Get your protein fix the delicious way, in these instant protein balls! Easily customizable and with over 40 flavor options, they need just 4 ingredients and take less than 5 minutes to make.
The Best Protein Balls Recipe
I’m the person who ALWAYS needs a snack between meals.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a morning snack and an afternoon snack. I’ve never really been the three square meals a day kind of person, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
When I started regularly weight lifting, I had to ensure every meal and snack had protein in it. Breakfasts were fine, with either a bagel or a smoothie. Lunches included pasta or meal prep, and dinners were… well, pretty much anything. For snacks, though, I started making protein balls.
What are protein balls?
Protein balls are energy balls or bliss balls that have added protein in them, thanks to protein powder. They are made with peanut butter and oatmeal, and can be flavored a variety of ways. They make the perfect snack and keep you satisfied between meals.
Why this protein energy balls recipe will be a weekly snack staple for you-
- 4 Ingredients only. Unlike other energy ball recipes, this one only needs four ingredients. Bonus? No butter, no eggs, no oil!
- Ready in 5 minutes. From prep to plate, this entire recipe takes just five minutes.
- Over 20 flavor options. From peanut butter, to chocolate chip, to oatmeal raisin, there are over 20 flavors to try.
- Vegan and gluten free! Yep, these tick both these dietary boxes!
What I love about this recipe is just how easy to customize with your favorite flavors! We’ve included 40 delicious flavors, including-
- Chocolate chip
- Peanut butter
- Oatmeal raisin
- White chocolate cranberry
- Monster cookie
They have a chewy, yet doughy texture, similar to raw cookie dough. Taste-wise, it’s like an un-baked oatmeal cookie, with a protein twist!
This is a very simple and very short ingredient list. If you’ve made any of my healthy snacks before, you’ve probably got everything on hand!
- Rolled oats– Gives the energy balls a chewy texture. This is a fabulous slow-releasing energy carb.
- Protein powder– The key ingredient giving this recipe the added boost! I prefer using casein or brown rice protein powder, but some whey protein brands can work.
- Peanut butter– Hold the balls together, along with providing a rich flavor. See below for easy substitutions and nut-free options!
- Maple syrup– Adds sweetness and helps hold the balls together.
How do you make protein balls?
This recipe literally takes 5 minutes to make. All you do is mix everything together, roll them, and let them chill!
Ready to whip some up?
Step 1- Combine ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, mix the oats and protein powder together. Add the peanut butter and maple syrup and mix until combined. Fold through your flavor mix-ins of choice.
Step 2- Roll them into balls
Next, using your hands, roll out balls and place them on a lined plate and refrigerate them for five minutes, to firm up.
For the flavor variations, make the basic base recipe first. Then, fold through the extra ingredients to change up the flavors.
Monster cookie protein balls
- Protein ball base
- 1/2 cup mini m & m’s or vegan candy buttons
White chocolate cranberry balls
- Protein ball base
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
Chocolate peanut butter balls
- Protein ball base
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Oatmeal raisin balls
- Protein ball base
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins
Chocolate chip balls
- Protein ball base
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Dietary swaps and substitutions
The beauty of any kind of protein energy balls is that you can customize them in tons of ways or make them suitable for other diets. Here is what we’ve tried:
- Swap out the peanut butter. Easily replace the peanut butter with either almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or tahini.
- Lower the calories. Use low calorie peanut butter and swap out the maple syrup for sugar free maple syrup or sugar free honey.
- Ensure they are gluten free. Just a reminder to use certified gluten free rolled oats and/or quinoa flakes.
- Lower the carbs. Instead of switching around this recipe, try making keto energy balls instead.
- Protein balls without protein powder? Try making peanut butter oatmeal energy balls instead.
How long do protein balls last?
Wondering what is the best way to store leftovers? Here are best practices:
- To refrigerate: Place no bake balls in a sealable container and keep in the fridge. They will keep fresh for up to 4 weeks.
- To freeze: If you make a big batch of these balls, they can be placed in a ziplock bag and stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More high protein snacks to try
Frequently Asked Questions
Protein or energy balls are a great snack to enjoy between meals, as they contain ample amounts of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. One or two balls will keep you satisfied and energised between your main meals.
As these balls contain a good amount of protein and carbs, they are a fantastic option after a workout. Studies show that eating something with a balance of carbs and protein 30 minutes after a workout improves recovery time and also aids muscle growth.
These protein energy balls have less than 100 calories each. Enjoy two or three for a well balanced and satisfying snack, without going overboard on your caloric needs.
Protein Balls (4 Ingredients)
- 3 cups rolled oats gluten free, if needed
- 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup peanut butter * See notes
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips of choice Optional
- In a large mixing bowl, mix your oats with protein powder until combined. Add your peanut butter and syrup and mix well. Fold through your mix ins of choice.
- Lightly wet your hands (or spray them with cooking spray). Form 20-24 small balls of dough. Place on a plate and refrigerate until firm.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.
Anyone try this Rice Krispies like cereal instead of 1 c of oatmeal?
How long can these stay fresh for in the fridge? Are they freezable as well?
Can I use granola instead of oats?
Of course 🙂 As long as they are not clusters 🙂
Will you be putting the recipe with the metric messurements, i know its on some recipes. Ps I’m being lazy and can google but i usually convert it wrong. I did the protein donuts and completely messed up measurements.
No we use American cups and tablespoons
I’m wondering if I may have permission to post a few of your protein balls on my healthy eating FB group? We have 180 members. I would give you credit and you could get more followers as well. May I have permission?
Hi there 🙂 You can link them to the recipe 🙂
I used some of my post pandemic supplies to make these. I had everything on hand. Big tub of Vanilla Protein powder I bought last year when there was limited meat in the stores (only to find out it was for a few weeks because of hoarders!) I followed the recipe exactly, used honey and regular Peanut Butter. I started out with a bowl and a wooden spoon but was no not mixing fast enough for me. I have an electric stand mixer so dumped everything in there on low. Used some of my “vinyl gloves” to roll them into med. size balls. Great taste and simple recipe with everything I had on hand. Thank you posting this !
I don’t like using protein powder. Is there something else I could use as a substitute? Maybe flax meal, chia seed powder, etc.?
Yes, Linda- check out the peanut butter oatmeal energy balls
I’m kinda stupid 😉 but I made 18 instead the proper amount how do I work out the protein and calories now
No worries! You can use myfitnesspal to calculate it all and then divide it by 18 🙂
Do you have any substitution recommendations for the oatmeal? I’m allergic☹️
Quinoa flakes could work!
Would chocolate protein powder be a good substitute for vanilla (it’s all I currently have on hand)? Or do you think that would change the taste of them too much?
It should be fine 🙂
Hi, I’m on weight watchers. How do I calculate your recipes? They are great!
No idea! You could use a weight watchers calculator if they have one.
Rosemary, go on the WW site….you can put in all the ingredients on your WW phone app, and it will calculate everything for you. Go to “My Food” and then over to “Recipes.” You can put the ingredients in and it will tell you how many points they are. Ask someone at the meeting if you cannot figure it out.
These sound wonderful, except there is too much maple syrup for a diabetic. Also can’t use sugar substitutes.
My question is can these be made without any maple syrup.
I make peanut butter cookies without any sugar at all and they are great.
Is there a substitute for protein powder?
You can just leave it out 🙂
Hi Big Mans World, the link to the protein powder you used seems invalid, do you mind updating it? it would be very helpful to calculate the macros. Thank you!
Here we like our “Treats” with peanut butter, chocolate protein powder, and dried blueberries, (that we dehydrate ourselves-no sugar added) so it’s like pb & j
Im not seeing measurement for how much protein powder, peanuts butter or oats for the base… how much should we be using of each of those?