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Gluten free rum balls

Gluten free rum balls are a healthier way to enjoy this holiday treat. Made with almond and coconut flours, these paleo treats are easily made vegan or keto with a simple swap. Rum balls actually get better the next day, so they are the perfect make ahead treat.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also be interested in my gluten free granola cookies and my gluten free clementine cake recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my gluten free recipes in one place.

Gluten free rum balls on white platter with silver ribbon in background.

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Why you should make this recipe

  • Quick and easy – This healthy rum balls recipe is ready in about an hour.
  • Make ahead – You can make them a week ahead of time and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve. They also get better as they sit, so they are perfect for making ahead.
  • Great for shipping – Gluten free rum balls are great for shipping to friends and family, they hold up well in the mail.
Paleo rum balls on white plate, on a red background.

Gluten Free Rum Ball Recipe

These gluten free rum balls are made with almond and coconut flours instead of the usual vanilla wafer cookies. They are also less sweet than the usual rum balls you’d find at most holiday parties, which can be a nice change of pace from the heavy, sugar-laden desserts of the season.

I make rum balls every year for the holidays, but a number of years ago, I needed to find a gluten-free option for a friend. After a bit of trial and error, I finally landed on this recipe. As someone who does not eat a strictly gluten-free diet, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about them. But, they actually ended up being one of my favorite versions, out of the 15 rum ball recipes, on the blog.


This is everything you’ll need to make these no bake, gluten-free treats.

Gluten-free rum balls in white paper cups with a cookie tin on the side.
  • Almond flour – Almond flour provides a bit of nuttiness and it’s the base of the rum balls.
  • Coconut flour – Coconut flour is dried coconut that has been ground into a flour.
  • Unsweetened, shredded coconut – Not the regular sweetened coconut flakes, look for unsweetened. Make sure you are getting the shredded coconut and not the large flakes.
  • Cacao powder – Cacao is less processed than cocoa powder and has a more pronounced chocolate flavor. It is also less sweet.
    • Substitution: You can use cocoa powder, but it isn’t exactly the same and you’ll want to check the label to make sure it is gluten-free.
  • Dark rum – The rum is what gives these rum balls their kick.
    • Substitution: Swap out Amber rum for dark, if you prefer. Apple juice makes a great non-alcohol version.
  • Raw honey – The honey adds a bit of sweetness to the rum balls.
  • Coconut oil – This provides a bit of healthy fat and helps to bind the mixture.
  • Sea salt – All desserts need a bit of salt to balance the sweetness.
Gluten-free rum balls sitting on a bed of shredded coconut on a white platter.

How to make

Here’s a quick summary of how to make gluten free rum balls. Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full recipe. 

Step by step photos demonstrating how to make gluten free rum balls.
  1. Add almond and coconut flours, sea salt, cacao powder, rum, honey, coconut oil and unsweetened shredded coconut to food processor and blend until completely uniform.
  2. Scoop out portions of rum ball mixture using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon. Roll into balls using your hands.
  3. Toss each rolled rum ball in unsweetened shredded coconut, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Chill coated gluten free rum balls on a sheet pan in the refrigerator.

That’s it! It is that easy. Invite a friend over to help you roll and it is even faster. These gluten-free rum balls are an easy no bake cookie for the holidays and a healthier way to have some of your favorite holiday treats.

GF cookie balls in red and white snowflake pattern takeout box.

Gluten-free rum balls FAQ’s

Can I freeze rum balls?

Yes! Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Can rum balls be made ahead?

Rum balls get even better after a day or two, so making them ahead of time is encouraged.

How do I make rum balls without rum?

Swap out the rum for apple juice, coconut milk, or sweetened condensed milk.

No bake cookie balls in clear cookie tin with light blue rim.

Variations and substitutions

  • Keto – Use your favorite sweetener (like a few drops of liquid stevia) in place of the honey.
  • Vegan – Omit the honey, and replace with corn syrup.

Suggestions for mailing

If you are shipping treats to friends and family, these are perfect for mailing. Place a sheet of folded parchment paper on top to keep them in place or put parchment in the bottom of the cookie tin to cushion. Check out my post on how to ship cookies for lots of helpful tips.

No bake gluten free cookie balls in paper cups inside of a clear cookie tin for shipping.

Helpful tools and equipment

  • Parchment paper sheets are MUCH easier to use than tearing pieces off of a roll.
  • Making homemade gifts to give to friends and family is something I do every year. These red snowflake takeout boxes make it easy to pack up paleo, gluten free treats for gifting.
  • Another option, if you are shipping treats are Christmas cookie tins. I sent these treats across the country and they arrived looking just like they did when they were packed.

Please share

If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars!

Gluten free rum balls in red and white container image for Pinterest.

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Gluten free rum balls

Cheryl Bennett
Gluten-free rum balls are perfect for holiday cookie exchanges. A healthier way to enjoy this holiday treat!
4.44 from 37 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Rum ball recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 36 rum balls
Calories 67 kcal


  • 1 cup almond flour // 96g
  • 1 cup coconut flour // 128g
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut + extra for rolling // 50g total
  • 4 tbsp. cacao powder
  • ¼ cup dark rum // 60ml
  • 4 tbsp. raw honey
  • 6 tbsp. coconut oil melted and cooled
  • ½ tsp. sea salt


  • In the bowl of a food processor, add 1 cup almond flour, 1 cup coconut flour, ½ cup shredded coconut, 4 tbsp. cacao powder, ¼ cup dark rum, 4 tbsp. raw honey, 6 tbsp. coconut oil and ½ tsp. sea salt.
  • Pulse a few times to combine, then run food processor until ingredients form a uniform dough (1 -2 minutes).
  • Pinch off tablespoon-sized pieces (or use a small cookie scoop) and roll into balls.
  • Roll each ball in shredded coconut or cacao powder, if desired. Repeat until all of the mixture is used.
  • Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until they have set up and chilled.
  • Store leftover rum balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


To store rum balls:
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Remove from refrigerator
30 minutes before serving to allow rum balls to soften. To keep them for longer, you can store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To make rum balls without alcohol:
Substitute apple juice, coconut milk or sweetened condensed milk for the rum. To get a rum flavor, add 1/2 tsp. rum extract to the mixture in the food processor. Taste and adjust if necessary. You may want a full teaspoon, if the flavor isn't strong enough for your personal preference.
Rum balls are an excellent choice to send to friends or family in the mail. They will hold up really well and should arrive in good condition.


Serving: 1gCalories: 67kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 39mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3g
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Originally published 12/12/19. Most recent update 12/12/23.


  1. Hi.Luving your recipes .What could I use instead of the rum in the rum balls .I know then it won’t be a rum ball,lol,but like the recipe.🙂

    1. Hi Shaz! You could use sweetened condensed milk, apple juice, root beer… you have lots of options! Go with whatever you think you’ll like. Sweetened condensed milk is a popular choice, especially for this recipe because it isn’t overly sweet as written. I hope that helps!

  2. I used to make these all the time for the holidays and they were a favorite of my mom’s! I love how this recipe I can make and eat even on Keto! Thank you! Will be whipping these up for sure!

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