Chocolate Coconut Balls (A Nanaimo Bars Recipe)

Chocolate Coconut Balls are a fun twist on the classic Canadian Nanaimo Bars treat. Make bite-sized versions of the famous Nanaimo dessert with this easy coconut balls recipe!

bite taken out of chocolate coconut balls to show creamy center

Sweet & Crunchy Chocolate Coconut Balls

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These chocolate coconut balls are perfect for when you want a sweet treat without whipping up a complicated dessert. Based on the famous Nanaimo Bars, named for the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, you won’t be able to eat just one!

Sweet coconut, sandy graham cracker crumbs, and crunchy pecans coat a creamy vanilla custard center. Don’t forget the chocolate! Each round is dipped in melted semi-sweet baking chips and chilled until firm. The result is a deliciously sweet and crunchy bite full of flavor and texture.

Craving something more classic than this fun Nanaimo balls recipe? Try this caffeinated twist: Mocha Nanaimo Bars!

Why You Will Love No Bake Coconut Balls

  • Simple ingredients – you may already have everything on hand
  • No oven necessary – just mix, roll, chill, and dip
  • Makes 40 treats – enough for party guests or holiday gifts
  • Easy substitutions – there’s no one right way to make this recipe
white bowl filled with nanaimo dessert bites

How To Make This Easy Coconut Balls Recipe

If you like Nanaimo bars, then you’re going to love this recipe. Whether you use the traditional cream and custard powder or my personal substitutions, these no bake coconut balls are going to be a hit around the holidays!

Carefully form the balls

These no bake coconut balls are as messy as they are delicious! Wear food prep gloves or lightly grease your hands with butter to prevent the filling mixture from sticking to your fingers.

I also find it helpful to use a melon baller or small cookie scoop to portion out the mixture. Not only is it easier to roll, but each treat is guaranteed to be the same size.

TBK’s Pro Tip: The inside is very soft, so don’t forget to freeze them! Once they’re frozen and then dipped in chocolate – you’re good! It’s all in the instructions 🙂

forming no bake coconut balls

Substitute ingredients as needed

You know those days where you start baking and you realize you have no ingredients? That was me when I first made this Nanaimo dessert recipe! Thankfully, I was able to make do with some substitutions, and it turned out great.

In place of custard, I used vanilla pudding mix. Another sub that I was really nervous about? I didn’t have cream, so I used the International Delight Southern Butter Pecan coffee creamer and omg – so good.

Don’t be afraid to make similar adjustments to the filling, or even the outer coating! Pressing extra graham cracker mixture onto the chocolate coconut balls adds more texture and presentation, but you can easily leave them plain. Or, try a sprinkle of sea salt or caramel drizzle.

Create a smooth exterior

While you could simply use your fingers to roll each ball in the melted chocolate, there’s an easy trick for a flawless presentation.

Place a few rounds in the bowl, then roll them around with the tines of a fork until coated on all sides. Carefully lift the chocolate coconut balls out with the same fork — one at a time — and gently slide them back onto the parchment-lined pan. No missing spots or smudge marks to be found!

nanaimo coconut balls on a parchment lined pan

Helpful Supplies for This Coconut Balls Recipe:

Frequently Asked Questions About No Bake Coconut Balls

Why are my coconut balls falling apart?

First, be sure that you use the correct measurements for each ingredient. I, myself, have been known to mix up my measuring cups a time or two!

If your filling mixture is still too soft to form into rounds, toss the bowl into the freezer for about 10 minutes to help it firm up. Then, you should be able to scoop out the filling and roll it with ease. Keep in mind that you will still need to freeze them as directed before coating in chocolate.

Should I use powdered or ready made pudding?

For this coconut balls recipe, you will need to measure out 2 tablespoons from a box of powdered pudding mix. I tend to have the instant version on hand, but it should work with the traditional version. Just don’t prepare the pudding in advance!

The powder adds flavor while helping to thicken the filling mixture and hold it all together. You can also use custard powder instead of pudding mix — that’s the traditional way to make it!

Can I make chocolate coconut bites ahead of time?

You bet! Keep them chilled so the chocolate doesn’t melt and store in an airtight container or sealable bag for best results. Chocolate coconut bites will last for about 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer — if you don’t eat them all before then!

showing inside of chocolate coconut bites

More No Bake Dessert Recipes:

Mini Apple Salted Caramel Cheesecakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Whisky Praline Milkshake

Smores Stuffed Strawberries

No Bake Nanaimo Balls are a twist on the classic Canadian dessert recipe, Nanaimo bars. Making this sweet confection, a bite-sized treat.
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3.68 from 101 votes

Nanaimo Balls

Chocolate Coconut Balls are a fun twist on the classic Canadian treat. Make bite-sized versions of Nanaimo bars with this easy recipe!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Christmas dessert, nanaimo balls, no bake
Prep Time 2 hours
Freeze time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 40 balls
Calories 145kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup sweetened grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps melted butter
  • 2 tbsps cocoa powder

Filling

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tbsps cream
  • 2 tbsps vanilla pudding mix

Chocolate Coating

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter

Instructions

  • In a large bowl add the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, pecans, melted butter, and cocoa powder. Stir and set aside.
  • In a smaller bowl, mix up the filling ingredients.
  • Take the filling, roll in a ball that’s about 3/4″. Sprinkle the chocolate coconut mixture on top and roll until the filling is surrounded.
  • Once all the balls are rolled out and placed on parchment paper, stick them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place a glass bowl over a boiling pot of water and add the semisweet chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth and glossy.
  • Remove the balls from the freezer and roll in the melted chocolate. Place back on the parchment paper and top with any additional coconut mixture.
  • Let stand a few hours until chocolate is set, or toss them in the freezer to speed it up.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 145kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 70mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.6mg
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52 comments on “Chocolate Coconut Balls (A Nanaimo Bars Recipe)”

  1. Tried to make these and didn’t understand how the filling is “rollable”! It was a goopy mess 🙁

    • Oh no Amanda 🙁 Mine wasn’t goopy at all. It’s a soft, and gets stiffer over time. Let me double check my ingredients maybe I miss typed something!

    • I double checked and it’s what I wrote down. Are you sure you did 1/4 cup melted butter and
      3 tbsps cream? I may or may not have got my measuring cups confused in the past 😉

      It was soft though and hardened up over time (after I tossed them in the freezer to set).

    • Mine was like this too! To goopy to roll into balls!!  And I followed too a T the ingredients and directions 

    • Hmmm…I’m trying to troubleshoot but I don’t know. Mine were very soft, but I was able to form into balls. However, once I tossed them into the freezer to firm up that helped to dip in the chocolate.

  2. Oh my goodness I love this idea! I love Nanaimo bars and this would be yummy!

  3. What a great entertaining idea! They look beautiful!

  4. saw it, pinned it, made it, love it. gonna take a break before i toss them into the chocolate, but the few testers i had were very yummy. i used unsweetened coconut, as i don’t like sweets to be too sweet (makes no sense i know, but that’s how i roll :0) your recipe is a keeper, thanks for sharing.

    Karin

  5. Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!

  6. Hi 
    I have a question about the ingredients 

    For pudding mix you mean the powder or the pudding cream !?!?!
    Thx for answering 

  7. you should mention to make the pudding mix, or just buy pudding mix already made.

  8. Hi sorry to bother you. I am interested in making your Nanaimo Balls. They look delicious! I was going through the ingredients and I had one question I was hoping you could answer for me. When it comes to the dry pudding mix, is it instant mix or cook and serve? Thank you!

  9. Hi,

    If I used the custard cream powder would I use the same amount as the pudding powder?  Great idea, thanks for posting.

  10. Mine was goopy too but I put the filling in the fridge for a few minutes and it worked okay after that. I had a lot of the crusty part left over and quite a bit of chocoalte too so maybe I didn’t roll them up enough in the mixture?

    • I just doubled checked my instructions and I do have it stated in there to freeze them (mine were goopy too but after I froze them, they worked out great 🙂 I had a little left (if memory serves me right) but I’d rather have too much then too little, it also depends on how big you make the balls too 🙂 Happy eating!

  11. 4 stars
    I think I was a little short on powdered sugar the first go-round and that’s why the filling didn’t roll so easy. I had the right amount the second time and the filling is firmer so probably will be easier to roll – plus I’m leaving it in the fridge for a while. I’m really glad I found the recipe, though. Love the bar version and these are just as amazing so thanks!

  12. These look great! I was wonder if you’ve tried making them ahead of time and keeping them in the freezer. If so, how long do they need to thaw for before serving?
    TIA

  13. These are great!!! Quick and easy. Love it

  14. 4 stars
    These taste good but are very sweet.  My filling was also soupy and I followed the recipe to the t.  I tried to salvage my filling by putting the dough in the feeezer for 20 minutes BEFORE I rolled it into balls.  It worked very well.  Maybe one step should be added in the recipe steps.

  15.  Hi, these look amazing. I’d like to send these to my son in college. Do they need to stay refrigerated? 

  16. What kind of cream? I”m trying to make these but no idea

  17. Made these, followed the recipe as is, turned out amazing! After I covered with chocolate I sprinkled some with graham cracker crumbs and left the others without. I will definitely be making these again. Thanks!

  18. Question

    Is the chocolate mixture supposed to be like crumbs or “wet”?
    There is no way I can roll the filling in the chocolate mixture it is very wet I had to mash them together lol
    I’m thinking scratch the melted butter?

    • Hey Kendra, the chocolate mixture is crumb-like. A lot of people miss the instruction that I have to freezer the filling before rolling. That’s what I did for the balls in the photo. However, if you make it without the butter, let me know how it goes. I have been meaning to remake these because I have had some people complain and some let me know they were perfect.

  19. 5 stars
    I use the chocolate base of my Nanaimo bar recipe, doubling the chocolate custard(?) portion of the recipe, and wrap a Tbsp or so around a cherry. I then wrap a layer of the cherry ball coating around that and then roll the balls in chocolate cookie or graham wafer crumbs. I call them Black Forest Balls. No matter what you call them, they are to die for! Enjoy

  20. I thought I followed this recipe to the letter but I messed up. I froze my balls before I put the crumbs on and now it won’t stick. Any ideas would be great.

  21. Amazing!!! Made as written and they came out awesome. Couldn’t make enough fast enough. I have been asked to make a double bath for Christmas. Thanks!!!

  22. I LOVE Nanimo bars,this recipe looks so easy,I’m trying it now,for Christmas gifts….haha ya they won’t make it to the gift bags!
    Thanks for a great idea

    • Haha! It’s true…they’re so addicting. Good thing they’re rich so you don’t eat them all 🙂

      Remember the instruction about the freezer 🙂 Some people forget it and I get emails about it 😉

  23. Is the pudding you use instant? Thanks I’m getting ready to make these hopefully today here in Canada eh!

  24. Can these be made ahead and frozen for a few weeks

  25. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I grew up in Nanaimo but now live in the South and have been missing this great dessert. I came across your recipe a few years ago and have been making them for friends and family ever since. They’re always a hit! Thank you. The only thing is I renamed them Nanaimo Bar Truffles because we’re really immature and “Nanaimo Balls” makes us snicker every time

  26. I just made these. SO messy, but worth the aggravation

  27. 5 stars
    these were great! i did have a lot of the “crumble” part left over. but i did use my food processor to blend up whole pecans and whole graham crackers up. so it wasn’t has chunky as the was called for. which turned out fine in my opinion. but it did lead to having extra for me to use for another batch of the filling.

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