Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe

Every Kentucky host has his or her own take on the state's traditional bourbon ball. Some are enrobed in chocolate; others pop a halved nut on top. We opt for a no-frills presentation that doubles down on boozy flavor by soaking the nuts in bourbon, in addition to the generous helping that goes into the dough itself. Note: The balls are chilled rather than cooked and do pack a tipsy punch, so you may wish to warn younger or teetotalling guests of their contents.

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Recipe adapted from Kat Kinsman, Editor in Chief

Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe
4.9 from 174 ratings
Have a boozy ball with this traditional Kentucky confection, the perfect combination of chocolate and bourbon. Get the recipe at Tasting Table.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Kentucky bourbon balls
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ¾ cup bourbon, divided
  • 2 cups Nilla Wafers crumbs
  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, divided
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  1. In a small bowl, combine the pecans and ¼ cup of the bourbon. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until the pecans have absorbed some of the bourbon, 2 to 3 hours. Drain and reserve the bourbon.
  2. Heat the oven to 325 F.
  3. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the nuts cool, then finely chop and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped pecans, remaining bourbon, Nilla Wafers crumbs, ¼ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup confectioners' sugar and the corn syrup. Stir until smooth.
  5. Using a heaping tablespoon portion, roll dough into ¾-inch balls.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar and coat each ball in the cocoa sugar.
  7. Transfer the bourbon balls to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  8. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or until firm.
Calories per Serving 111
Total Fat 5.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 12.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Total Sugars 6.6 g
Sodium 39.8 mg
Protein 1.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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