These no-bake vegan rum balls are easy to make with wholesome ingredients like cocoa, dates, nuts, almond butter and dark chocolate for a healthier take on the classic Christmas dessert.

Stack of chocolate truffles on a plate being dusted with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

Features

  • vegan, gluten-free, no added sugar
  • rich and decadent taste but made with wholesome ingredients
  • quick and easy to make with no baking required!
  • perfect for holidays and special occasions

Ingredients Notes & Substitutions

Visual of ingredient list for healthy vegan rum balls recipe.
  • pecans – can be substituted with walnuts or almonds but I like pecans best in this recipe
  • dates – any variety works as long as they’re soft and moist
  • rum extract – imitation rum extract is fine but if you can find natural rum essence that works too, can also be subbed with dark rum, see notes
  • maple syrup – can be substituted with agave syrup
  • chocolatedark chocolate or dairy-free chocolate chips work, use dairy-free chocolate chips for a sweeter recipe

Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below..


Step by Step Instructions

Step 1. Add the pecans to a food processor and blend into a grainy flour.

Pecans blended into flour in a food processor.

Step 2. Add the dates, rum extract, cocoa powder and vanilla to the food processor and blend into a crumbly but sticky dough.

Dates blended with cocoa powder and pecans in a food processor. Small dish of chocolate beside food processor.

Step 3. Melt the dark chocolate stovetop or in the microwave until smooth and creamy then stir in the maple syrup and almond butter.

Small dishes of chocolate, maple syrup and almond butter.
Melted chocolate in a small dish with a spoon resting in it.

Step 4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients.Mix into a thick, sticky dough you can easily press together between your fingers.

Melted chocolate in a food processor with a crumbly, chocolate dough.
Bowl of crumbly raw no-bake chocolate energy ball dough.

Roll the dough into balls, rolling each in cocoa powder, sprinkles or shredded coconut for an extra treat!

Chocolate energy balls being rolled in cocoa powder on top of parchment paper.

Notes and Tips

  • Coating Options: You can leave your rum balls plain or coat them in cacao powder, coconut, coconut sugar, cinnamon or vegan chocolate sprinkles. I love them with cocoa powder and coconut!
  • Rum Extract: I could only find imitation rum extract to make these and it didn’t have that strong of flavour. Even with 2 1/2 tbsp of the rum extract I used the flavour was is still very subtle. If you can find natural rum essence (also called flavour or extract), start with 1 tbsp then add more to taste if desired. 
  • If you prefer, you can use dark rum instead of rum extract. Start with 2 tbsp and adjust to taste. If the dough is too sticky and wet, add a bit of extra cacao powder to adjust the consistency.
Stack of rum balls on a parchment paper lined plate.

Storing

  • Fridge: Store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freezer (Recommended): Store in a sealed container for 3 months. They’re amazing straight from the freezer!
  • Room Temperature: They’re ok at room temperature for an hour or two but will start to get soft. I’d recommend storing in the freezer until just before serving.
Close up of chocolate rum ball with a bite out of it to show the texture of the inside.
Print
Stack of chocolate truffles on a plate being dusted with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

Healthy Vegan Rum Balls

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 22 balls 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Easy to make with wholesome ingredients but still rich and decadent, these no-bake vegan rum balls are perfect for your Christmas goodie tray! 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) raw pecans (or almonds)
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) packed, pitted soft dates
  • 2 1/2 tbsp rum extract (see notes)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (35 g) cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) almond butter
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped (85 g) dark chocolate or dairy-free chocolate chips
  • optional: shredded coconut or cacao powder for rolling

Instructions

  1. Place the pecans in a food processor or high-powered blender and process until they form a fine flour.
  2. Add the dates, rum extract, cacao powder and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate, almond butter and maple syrup together in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop until smooth then pour over the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Process until it forms a thick dough.
  5. Roll into approximately 22 balls (if it’s too sticky, place the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before rolling).
  6. Roll the balls in shredded coconut or cacao powder, if desired.
  7. Serve or store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week or freezer (recommended) for up to 3 months. Keep cold until just before serving. They’re ok at room temperature for 1-2 hours but will start to get soft if it’s warm.

Notes

I could only find imitation rum extract and it required quite a bit to get the rum flavour to come through. Natural rum flavour (also called essence or extract) would be preferable as it has a much stronger, richer flavour. If you’re using natural rum extract, start with 1 tbsp and add more to taste.

If you prefer, you can use dark rum instead of rum extract. Start with 2 tbsp and add more to taste. If the dough becomes too wet, add extra cocoa powder to adjust the consistency.

As is, there are quite rich with a dark chocolate flavour. To make them sweeter, use dairy-free chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate.

It’s important to use soft, moist dates. If your dates are hard and dry, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes and drain well before using.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 123
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 2 g

Keywords: raw rum balls, no-bake rum balls

Originally published December 17, 2017. Updated with new photos and text on November 20, 2020.