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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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
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 seeds, flaxseeds, hemp 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
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:
And energy ball recipes, masquerading as dessert:
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.