No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Snowballs

stack of no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs on a red plate

Welcome to day 3 in Sally’s Cookie Palooza!

While recipe 3 in 2017’s cookie palooza may not look like a traditional cookie or taste like a traditional cookie, it can most certainly find a place on your holiday cookie trays. Why? You need a little variety!

It’s hip to be square. Errrr…. round.

no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs

I’m hosting Christmas this year. I know I know… I have a newborn. I’m crazy. But I truly enjoy entertaining. Nothing makes me happier than gathering our families together for meals and memories. And if it can be done at my own house so I don’t have to travel with a car packed full of dog stuff and baby stuff, that’s even better. (MAN ALIVE my children require a lot!!!) But not only that, it means a lot to me to spend Noelle’s first Christmas at our own home. And I can wear my slippers all day, which is clearly the most important of all.

But entertaining means I need to come up with some menus. I’ll share our Christmas brunch and dinner menus when I plan them out, but I’m mostly concerned with dessert at this point. Those other meals? Ehh. Do they even matter? The Christmas dessert tray has to be epic!!!

overhead image of no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs on a red plate with various other types of Christmas cookies

Pictured: Christmas tree and snowflake sugar cookies using this sugar cookie and royal icing, today’s snowballs, and cake batter chocolate chip cookies

Let’s discuss this.

How to Make an Epic Christmas Dessert Tray

  1. 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’ll be a heck of a lot easier too. Extra hands = faster baking. You can even make “Christmas cookie baking day” an annual event.
  2. Prepare some items ahead of time. There’s plenty of time between now and Christmas, but we all know that our calendars fill quickly and things get real hectic, real fast. So do your future self a favor and begin soon. Freeze baked cookies and cookie dough now, you’ll be thankful you had a head start!
  3. Pick up a Christmas platter. I just bought this one and this one. They’re even more beautiful in real life. Nice and big too! Here’s another one I have my eye on.
  4. Use varying shapes, sizes, and textures. That’s where today’s recipe comes in. Make different shapes with cookie cutter sugar cookies, add some red in there, lots of sprinkles, gingerbread men, triangles, cheesecake brownies, fudge, stars, and balls. Different shapes and sizes not only makes a beautiful tray, but guarantees there’s something for everyone.

These no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs cover all the bases. You can make them now and freeze ’em for later, they’re easy, and they add a festive look to the entire tray. Plus, they’re SO DARN GOOD. Watch how I make them:

Aren’t they fun???

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

Told ya, so easy.

ingredients for no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs in bowls and measuring cups

2 images of chocolate oat mixture with a cookie scoop and rolling a chocolate snowball into shredded coconut

The mixture is pretty sticky, so it’ll have to chill out in the refrigerator before you shape into balls. You WANT a sticky foundation. Why? If the chocolate-oat mixture is too dry, the finished snowballs will taste dry.

no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs on a baking sheet with a bowl of chocolate oat mixture

stack of no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs on a red plate

The chocolate coconut snowballs are a lot like my no-bakes, Kevin’s favorite cookie of all time. Though today’s snowballs don’t include peanut butter. The horror!!!! But even without peanut butter, Kevin still loved them. He saw me typing up this post and he literally just said “those things were awesome.” Coming from a man who usually says “that was good” … “awesome” says quite a lot!

(PS: want to add peanut butter? See my recipe note!)

no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs

Have fun no-baking!

See all cookie palooza recipes.

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stack of no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs on a red plate

No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Snowballs

  • Author: Sally
  • 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 (240g) old-fashioned 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 (31g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Place the oats and 1 cup of shredded coconut in a large bowl. Set aside. (Reserve the remaining coconut for step 3.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.”
  6. Snowballs will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.


  1. 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.
  2. Special Tools: Ninja Food Processor | Measuring Cups | Glass Mixing Bowls | Cookie ScoopSilpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet
  3. 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).

cookie palooza logo image


  1. I can’t wait to try these. I love coconut. So you had me there & at no bake. Now to get that gorgeous red plate you have them on. Can you share the details of where to find them?

    1. I love this plate too! It’s by Pioneer Woman. I found it at Walmart!

  2. You think I can use white chocolate instead?

    1. White chocolate powder/ground white chocolate you mean? I haven’t attempted it, so I’m not 100% positive.

  3. My mom has made these since I was a little child. Only difference was she just dropped them and didn’t roll them into balls with coconut.

  4. Hmm I just tried this today and after chilling for a few hours I found my top half of batter extra dry and bottom half extra moist! So half my cookies were perfect but the first half are kinda falling apart lol! It was a little tough to stir at that point, so I’m wondering if there’s a better way to incorporate all that sugar goodness before chilling? Or should I have let it cool to room temp before chilling? 

    1. Hi Sarah Jean! I wonder if you kept the chilled mixture out on the counter for a few extra minutes, if you could stir it up a little better then? I never let it cool to room temp before chilling, so I don’t think that is the issue. I’m glad the few snowballs that worked out were great!

      1. Did you chilled it before adding the sugar?

  5. These snowballs look so delicious and chocolatey – perfect for Christmas too!

  6. I was wondering if I could replace the oats with puffed rice.
    Thank you

    1. I don’t recommend it.

  7. Could I use unsweetened coconut? I only have it on hand today. 

    1. You could use finely shredded unsweetened coconut, yes. But you’d likely have to increase the sugar as well. Let me know if you try anything!

  8. Linda Gardepe says:

    Do you think that these would freeze?

    1. Yep! See my make-ahead tip.

  9. Hi Sally, can I use dessicated coconut for this?Haven’t seen a shredded coconut in supermarket eversince.Thanks much. I am looking forward to baking your seriously fudgy brownies again for Christmas and as give aways to our friends too. God bless you always.

    1. Hi Gee Ann! I strongly recommend sweetened shredded coconut as it retains a lot more moisture than desiccated coconut. How about making my no-bake cookies instead– no coconut in those!

  10. Just wondering if these were gluten free. I’d love to use for a cookie exchange coming up.

    1. If using certified GF oats, these coconut snowballs are gluten free. (Also check the coconut you use to make sure it is not processed in a factory that also process wheat products.)

  11. My mom also made a version of these using graham wafer crumbs instead of oats.  Merry Christmas

  12. Sally – I made these this weekend, and they were a MASSIVE hit. Thank you for making me a star!

  13. Deanna Duguid says:

    I make these every year but I add Rum and chopped raisins. My husband LOVES them. When the rolling into a ball gets messy? I wet my hands a little and it helps enormously,

    1. Rum and raisins sounds delish!!

  14. These were great and look great on the holiday party desert table! Thanks

  15. Are the oats instant oat?…or do they have to be regular?

    1. You should use old fashioned oats – not instant or quick oats. The texture of quick oats is much finer.

  16. Just made these and accidently added the vanilla with other ingredients on stove. Should I add more vanilla to the mixture ready for refrigerator. Considering starting over 🙁 Thanks.

    1. That’s totally fine. The only reason it’s added after is because I’m always weary of adding alcohol-based extract to heat. The heat can cook off a lot of the flavor. After removing from heat, you can add a little more if you’d like.


  18. These look good. I am thinking about turning these 
    Into no bake energy bites.  I think they would be good.
    I have been looking on Pinterest for chocolate energy 
    Bites and so far none of the ones they have appeal to me
    at all. But they did have these listed in that category 
    for some reason. Please let me know by e-mailing me.

  19. I have made these many times for decades. You don’t want them sticky. Cook to the soft boil stage, quickly incorporate the oats, cocoanut et al (mixture will be stiff) and press into buttered pan, or drop by spoonsful onto buttered wax paper, making a cone shape. The best Fudge ever. I don’t know when the recipe changed to gooey. It’s not the original.

  20. Do you think coconut oil would work instead of butter?

    1. Hi Thea! 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!

  21. Hey Sally!

    These. Are. DELICIOUS!!! Very rich and very chocolatey. Just how I like them. I did add about a half cup of crushed graham crackers to the because I needed to use them up, and I rolled the balls in a mixture of coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and rice krispie cereal. The rice kirsipies added a little extra crunch. I will be making these again!!! Thank-you for the great recipe! Yours is my new favorite baking website!

  22. Sally, is there a possibility of replacing butter with coconut oil?

    1. Hi Venita! Yes, many readers have tried that before and loved the results. Let me know what you think!

  23. Can the butter be substituted with anything to make these dairy free?

    1. Hi Alex, I haven’t personally tested it but you can try to use something like Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks. Let me know if you try it!

  24. These are AMAZING! I’m getting requests for more already! Quick question… anyone ever made these with unsweetened coconut flakes? I have a ton of that at home and was thinking of trying it…

    1. Hi Kayla! You can use finely shredded unsweetened coconut. I recommend increasing the sugar. Let me know if you try anything!

  25. Do you think it would be ok to halve the recipe?

  26. Hi Sally! I have made these before and they turned out so deliciously; I want to make them again, but was wondering whether I could press the mixture into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan (lined with parchment? Or maybe plastic wrap?) and cut into bars? Or do you think your recipe for Nutella No-Bake cookies in Sally’s Cookie Addiction would be better for bars? Thanks! Love your site and recipes (and your fabulous cookbook! It’s the best!)

    1. Oh yum! I’ve never attempted this recipe as no-bake bars but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I hesitate to guarantee that the 9×13 inch pan would be large enough. I *think* it should be. Make sure you really press the mixture tightly into the pan. Let me know how they turn out!

      1. I will, Sally, thanks! I can’t wait! And would the Nutella no-bake mixture work as well?

  27. These turned out fabulously, Sally! The flavor is outstanding. I did pulse the oats a little to break them down, as last time I made these the oats left a very chewy texture. But these are so good! I will be making them again and again. Thanks for the great recipe, Sally!

  28. Gale R Barnett says:

    My one of my husband’s favorite cookies but his mom added a heaping half cup of peanut butter at the end of cooking. Chocolate, oatmeal, coconut are prefect just have to add peanut butter to keep the peace.

  29. Can you use quick oats rather than old fashioned oats?

    1. Hi Rose! You can, but the snowballs will taste a little dry from the powder-y consistency of the quick oats. For best taste and texture, I recommend sticking with whole old-fashioned oats.

  30. How much rum could I add without making the cookies too wet?

    1. Hi Dolly! You can replace a couple Tablespoons of the milk with the same amount of rum.

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