Protein balls are little bites of peanut butter that will keep you going until meal time. Also known as protein bites or energy balls, the combination of nut butter, oats and flax or protein powder makes for a tasty, high-energy snack. Their taste and texture will remind you of a chewy peanut butter cookie, but without the refined sugar, flour or butter.
You won't need any special equipment to make these energy bites. Just a bowl and a wooden spoon or spatula—no food processor required. If you want to include protein powder, replace it with ground flax and chia seeds. Plain, vanilla or chocolate protein powder work beautifully.
Protein balls are very easy to customize using your favorite ingredients. Replace peanut butter with almonds, mix in flaked coconut, throw in some chocolate chips or dried fruit, and more. Both vegetarian and gluten-free (as long as you use certified gluten-free oats), grab them on the go to take with you, especially before a workout.
“These peanut butter protein balls taste great and are so easy to make! They were quick, too—they took me just over 10 minutes to make. I used my (lightly oiled) hands to mix and used a cookie scoop 1, 5 tbsp to form the balls.” —Diana Rattray
1 cup oat flakes
1 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or protein powder
1 Tablespoon chia seeds or protein powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extractoptional
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (if using unsalted nut butter), optional
1/4 cup mini chocolate chipsoptional
Gather the materials.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, peanut butter, honey, ground flax, chia seeds, vanilla (if using), and salt (if using). Use a wooden spoon or fork to mix well.
If using chocolate chips, add them and stir to combine.
Remove the mixture using a spoon or cookie scoop and use your hands to roll it into a smooth ball, then transfer to the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Serve immediately or refrigerate the protein balls in an airtight container until ready to eat.
- Use natural, runny peanut butter for this recipe. Avoid thick, unstirred nut butters.
- For vegan protein balls, swap the honey for maple syrup or agave. Adjust the amount of sweetener according to your taste.
- A plant-based protein powder works best for this recipe. You can use vanilla or chocolate flavored powder to add more sweetness to the energy bites.
- Note that different protein powders will react differently when added to the mix as some are drier than others. If the protein ball mix becomes too dry, add a little nut milk.
- Peanut Butter Cookie: Leave out the chocolate chips. For a little crunch, add up to 1/4 cup of crushed peanuts.
- Almond Joy: Swap the peanut butter for the almond and add 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flakes and 2-3 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips.
- PB&J: Swap out the chocolate chips for dried, sweetened cranberries or plump raisins.
- Cinnamon Raisin: Swap out the peanut butter for almond butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and swap out the chocolate chips for raisins.
- Date: Add about 3/4 cup of chopped dates to the mixture.
Method of storage and freezing
Store the protein balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.
Can you eat raw oats in energy balls?
Energy bites and protein ball recipes call for quick-cooking or rolled oats, which have been steamed as part of their processing. You can enjoy them uncooked in energy balls as well as recipes like overnight oats.
|Nutrition facts (per portion)|
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|Quantity per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Saturated fat 1 g||6%|
|Dietary fiber 2 g||8%|
|Total sugars 5g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|Calcium 18 mg||1%|
|Potassium 126 mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to the daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general dietary advice.|
(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)