I love filling holiday cookie trays with classics like Christmas sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, chocolate crinkle cookies, and gingerbread cookies.
But sometimes it’s fun to add something unique to the mix, a treat that doesn’t even require the oven. (Save that precious oven space!) Everyone loves a little variety on their cheese boards, so let’s give ’em a little variety here too! Add today’s chocolate coconut snowballs to your line-up.
Let’s discuss putting together a Christmas dessert tray.
How to Make an Epic Christmas Dessert Tray
- Enlist help. Why not invite family and friends over to help you actually make the desserts that will go on the tray?! Not only will it be more fun if baking’s a family affair, it’s a lot easier too. Extra hands = faster baking. You can even make “Christmas cookie baking day” an annual event, or host a cookie decorating day.
- Prepare some items ahead of time. At the end of the year, things get real hectic… real fast. So do your future self a favor and begin soon. Review how to freeze cookie dough and you’ll be thankful you had a head start!
- Use varying shapes, sizes, and textures. That’s where today’s recipe comes in. Make different shaped sugar cookies like snowman sugar cookies, add some red in there with cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies, lots of sprinkles from cake batter chocolate chip cookies and brown butter sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, regular shortbread or salted chocolate pistachio shortbread triangles, gingerbread swirl fudge, maple cinnamon star cookies, and peanut butter balls or Oreo balls. Different shapes and sizes not only makes a beautiful tray, but guarantees there’s something for everyone.
Today’s no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs cover all the bases. You can make them now and freeze them for later, they’re easy, and they add a festive look to the entire tray. Plus, they’re delicious!
Here’s The Plan
- Heat butter + sugar + cocoa + milk on the stove
- Pour over oats and coconut
- Shape into balls
- Roll in coconut
- You’re done
It’s that easy! They’re like a chocolate coconut no-bake version of regular snowball cookies.
The mixture is pretty sticky, so you’ll have to chill it in the refrigerator before you shape it into balls. You WANT a sticky foundation. Why? If the chocolate-oat mixture is too dry, the finished snowballs will taste dry.
The chocolate coconut snowballs are a lot like my chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies, though today’s snowballs don’t include peanut butter. (The horror!!) But even without peanut butter, we still loved them.
(P.S. Want to add peanut butter? See my recipe note!)
No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Snowballs
- Prep Time: 55 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- Yield: 30 balls
- Category: Cookies
- Method: No Bake
- Cuisine: American
These no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs are easy to make and freeze wonderfully.
- 3 cups (255g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 3 cups (240g) sweetened shredded coconut, divided
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup milk (any milk works; I use skim milk)
- 6 Tablespoons (32g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Place the oats and 1 cup of shredded coconut in a large bowl. Set aside. (Reserve the remaining coconut for step 3.)
- Combine the butter, sugar, milk, cocoa, and salt together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the butter melts, then bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute without whisking. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, then pour over the oats/coconut. Stir until combined. Cover tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes and up to 2-3 days.
- Meanwhile, pulse the remaining coconut in a food processor to break it down. It’s easier to coat the balls when the coconut shreds are broken up/smaller.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. And make sure there is enough room in your refrigerator for the baking sheets.
- Using a 1-Tablespoon cookie scoop (or simply a spoon), roll into 1 Tablespoon balls. The mixture may get a little sticky as you work, but just form it into a ball as best you can. Roll balls in coconut and place on the baking sheets. Refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes to “set.”
- Snowballs will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the mixture and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days before rolling in balls. Snowballs freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving.
- Special Tools: Ninja Food Processor | Measuring Cups | Glass Mixing Bowls | Cookie Scoop | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet
- Want to Add Peanut Butter? Go for it. I wanted today’s snowballs to be nut-free, but you can add 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter. Simply add it to the saucepan in step 2. Reduce butter to 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp).
Keywords: No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Snowballs
Reader Comments & Reviews
I’ve made these at least 3 or 4 times now, and I know I’m not the only one in my family sneaking them out of the fridge! We all love these! I must admit that I toyed with the recipe a bit; I reduced the oats by 1 1/2 cups (I know this seems like a lot, but it was actually just enough! Otherwise the mixture would have been really dry), subbed brown sugar for half of the granulated sugar, and tossed a cup of shaved almonds in with the mix. This last time, I used the lazy method of using a cookie scoop instead of rolling them by hand. Super tasty, with a nice chew! I’d recommend pulsing the oats in a food processor for a few seconds to break them up a little, though. We’ve also loved these with Graham cracker crumbs and even Nutella, like the ones in Sally’s cookbook!
Hi Sally! I made these cookies for my mother-in-law who loves coconut, and she loved these! They have the right amount of chocolate, oats and coconut, she really enjoyed them!
Thank you for another great recipe!
I’m from Newfoundland and these are traditional at Christmas time. Just about every Newfoundlander I know makes these at Christmas time. What a surprise to see them on your website!
We made these this afternoon. They are chilling in the refrigerator now, but I did have to “test” one. Very rich and chocolate-y! Next time, I would make them smaller, so they are bite-sized. I used my TBSP cookie scoop, and they are about 2 bites. Thanks for the great recipe. Next time, I may try adding the peanut butter.
Great recipe! But what if you do whisk while boiling?
My 8 year old daughter who loves to bake has spent the morning making these all by herself (with supervision at the stove, obviously!) They were a lot of fun for her, and she says she loves the “chocolatey, oaty, YUMMY flavor” We are both huge fans of your recipes! Thank you!
So glad they were a hit, Lanna!
Can I use gluten free oats?
Absolutely! Just make sure they are whole oats — quick oats can make the cookies taste a bit dry and powdery.
I look forward to making these, Sally. Do you think I could add some chopped walnuts into dough?
Hi Betty! Yes, that should be fine. Enjoy!
Can I make these without the coconut?
Hi Caroline, how about these no-bake cookies instead? Let us know if you give them a try!
Great recipe, thanks! I have tried others that have double the sugar and a fraction of the coconut and oats. This recipe is the perfect blend.
I wrapped the batter around a maraschino cherry. I also used unsweetened coconut. They were so good.
Oh, I like this idea of adding a cherry!
Sounds yummy. Can you use unsweetened coconut? If so would you have to adjust the sugar?
Hi Janet, You can use finely shredded unsweetened coconut. We do recommend increasing the sugar. Let us know if you try them!
I use unsweetened coconut and do not increase the sugar but I do replace the butter with coconut oil which adds sweetened.
Have you tried these substituting coconut oil for butter?
Hi Kate, Coconut oil will work, though the mixture may be a little oily as you roll them. And you will lose the butter flavor. Let me know how they are!
I use coconut oil instead of butter and they are not oily! They are delicious!
I’m been making these with my family every Christmas since the early 90’s… always a favourite in our house 🙂
Hi Sally, do you know if the recipe works with substituting the milk with coconut milk?
Hi Faye, coconut milk (from a carton) should work just fine here. Let us know how you like these!
My suggestion is to use 1 cup of shredded coconut in the mixture then use desiccated coconut to rolls the balls. I don’t think you would need more than a cup to do this.
Can these be frozen and if so, for how long?
Hi Teresa, absolutely. Snowballs can be frozen for up to three months. See recipe Notes for more details.
I love that you are using old-fashioned oats. Lost my recipe years ago, using this wonderful ingredient.
Comments read earlier, ‘yes’ year-round sounds like an excellent idea!
Sally you bake from your heart. Thank you.
I liked these but the oat mixture wasn’t cooperating. I could have put them in the fridge for a bit longer but u didn’t have the patience, so I pressed the oats into a 9 x 13 pan and sprinkled the remaining coconut on top.
I love them recipe is easy to follow and they are quite tasty not too sweet just perfect. Thanks you for the recipe