These no bake protein balls are made completely without oats or any grains, and can be modified to use the ingredients you have on hand. This is another recipe where substitutions are encouraged!
What makes these protein balls unique
We’ve been down similar recipe roads before. But these protein bites are made with very different ingredients, and are truly protein-packed as opposed to just being packed with “energy.”
These no bake protein balls smooth in texture and much softer than other recipes. Plus, they’re naturally grain free, unlike our homemade protein bars.
Peanut butter energy bites
First, we made peanut butter energy bites before, and they quickly became a staple recipe in my house for both busy school mornings and after school snacks. They’re packed with texture from coconut flakes, seeds, oats and held together with honey, peanut butter and oat flour.
Grain free peanut butter energy bites
In response to the desire of some to avoid oats, we then made grain free energy bites, with lots (and lots) of different chopped nuts, coconut, and seeds, without any oats at all. They’re very textured, like their oat-containing cousins.
How to make protein bites when the cupboards are nearly bare
If you’re staying inside more these days, or you’re just kind of a homebody ?♀️, you may not have all the ingredients to make whatever your heart desires. I wouldn’t want you to have to go without just because you don’t have exactly the ingredients the recipe calls for.
These soft, chewy, and satisfying no bake protein balls can be made in lots of different flavors with only a few ingredient swaps. The only 3 absolutely essential elements are:
- Nut butter (with a possible substitution discussed below)
- Liquid sweetener
- Protein powder
Each ingredient has an important role to play, but they can be combined in many different ways. I’ve provided three specific flavor variations in the recipe card below.
- chocolate peanut butter (with peanut butter and cocoa powder),
- peanut butter (peanut butter and powdered peanut butter), and
- chocolate chip cookie dough (cashew butter and molasses).
So take a look in your cupboards, and see what you can create!
(More) Ingredients and substitutions
These no bake protein balls are made to be almost endlessly customizable, so you can use what suits your tastes and the state of your pantry stock. The ingredient notes below are designed to help you avoid additional allergens, if need be.
Dairy: Whey protein isolate is my favorite protein powder to use, not only for the most authentic gluten free bread recipes, but for protein-rich snacks like our protein cookies. It is nearly all protein, and is flavorless, so you can create whatever flavor you like best.
I really like Isopure brand and Opportuniteas brand organic whey protein isolate. I have found both on Amazon.com, as well as my local health food store.
If you can’t have dairy, you can use your favorite protein powder. The recipe would work with Vega brand protein powder, which I’ve used many times in the past and is very widely available (including in many drug stores). But that style of protein powder is flavored, so it limits the adaptability of this recipe.
Nuts: Nut butter, mostly peanut butter, is the base of every variety of these protein balls. We use cashew butter in the chocolate chip cookie dough variety because it’s the most neutral nut butter in flavor.
I’m not that optimistic about using a nut-free butter, like sunflower seed butter, since it tends to be quite runny. You could try using that, and adding more coconut flour to help bind them together. You won’t be able to make the straight peanut butter variety, as cocoa powder is the only alternative to powdered peanut butter.
Honey/liquid sweetener : In place of honey, you can use pure maple syrup, but it’s a lot more expensive. It’s also a bit thinner and less viscous, so don’t skip the coconut flour.
The cookie dough variety calls for 1 tablespoon of unsulphured molasses (which is just standard molasses, like Grandma’s brand). It really helps them taste like chocolate chip cookie dough, which is made with molasses-containing brown sugar. You can use more honey if you prefer, but you will sacrifice flavor.
Miniature chocolate chips: You can leave the chips out, or use chopped nuts in their place. Resist the urge to overload them with more and more chips, which would inhibit the balls’ ability to hold together.