Bourbon Balls

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. + chilling


4 dozen

Updated: Aug. 22, 2023
Remember the days at Grandma and Grandpa's house when you made these wonderfully traditional treats? We love these Kentucky Derby bourbon balls—the blended taste of bourbon and pecans is irresistible! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen


  • 1-1/4 cups finely chopped pecans, divided
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 pound dark chocolate candy coating, melted


  1. Combine 1 cup pecans and bourbon; let stand, covered, for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Cream butter and confectioners' sugar, adding 1/4 cup at a time, until crumbly; stir in pecan mixture. Refrigerate, covered, until firm enough to shape, about 45 minutes. Shape into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Dip into chocolate coating; allow excess to drip off. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans. Let stand until set.
Bourbon Balls Tips

What kind of bourbon should you use to make bourbon balls?

Bourbon balls are said to be a recipe from Kentucky, which would mean traditionalists would call for Kentucky bourbon. Regardless, choose one that is smooth and flavorful, but don't use your best bottle that you save for sipping on special occasions.

Can you adjust the amount of bourbon in this recipe?

You can use less bourbon in this recipe, but replace it with another liquid like apple juice. If you're not a fan of boozy dessert recipes and want them to be alcohol-free, replace all of the bourbon with apple juice.

How else can you customize bourbon balls?

Similar to truffle recipes, bourbon balls can be rolled in a variety of ingredients. This recipe is dipped in melted chocolate, but they could be rolled in confectioners' sugar, coarse sugar or cocoa powder in its place. If you still want to dip them in chocolate, you could top each with a pecan half or a sprinkle of sea salt, instead of topping with chopped pecans.

How should you store bourbon balls?

Store bourbon balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Peggy Woodward, Taste of Home Senior Food Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 bourbon ball: 128 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein.