Made with oatmeal, protein powder, honey, and chocolate (for happy measure), these healthy homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bars are no-bake and require only a bowl and some elbow grease.
While store-bought protein bars are fine from time to time, nothing tastes quite as wonderful as making your own wholesome homemade protein bars (or Oatmeal Breakfast Bars).
- I love knowing exactly what is in these peanut butter protein bars. Just like these Protein Balls, the ingredients for these peanut butter protein bars are simple and nourishing.
- Also, SO YUMMY. The texture of these homemade protein bars is soft and chewy (check out Peanut Butter Protein Cookies for another melt-in-your-mouth protein treat).
- Money-saving. Protein bars are expensive to buy! Making them yourself is a fraction of what they cost at the store.
As an even-better bonus, these no-bake peanut butter protein bars can be stored at room temperature (like a baked protein bar recipe).
This makes them travel-friendly and easy to keep at your desk or tucked in your gym bag for a post-workout snack.
5 Star Review
“Phenomenal recipe. I’ve given up my nature valley protein bars because these are better and easy to make!”— Abby —
How to Make Protein Bars
Making peanut butter protein bars couldn’t be easier.
Once you have your ingredients gathered, simply melt, stir, press, and chill. Voilà!
Homemade protein bars ready and on demand for all your snacking needs.
- Peanut Butter. Healthy fats, protein, and the all-out delicious factor. You can use any kind you like, be it shelf-stable or drippy peanut butter. (For another healthy peanut butter snack, try this Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie.) For a peanut-free version, swap almond butter, cashew butter, or sun butter.
- Oatmeal. Rolled oats are hearty, rich in fiber, and give the peanut butter protein bars their structure. Using certified gluten-free oats makes these bars safe for those with a gluten allergy.
- Honey. For its natural sweetness and “glue” factor.
- Flaxseed Meal. Omega-3s, please.
- Protein Powder. Pump ’em up! To make these protein bars with protein powder, stir in 1/2 cup (about 2 generous scoops) of your favorite brand of protein powder. (For a protein-packed snack without powder, try Oatmeal Protein Cookies.)
- Coconut Oil. To help the bars bind and solidify.
- Chocolate Chips. No ho-hum bars here. These peanut butter protein bars are loaded with the good stuff. Mini chocolate chips are easy to mix in; for a stronger chocolate factor, use dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate.
Protein Bar Flavor Variations
This homemade protein bar recipe is super adaptable. Countless readers have shared how they’ve made this recipe their own in the comments. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Homemade Protein Bars with Raisins. Add a handful of raisins (or other dried fruit) to the mixture.
- Peanut Butter Protein Bars with Chia Seeds. Swap all or a portion of the flaxseed meal for an equal amount of chia seeds.
- Crunchy Homemade Protein Bars. For added crunch, stir in a handful of crisp rice cereal.
- Homemade Protein Bars with Nuts. Throw in a handful of your favorite chopped nuts for some additional healthy fats. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts would all be lovely additions.
- Double Vanilla Protein Bars. Add 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, use vanilla protein powder, and swap the chocolate chips for white chocolate chips.
- Salted Chocolate Protein Bars. Use chocolate protein powder. Drizzle the finished bars with melted chocolate, then sprinkle with flaky salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel.
- Melt the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil in a double-boiler and stir until smooth.
- Remove from the heat and mix in the oats, protein powder, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
If the mixture is still warm, pop the bowl into the refrigerator for a few minutes to let it cool. Cooling the mixture will prevent the chocolate from melting. Don’t worry if they do melt a little—the bars will still be delicious!
- Press evenly into a square pan lined with parchment paper, then chill until firm. Remove the bars from the pan and slice them into bars. ENJOY!
- To Store. Store the bars at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can also store them in the fridge, though I find they taste best at room temperature.
- To Freeze. Place bars in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months.
I like to wrap my homemade protein bars individually in plastic, then remove them from the freezer as needed.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowl. This space-saving set of glass mixing bowls is my favorite.
- Square Pan. A square baking pan with sharp corners and sides is ideal for making perfect homemade protein bars.
- Parchment Paper. Essential for lining the pan for easy bar removal and slicing.
Ready for a pantry upgrade?
Give these peanut butter protein bars a try!
You’ll smile every time you open the door and find them waiting for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
While I have only ever made the recipe as it is written with coconut oil, feel free to experiment. Popular swaps include additional nut butter or an equal amount of melted butter.
Sure! I prefer to warm my ingredients together on the stovetop to more easily keep an eye on it and better control the heat, but you can heat the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil in the microwave instead. For best results, warm low and slow in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring periodically, until smooth.
Certainly! While I have only ever made these as bars, the mixture should be able to be shaped into balls instead. Keep in mind that you may need to play around with the peanut butter, oats, and protein powder ratios a bit to get the right consistency. Or, you can try these Peanut Butter Protein Balls or Energy Balls instead.
Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- Line an 8×8- or 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides like handles.
- Place the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil in a medium heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of water and bring the water to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. (Do not let the water boil, and make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the mixing bowl.) Stir and heat until the mixture is smoothly combined. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and turn off the heat.
- Add the oats, protein powder, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl with the peanut butter mixture. Stir to combine. The mixture will seem very dry at first but will come together as you stir. It won't be sticky but should hold together when pressed (see recipe notes for more details).
- Fold in the chocolate chips. (If the mixture is still fairly warm, pop the bowl into the refrigerator for a few minutes to let it cool. Cooling the mixture will prevent the chocolate from melting. Don’t worry if they do melt a little—the bars will still be delicious!)
- Press evenly into the prepared pan and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
- Lift the bars from the pan using the parchment handles and transfer them to a cutting board. Slice into bars as desired and enjoy.
- TO STORE: Store the bars at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- TO FREEZE: These homemade protein bars can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- STORAGE TIP: I like to wrap mine individually, then remove them from the freezer as needed. You can also store them in the fridge, though I find they taste best at room temperature.
- *INGREDIENT NOTE: The consistency of the bars will vary based on the brand of peanut butter you use. Add a tablespoon or two extra oats if they seem too loose. If they seem too dry, add additional peanut butter, honey, or even water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the bars hold together easily when pressed into the pan.
- **GLUTEN FREE: If you are particularly sensitive to gluten, I recommend sourcing oats (e.g., Bob’s Red Mill) that are processed in a gluten free certified facility.
- The nutritional information will vary based on the brand of protein powder you use. If you’d like to calc them with a specific brand, you can do so for free at myfitnesspal.com.
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