Protein packed peanut butter energy balls. Made with chopped medjool dates, crunchy peanut butter, chia seeds, protein powder, quick oats (oatmeal) and maple syrup, this amazing recipe comes together with a food processor. They make the perfect quick healthy snack!
Originally published August 2020 | Reviewed and republished March 2023
Most of my snack obsessions some and go, but the love for energy balls / bliss balls / protein balls / whatever you want to call them continues to live on. And it seems like many people might be in the same camp as me, seeing as my No Food Processor Protein Balls is still one of the most popular recipes of all time on the blog!
- Energy balls made without a food processor! Yep that’s right, another easy peasy recipe right here. You can make them with zero fancy equipment. Sweet, chewy and creamy, and flecked with crunchy peanut pieces…all mixed together in a bowl.
- Make ahead recipe that can even be frozen. Simplify your life even more and batch-ahead with these energy balls, they will last up to 3 months in the freezer stored in an airtight bag.
- A nutritious snack with plant-based protein. They don’t just taste good, these yummy energy balls are also packed with fibre and plant-protein.
I wanted a bit of texture in these energy balls, so in this recipe I’ve used a base of crunchy natural peanut butter so each ball is studded with peanut pieces. Together with the oats, chia seeds and chewy date pieces, there is just so much good stuff going on in every bite of these energy balls!
- Medjool dates – these softer, chewier dates with a distinctly caramel flavour are essential for bringing the ingredients together.
- Crunchy natural peanut butter – I love the crunchy peanut pieces in these energy balls so personally crunchy is a must. However, smooth peanut butter can be used if that’s what you have.
- Quick oats – also called oatmeal or quick-cooking oats, these are the smaller sized oats that blend in really easily into this recipe. If you need to make this recipe completely gluten free, you can swap the quick oats for quinoa flakes.
- Protein powder – to keep this recipe plant-based you need a plant-based protein powder such as pea protein or brown rice protein. I recommend vanilla flavour, though chocolate or caramel flavoured protein powder would also work well.
- Chia seeds – these also help to bind the recipe together as well as adding healthy fats, fibre and bonus protein. If you really don’t like chia seeds, an option is to swap this ingredient to ground flaxseed (linseed).
- Maple syrup – a touch of maple syrup adds a little bit of sweetness and the stickiness needed to roll the mixture into balls.
- Cinnamon – this is an optional addition but I recommend a little sprinkle of cinnamon!
- Pinch of salt – again, this is optional but I promise you, a little pinch of salt really works magic when you have a caramel base of medjool dates.
See the recipe card below for ingredient quantities.
This recipe uses medjool dates, which physically are a bit larger and more squishy than other types of date. Medjool dates are not totally dehydrated like the other dates you see in the supermarket – they’re actually a “fresh” fruit and while they have dried out a bit on the tree before they’re harvested, they still retain some softness.
By chopping the medjool dates up into small pieces, you can take advantage of that sticky, caramel-ish texture and the pieces can blend right into the energy ball mixture and actually help it all stick together.
Pro tip: if you have a nice sharp pair of kitchen scissors or kitchen shears, use these to chop up the dates in no time!
I do not recommend using any other dates in this recipe except for medjool dates. As explained above, medjool dates are softer, fresh dates and this texture is needed in order to blend the dates with the other ingredients without a food processor.
Honestly, this recipe is really flexible and you really can use whatever type of protein powder you prefer – whey protein, hemp protein, brown rice protein, pea protein or something else. They’re all going to work fine. What’s most important is choosing a flavour that will taste good in this recipe. I recommend vanilla, chocolate or caramel flavours.
You could swap the peanut butter in this recipe for sunflower seed butter to make this a nut free recipe – this is probably the closest substitution to peanut butter. You could also try using tahini (sesame seed paste) however I haven’t yet tried it with tahini. I would recommend trying hulled tahini, which has a milder, creamier flavour.
Store these peanut butter energy balls in the fridge to maintain a nice firm texture. Pop them in a sealed container or jar. You can also extend their life by freezing them in an airtight container or zip lock bag. Take them out of the freezer ahead of time so they’re softened by the time you eat them (perfect for a lunch box or snack box!).
If you make my Peanut Butter Date Energy Balls, make sure to let me know. Comment below and let me know how they turned out, or take a snap and tag me on Instagram!
- 6 medjool dates
- 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
- 1/3 cup quick oats
- 4 tbsp vanilla protein powder
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp hot water
- Remove seeds from medjool dates. Chop the dates into small pieces.
- Place dates in a large bowl with all other ingredients. Mix firmly with a wooden spoon or spatula to bring the ingredients together, then use your hands to press into a crumbly dough. If the mixture seems too wet add another spoonful of protein powder.
- Use your hands to shape the mixture into small balls.
- Place the balls in the fridge or freezer to set. Keep the balls stored in the fridge or freezer depending on how firm you would like them.