Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Balls

Crunchy and infused with bourbon, these no-bake Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Balls are nutty chocolate-covered snacks that are a hit at every event! With a boozy kick in every bite, these chocolatey desserts are easy to make and oh-so-good!

This is another of MawMaw’s famous recipes. She was a fantastic cook and inspired me in so many ways! These delicious bourbon balls are not cakey, so they’re gluten-free and vegetarian. 

Make these tasty treats in advance – they’ll keep for a day or two on the countertop and serve them at family gatherings, brunches, or anytime you need a bit of something sweet.

They do pack a boozy punch, so they may not be great for kids. Noone will get tipsy from them, but they do have a great bourbon flavor. 

You don’t need anything fancy for this pecan ball recipe, just some good old authentic Kentucky bourbon, chocolate, and some pantry staples. The secret to this recipe is letting the alcohol soak into the nuts, so start the nuts soaking the night before for the very best flavor.


  • Pecans – Finely chopped.
  • Bourbon – Real Kentucky bourbon, please!
  • Butter – Softened.
  • Confectioner’s sugar – Also known as powdered sugar.
  • Semisweet chocolate – You can use fast-melting chocolate chips or bars.
  • Vegetable shortening – This is to give the chocolate a nice sheen

What Kind of Nuts Go In Kentucky Bourbon Balls?

I’m using pecans in this bourbon ball recipe because pecans are very Southern. You can buy whole pecans and chop them yourself (or pulse them in the food processor) or use your favorite nuts. Walnuts and even almonds will also work in this recipe.

How To Make Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Balls

These chocolate bourbon balls are easy to make, and you don’t need to bake them! I still make them like MawMaw showed me, and everyone always wants the recipe!

  • Place the chopped nuts in a sealable jar, then add 6 tablespoons of Kentucky bourbon to the jar. Seal the jar, shake, and allow them to soak overnight.
  • Creamy cream the butter, sugar, and remaining bourbon until light and fluffy with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  • Mix the creamed butter and sugar with the nuts and any remaining liquid in the jar. 
  • Form the mixture into ¾-inch balls. If the mixture is too soft, pop it into the fridge and then try again.
  • Place the balls on a parchment paper (or wax paper) lined baking sheet and freeze overnight or for 4-5 hours.
  • Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just simmering water. Add the vegetable shortening. Stir frequently and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. 
  • Working quickly, dip the chilled pecan balls into the melted chocolate to coat them and lay them back on the lined baking sheet. Chill the old-fashioned bourbon balls again in the fridge and enjoy!
Kentucky bourbon balls with a pecan half in the center

Recipe Tips

  • Rolling the balls in the chocolate can be messy work. Use 2 forks to help you or small tongs.
  • Pop it back over the hot water to warm it up if your chocolate starts to harden before the balls are all coated.
  • Garnish the tops of your pecan balls with half a pecan to make them pretty.


This bourbon pecan ball recipe is pretty easy and straightforward, and I love changing it up. Here are some of my favorite ways:

  • Use white chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate.
  • Use half dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate, dipping half the balls in dark chocolate and the remaining balls in semisweet chocolate.
  • Walnuts are my second favorite nut for this recipe – try using walnuts.
  • Drizzle instead of dunking. Put the chocolate into a baggie and snip off one end. Use that to drizzle the chocolate over the balls for a pretty presentation.

Storage Instructions

Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Balls will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 3-4 days. You can also freeze them to enjoy them later.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are homemade pecan balls easy to make?

Yes! These no-bake pecan balls are super-easy to make. You’ll need some time to chill the balls before coating them in chocolate, but that’s it!

Can pecan balls be frozen?

You bet! Your best bet is to freeze them before coating them in chocolate. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge before dunking them in the chocolate.

What do pecan bourbon balls taste like?

They’re nutty, crunchy, and have a sweet buttery bourbon flavor. Plus, they’re chocolatey. They’re the best pecan balls around!

Kentucky bourbon balls with a pecan half in the center

Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Balls


  • 1 Cup chopped pecans
  • 7 Tbsp Kentucky bourbon divided
  • 1/2 Cup butter softened
  • 16 Oz confectioners sugar
  • 18 Oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
  • additional pecan halves for garnish (optional)


  • Place the nuts in a sealable jar. Pour 6 tablespoons of the Kentucky bourbon in the jar over the nuts. Seal, shake, and allow to soak overnight.
  • Cream together the butter, sugar, & remaining 1 tablespoon of Kentucky bourbon. Fold it into the bourbon nut mixture. Form into 3/4” balls. If the mixture is too soft to form into balls, refrigerate for a bit and then roll them. Freeze overnight. 
  • Line a tray with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate & vegetable shortening in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. Working quickly, roll the frozen balls in the melted chocolate to coat & place on the prepared tray. Store in the refrigerator.
  • You can garnish with a pecan half to the top of each bourbon ball, right after coating in the chocolate.