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.
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.
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)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 20 balls
- 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
- 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.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week. These also freeze well.
88 comments on “Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (grain-free, vegan)” — Add one!
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These are exactly what I was looking for as I’m a peanut butter and chocolate lover. No gluten or dairy. I rolled them in hemp hearts and they are delicious!
What a delicious addition! Thanks for the tip. I’m so glad that you enjoyed them! :)
Fantastic! I substituted chocolate protein powder for the Dutch cocoa.
Oh, great idea! What brand did you use? Thanks for the tip!
Thanks for the great recipe! Just what I was looking for– gluten free, no-bake, etc. I used Nutella instead of both chocolates since that it what I had on hand. Yes, agree with earlier comment, amazeballs! :-)
Nutella is always a yummy sub! :D I’m glad that you liked them! Thanks for your feedback.
These were great! Instead of 2/3 cup almond flour, I subbed 1/3 whey protein powder. It came out yummy! My husband liked them too. :)
What a great idea! Thanks for the tip and your comment. :)
Well these are on the menu for today – they look so so yummy!
Hope you loved them! :)
Could I use oatmeal flour instead of almond?
Almond flour is interchangeable with other types of nut flours and not really oat flour. But I think it might work (in an easy no-bake recipe like this) if you add a bit of oat flour at a time until it holds together well.
Can you give me the nutritional value of this? I’m trying to add it to my fitness pal
I don’t have that info but you could use this recipe analyzer for the nutritional profile.
Great recipe! I replaced the maple syrup with stevia powder, some water, and some sugar-free caramel syrup to make it low-carb & sugar-free. Thanks!
You’re welcome! I’m happy to hear that your subs worked out well. :) Thanks for your feedback!
Can i just use regular flour instead?
Unfortunately not. It doesn’t work the same way as almond flour. Sorry about that!
Because every type of flour isn’t interchangeable with each other. If you don’t want to use almond flour, any other type of nut flour or nut meal would work. :)
Can you use almond flour instead?
Hmm. This recipe already uses almond flour so I’m not sure what you mean?
I made these and only change was subbed 1Tbsp chocolate protein powder for 1 Tbsp cocoa powder. I had 13 balls and came out to 7.7g protein/ball. They taste amazeballs!! They’re like chocolate peanut butter cookie dough. Make them now, you’ll be so happy you did.
I like your protein powder sub! Sounds great. :) Thanks a bunch for the tip and for your comment! I’m happy that they came out well for you.
For the recipe as is, I calculated 120 calories per ball. I make about 22 balls per recipe in total.
Thanks for the info. :) Hope you like them!
I love these but I’m not that much of a nut butter fan.
I like to have it with only 2 tbs of peanut butter and swap the cocoa for cacao. With less peanut butter it tastes like cake hahaha. Probably not as healthy though.
I do like the sound of them tasting like cake! I’ll have to try that. Thanks for the tip! So happy you liked them. :)
I love peanut butter and when is mixed with chocolate this makes the perfect combination :) Thank you for sharing this protein balls recipe with us.
I hope you’ll get to try them out (if you haven’t already!) :)
I made these. I used honey, didn’t have maple syrup. I added 2 scoops of pea protien powder. Used crunchy peanut butter, added dried blueberries. They are great. Does anyone know how many calories or weight watcher points it translates to?
So happy you liked them! I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)
Great recipe!! Satisfies those cravings completely. Yum!!!!!
So happy you liked them! Thanks for your feedback. :)
These protein balls sound delicious! And I’ve definitely had some ideas that turned out to not be so great before I hit on something good. :)
Thanks a bunch! It seems like I mostly have ideas that don’t work out but oh well. I manage enough to post about twice a month most of the time. ;)
Bloody amazing in love with theses thank you
Yay! I’m happy to hear that. :) Thanks for your comment!
Hi, how many grams of protein per ball?
I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)
Do they have to be refrigerated? I was thinking of making these for a missions trip.
I kept mine refrigerated so I’m not sure how well they hold up at room temperature for days at a time. Sorry about that! You could try these peanut butter protein balls which can be stored at room temp. :)
Thank you. I had that recipe marked first, was thinking of having a variety.
Always a good plan. :)
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!!
That’s great! I’m so happy you and your kids liked them. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment!
How many calories are in each ball? (Roughly)
I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)
would coconut flour work instead of almond meal/flour ? Thank you.
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. :)
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.
That’s awesome! So happy you like them. :) Thanks for your comment!
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
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. :)
I wonder if sunflower butter would come out just as good as peanut butter?
I haven’t tried it but I’m thinking it’d work (though I couldn’t guarantee it!) I hope you’ll enjoy them. :)
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.
I hope you’ll enjoy them! I like your idea of adding protein powder. :)
do you have to use syrup?
Honey might work but it’s a bit thicker than maple syrup so I’m not positive.
so where is the protein exactly?
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!
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!
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. :)
These look delicious! I need to make a batch of these to my Crossfit box to share post workout!
Thanks! I hope everyone will enjoy them. :)
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!!
I think they would, too! :)
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 :)
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
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. :)
Covering them in chocolate is an amazing idea!
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!
That’s good to know! Thanks for your comment. :)
Well they might not be exactly what you envisioned, but these protein balls look pretty tasty.
Although both types of those cookies sound tasty to me, these protein balls look really excellent – perfect happy munching food.
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.
I love your post-workout snack idea!
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!!
Thanks, Lisa! And I don’t know about turning these into cookies. I think they’d need a lot more sweetener. :D
Another great recipe Erin! I can’t stop staring at that close-up second photo – these look so good! :-)
Thanks so much, Martha!
I haven’t made protein balls before, but these look awesome! Can’t wait to try!
I hope you’ll enjoy them, Angie!
I love protein balls and these look delicious! Absolutely perfect!
Thanks, Lauren! :)