Date balls are a simple no-bake holiday treat filled with lots of flavor and crunch! These easy date balls are sweet and light in texture and rolled in shaved coconut for some festive flair.
Anytime between Thanksgiving and New Years, my mother was likely to make up a batch of these festive date balls for guests or just for us when we asked nicely. They’re great for a little party dessert, a Christmas cookie tray, or even an afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of coffee.
Why You’ll Love This Date Balls Recipe
- Crisp, sticky, and chewy. Date balls with nuts are a treat that’s all about texture! Each ball is chewy and sticky, with an irresistible crispiness from the rice cereal and crunch from the nuts.
- No oven required. These Rice Krispie date balls are a no-bake treat, making them perfect for when you don’t want to turn on the oven or need something quick and easy for a holiday party.
- Great for gifting. Coconut date balls are perfect for packaging up in festive holiday boxes and tins to give as gifts to friends and family.
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Egg – This helps bind the date balls together.
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter – Using unsalted butter gives you more control over the flavor. Learn more: Unsalted or Salted Butter: Which is Better for Baking?
- Crisp rice cereal – Such as Rice Krispies.
- Pecans – Since you’ll be chopping the pecans anyway, use less expensive pecan pieces and save the pecan halves for candied nuts or chocolate pecan pie.
- Sweetened shredded coconut or confectioners’ sugar
Which Type of Date Should I Use in This Recipe?
There are a few types of dates available, but Medjool dates are the sweetest, as they’re left to ripen longer. That said, you can use Deglet Noor dates instead and your date balls will still be just as delicious!
How to Make Date Balls
- Make the date mixture. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the egg, sugar, butter, salt, and dates. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dates are soft and the mixture thickens.
- Chill. Set the saucepan in a sink or large pan of cold water for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture is cool enough to handle.
- Add the mix-ins. Fold the cereal and pecans into the date mixture.
- Form balls. Working quickly, shape tablespoon-size portions of the date mixture into balls.
- Finish. Roll each ball in coconut or confectioners’ sugar, then place them on parchment paper or waxed paper to cool and set.
Tips for Success
- Save yourself some cleanup. Instead of beating the egg in a separate bowl, beat it in the saucepan before turning the stove on, then add the rest of the ingredients.
- Fold in the cereal gently. If you stir too vigorously, you’ll break the cereal into small bits and you won’t get that nice crispy texture.
- Form the date balls with ease. I like to use a small cookie dough scoop to keep the date balls uniform in size. When rolling the mixture into the shape of a ball, it helps to have slightly damp hands to avoid sticking.
- Roll again if needed. Traditionally, these date balls are rolled in coconut. However, some people don’t like coconut, so I usually roll half in confectioners’ sugar. If you go that route, keep in mind that they may need to be re-rolled in the sugar at some point because they seem to absorb it.
- Swap out the pecans for another type of nut, or a variety of nuts. Walnuts work particularly well.
- For extra flavor and texture, add in some chopped dried fruit like apricots or cranberries.
- Try rolling the date balls in crushed graham crackers or cocoa powder for a slightly different flavor.
- For a boozy twist, add a splash of your favorite liqueur to the date mixture before shaping it into balls.
How to Store
Store these date balls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Yes, you can freeze these date balls for up to 2 months. Be sure to store them in an airtight, freezer-safe container in the freezer. To thaw, simply place them in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a few hours before serving.
More Recipes With Dates
- Date Nut Muffins
- Maple Date Bread Pudding
- Brown Butter Oatmeal Date Cookies with Maple Glaze
- Dulce de Leche Date Cream Pie
- Hazelnut Date Bread