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These protein balls can be morphed into 100’s of different flavor variations. Protein balls are a great energy booster, they are gluten free, and can be the perfect snack for kids!

ingredients to make protein balls

Who else is a fan of protein balls, AKA energy bites? I absolutely love them and so do my kids. However, I get bored of the same old peanut butter and chocolate version. 

With this base protein ball recipe you will be able to make 100’s of different flavor combinations just by adding a few ingredients. 

This recipe is a base recipe for protein balls that you can change up to create different flavor protein balls. We will get into all the different flavor varieties and how to come up with your own in a second. But first let’s cover some quick tips and FAQ’s about how to make protein balls. 

How long will protein balls last?

Protein balls will last about 3 months in the freezer and up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Which makes this recipe a great meal prep idea. 

How do I store protein balls?

I prefer storing them in the freezer. Just make a huge batch and have them on hand for when you need of a quick snack. I like to let the protein balls sit out at room temperature for 5 minutes before eating to soften. 

Store protein balls in a gallon size ziploc and freeze

Protein balls without peanut butter:

I get asked all the time to create a recipe for protein balls without peanut butter. Whether there are peanut allergies or not, protein balls do not have to be made with peanut butter. In fact, I prefer cashew butter for a base recipe since it carries others flavors better than peanut butter. 

If you have a nut allergy, sunflower butter can also be used to make a nut free protein ball. I like this brand.

With that being said, you can use any nut butter like almond butter or cashew butter. A nut butter substitute also works great for this recipe. However if you want to use peanut butter, I recommend using a natural peanut butter.

Can you make protein balls without dates?

You can make protein balls without dates very easily by simply using honey instead. Dates can help with sweetness and texture without adding a bunch of sugar, but honey can accomplish the same thing as well.

This base recipe is made without dates. I actually prefer protein balls without dates but you can replace the honey for dates instead if you prefer that! 

Coconut Lime Protein Balls

What is a good recipe for protein balls for kids?

This recipe is great for kids or adults! I like to make the balls a little smaller so the kids can eat them easily. 

We keep a bag of them in the freezer at all times so the kids can grab one on the way to practice or school. 

Feel free to include extra nutrient rich foods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, protein powder, goji berries or flax seed.

Are protein balls good for you?

Protein balls are good for you in moderation. You do not want to eat 10 protein balls in one sitting, but just like everything they can be enjoyed in moderation.  

How do I change up the flavors using this recipe?

Here is how I change up the flavors. I think of my favorite sweet treat like chocolate dipped strawberries or banana cream pie and then I apply it to the base recipe. I find the key ingredients in the recipe or main flavor profiles and then see how I can add it to the base.

For example I would use freeze dried strawberries, strawberry emulsion and chocolate chips to achieve a chocolate dipped strawberry flavor.

A quick note: For chocolate variations increase the cashew butter to 3/4 cup and add 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder.

different protein ball variations

Ready for a long list of flavor combinations? Here you go!

Flavor Variations:


Carrot Cake: 1/2 cup carrots, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Lemon Poppyseed: 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Monster Cookie: 1/4 cup mini M&M’s, 1/4 cup rice cereal, vanilla extract

Strawberry Shortcake: 1 teaspoon strawberry emulsion, 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Gingerbread: 1/2 cup crushed gingerbread 

gingerbread protein balls

50/50 Bar: 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1 teaspoon orange juice, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Cake Batter: 1 teaspoon cake emulsion, 2 tablespoons multicolored sprinkles

Banana Bread: 1 teaspoon banana emulsion, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Pumpkin: 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blueberry Muffin: 1 teaspoon almond emulsion, 1/4 cup freeze dried blueberries

Oatmeal Raisin: 1/2 cup raisins, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cookies N Cream: 1/2 cup Oreo crumbs

Snickerdoodle: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon almond extract

Trail Mix: 1/2 cup trail mix

Almond Joy: 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Apple Pie: 1/2 cup freeze dried apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

S’mores: 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup mini freeze dried marshmallows

White Chocolate Raspberry: 1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Pina Colada: 1/4 cup freeze dried pineapple, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Peach Cobbler: 1/2 cup freeze dried peaches, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salted Caramel: 1/4 cup salted caramel

Peppermint: 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1/4 cup crushed candy canes

Chocolate Raspberry: 1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries, 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Toffee: 1/2 cup toffee bits, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

If you are looking for one of my favorite variations try this mint chocolate chip protein ball recipe

Can I use fresh fruit in this recipe?

I would not recommend using fresh fruit in this recipe because fresh fruit has a higher water content and can make your dough too wet. You can use extracts, emulsions or freeze dried fruit to achieve a fruity flavor. 

blueberry muffin protein balls

How to make protein balls?

  1. Combine cashew butter (or other nut butter of choice), honey or maple syrup, and extract of choice. 
  2. Add rolled oats and other flavorings like nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, shredded coconut or dried fruit. 
  3. Stir together until the dough has been well combined and comes together (you can also do this in a food processor or a stand mixer). 
  4. Wet your hands or a small ice cream scoop and scoop about a golf ball sized amount of dough into your hands.
  5. Roll into balls.   
  6. Place the protein ball in a Ziplock bag or in a Tupperware container. 
  7. Repeat with the remaining amount of dough. 
  8. Store in the freezer (for up to 3 months) or the fridge (for up to 2 weeks). 

Also did you know that you can easily make this recipe into a no bake granola bar or overnight oats!  

For no-bake granola bars:

simply increase the amount of cashew butter to 3/4 cup. Place the dough into a 9×9 baking dish and press down to form an even layer. Refrigerate for at least one hour and cut into bars. 

For overnight oats:

simply place 2-3 protein balls in a jar and cover with almond milk or milk of choice. let sit in the fridge overnight. Stir together in the morning and serve. 

I can’t wait to see your energy balls and the variations you come up with. Happy and healthy snacking everyone!

Base Recipe:

ingredients to make protein balls
Yield: 18

Protein Ball Base Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Use this base recipe to create 100's of different varieties of protein balls.


  • 1/2 Cup Cashew Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon Extract of Choice or Citrus Zest
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseed


  • (Optional) 1/4 Cup Nuts, Seeds, Shredded Coconut, Shredded Carrot
  • (Optional) 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • (Optional To Coat) 1/4 Cup Freeze Dried Fruit, Crushed


    1. Place all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until well combined. *If mixing by hand, it is a little easier to mix the cashew butter and honey together first.
    2. Wet your hands with water and grab about a golf-ball size amount of dough. Roll to form a ball and place in a large Ziploc bag. If hands become sticky, just rinse them with water again. 
    3. Place the protein balls in the freezer to have on hand for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat, let them sit out at room temperature to thaw for 5 minutes.


For Chocolate Variations increase the cashew butter to 3/4 Cup and add 2 Tablespoons Dark Cocoa Powder

Flavor ideas:

Blueberry Muffin: 1 Teaspoon Almond Emulsion, 1/4 Cup Freeze dried blueberries

Carrot Cake: 1/2 Cup Carrots, 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Lemon Poppyseed: 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest, 1/2 Teaspoon Poppyseeds

Monster Cookie: 1/4 Cup Mini M&M's, 1/4 Cup Rice Cereal, Vanilla Extract

Strawberry Shortcake: 1 Teaspoon Strawberry Emulsion, 1/4 Cup Freeze Dried Strawberries, 1/4 Cup White Chocolate Chips

50/50 Bar: 1 Teaspoon Orange Zest, 1 Teaspoon Orange Juice, 1/4 Cup White Chocolate Chips

Cake Batter: 1 Teaspoon Cake Emulsion, 2 Tablespoons Multicolored Sprinkles

Banana Bread: 1 Teaspoon Banana Emulsion, 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts

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