Peanut Butter Protein Balls are made with only 6 ingredients in one bowl. Loaded with oats, peanut butter, flaxseed and protein, it’s a perfect high-protein snack any time!

Other protein balls recipes we love are these coconut protein balls and Almond Joy protein balls.

Peanut butter protein balls made with whey protein powder and mini chocolate chips.

I’ve tested these peanut butter protein balls on my family multiple times as I was experimenting with different ingredients and protein powders. And they’re kid-approved every single time, just like my no bake peanut butter oatmeal bars.

These protein balls taste great, are packed with nutrition and come in handy portion-controlled bites. Not only are they great for a snack, but they can also be eaten for healthy breakfast with some fruit or popped into the kid’s lunch boxes to keep them going until their next meal.

Peanut butter energy balls are the perfect travel snack for road trips, ferries, and long plane journeys. Plus, they are naturally gluten-free.

Ingredients and Substitutions

For this peanut butter protein balls recipe, you will need only 6 simple ingredients, most of which are pantry staples. Bonus is that these energy bites can be made with whey protein powder or plant-based protein powder.

  • Peanut butter: Avoid peanut butter with added sugar and other additives. Instead, choose an all-natural peanut butter with a runny consistency, if possible. If it’s thick, then you can always heat it up first.
  • Sweetener: Honey, brown rice syrup or date syrup will work. Maple syrup will also work but isn’t as sticky, so the protein balls may be a little more fragile.
  • Ground flaxseed: Whole chia seeds will work only in peanut butter balls with whey protein as the dough is more wet. Flaxseed adds extra protein, fiber, and healthy omega fatty acids.
  • Oats: Use quick oats or rolled oats, using certified gluten-free, if needed. Oats add fiber and texture to the protein balls.
  • Protein powder: I use unflavored whey protein powder or vanilla plant-based protein powder. Just note that the type of protein you use will affect the peanut butter protein balls dough consistency.
  • Salt: Just a pinch and is optional.
  • Chocolate chips: Makes these protein bites taste like cookie dough! You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips or even sugar-free chocolate chips like Lily’s. Cacao nibs would also work.

How to Make Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Here’s is a quick overview how to make peanut butter protein balls from scratch in just one bowl. No food processor or blender required. There is a full recipe card below.

Person showing how to make peanut butter protein balls step by step.
  • Melt the peanut butter: First, melt the peanut butter on the stovetop or in the microwave in 15-second intervals until it has runny consistency. If your peanut butter is already runny, you can skip this step! If your honey has crystalized, melt it the same way.
  • Combine the ingredients: In a large bowl, add peanut butter, honey, water, flaxseed, oats, protein powder, salt and mix well with spatula to combine. Then refrigerate for 20 minutes to thicken the mixture.
  • Add the chocolate chips: Mix the chocolate chips into the dough, by hand or with spatula. Scoop a small amount of the mixture out to test rolling. If it’s too dry, you can add a little liquid. If it’s too wet, then you can add some extra oats.
  • Roll the peanut butter protein balls: Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, pack it tightly with the mixture and then roll that into a ball. Repeat this step with the remaining mixture until all peanut butter protein balls are ready.

Recipe Tip

With the plant-based protein balls, I just release the scoop without rolling as it tends to work better and looks good too. If you don’t have a scoop, you can use a tablespoon and try to use the same amount each time.

Variations

There are several ways to easily customize these peanut butter protein balls, including mix-ins or toppings. Here are a few simple ideas.

Add-ins:

  • Flavored protein powder: Using different flavored protein powder is one of the easiest ways to adapt this recipe. Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and cookie dough protein powders will all work well.
  • Dried fruit: You can omit the chocolate chips in place of dried fruit. Dried cranberries, blueberries or raisins would be great!
  • Vanilla extract: A little of pure vanilla extract goes a long way towards upping these peanut butter energy balls’ dessert flavor.
  • Spices: Add a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin spice for some fall vibes protein snack.
  • Shredded coconut: Will add flavor and texture. You can omit some of the oats in place of shredded coconut.

Toppings:

Using toppings is another great way to add flavor and texture to peanut butter protein balls. All you need to do is roll or press the toppings over the prepared energy bites.

Shredded coconut, small freeze-dried fruit pieces or powder, cacao nibs are just a few ideas. Crushed, flaked, or slivered nuts will also work.

Side view of peanut butter energy bites stacked in a container.

Tips for Best Results

Here are my top tips to help you nail these peanut butter protein balls on the first go!

  • Make sure your peanut butter is runny: I recommend to melt it on the stovetop or in a microwave. If you skip this step, your protein balls might not turn out.
  • Turn balls into protein bars: You can press the mixture into a paper-lined loaf tin. Alternatively, if you double the recipe, then it should fit an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch baking dish.
  • Don’t skip dough chilling: If you don’t refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes before rolling it into balls, you will have a hard time rolling them.

How to Store and Freeze

Store: Store peanut butter protein balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Freeze: Freeze these protein bites in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Allow protein ball to sit at room temperature for 15-25 minutes until soft enough to enjoy. Alternatively, place it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds until just softened. Do this on a plate in case you overheat it and it becomes melty. Then you can still enjoy it with a spoon, oops.

FAQs

What can I use instead of peanut butter?

If you don’t have peanut butter on hand or have allergies, I recommend to use any drippy nut butter or seed butter like almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter. Just make sure it is drippy!

Why are my protein balls not sticking together?

This usually comes down to the protein powder you’ve used or measurements. Just add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough can be rolled. Alternatively, a little melted coconut oil will help to keep the peanut butter protein balls moist too.

What can I use instead of flaxseed?

Replace flax seeds with ground chia seeds, more oats or shredded coconut flakes.

Can I store my protein balls in the freezer?

Yes, you can. Just plan for 15 minutes of thawing time before you will be able to enjoy one.

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Peanut butter protein balls with plant-based protein powder in black container.
peanut butter protein balls

Peanut Butter Protein Balls Recipe

Peanut Butter Protein Balls Recipe are made with only 6 ingredients in one bowl. Loaded with oats, peanut butter, flaxseed and protein, it's a perfect high-protein snack any time.
5 from 5 votes
Servings 25 balls
Calories 189
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Whey Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Plant-Based Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Instructions 

  • In a medium mixing bowl, add peanut butter, honey (if using), water, flaxseed (if using), oats, protein powder and salt. Stir well and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Add chocolate chips and mix with hands or spatula.
  • Before rolling into balls, scoop a bit of mixture and see if it’s rolling nicely. Add a bit of water or oats if necessary. Using small scoop, pack it tightly with mixture and roll. With plant-based version, I just release the scoop without rolling.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
  • Freeze: Up to 3 months in an airtight container.
  • Make sure your peanut butter is runny: I recommend to melt it on the stovetop or in a microwave. If you skip this step, your protein balls might not turn out.
  • Don’t skip dough chilling: If you don’t refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes before rolling it into balls, you will have a hard time rolling them.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1ball | Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 129mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g
Course: Snack
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious and satisfying when I am craving a sweet treat. Substituted agave for the honey. Added a bit of organic coconut flakes (1-2 TBPS).

    1. It has not been tested without protein powder, but you could try, probably some type of similar texture an oat flour maybe!

  2. 5 stars
    I make these for my high school daughter’s basketball team, with rave reviews! This year we have a peanut butter allergy, so I’m going to try it with almond butter….

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Quick and easy to make and they taste delicious! The hardest part was not eating them all at once!

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