Quick and easy no-bake pecan pie balls you can make in 10 minutes with just 4 ingredients.

This recipe is perfect for the holiday season and is easy to customize to be as healthy or as decadent as you desire.

A serving plate of pecan pie balls made from blended pecans and dates. One ball on top has a bite out of it.

About the Recipe

Craving the taste of pecan pie but prefer to skip the baking? Gather just four simple ingredients – pecans, dates, salt, and vanilla, and try these pecan pie balls.

Despite their simplicity, they’re reminiscent of the rich flavors of pecan pie and perfect for a sweet end to a Thanksgiving feast, addition to your holiday goodie tray, or everyday snack.

We have a soft spot for energy bites recipes, such as these pecan balls, Chocolate Energy Balls, Cinnamon Energy Balls, and Lime Coconut Energy Bites. They’re always fun and easy to make always for a satisfying snack or a healthier dessert option.

If you’re leaning towards protein bites, Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls and Gingerbread Protein Balls are excellent choices too.

For this recipe, you can stick to the original or try them coated in chocolate, sprinkled with crushed graham crackers, or with a pinch of brown sugar added to further bring out the pecan pie flavor. The recipe makes a versatile base for experimenting.

Whether you’re gearing up for holiday parties or just craving a sweet dessert, these bites are sure to be a your new favourite sweet treats.

For more decadent pecan desserts, you’ll have to try these Pecan Snowball Cookies, Vegan Pecan Pie Bars or No-Bake Mini Pecan Pie Tarts next.

For more holiday desserts, we love these Easy Vegan Turtles, No-Bake Vegan Nanaimo Bars and Vegan Thumbprint Cookies.

Ingredient Notes

Pecans, dates, vanilla and sea salt in a food processor.
  • Dates: Any variety works as long as they’re soft and moist. I like medjool dates, sayer dates and deglect noor dates. If your dates are on the dry side, they can be soaked in hot water before use.
  • Pecans: Use plain, raw pecans with no added oil or salt. These can be substituted with cashews, walnuts or almonds but of course, they wouldn’t be pecan pie balls! For extra flavour, you can roast the pecans in a skillet over low heat until fragrant or on a baking sheet at 350F for 5-10 minutes, taking care not to burn.
  • Sea Salt: Use a good quality sea salt like maldon, pink, grey, etc. Table salt does not enhance the flavour in the same way.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract will add the best flavour but artificial vanilla is fine if that’s all you have.

A complete list of ingredients with measurements and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below.

Variations and Additions

  • Coconut Pecan Balls: Add 1/2 cup shredded coconut or roll the balls in shredded coconut.
  • Powdered Sugar: Roll the balls in powdered sugar for a holiday treat.
  • Spiced Pecan Balls: Add a pinch of warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or cardamom.
  • Sweetness: For sweeter pecan ball, add 1-2 tbsp brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey or agave syrup.
  • Chocolate: Drizzle the balls in melted chocolate like these sunflower seed energy balls or add a chocolate coating to make pecan truffles. Place the chocolate coasted balls on a cookie sheet or plate lined with parchment paper and chill until the chocolate hardens.
  • Espresso Pecan Balls: Add 1-2 tsp instant coffee powder or espresso powder or try these chocolate coffee energy balls.
  • Bourbon Pecan Pie Balls: Add 1-2 tbsp bourbon or dark rum for the holiday season, or try these vegan rum balls. You could also use rum extract for an alcohol-free option.
  • Cookie Crumbs: Try adding up to 1/2 cup graham crackers crumbs, crushed vanilla wafers or other cookie crumbs for texture and more pecan pie flavour – kind of like the pie crust. You could also roll them in graham cracker crumbs. Try them rolled in graham cracker crumbs then coated in chocolate extra decadent holiday treat!
  • Cornflake Crunch: You can add more texture to the balls by adding 1/2 cup crushed cornflakes, like used in these homemade butterfingers recipe or by coating them in crushed cornflakes to create a wafer layer before coating them in chocolate.
  • Chocolate Chips: Add up to 1/2 cup chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips to the food processor after you blend the dough and pulse a few times to mix them.
  • Almond Extract: Almond extract is a nice alternative to vanilla extract or you can add both.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Thick, sticky, date-based dough in a food processor.

Step 1. Place pecans, dates, salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend into a thick, sticky dough you can easily press between your fingers.

If you’re adding anything else like chocolate chips or cacao nibs, add them after blending the dough and pulse a few times to combine. Extras like spices or coconut can be added with the other ingredients.

Quick Tip: If the mixture is too crumbly to roll into balls, add 1 tsp of warm water and process again. Repeat as needed. If your dates were soft, this shouldn’t be an issue but you may need 1-2 tsp of water if they were on the dry side.

A plate full of no-bake pecan pie energy balls made from dates.

Step 2: Roll the dough into bite sized balls and enjoy! You can eat them right away or chill in the fridge or freezer to firm them up a bit.

For further decoration, place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with melted chocolate or dip melted chocolate to coat.

Once coated, place them in the fridge or freezer until the chocolate hardened. For more guidance on adding chocolate, you can use this chocolate pretzel truffle recipe.

Recipe FAQs

What can I use instead of dates?

Dates work best in this recipe but you could try dried figs or raisins.

Even if you’re not a big date fan, I’d suggest giving them a try in this recipe as the vanilla, salt and pecans really balance the flavours.

Can I make these nut-free?

I think you could make them with sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead of pecans but of course, they won’t be pecan pie balls!

For nut-free energy bars and balls, you might like these recipes:

Sunflower Seed Energy Balls
Nut-Free Energy Bars
Cinnamon Energy Balls

How should I store pecan pie balls?

Fridge: The balls will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Freezer: Store in a sealed container for up to 3 months. They don’t freeze solid so you can enjoy them straight from the freezer.

Room Temperature: They’re ok at room temperature if kept cool but will get soft with time, especially if it’s warm.

Can I take these hiking or camping?

For sure. They’re totally fine to take on the road without refrigeration. I would recommend freezing them before hand so they’re nice and firm. They will get soft if it’s warm but will still be safe to eat.

A plate of pecan energy balls. One on top has a bite out of it.

Expert Tips

  • Dates: It’s important to use soft, moist dates in this recipe as they create the “dough” and bind the recipe. If your dates are overly dry, place them in a bowl (pit first) and soak in hot water for 15 minutes. After soaking, drain well and proceed with the recipe.
  • Serving: As is for a sweet treat or dessert, or try crumbling over smoothie bowls, ice cream and yogurt.
  • You can use a cookie scoop to help you divide the dough into evenly sized balls.
  • The recipe should make approximately 12 balls but for a smaller portion, use a bit less for each ball to get 14-15 bites.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
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Close up of a pecan energy ball with a bite out of it.

No-Bake Pecan Pie Balls

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 12 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 bites
  • Category: Snack
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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Description

These pecan pie balls may be simple but they make a delicious dessert! They’re always a huge hit with pecan lovers and you can make in just 10 minutes with 4 ingredients.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Blend Dough: Place all ingredients in a food processor. Mix until it forms a thick, sticky dough you can press together between your fingers. If it’s not sticking together (it should if your dates were soft), add 1 tsp warm water and process again. Repeat as needed until the dough is rollable.
  2. Roll Pecan Balls: Using your hands, roll the dough into 12 bite-sized balls.

Notes

Dates: It’s impotant to use soft, moist dates in this recipe as they create the “dough”. If your dates are overly dry, place them in a bowl (pit first) and soak in hot water for 15 minutes. After soaking, drain well and proceed with the recipe.

Storage: Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 ball
  • Calories: 120
  • Sugar: 14 g
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 1 g