Homemade Protein Bars
Appetizers & Snacks | Published Aug 11, 2021 | Updated Aug 11, 2021 | By Tawnie
If you love my 5 ingredient energy bar recipe you’ll be sure to adore these homemade protein bars too!
As a busy mom, I need all of the convenient and healthy snacks and it’s a bonus if I can eat with one hand. If you’re a mama, you’re probably nodding your head yes in agreement! 🤣
I love a good protein bar recipe especially one with no baking involved! This one is made with peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter), is gluten free, and is perfect post workout or for an afternoon pick me up.
Table of contents
You’ll love this homemade protein bar compared to others because:
- Has only 10 basic pantry staple ingredients
- Naturally sweetened
- Salty and peanut buttery
- Packed with protein
- Vegan friendly, dairy free and gluten free
- PERFECT for meal prep
- Delicious freezer friendly snack
- Much cheaper than store bought protein bars
The great thing about making your protein bars from home is having the flexibility to add what you want into your bars. Here is what you’ll need:
- Medjool Dates: Medjool dates are a wonderful way to naturally sweeten your protein bars. They have notes of caramel and hints of honey which compliment the other flavors in this bar beautifully.
- Cashews and Walnuts: I recommend soaking the cashews and walnuts prior to adding to the food processor so they are soft enough to blend smoothly. 15-20 minutes is all you need to soak them.
- Almond flour: I love using almond flour to add more protein to these bars. However, oat flour works as a great substitute as well. You can easily make your own by blending oats in a high powered blender until they reach a fine powder.
- Peanut Butter: I love using a drippy, smooth peanut butter. You can use a cashew butter, almond butter or any nut butter you prefer.
- Chia Seeds or Chia Seed Powder: I’ve been loving this chia seed powder because you get the benefits of the chia seeds (antioxidants, omega 3’s, fiber) but the powder acts as a great binder for these protein bars.
- Chocolate: Melted dark chocolate with a little coconut oil is a great way to finish off these bars. You can add just a drizzle or pour over the top and smooth it out.
Step by Step Directions:
- Soak: if Medjool dates are a little on the hard side, soak in lukewarm water until soft. Soak cashews and walnuts in a separate bowl.
- Prepare loaf pan: line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper, if desired.
- Combine: Pulse chopped dates and nuts in a food processor to incorporate. Then add in the remaining ingredients and process again until a cookie dough consistency forms (see video).
- Press into pan: Press mixture into pan either with your hands or spread with the back of a spoon to pack mixture down into an even, flat layer.
- Melt chocolate: Melt your favorite dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler on the stovetop, or in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds to encourage melting. Then pour over the top of bars and spread evenly. Sprinkle with maldon salt.
- Freeze: Freeze bars for 2 hours, or until firm.
- Cut into bars: Once chilled, cut into bars or squares and enjoy. Bars are best stored in freezer. I love keeping mine in Stasher Bags!
Expert Tips and Variations
- Soak the Medjool dates in a bowl with lukewarm water if they are not soft. This can easily be done while the nuts are soaking!
- Melt the peanut butter: Microwave the peanut butter or nut butter of choice in a microwave safe container for 30 seconds to get it drippy. This will make it easier to blend with the other ingredients.
- Use ground flaxseed in place if chia seeds if desired. Or, even a combination of both flax & chia!
- Use any size pan! I’m using an 8×5 inch loaf pan, but you can also use an 8×8 inch or a 9×9 inch.
- Cut the bars into larger bars (as shown in photos), or smaller squares for convenient snacking.
- Store in freezer to keep bars firm, and not soft & mushy.
Yes! Add a scoop of your favorite protein powder for an additional protein boost. If gluten free, looking for protein powders that are grain free.
Yes, totally! Using a cookie scoop, roll the mixture into balls between the palm of your hands, drizzle with chocolate if desired and freeze.
Up to 1 week in the fridge or 2 months properly stored in the freezer.
Yes! These homemade protein bars do! They have the perfect balance of carbohydrates, fiber, and fat to give you energy and keep you feeling full.
HUNGRY FOR MORE? If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback! You can also follow me on Pinterest or Instagram. Sign up for my email list, too!
Homemade Protein Bars
- 10 Medjool Dates, pitted*
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter, drippy*
- 1 Tbsp. chia seed powder
- 3/4 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- pinch of cinnamon, optional
- 1-2 scoops protein powder, optional
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy free if needed)
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. flaky sea salt (such as Maldon), optional
- Soak: if Medjool dates are a little on the hard side, soak in lukewarm water until soft. Soak cashews and walnuts together in a separate bowl for about 10 minutes.
- Prepare loaf pan: line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper, if desired. I didn't line mine with anything, and it worked just fine too.
- Combine: Pulse chopped dates and nuts in a food processor to incorporate. Then add in the remaining ingredients: almond flour, honey, peanut butter, chia seed powder, coconut oil and vanilla (and protein powder, if using). Process until a cookie dough consistency forms (see video).
- Press into pan: Press mixture into pan either with your hands or spread with the back of a spoon to pack mixture down into an even, flat layer. (You can use any pan you prefer, 8×5 loaf pan, 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch square. Larger the pan = thiner the bars).
- Melt chocolate: Melt your favorite dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler on the stovetop, or in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds to encourage melting. Then pour chocolate over the top of bars and spread evenly. Sprinkle with Maldon salt, optional.
- Freeze: Freeze bars for 2 hours, or until firm.
- Cut into bars: Once chilled, cut into bars or squares and enjoy. Bars are best stored in freezer.
- Medjool dates: Fresh Medjool dates work well because they are soft and break down easily when processed. If your dates are hard, soak in warm water to soften for ~10-15 minutes.
- Peanut butter: a drippy peanut butter is recommended, or microwave for ~30 seconds to make it smooth and drippy.
- Boost the protein content even more by adding in 1-2 scoops of your favorite protein powder. I love adding in a vanilla protein powder for a bit of flavor!
- Nutrition information is based off of 1 large protein bar (as shown in photos). Feel free to cut smaller into bars or squares, and adjust nutritional information accordingly.
- Best stored in the freezer in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 2 months.
Hi, I’m Tawnie!
Welcome to my tiny “korner” on the Internet! I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who loves cookies as much as kale. (OK, maybe I like cookies a little bit more but shh, don’t tell anyone). I am so glad you’re here! Follow along for hassle free, realistic and approachable recipes.More about Tawnie
Super excited to try these…. how long do you need to soak the nuts?
Thank you so much! I hope you love them. Usually around 10 minutes is plenty of time 🙂 xo, Tawnie