I think we’ve all been there – it’s 3 pm and you’re out of energy. Unfortunately, despite your foggy brain and flagging focus, there’s more work to do! What’s more, you’re eyeing the snack shelf or the vending machine. Well, binge not! These delicious peanut butter protein balls (or energy bites, if you prefer) are here to save your afternoon! They’re also great for a power-up before or after the gym.
So, do they taste good?
Absolutely! These energy bites aren’t some kind of supplement you need to choke down. Firstly, their base is soft, rich Medjool dates (check out this great post on Medjools). Or, as well call them, “nature’s caramel”. Next, we mix in plenty of smooth salted peanut butter. We love the Trader Joe’s version because the ingredients list reads:
- Dry Roasted Peanuts
That’s it! Talk about a “whole food”. Of course, you can use any peanut butter you like – just pick one that’s only peanuts (and salt, depending on your preference). There are far too many sugar-stuffed varieties out there.
Finally, we add rolled oats to soak up some moisture and bind everything together. Without oats, your protein balls will be a sticky, peanut buttery mess. We also roll the balls in crushed peanuts to add crunchiness to every bite! And in this recipe, we went one (totally optional) step further and gave each protein ball a crunchy peanut center!
But if they taste good, then are they healthy?
Well, we’ll let you be the judge! Peanut butter and oats both bring plenty of protein, but check out the other nutrients in our protein ball ingredients:
- Peanuts & peanut butter are a source of healthy fats, proteins, and other nutrients. In fact, Harvard studies have linked peanut consumption to increased longevity. Furthermore, in 2003 the FDA agreed that peanuts may improve heart health as part of a balanced diet.
- Medjool dates are fresh fruit! Interestingly, their dry and wrinkled appearance is the way they look on the date palm. The growers simply pick, clean and package them. They contain sugar for a big bump of energy, fiber for digestion, and plenty of potassium.
- Oats: As you’re probably aware, oats are good for you! For one thing, oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. This nutrient can slow digestion and control your appetite. In addition, the science shows that oats are heart-healthy!
Overall, these peanut butter bites do pack plenty of energy from fat and sugar. However, these calories come with lots of useful nutrients. Therefore, think of these protein balls as a convenient energy boost with bonus nutrition. Like all foods, stick to the serving size as part of a balanced diet!
So what’s the Catch – are these Hard to Make?
Good news! These protein balls are (almost) as easy to make as they are to eat! To begin with, put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Note: we find that a food processor works much better than a blender for this.
Next, process everything, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides (the oats will tend to stick). The end result is a smooth(ish) paste with no large chunks.
The final stage is rolling! Of course, it can be difficult to know how much mixture to use for one ball. We used around 1 tablespoon of the mixture for each. It can help to wet your hands before rolling so the mixture doesn’t stick! Once you have a nice stack ready, coat the balls individually in crushed peanuts and you’re done!
Now, for bonus points (and extra texture) we added a twist. First, we roughly rolled each ball and pushed a depression into the center. Then, we filled the hollow with 2 – 3 peanuts. Finally, we pinched the mixture over the peanuts and rolled again. Voila – a crunchy peanut surprise!
Looking for more Snack Recipes?
Here are a few of my readers’ favorite snack recipes. I can’t wait for you to try them!
- Fall Spice Energy Balls
- Roast Pumpkin Seeds (Sweet + Savory)
- Late Night Snacks (round-up of the best late night snacks)
- 5 Minute Creamy Hummus
- ‘Baked Apple In The Microwave with Caramel Sauce
Also, if you’re looking for more recipes packed with peanut butter then check out this Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie and Rice Krispie Treats With Peanut Butter!
Did these peanut butter protein balls keep you fueled up? If you made them, we’d love to hear about it with a comment and a rating. Every bit of feedback makes the blog even better.Print
Peanut Butter Protein Balls | Your Afternoon Savior!
- Total Time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes in the fridge
- Yield: 18 balls 1x
Make these delicious peanut butter protein balls to boost low energy! These are the perfect peanut butter energy bites for work, gym or after school!
- 1 cup medjool dates, pits removed*
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 6 tablespoons salted smooth peanut butter**
- 1–3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts, roasted and crushed
- 1/4 cup lightly salted peanuts, roasted and left whole (optional, if adding peanuts to the center)
- Place Medjool dates, rolled oats, peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of water into a food processor.
- Pulse until the mixture starts to come together. If needed, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is well combined. The amount of water needed depends on how juicy your Medjool dates are! See the notes section below.
- Divide the mixture into roughly 1 tablespoon amounts. Wet your hands (to help stop the mixture from sticking), and roll each portion in the palms of your hands until you have a rough ball.
- Optional step: Push a depression into the center of each ball, then fill the hollow with 2-3 peanut halves. Then pinch the sides back over the peanuts and roll again.
- Add crushed peanuts to a small bowl and used them to coat the balls.
- Place the finished balls into an airtight container (in a single layer) and allow them to firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Store Peanut Butter Protein Balls in an airtight container in the fridge, and consume within a week.
- *If your Medjool dates are a little dry, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry before use.
- **We like to use salted smooth peanut butter. Feel free to use salted crunchy peanut butter or unsalted peanut butter.
- Nutritional information is to be used as a guide only as calories and nutrition vary between products and brands worldwide.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Serving Size: 1 ball
- Calories: 71
- Sugar: 1.6 g
- Sodium: 23.5 mg
- Fat: 4.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 5.1 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2.7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: peanut butter protein balls, peanut butter energy balls protein balls, peanut butter
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Do you think hemp seeds could be substituted for some or all of the oatmeal? I have some i really need to use up and I want to make protein balls with them.
Hi Sharon! Thanks for your comment! I haven’t tried adjusting the amount of oats, but I’m sure switching 1/4 cup of rolled oats for hemp seeds would be fine! Let me know how it works out! ???
These protein balls look so delicious and I love how easy they are to make!
Thank you so much Natalie- they are so tasty!