Made with love for the holidays

No-bake Swedish Oat Balls make for and fun and festive gift

oat balls

Photo: Kristi Bissell
Chokladbollar are both a tasty and festive treat for the holidays, and they are so easy to make.

True North Kitchen

oat balls

Photo: Kristi Bissell
A handful of chocolate chips in the mixture makes for more texture—and more taste.

Should you find yourself in need of a last-minute, easy homemade holiday gift that doesn’t even require you to turn on the oven, give these No-Bake Swedish Oat Balls, known as chokladbollar, a try. These classic Swedish treats are a simple mixture of butter, oats, and cocoa powder, and they come together in just 20 minutes. After a brief chill in the fridge, they are ready to gift to someone special or enjoy with your afternoon cup of coffee should you decide to keep one or two for yourself.

My recipe differs just slightly from the classic chokladbollar in that it includes a handful of chopped chocolate chips to add a little textural contrast and really maximize the chocolate flavor in these tasty little balls. If you’d like to keep things more traditional, feel free to omit the chopped chocolate. 

Pearl sugar, sprinkles and coconut are the classic options for coating the oat balls. My favorite is pearl sugar, which is also the most traditional. Pearl sugar can be found in Scandinavian stores, kitchen specialty stores and sometimes in well-stocked grocery stores. Consider rolling some of the balls in red and/or green sprinkles for a festive holiday look!

oat balls

Photo: Kristi Bissell
If the balls are difficult to shape, it will help if you chill the dough for 10 to 15 minutes.

The recipe for these simple No-Bake Swedish Oat Balls is very self-explanatory, but I’ve got a few tips to ensure that your chokladbollar are the very best they can be:

Be sure to chop the oats for best results. I tested this recipe using whole rolled oats and chopped, and the chopped oats were the hands-down winner. The texture is still pleasantly oat-y but also refined.

If you are having a hard time rolling the balls into a perfect ball shape, chill the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, and try again. These balls should be easy to roll right away, but if you feel the mixture is too soft to work with, chilling it briefly will harden it up a bit.

The balls must not be fully chilled for the coating to stick. If you have briefly chilled the balls before rolling, that will be fine but the coating won’t stick to a fully chilled ball. Let them warm up a bit or roll them between your hands before rolling in the coating.

Lightly press the coating into the surface of each ball as necessary to get it to adhere. It may take a little effort to get that coating to stick so be patient and don’t be afraid to press down so that it stays put.

I hope this recipe comes in handy this holiday season, whether you intend to gift these simply delicious treats to someone special or enjoy them yourself. Or both! You can always make a double batch.

No Bake Swedish Chocolate Oat Balls 


Makes 25 balls

2 tbsps. brewed coffee

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsps. cocoa powder

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp. fine salt

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, pulsed 8-10 times in a food processor

1/3 cup chocolate chips, pulsed 8-10 times in a food processor

Sprinkles, pearl sugar or shredded coconut for rolling the balls

Here’s how you make it:

Combine the coffee, vanilla, and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Set aside. 

Beat the butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy. Add the coffee/cocoa mixture, the chopped oats and chocolate. Stir to combine. 

Roll the mixture into balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Roll the balls in sprinkles, pearl sugar or coconut. Chill until firm.

*It’s best to store chokladbollar in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy them.

**Kids love to make and eat these oat balls, and this is a great recipe for getting them involved in the kitchen. With no oven and a “dough” that is edible, it’s a great project for little ones.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 19, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog,