Protein Balls

protein balls

The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 18 servings
Yield: 18 balls
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
141 Calories
9g Fat
12g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18
Amount per serving
Calories 141
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 86mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 135mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Protein balls are little bites of peanut buttery goodness that will keep you going until mealtime. Also known as protein bites or energy balls, the combination of nut butter, oats, and flax or protein powder makes for a high-energy, tasty snack. Their flavor and texture will remind you of a chewy peanut butter cookie, but without any 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'd like to include protein powder, swap it out for the ground flax and chia seeds. Plain, vanilla, or chocolate protein powder work nicely.

Protein balls are super easy to customize using your favorite ingredients. Swap out the peanut butter for almond butter, mix in flaked coconut, toss in some chocolate chips or dried fruit, and more. Both vegetarian and gluten-free (as long as you use certified gluten-free oats), take them on the go for a pick-me-up, especially before a workout.


  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 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 extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (if using unsalted nut butter), optional

  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, peanut butter, honey, ground flax, chia seeds, vanilla (if using), and salt (if using). Use a wooden spoon or fork to mix well.

  3. If you're using chocolate chips, add them and mix to combine.

  4. Scoop out the mixture using a spoon or cookie scoop and use your hands to roll it into a smooth ball, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

  5. Serve immediately or store the protein balls in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to eat.

How to Store and Freeze

Store protein balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.


  • Use natural, runny peanut butter for this recipe. Avoid thick, no-stir nut butter.
  • For vegan protein balls, swap the honey for maple syrup or agave. Adjust the amount of sweetener 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 mixture since some are drier than others. If the protein ball mixture becomes too dry, add a little nut milk.

Recipe Variations

  • Peanut Butter Cookie: Leave out the chocolate chips. For a bit of crunch, add up to 1/4 cup crushed peanuts.
  • Almond Joy: Swap the peanut butter for almond butter and add 2-3 tablespoons coconut flakes and 2-3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips.
  • PB&J: Swap the chocolate chips for dried, sweetened cranberries or plump raisins.
  • Cinnamon Raisin: Swap the peanut butter for almond butter, add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and swap the chocolate chips for raisins.

Can You Eat Raw Oats in Energy Balls?

Energy bites and protein ball recipes call for quick-cooking or rolled oats, both of which have been steamed as part of their processing. They can be enjoyed uncooked in energy balls as well as recipes like overnight oats.