Bourbon Balls

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These Kentucky Bourbon Balls make a great addition to the holiday cookie tray. The adult holiday cookie tray. The bourbon flavor really comes through in this southern candy.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls


Bourbon Balls are a super easy candy to make and only a handful of ingredients are needed. An interior of bourbon-soaked pecans, butter, and powdered sugar is covered in a layer of semi-sweet chocolate.

To make Bourbon Balls, combine 1 cup of finely chopped pecans with 5 tablespoons of bourbon. Let this mixture sit for at least 1 hour. Overnight is fine too. Just cover the bowl with some saran wrap and let it sit on the counter. The pecans will soak up most of the bourbon.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls


For bourbon, I always like to use Makers Mark. It has a nice smooth flavor but there are oodles of great tasting bourbons available.

Once the pecans and bourbon have had time to get friendly, beat 1/2 cup of butter with an electric mixer. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Once completely mixed together, add in the pecan/bourbon mixture. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and refrigerate until firm.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls


Melt chocolate chips and shortening together. The shortening is just going to prevent the chocolate from hardening too much when it cools. It makes the Bourbon Balls easier to bite into.

Dip the balls in the chocolate mixture, placing a pecan half on top of each one before the chocolate sets. Refrigerate to set the chocolate.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

More Candy Recipes

Watch the short video below to see how easy Bourbon Balls are to make!

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Bourbon Balls

These Kentucky Bourbon Balls make a great addition to the holiday cookie tray. The bourbon flavor really comes through in this southern candy.
3.93 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Candy
Servings: 30 bourbon balls


  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 5 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • roughly 30 pecan halves


  • Combine the chopped pecans and bourbon in a small bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Beat butter with electric mixer and gradually add powdered sugar. Once mixture has completely come together, add pecan-bourbon mixture and mix. If mixture is too soft, add a little more sugar.
  • Use a small ice cream scoop or a teaspoon measuring spoon to form balls that are slightly larger then 1-inch. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  • Melt chocolate chips and shortening in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Once smooth, start dipping the balls into the chocolate mixture using a toothpick. Place back on baking sheet and top with a pecan to cover the hole from the toothpick.
  • Return bourbon balls to refrigerator to set the chocolate.

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25 thoughts on “Bourbon Balls

  1. This is the recipe that I learned from a lady at church in Bardstown, KY (Yes – KY church ladies make the best bourbon balls). She is known for her bourbon balls. A few changes to her recipe though – she used more bourbon when soaking the nuts (I’m thinking about ¼ cup) and she let them soak for about a week in a cool place. She placed hers in her closed in porch. Nice and cold during the winter. She also used Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips and melted them with paraffin wax. The paraffin wax gives a shiny coat to chocolate and helps it keep shape. We make these at Christmas time only, every year. They are awesome. And btw – no wafers of any kind go in a bourbon ball. Not around these parts anyway.

  2. I have tried using chocolate wafers (Wilton’s). The texture was good for dipping. However, the chocolate is flavorless! I have made bourbon balls for 25+ years. The best of my best was made with chocolate (wafers) straight from Switzerland! If you can’t get them, go back to using high grade, semi sweet chocolate chips melted with a tiny bit of shortening. My daughter likes to make the center filling, then freezing it for about an hour, then shaping into balls, re-freeze, then dip in chocolate. They hold their form better.

  3. There is way more than 5 tablespoons of bourbon in the video. Looks more like 1/2 cup or maybe even a whole cup. And 4 cups of powdered sugar? Seems a bit too much. Also, when dipping things in melted anything, just use a fork. Using a toothpick doesn’t really work all that well. But if these were left out for a period of time the chocolate would get soft. I would think using chocolate candy wafers would hold up better. Has anyone tried it that way?

  4. I was worried at first with mixing the dry mixture but be patient and gradually add the sugar. Mine turned out beautifully and taste good also.

  5. I melted the chocolate and couldn’t dip the bourbon balls in it without falling apart. What did I do wrong?
    I froze the balls for 30 minutes

  6. I live in the town next to Makers Mark Distillery in KY and have several friends that work there.
    Your recipe is the same one I’ve made for years! Personally, I don’t like the ones with cookie crumbs. And, I ALWAYS use Makers Mark bourbon! They are a huge hit every year.

  7. This recipe does make a wonderful treat. I believe these are bourbon candies and not burbon balls. Balls are made with vanilla wafers. At least in Kentucky Derby Territory.

    1. Hi, thank you for the recipe. I am definitely going to be making these for the upcoming holiday season. I was wondering if these can be frozen. I would like to be able to make them ahead of time 🙂

      1. That’s right. Rebecca Ruth candies on Versailles Rd in the heart of the bluegrass made the first bourbon balls and no vanilla wafers in them.

  8. Finally a Bourbon Ball recipe WITHOUT Vanilla wafer crumbs! I’ve been trying to find a similar recipe to the one that my Aunt used when I was a little girl (my sister and I used to get “drunk” off of them every Christmas!), and I think this just might be it! Thank you so much for posting this!!!

  9. Hi! So sorry for my silly question, but I’m from California. We don’t use shortening, so I’m not familiar with it. Can you please tell me what it is? These bourbon balls sound delicious, I would to love to make them! Thank you!

  10. Mmm, I used to work at a card shop and a platter of these appeared every Christmas. It’s been like, 10 years since I worked there and I still miss those things so I’m def going to try these!

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