Home » Recipes » Desserts » Other Desserts » Bourbon Balls

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.

Bourbon Balls covered in chocolate and  topped with pecan halves.

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. They are a great addition to the Christmas cookie tray and they are perfect for a Kentucky Derby party.

This is my personal favorite Bourbon Ball recipe, but many people also like this version made with Vanilla wafers.

Nine candies on a plate.

How To Make Bourbon Balls

To make them, 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.

For bourbon, I always like to use Makers Mark. It has a nice smooth flavor but there are oodles of great tasting bourbons available. Woodford Reserve and Four Roses are two others I like.

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.

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.

Bourbon Balls with bite taken out of one of them.

How Long Do Bourbon Balls Last?

They last about a week at room temperature, about 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Do They Need To Be Refrigerated?

These Bourbon Balls do not need to be refrigerated but they will last a little longer in the refrigerator and if your house is warm, it may be better to store them in the refrigerator so they don’t get too soft.

More Candy Recipes

Bite taken out of a Bourbon Ball.

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.
PREP: 1 hour 20 minutes
Refriegrate: 1 hour
TOTAL: 2 hours 20 minutes
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.


Nutritional info is provided as an estimate only and will vary based on brands of products used.


Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Candy
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: bourbon, chocolate

Want to Save This Recipe?

Originally posted September 16, 2018.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

I accept the Privacy Policy

78 thoughts on “Bourbon Balls”

  1. We visited Kentucky for the first time this past summer and had a couple of these. I was determined to make them for Christmas this year. I just finished them and my husband scolded me for suggesting on giving them to anyone. He loved them! They tasted just like them and even better than some of the ones we had there. I used a bit of coconut oil in the chips to coat and used mixed semi-sweet with dark chocolate. It made more than 30 balls total. I didn’t need to add 5 tablespoons of bourbon after the pecans soaked it left 4 and I figured there was probably 1 more worth in the pecans themselves. On a note I put the mix in the freezer for a few minutes before forming the balls instead of adding sugar it worked well. Putting a toothpick in each one was genius and helped so much I just added a bit of chocolate from the dipping chocolate to the top and it covered really well. I’ll be making these again for sure.

  2. Changed it up a bit and added half a bourbon soaked cherry on top instead of the nut. Fantastic Recipe!
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. It is not safe to give to children as the bourbon has not been cooked and the alcohol is still in the bourbon.

  3. I made these bourbon balls for the 2022 Kentucky Derby. I tweaked the recipe a little by adding just a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness of the sugar. I also used ghirardelli chocolate chips along with Lily’s Dark Chocolate chips (no added sugar) and used coconut oil to thin the chocolate. I swear it smelled like brownies! These bourbon balls are the best!!!!!!

Scroll to Top