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5 from 16 votes

My Grandmother's Bourbon Balls

Add a fun and festive Christmas cookie to your holiday tray! My Grandmother was famous for her no bake Bourbon Balls, which are made with vanilla wafers and just a few other simple ingredients!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Southern
Keyword Bourbon Balls, Bourbon Balls with Vanilla Wafers, Kentucky Bourbon Balls
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 60 1-inch balls
Calories 61kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 3 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers I used an entire 11 ounce box
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • cup bourbon
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling


  • Combine wafer crumbs and nuts in a large bowl. Add condensed milk and bourbon. Blend well. Chill for about 1 hour.
  • Pour about 1 cup of powdered sugar into a shallow dish.
  • Dip the palms of your hands into the powdered sugar and shape the “dough” by teaspoonfuls into round balls. Roll in powdered sugar.
  • Store bourbon balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


You definitely want to use a high quality Kentucky bourbon that you would actually sip on, because the taste of the bourbon comes through in these cookies (and yes, even non-bourbon drinkers like me LOVE them)! We typically go with either Woodford Reserve or Makers Mark Bourbon Balls!
How long can Bourbon Balls be stored?
Here's the great thing! They last for a LONG time! Unlike other Christmas cookies that get dry, hard, or stale after just a few days on the counter, you can easily prepare a batch of Bourbon Balls at least 1-2 weeks in advance and they will stay fresh in the refrigerator.
The Bourbon Balls will keep in your freezer for at least 1 month.
How to store Bourbon Balls:
Make sure that you keep the bourbon balls chilled in an airtight container. If you have deep containers, you can store the bourbon balls in layers, separating them with wax paper or parchment.
They're fine to leave out on a holiday cookie tray for a party, but they tend to get soft if they're left out for too long. I prefer to keep the bourbon balls in my refrigerator, only taking them out when I'm ready to serve them.
To freeze the bourbon balls, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then again in foil. 
I recommend rolling the cookies in another coating of powdered sugar, just before serving. They'll look fresh and new again!


Serving: 1bourbon ball | Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 37mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.1mg