This protein bar recipe is gluten free and vegan, no-bake, and made with healthy ingredients. It tastes like cookie dough and is perfect for all chocolate and peanut butter lovers!
These homemade protein bars have a chewy texture and are made with just a few simple ingredients that you can find at almost any grocery store. They're one of my go-to recipes to make so I can have a quick snack to grab on a busy day. In my opinion, they're better than store-bought protein bars because they don't have any preservatives and artificial sweeteners and are packed with healthy fats. They're a great post-workout snack or the perfect snack to curb your sweet tooth.
Why make your own homemade protein bars
More affordable option
Store bought protein bars can be expensive. Even the cheaper brands that tend to have more added sugar and other unnecessary ingredients are still a few dollars per bar. Not to mention the bars with more natural ingredients. When making a batch of these in bulk, it comes out so much cheaper than buying from the store.
More environmentally friendly
Store bought protein bars come individually wrapped and usually that wrapping is not recyclable. When you make homemade bars, you can package them in small Tupperware or a reusable bag and avoid waste altogether.
Easier to modify to individual dietary restrictions
Many protein bars on the market aren't fit for everyone's dietary needs (gluten free, vegan, nut-free), but when making your own, you can make sure that they are!
I made these gluten-free protein bars by using almond flour. Even if you don't have any almond flour on hand, you can substitute it for coconut flour or oat flour. Just make sure that the oat flour you are using is certified gluten free.
To keep these protein bars vegan, make sure you are using vegan protein powder instead of whey protein powder, and that the chocolate/ chocolate chips you are using are dairy-free.
Even though I use peanut butter in the recipe, you can easily substitute the peanut butter for almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter, if you have an allergy.
They're easy to make
This recipe doesn't require any baking. You simply mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, add to a baking dish, top with the melted chocolate, and you have your chocolate peanut butter protein bars ready to snack on!
What you'll need to make this protein bar recipe
- natural creamy peanut butter: this is the kind that is runny inconsistency and only has peanuts and salt as the ingredients. You can also use almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter for a nut-free version.
- vegan vanilla protein powder: you can use any protein powder you like, but I like vanilla protein powder in this recipe.
- almond flour: I used blanched almond flour. You can also substitute coconut flour or oat flour if you would like, but I do find that this recipe works best with almond flour.
- maple syrup: you can also substitute agave nectar or brown rice syrup, if you prefer.
- chocolate chips: I used dairy-free dark chocolate chips.
- pinch of sea salt
If you wanted to add even more healthy ingredients, here are some options:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds (I recommend grinding them first)
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
- hemp seeds
You may need to add more wet ingredients to balance out the dry ingredients that you're adding if you choose to add any of these.
You can also add cacao powder or cocoa powder to make these delicious bars extra chocolatey. I would add 1-2 tablespoons to the recipe if you wanted to make a chocolate version.
- melted dark chocolate
- a touch of coconut oil
- flakey salt (optional)
The whole recipe, including the full nutritional information, can be found at the bottom of the post in the recipe card.
Which protein powder to use to make the best homemade protein bars
For this recipe, I used vegan vanilla protein powder. I'm vegan, which is why I use plant-based protein powder as opposed to whey protein powder.
To choose the healthiest vegan protein powder, I like to look for a protein powder that is high in grams of protein and grams of fiber, and low in grams of sugar.
I personally like vegan protein powders that are made with pea protein, because I think the taste is the best.
How to make these healthy protein bars
To a large mixing bowl, add the peanut butter, protein powder, almond flour, and maple syrup. Combine them well. This is your cookie dough protein base.
Next, fold in the chocolate chips.
You can also combine all of the ingredients in a food processor (except the chocolate chips).
Add parchment paper to the bottom of a baking dish or a loaf pan (I used a 5 x 7 " baking dish).
Transfer the dough to the baking dish and press in the mixture tightly using your fingers or a spatula. Make sure to create a flat, even layer.
Melt the dark chocolate chips and measure out ½ cup of melted chocolate. Combine the coconut oil with the chocolate and mix them well.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the cookie dough layer and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until the chocolate hardens.
Once the bars are done, top them with some flakey salt, slice them into whatever size you prefer, and enjoy!
For more high protein snacks and other healthy recipes, try these
Protein Bars (no bake, with protein powder)
- large mixing bowl
- baking dish
- 1 ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup vanilla protein powder
- ½ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup melted chocolate
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, protein powder, almond flour, and maple syrup. Combine them well. This is your cookie dough protein base.
- Note: use natural peanut butter for this recipe. This is the kind that contains only peanuts and salt and it is much runnier in consistency.
- Next, fold in the chocolate chips.
- Add parchment paper to the bottom of a baking dish (I used a 5 x 7 " pan).
- Transfer the cookie dough in the baking dish and pack it in tightly using your fingers or a spatula. Make sure to create a flat, even layer.
- Melt your chocolate and measure out ½ cup. Combine the coconut oil with the chocolate and mix them well.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the cookie dough layer and refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.
- Once the bars are done, top them with some flakey salt, slice them, and enjoy!
How to store these vegan protein bars
Since all of the ingredients used in the energy bars are shelf stable, they can be stored at room temperature, but I like to store them in the fridge so that they last longer. Either way, definitely store them in an airtight container. They last for 6-7 days in the fridge.