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.
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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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Scoop out portions of rum ball mixture using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon. Roll into balls using your hands.
- Toss each rolled rum ball in unsweetened shredded coconut, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- 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.
Gluten-free rum balls FAQ’s
Yes! Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Rum balls get even better after a day or two, so making them ahead of time is encouraged.
Swap out the rum for apple juice, coconut milk, or sweetened condensed milk.
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.
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.
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- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 67Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 39mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published 12/12/19. Most recent update 12/12/23.