Protein Balls

protein balls

The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 18 servings
Yield: 18 balls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
129 Calories
8g Fat
11g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18
Amount per serving
Calories 129
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 54mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 126mg 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.

"These peanut butter protein balls taste great, and they are so easy to make! They were quick, too—took me just over 10 minutes to prepare them. I used my hands (lightly oiled) to mix and used a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop to shape the balls." —Diana Rattray

protein balls with peanut butter and oats
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 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, optional

  • 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.

  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

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

Tips

  • 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.
  • Date: Add about 3/4 cup of finely chopped dates to the mixture.

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.

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.