Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (grain-free, vegan)

These healthy no-bake chocolate peanut butter balls are loaded with protein and are vegan, grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free.

Yesterday I set out to make a cinnamon raisin version of this raw peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough. I wasn’t feeling overly ambitious (meaning I didn’t feel like actually baking anything) and it sounded easy enough. Just use almond butter instead of peanut butter and add cinnamon and raisins! But no. That was gross.

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls without protein powder (vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free)

Then I decided that double chocolate peanut butter cookie dough sounded even better than the cinnamon raisin idea, but after adding additional peanut butter and doubling the maple syrup and still not being in love with the recipe, it became clear that that wasn’t in the cards, either. So I finally decided just to go with protein balls. These are delicious but they don’t taste like cookie dough. They do actually taste like grain-free cookie dough but that’s not what I was going for! If I’m going to make raw cookie dough, I want it to taste like it was made with all-purpose flour.

What we have here instead are some chocolate peanut butter protein balls! They don’t really taste like dessert, but they’re great for a quick, healthy, late-night chocolate craving. To be honest, I prefer the peanut butter cookie dough because it’s straight up peanut butter goodness. Once you add cocoa powder (with chocolate chips being an exception!) to something peanut butter flavored, it’s just not quite as good.

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls without protein powder (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free)

I haven’t tried it but I imagine almond butter would work in these if you want a paleo-friendly version. But after my cookie dough experiments, I don’t say that with 100% confidence.

Nut butters are weird. I always thought that they were mostly interchangeable but lately I’ve been playing around with them and the end product doesn’t always come out the same texture-wise! Sometimes they’re really different.

See those white specks in the balls? If you use a finely ground almond flour, you shouldn’t have those. I ran out of my favorite brand, which is uniformly finely ground, and had to buy something else. Only now when looking at these pictures did I realize how badly this other almond flour was ground! Do almond flour brands vary that greatly in the US? It almost looks as if I dumped some coconut flakes in there! Anyway. Enjoy the protein balls. :)

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)

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Rated 5.0 by 2 readers
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (grain-free, vegan)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 20 balls

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (224 grams) salted natural peanut butter (the kind with just salt and nuts)
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (66 grams) almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons (22 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (use dairy-free / vegan chocolate chips, if necessary)
  • a pinch of salt if your peanut butter is unsalted

Directions

  1. Mix everything together and roll into balls by squeezing together tablespoon-sized balls of dough. The dough should be a little crumbly, but not so crumbly that you can't form balls easily. If it's too dry to squeeze into balls, add a little extra water.
  2. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week. These also freeze well.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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44 comments on “Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (grain-free, vegan)” — Add one!

  • Dawne says
    March 15, 2017 @ 6:28 pm

    I used almond butter and some flax seeds and honey instead of maple syrup and they came out delicious!! No texture change per my kids.
    Delicious and easy. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Dawne
      March 17, 2017 @ 6:52 pm

      That’s great! I’m so happy you and your kids liked them. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment!

      Reply
  • Jillene says
    February 28, 2017 @ 11:58 pm

    How many calories are in each ball? (Roughly)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jillene
      March 1, 2017 @ 6:09 pm

      I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)

      Reply
  • liz
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    says
    December 30, 2016 @ 11:02 pm

    would coconut flour work instead of almond meal/flour ? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to liz
      December 31, 2016 @ 2:16 pm

      Coconut flour is unfortunately not interchangeable with any other flour as it absorbs so much more liquid. You could use a different type of nut meal, though. :)

      Reply
    • Michaela replies to liz
      February 21, 2017 @ 2:33 am

      I made these tonight with coconut flour and they worked great! I didn’t have a problem with using it like I sometimes find. They are my new favourite snack.

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Michaela
        February 22, 2017 @ 7:18 pm

        That’s awesome! So happy you like them. :) Thanks for your comment!

        Reply
  • Kerri Doidge says
    July 13, 2016 @ 3:16 am

    Gave these a try using wowbutter (I’m allergic to peanuts/tree nuts) and I love them! And I finally understand the obsession with chocolate & peanut butter :p

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kerri Doidge
      July 13, 2016 @ 8:12 pm

      That’s awesome that they worked out well with sunflower seed butter! Thanks for letting me know and for your feedback. I’m happy you got a taste of chocolate and peanut butter. :)

      Reply
  • Natasha says
    June 2, 2016 @ 1:46 am

    I wonder if sunflower butter would come out just as good as peanut butter?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Natasha
      June 2, 2016 @ 4:18 pm

      I haven’t tried it but I’m thinking it’d work (though I couldn’t guarantee it!) I hope you’ll enjoy them. :)

      Reply
  • Giles Kaal
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    says
    May 11, 2016 @ 7:14 pm

    Excwllwnt!
    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this everywhere.
    I’m going to adapt it slightly to incorporate some protein powder, but this recipe looks really really good.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Giles Kaal
      May 12, 2016 @ 9:54 pm

      I hope you’ll enjoy them! I like your idea of adding protein powder. :)

      Reply
      • Valerie replies to Erin
        July 30, 2016 @ 10:06 pm

        do you have to use syrup?

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Valerie
          July 31, 2016 @ 2:51 pm

          Honey might work but it’s a bit thicker than maple syrup so I’m not positive.

  • trish says
    February 20, 2016 @ 2:45 am

    so where is the protein exactly?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to trish
      February 20, 2016 @ 9:15 pm

      The peanut butter. :) If you think protein balls need protein powder, then I recommend finding a different recipe as adding protein powder would make these crumbly. Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • Nora (A Clean Bake) says
    April 28, 2015 @ 1:59 am

    I have been getting late-night (and, let’s face it, all day) chocolate cravings that these would be perfect for! In response to your almond flour question: yes! There is a ton of variation in how finely and uniformly ground the flour is – not to mention the blanched vs. skin-on flour. Oy vey, so many choices!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Nora (A Clean Bake)
      May 10, 2015 @ 11:34 am

      That’s good to know! I really had no idea until now. What surprises me is I’ve never had any complaints about any of my almond flour recipes not coming out well. So luckily it seems that the difference isn’t big enough to affect the outcome! Thank goodness for that. :)

      Reply
  • Amanda @ The Kitcheneer says
    April 27, 2015 @ 10:32 pm

    These look delicious! I need to make a batch of these to my Crossfit box to share post workout!

    Reply
  • Angie | Big Bear's Wife says
    April 24, 2015 @ 5:46 pm

    Perfect Snack! I am trying to cut down on the super sweet chocolate snacks and limiting them all together at bedtime so these would be perfect!!

    Reply
  • Nutmeg Nanny says
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:54 pm

    These little protein balls look delicious! I actually really like the peanut butter addition better than almond butter. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world who is not a giant fan of almond butter. I get my almond meal from Trader Joe’s so it’s pretty uniform BUT I sorta like those bigger pieces in your recipe. It gives it a nice texture I’m sure :) Also, I LOVE that second picture. The chocolate chip is so pretty :)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Nutmeg Nanny
      May 29, 2015 @ 7:22 pm

      Thanks so much! And I don’t like almond butter, either. Unless it’s mixed up with a lot of maple syrup and cinnamon. :D

      Reply
  • Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg says
    April 23, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

    I need a gluten-free recipe for the weekend. Guess which one I’m going to make! I might go one step further and cover these in dark chocolate. :)

    Reply
  • Susan says
    April 23, 2015 @ 4:52 am

    Almond flours definitely differ in the US. I’ve bought a few different brands for macaron making and they are always different levels of coarseness. In the end, it all goes in my food processor for another round anyway but still, it’s annoying. Still despite not being what you wanted these look great!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Susan
      May 29, 2015 @ 7:23 pm

      That’s good to know! Thanks for your comment. :)

      Reply
  • Kirsten/ComfortablyDomestic says
    April 23, 2015 @ 3:39 am

    Well they might not be exactly what you envisioned, but these protein balls look pretty tasty.

    Reply
  • Heather | girlichef says
    April 23, 2015 @ 2:52 am

    Although both types of those cookies sound tasty to me, these protein balls look really excellent – perfect happy munching food.

    Reply
  • Cookin Canuck says
    April 23, 2015 @ 12:48 am

    Even those these protein balls weren’t what you had in mind when you started, they look and sound really good! In fact, they look like the perfect post-workout snack.

    Reply
  • Lisa | Mummy Made.It says
    April 22, 2015 @ 11:13 pm

    Yum!
    I totally agree with you about the ‘inequality’ of nut butters. Some are so oily and others have a way too powerful taste. These look perfect!
    I reckon if you added an egg and bicarb you could make them into delicious cookies too!!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lisa | Mummy Made.It
      May 29, 2015 @ 7:26 pm

      Thanks, Lisa! And I don’t know about turning these into cookies. I think they’d need a lot more sweetener. :D

      Reply
  • Martha @ A Family Feast says
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:43 pm

    Another great recipe Erin! I can’t stop staring at that close-up second photo – these look so good! :-)

    Reply
  • Angie says
    April 22, 2015 @ 4:04 pm

    I haven’t made protein balls before, but these look awesome! Can’t wait to try!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Angie
      May 29, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

      I hope you’ll enjoy them, Angie!

      Reply
  • lauren Kelly Nutrition says
    April 22, 2015 @ 1:38 am

    I love protein balls and these look delicious! Absolutely perfect!

    Reply

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