Rum balls are a classic Christmas dessert and an Australian Christmas Day essential. My Healthy Rum Balls recipe is a healthier take on the traditional rum balls, using dates to sweeten instead of condensed milk. They are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. But don't worry, they wouldn't be rum balls without rum so we haven't skipped on that!
Rum Balls are a delicious treat usually enjoyed over the holiday season. The classic holiday treat are usually made from Arrowroot biscuits (or another plain sweet biscuit), blended up and mixed with condensed milk, cocoa powder, desiccated coconut and dark rum, then rolled into balls.
My healthy twist are a little different to that! Instead of biscuits and condensed milk we use medjool dates, cacao powder, almond meal and extra virgin coconut oil. They are filled with fibre, healthy fats and other nutrients, making them a great option for anyone who is trying to enjoy Christmas in a healthier way.
What You'll Love About These Gluten-Free Rum Balls
There is so much to love about this Christmas favourite!
- these chocolate rum balls are chewy, sweet and delicious!
- this no-bake recipe is quick and easy to make.
- they are perfect for the holiday season but can be enjoyed at any time of year.
- I've included a non-alcoholic version that the whole family can enjoy.
- this recipe is refined sugar free and free from high fructose corn syrup.
Ingredients Notes & Substitutions
My healthy rum ball recipe uses simple ingredients that can mostly be found at the grocery store (apart from the rum that is!). Read onto see any notes on the main ingredients as well as any possible substitutions. The full recipe can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- medjool dates - these are fresh dates, not dried dates. Do not use dried dates or this recipe won't work. You will need to remove the pits from the medjool dates.
- rum - You can use Bundaberg rum or another dark rum. Alternatively, to make these alcohol free you can use a non-alcoholic rum. Or if you would like a coconut flavor you can use a coconut rum instead (like malibu rum).
- cacao powder - you can also use dutch cocoa powder in this recipe.
- almond flour - also known as blanched almond meal. I have used almond flour in place of crushed biscuits.
How to Make Healthy Rum Balls
I love how easy this recipe is - especially because Christmas is busy enough, this is the perfect recipe for making something low-fuss that tastes delicious!
First, remove the pits (seeds) from the dates. Place the pitted dates into a food processor along with the rum, coconut oil, water, cacao powder, almond flour and desiccated coconut. Blend on high until the mixture becomes a sticky dough.
Take spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture and roll into small balls. You can roll the balls in desiccated coconut, shredded coconut, cacao powder or dark chocolate sprinkles. Simply pour the coconut or whichever rolling ingredient you choose, into a shallow bowl and roll each ball in the coconut until evenly coated. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate the balls until they are firm.
These healthy rum balls freeze really well as well and are great to prep ahead of time (that way all of the hard work is done and you can focus on your guests!). Freeze this holiday classic in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
I also love to place 5-6 rum balls in a small plastic bag and tie it up with a ribbon - because everyone loves a gift of homemade treats at Christmas time!
You can use the basic recipe for these healthy rum balls and get creative to change up the flavours. Here are some fun variations.
- Vanilla - swap the rum for 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. You may need to add a little more water to the mixture.
- Chocolate Chip - Add half a cup of small dark chocolate chips to the mixture after blending and stir through.
- Cookie Crumb - crush your favourite plain, sweet, gluten free cookies or gluten free vanilla wafer cookies, into fine crumbs and roll the rum balls in the cookie crumbs.
- Food Processor
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Airtight container
- Dessert spoon
- 10 medjool dates pits removed
- 1 cup blanched almond meal
- ½ cup desiccated coconut organic
- ½ cup cacao powder
- 4 tablespoon rum
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
- desiccated coconut or cacao powder for rolling
- Remove seeds from medjool dates and place in a high powered food processor.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend on high until very well combined. Continue to blend until mixture clumps together into a ball as it goes around the drum of the food processor.
- Take a spoonful of mixture, roll into a ball and then roll ball in desiccated coconut or cacao powder. Continue until all of the mixture has been rolled into balls.
- Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. These rum balls freeze well if wanting to make in advance. Freeze for up to 6 months.
StorageStore in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- alcohol free - use non-alcoholic rum or replace rum with alcohol free vanilla extract and water.
- chocolate chip - add half cup of chocolate chips to mixture after blending.
- coconut - use coconut rum instead of dark rum.