bourbon is probably good for Bourbon Balls! Say that five times fast. Try either of these brands in my recipe!

Chocolate: I often switch up the type of chocolate that I coat my Bourbon Balls in. Milk, dark or even white works! You can also skip the coating all together and just roll them in powdered sugar like the classic Kentucky Bourbon Balls recipe. So yummy!

Freshness: If kept in the refrigerator, Bourbon Balls will stay tasty for 7-10 days. If you freeze them, you’re looking at 3-6 months of goodness.

Vegetable Oil: Don’t skip it! Adding oil to the chocolate before melting will keep it from drying out. If you overheat your chocolate, a little bit of vegetable oil is a quick fix as well!

Vanilla Wafers: These can be made with or without. My Grandma made hers without, so that’s how I make them, but there’s no harm in trying a bourbon balls recipe with vanilla wafers. Finely crush them and substitute them for half of the pecans in the cookie recipe. Subbing all the pecans for vanilla wafers is a great way to make a bourbon balls no nuts recipe.

Bourbon Balls arranged on a baking sheet pan

Can You Make Bourbon Balls Ahead Of Time?

Yes you can! In fact, Bourbon Balls are perfect to make in advance. You can make the entire recipe ahead of time, and that makes them easy to tote to a holiday party or cookie bake. Bourbon balls also make a wonderful gift! I keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to take them on the go! Pop them into a cute holiday container and you’re all set!

How Do You Freeze Bourbon Balls?

Are you suffering from an overabundance of Bourbon Balls? Maybe you’re making batch after batch in anticipation of holiday demand. Either way, you probably want to freeze them. All you’ve got to do to freeze your Bourbon Balls is place them in a freezer safe bag or container and pop them in the freezer! Simple.

Bourbon Balls topped with chopped pecans

Are Bourbon Balls Good For Shipping?

**NOTE- If I’m planning on making these for travel, I omit the vegetable shortening when making the melted chocolate dipping. Without the shortening the melted chocolate will be a little more fussy as it begins to cool during the duration of the dipping process and the coating may not be quite as shinny. BUT, the coating will harden more densely as it cools, making it more suitable for shipping.

Once they harden, they can travel. You’ll want to place each bourbon ball in individual paper candy cups  and if you’re traveling with more than one layer, place waxed paper in between the layers, in an airtight tin or container.

These honestly aren’t my favorite for shipping, but you can do it. Surround them with bubble wrap, packing peanuts and love…so they don’t usually crack or break. Shell out the extra cash for priority shipping as well, to make sure your tasty treats arrive quickly and intact.

More No Bake Holiday Treats…

Step By Step How To Make Bourbon Balls