Energy Balls | The Ultimate Guide!

I consider myself a bit of an energy ball aficionado. These sweet, no-bake treats take minutes to throw together, are filled with good-for-you ingredients, and make for quick, portable breakfasts and snacks. I have made dozens of batches of energy balls over the years, and while I’m constantly looking for fun ways to vary them up, inevitably, they come back to one simple, foolproof formula. Today, I’m sharing that master recipe, along with all sorts of tasty ways to use to create different flavors.

How to make Energy Balls – ULTIMATE GUIDE. One recipe, endless flavors! Easy recipe made with peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chips or your flavor of choice. Simple, gluten free, and perfect for healthy snacks and breakfasts on the go! Recipe at wellplated.com

This handy guide is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill.

Energy balls go by a variety of different names (energy bites, protein balls, power balls, and vegan truffles being but a few), and there are dozens of renditions of them across the web, several of which can be found on a certain website that rhymes with “swell dated.”

As much as I love trying different energy ball recipes and techniques, today’s basic energy ball recipe is the little black dress of them all. It’s comprised of four basic ingredients:

  • Oats. While you can use other flours, oatmeal is the champion. It’s filling, inexpensive, versatile, and gives me the sensation that I’m eating oatmeal cookie dough instead of a healthy snack. YES.
  • Nut butter. Nut butter, like peanut butter or almond butter, helps bind the balls, adds healthy fats, and makes the energy balls sustaining. It’s also delicious.
  • Sticky liquid sweetener (a.k.a. honey or pure maple syrup). I use honey the most, but maple syrup is a really nice option if you’d like vegan energy balls or are making a recipe like these Pumpkin Energy Balls where the maple syrup’s flavor complements the other ingredients.
  • Mix-ins! This is where the tasty experimentation begins. I like to do a combination of superfood additions, such as flaxseeds and chia seeds, along with ingredients I love purely for their taste, like chocolate, chopped dried fruit, and did I mention chocolate?

The only energy ball recipe you need. No bake, healthy, and perfect for breakfasts and snacks. Recipe at wellplated.com

Let’s start with the oats. I use and recommend Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free Rolled Oats, because they are high quality, high in fiber, and, for those with dietary concerns, truly gluten free. One of the questions I receive most often from readers is how I can state that my oatmeal recipes are gluten free, when most oats on the market run the risk of being cross-contaminated with gluten, a real concern for those diagnosed with celiac. My answer is Bob’s Red Mill. Their oats are produced in a safe, certified gluten-free facility.

Even if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, I still recommend Bob’s, because the company is dedicated to sourcing the best possible ingredients with the highest nutritional profile, including their hearty rolled oats.

The BEST No Bake Energy Balls. Easy and healthy, with so many flavor possibilities. Recipe at wellplated.com

Following the oats, we have the binding ingredients: nut butter and honey or maple syrup. I most often use honey and regular old peanut butter, but if you have a peanut allergy or just prefer a different kind of nut butter, any sort can be used. If you opt for the drippy “natural” refrigerated nut butter, your batter may be extra sticky. Simply add a few more tablespoons of oats to even it out, and you will be ready to roll.

Next, flaxseeds. Or chia seeds. Or whatever other superfood you bought a giant bag of at Costco on a whim and now need to use up.

No food processor or fancy equipment needed. Pile everything into a bowl.

No Bake Energy Balls. One recipe, dozens of flavors! Recipe at wellplated.com

Now that we have our base, we are ready for the Good Stuff: mix-ins!

While I’ve tried enough different mix-in combos to open an energy ball food truck, I most often find myself choosing chocolate chips and…whatever else I can find in my pantry.

Energy balls = legit excuse to eat chocolate at all times of day. I like this math.

If you aren’t a big chocolate fan, we can’t be friends fear not. I have non-chocolate options for you too!

How to make the best healthy Energy Balls. Easy recipe for raw vegan energy balls that’s perfect for healthy snacking and breakfasts. Gluten free! Recipe at wellplated.com

While there are many other methods to make energy balls that range from soaking and blending dried fruit in the food processor to using assorted grains and nut flours instead of oatmeal, today’s master oatmeal energy ball recipe is the one I return to again and again. It’s simple, I always have the ingredients I need to make it on hand, and I only need to wash one bowl at the end.

With the approach of back to school/life craziness at large, this easy energy ball recipe is also the one that I thought was most important to share with you today. They take just 10 minutes to prep, can last 2 weeks in the refrigerator or in the freezer forever (or until you remember they are in there and immediately eat them), and are endlessly adaptable, so you’ll never tire of them.

Ultimate EASY energy ball recipe! One recipe, plus 6 ways to change the flavor. No mixer required! All you need are simple ingredients like peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. Raw, vegan, and gluten free. Recipe at wellplated.com

Below, I have a short video showing you the energy ball step-by-steps, as well as highlighting a few of my favorite combos. Once you’ve worked your way through those, be sure to check out the other energy ball recipes linked at the bottom of the post.

For a step-by-step of how to make these easy no-bake Energy Balls, watch this short recipe video:

Tools I used to make this energy ball recipe:

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No Bake Oatmeal Energy Balls

The only Energy Ball recipe you’ll ever need, plus six no-bake energy ball flavors! Start with this easy base recipe, then add any of your favorite mix-ins.

Yield: about 18 (1-inch) balls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

ENERGY BALL BASE:

  • 1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats (you can also swap quick oats or a blend of half quick, half old fashioned)
  • 2 tablespoons “power mix-ins” (chia seedsflaxseedshemp seeds), or additional rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of choice (peanut butter is my go-to)
  • 1/3 cup sticky liquid sweetener of choice (honey or maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins (see below for flavor options)

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CHIP:

  • Any nut butter, honey, 1/2 cup chocolate chips

TRAIL MIX:

  • Peanut butter, honey, 3 tablespoons chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons chopped peanuts, 2 tablespoons raisins

WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY:

  • Almond or cashew butter, honey, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

ALMOND JOY:

  • Replace 1/2 cup of the oatmeal with 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, almond butter, any sweetener, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup chopped almonds

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE:

  • Any nut butter, any sweetener, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, ADD 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE:

  • Almond or cashew butter, maple syrup, 1/2 cup raisins, ADD 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl: oats, power mix-ins, nut butter, sweetener, vanilla extract, salt, mix-ins, and any other spices you’d like to add. Stir to combine. If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more oats. If it’s too dry, add a bit more nut butter. It should resemble a somewhat sticky dough that holds together when lightly squeezed. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set (this will make the balls easier to roll later on).
  2. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and portion the dough into balls of desired size. (I use a cookie scoop to make mine approximately 1 inch in diameter). Enjoy!
  • Store leftover energy balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • For nut allergies: In place of the almond or peanut butter, try sunflower seed butter.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 ball (nutrition info for Classic Chocolate Chip variation)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 123 Calories
  • Total Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Sodium: 47mg
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Protein: 3g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

More stellar healthy no-bake energy ball recipes:

No Bake Ginger Cookie Healthy Energy Balls — easy, high protein, and great for your skin! Raw vegan recipe with oatmeal, coconut, warm spices, and flaxseed. Naturally sweetened and no food processor required! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Ginger Cookie Healthy Energy Bites

No Bake Pumpkin Energy Balls. Tastes like pumpkin pie! Perfect for healthy snacks, on-the-go breakfasts, or anytime you need a healthy dessert. Vegan, gluten free, and naturally sweetened. @wellplated

Pumpkin Energy Balls

No Bake Cookie Dough Protein Balls. These healthy energy bites taste exactly like chocolate chip cookie dough! One bowl, no baking, and they’re perfect for breakfast, snacking, and even dessert. {low carb, paleo, and gluten free} @wellplated

Cookie Dough No Bake Protein Balls

Fig and Almond No Bake Energy Bites. Easy, healthy, vegan, and gluten free

Fig Almond No Bake Energy Bites

And energy ball recipes, masquerading as dessert:

Dark Chocolate Paleo Pistachio Truffles. A healthy raw vegan dessert that everyone can enjoy! This no bake dessert is perfect for homemade Christmas gifts, cookie plates, or anytime you want a treat at the holidays! {gluten free, clean eating, and dairy free} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Pistachio Truffles

AMAZING gluten free, dairy free, vegan dessert: Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Truffles. Easy, no bake recipe. Perfect sweet treat for healthy desserts or even snacks Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Salted Caramel Truffles

I am sharing this post in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you! For more healthy recipe inspiration, coupons, or to find a store that carries Bob’s Red Mill products near you, visit bobsredmill.com.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

43 comments

  1. you know i love bob’s GF oats! and balls to the walls energy bites! hehe

    Rating: 5
  2. Loving that there’s so many flavor choices :)

  3. Hi! Would they hold together if I made them into bars?

    • Marcia, they will be really REALLY soft, but if that doesn’t bother you, I think that could be a good experiment! I’d press them into a pan get them VERY cold, then slice. They will soften at room temp, so I’d take them out of the refrigerator shortly before eating.

  4. I’ve got to confess that I’ve never ever tried an energy bal. don’t hate me. I never buy protein bars either. I’m just not that into that sort of thing. That being said, if I were to ever explore that whole energy snack realm, I would most certainly start with your recipes which have always proven to be well-tested and delicious. 

    I was wondering if you still needed (did you ever?) recipe ideas that could be lightened up or updated? I made an incredible chicken dish on Friday but would love to bring it into 2017 as carefully and thoughtfully as possible because it is one of the best things I’ve ever made. It’s called Chicken Marbella. I’d love to see what you could do with it!

    • Marina, if you are looking for a healthy snack, energy balls are a great place to start. They don’t taste like typical protein bars. Actually they remind me of cookie dough :) I’m not able to promise anything with specific recipe requests (it’s hard to find time to do as much as I’d like!), but I’m always open to new ideas and would love to see the recipe regardless. You can feel free to email it to me if you like. Erin{at}wellplated{dot}com.

  5. Lexi @Lexi'scleankitchen Reply

    YUM! I need to try these! The Pistachio Truffles look insane!

  6. Is it wrong that I want to make them ALL NOW?! Love a good energy ball!

  7. Thank you! I have been looking for a “go to” recipe that didn’t require a food processor. Can’t wait to try these!

  8. I’d love to have some of these tucked in the freezer for busy days. Great idea!

  9. so many options! love this!

  10. This is brilliant! I love how easy the base is to make and all the variations you’ve got here. And I can see so many more possibilities happening, too! So fun! 

  11. Love all the variations — these are my favorite afternoon treat, but I have to say, I want some of those energy balls masquerading as dessert!

  12. Yes, you should definitely open an energy ball food truck!! ;) Also, I LOVE Bob’s Red Mill and all their products!!

  13. Yum! These will be perfect for an upcoming, week long, camping trip full of outdoor fun. And  the little fingers in the family will be inticed to gobble them down too! Bonus; they are diabetic friendly. Perfect timing! 

  14. Thank you for this!! Love having energy balls around for an easy healthy snack and it’s so nice to have these variations! Can’t wait to try them out!

  15. These look fantastic!  One question, is there a way to bump up the protein per ball without adding to many more calories?

    • Great question, Stacy! I haven’t tried it myself, but you can play around with adding protein powder. You’ll need to add some additional nut butter and/or honey to offset the fact that the protein powder will probably make them more dry. The good news, however, is that nut butter has more protein AND offers healthy fats, so you’ll still be getting a nice nutritional boost. You could also try these cookie dough balls, which already have protein powder added.

  16. OH YUM!!! these all look so delicious! I want them all!

  17. I usually grind the flax seeds to a dustbin the coffee grinder because my kids (adults 😜) won’t eat them if they see “foreign items” in there 😂. I’ve been adding them to their protein smoothies for years 👍🏼

  18. I’m allergic to tree nuts, do you recommend any substitutes for the the nut butter? Thank you

  19. I tried this recipe and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was! I made the basic chocolate chip recipe (for an alternative sweet snack) and it was delicious. It really fills you up. I am going to try the white chocolate almond next.

    • Janise, thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and reporting back! I hope you love the white chocolate almond just as much!

  20. I’ve made these twice already. They’ve become quite the hit in the house. I love that they’re so easy to throw together. I only use flax seeds as the “power mix-in” and I grind them to get the omega-3 benefits. Have only made them with chocolate chips as the optional add-in.

    The Hubs really likes them because he’s trying to lose weight and these provide that lovely “sweet-pop” while still be healthy. Thx so much for the recipe! :)

  21. Always looking for healthy snacks to have around my house!! Love this post to inspire me!

    Rating: 5
  22. I’ll be trying these this week – they all look yummy! One note – I redid my oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe to use flaxseed meal, chocolate chips, Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened Flaked Coconut, and dried cherries. You might like that combo in these too. :)

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