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Bourbon Balls

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.
SERVINGS: 30 bourbon balls

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
Course: Candy

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Kentucky Bourbon Balls

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68 thoughts on “Bourbon Balls”

  1. Could melting chocolate be used instead? It’s stable at room temperature whereas the chocolate chips and shortening are not.

  2. Kathey Harris

    I have been making these for Christmas for a long time. My family expects them every year. My grandchildren are all grown up and now expects to have them..

  3. Karen Lewis

    I have made bourbon balls for years from a recipe of my mothers. We use sweetened condensed milk and freeze the balls before dipping them in the chocolate. I also use a little bit of gulfwax wax melted in chocolate and that keeps the chocolate from melting when it gets warmer. and it is not enough to taste.

    1. I was wondering the same thing. I prefer pecans toasted. I didn’t know if it would affect the texture and absorption.

  4. Has anyone made them with the flavored bourbons? I was thinking the vanilla crown may add a little something to it. I’ll let u know how it turns out!

    1. Kathey Harris

      I have been making these for Christmas for a long time. My family expects them every year. My grandchildren are all grown up and now expects to have them..

  5. These are the best. I use bourbon liberally. Chopped pecans soaked in bourbon can be kept in fridge indefinitely. Youight need to add a little bourbon while mixing the butter/ sugar mix to make it more workable. Freeze the butter/sugar/nut balls, and work with them a few at a time, so they don’t fall apart while dipping in chocolate. Use fondue tools to dip them. Have an assistant put the pecans on top to speed things up. May need to refrigerate to set. These can be kept in freezer after assembly and are best to eat cold; I still haven’t figured out how to make them so the inside doesn’t break up a little when you eat them if they are room temp, but people love them anyway. (I use Old Forester as the bourbon. Yum.) I made these for wedding favors and many people said they were the best bourbon balls they have ever eaten. Did I mention I use a lot of bourbon?

  6. I UNDERSTAND YOU SOAK THE FINELY CHOPPED BLACK WALNUTS/PECANS PRIOR TO SOAKING. DO YOU SOAK THE HALF WALNUT/PECAN WHICH GOES ON TOP AS WELL?
    THANK YOU.

  7. This Kentucky girl gives this recipe 5 stars. I’ve used it for several years now, and the results are always perfect. I don’t even begrudge sharing my Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon when I give it away to friends in this form 😉

  8. Debbie Miller

    Best recipe for Bourbon Balls ever! Ive used many recipes over the years and this is the very best!

    1. I don’t think that you can mail them without refrigeration. When taken out the refrigerator and allow to get to room temp. the chocolate softens and will make a mess.

  9. Absolutely delicious! I followed this recipe to the T. It’s perfect.. It’s a keeper!! Thank you, thank you

  10. I am looking for a nonalcoholic substitute for the bourbon so the kids can have some also. Could I cook off the bourbon to get rid of the alcohol and have a kid friendly candy or should I just add a little vanilla and be done with it?

  11. Ive searched for a Bourbon Ball recipe close to a lady that made the best I have ever had, and she was from Kentucky. I believe this is close. I followed the recipe to a T , even down to using a toothpick to dip the balls. I had NO issues. They turned out beautiful. I will be giving them out as gifts for Christmas.

  12. Stewart brashear

    Been making bourbon balls for many years. More than I care to think about. Lol! Always amazes me when some says they followed your recipe but “ I changed this,I added that,I substituted whatever but I loved your recipe. Post your own.
    I’ll give all of ya a tip that will improve all of your recipes and it’s very simple tip. Use Black Walnuts soaked in Bourbon at least a week for full flavor. Yeah they’re a bit pricey but well worth it. I have the good fortune of having 3 trees in the back yard but they are tough on the lawn mower when they begin to fall and they are a pain to crack and remove from the shell. And the squirrels love em. And Nancy,if you don’t use alcohol you shouldn’t be lookin at this recipe, for real. Merry Christmas everyone . And Ruth Hunt candies started in Mt. Sterling Ky. Not Versailles. I lived about 2 miles from and if you like mint with chocolate,try one of their Blue Mondays. I’m 75 yo and no the original bourbon balls had no vanilla wafers in it.

    1. I’m going to try this recipe when I visit my parents this Christmas, they live near Nicholasville, Ky and have black walnut trees as well. Can y’all who’ve been posting advice give a detailed version of your recipe? As I’ve never made these before but want to do it right.

    2. A couple questions Andy. First I have trouble with it melting when I dip the ball in the chocolate any suggestions? Also do you put Bourbon the ball and also on pecan on top as well?

    3. I UNDERSTAND YOU SOAK THE FINELY CHOPPED BLACK WALNUTS/PECANS PRIOR TO SOAKING. DO YOU SOAK THE HALF WALNUT/PECAN WHICH GOES ON TOP AS WELL?
      THANK YOU.

    4. Stewart, I like your style! And, I agree with everything you’ve said here. I never had a bourbon ball made with wafers either. I guess someone came up with that because the powdered sugar ones are so sweet. I’ve considered trying a different recipe over the years and then when it comes to it – I think “Why?”. Don’t mess with a good thing.

  13. Stewart brashear

    Been making bourbon balls for many years. More than I care to think about. Lol! Always amazes me when some says they followed your recipe but “ I changed this,I added that,I substituted whatever but I loved your recipe. Post your own.
    I’ll give all of ya a tip that will improve all of your recipes and it’s very simple tip. Use Black Walnuts soaked in Bourbon at least a week for full flavor. Yeah they’re a bit pricey but well worth it. I have the good fortune of having 3 trees in the back yard but they are tough on the lawn mower when they begin to fall and they are a pain to crack and remove from the shell. And the squirrels love em. And Nancy,if you don’t use alcohol you shouldn’t be lookin at this recipe, for real. Merry Christmas everyone .

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