I started making no bake energy balls a couple years ago. I’ve always been a big fan of Kashi, KIND, and LUNA bars and wanted to test my hand at a homemade version.
The first energy ball recipe I made was peanut butter chocolate no bake energy bites. Oh mama! I was sold. Those are made primarily with Medjool dates so they are more like a Luna Bar. Then I made a pumpkin spice energy bite which are made with oats, maple syrup, pumpkin, and a few other ingredients. Those are more like a Kashi or KIND Bar. Then I kept going and created a bunch of other different varieties. You can see (and save) all my favorite energy ball recipes at the end of this tutorial.
Why are they called energy balls?
Quite simply, energy balls are made with ingredients that give you energy. For example, nut butters and nuts are filled with good fats and proteins which fill you up without making you bloated. Rolled oats are complex carbs that provide lasting energy. I also throw chia seeds in mine that offer lots of fiber, protein, and omega 3’s.
The great thing about energy balls is they are super versatile so the options are endless with the amount of “power” ingredients you can use.
Why energy balls are the perfect “go-to” healthy snack?
Energy balls can be made ahead of time.
Meal prep is my #1 tip for eating healthy and losing weight. It’s much easier to choose healthy options when they’re ready to eat. Energy balls can (and should) be made ahead of time. They keep great in the refrigerator and can even be frozen. This means you can make a batch on Sunday to enjoy all week or make a few batches to keep in the freezer for snacks all month. I’ll give some freezer tips at the end.
Energy balls are portable.
One of things I love about store-bought energy bars is they are grab and go. I need that. I spend a lot of time in the car and running here, there, and everywhere so I need snacks that can easily be taken with me. All I need to do is throw a couple energy bites in a snack bag and head out the door. I can also put 1 or 2 in my kids lunches. Once they’re prepared transporting energy bites is easy.
Energy balls are cheap.
Preparing energy balls is much cheaper than purchasing boxes of store-bought energy bars. You can make a couple batches for less than $5 depending on the ingredients used. Not to mention most of the ingredients are likely in your pantry. Win! Oh and not only is homemade energy bites cheaper they are healthier because you’re in the control of the ingredients. Win win!
Energy balls are versatile.
Like I said, the ingredient options are endless. You could throw in any kind of nut, seed, or dried fruit. You can use gluten-free oats. So, if you have dietary restrictions or looking to eat more protein than simply adjust the ingredients.
No oven required.
Yep, these are perfect snacks to make on hot summer days! No need to turn on the oven with these sweet healthy treats.
Equipment needed for no bake energy balls
This isn’t necessary for all energy bite recipes, I mostly use it for recipes that call for medjool dates. However, if you want to process oats or quickly chop up nuts then a food processor will come in handy. I recommend this 8 cup Cuisinart food processor. You get it from Amazon from under $75. If you’re look for something a little cheaper try out this Hamilton Beach one is under $40 and has good reviews.
Large bowl and spatula.
Every kitchen should have a set of mixing bowls. I use mine all the time for many different recipes so they’re good to have on hand. I have this set from Pyrex and love it. Simple and easy to clean. Of course, you can’t have too many spatulas. OXO makes a great set for under $13.
Ingredients used to make energy balls
There are three type of energy balls I make.
- Oats and nut butter. The base for this recipe includes oats, a nut butter, chia seeds, and pure maple syrup. Some of the recipes I make use ripe bananas or pumpkin. Sometimes I throw in chopped nuts and/or dried fruit too.
- Medjool Dates and Nut butter. The base for this recipe includes medjool dates, nut butter, chia seeds, and often chopped nuts. Depending on the recipe I’ll throw in shredded coconut and/or cocoa powder too.
- A combination of the two. The base of this recipe include finely processed rolled oats and Medjool. Depending on the recipe I’ll use extract and/or through in nuts or coconut.
Again, energy bites are super versatile so it possible to take any combination of ingredients to create your own unique recipe.
Just in case you’re unsure where to get some of these ingredients let me offer some suggestions.
A couple years ago I had a hard time finding this ingredient but now these dates seem to be more popular. Medjool dates can be found in the bulk section, or dried fruit section, of any large grocery store. They might also be in the nature food section of the grocery store. Definitely, check out the bulk section because they’re much cheaper there. Please note that Medjool dates come with pits, so those need to be removed prior to using. Also, I recommend soaking the dates in warm water for 10 minutes before processing. This softens them up and makes it easier to blend.
Rolled oats are different than instant oats. You can find rolled oats in the breakfast section of the grocery store or where the other oatmeal is. Rolled oats are often in the bulk section so check there first because they’ll be much cheaper.
Nut butter besides peanut butter
I love using almond and cashew butter in energy ball recipes. This nut butter is alongside the peanut butter or in the nature food section.
These are in the nature food section either by the baking supplies or by the other nuts and seeds. I get huge bags of chia seeds from BJ’s wholesale store for a great price so check your big box stores if you can. Again, check the bulk section.
Shredded unsweetened shredded coconut or dried fruit
This is in the baking, nature, and/or bulk section. Make sure to get unsweetened shredded coconut – it’s much healthier for you.
If you don’t have access to some of these ingredients then consider shopping through Amazon or Thrive Market. You can read my Thrive Market review if you’d like to learn more about this online grocery store.
How to make no bake energy balls
Alright, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of making a no-bake energy ball.
Depending on the recipe, you may or may not need to break out the food processor. I only use the food processor when I make recipes that include Medjool dates.
If you prepare a Medjool date energy bite recipe then you put all the ingredients into the food processor until it’s mixed together and forms a batter.
Every other energy ball recipe I simply put all the ingredients into a large bowl and then mix together. Yes…it’s THAT easy. You can use a spatula to mix all the ingredients together or dig in with your hands.
You want the mixture to be wet but not “soupy”. The oats will soften and soak up the liquid and the chia seeds will also help firm up the batter. If you feel the batter is too soupy then add in some more oats if it’s too dry then stir in some more wet ingredients like maple syrup or nut butter.
Push the oats down with a spatula. You want all the oats to be soaking up the liquid. Then place plastic wrap over the bowl and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Again, you want the oats to soften and also soak up the liquid.
If you make a energy ball recipe that doesn’t require oats, only medjool dates and other ingredients, I still recommend letting the batter sit for a couple hours. Regardless of the energy ball recipe it’s easier to form balls if the batter been chilled for a while.
After the batter firms up roll the energy balls. If the batter seems a little dry then simply add some water to your hands to help form their shape.
Place the balls into a glass container or ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.
How to Freeze No Bake Energy Balls
The great thing about energy ball recipes is all of them can be frozen ahead of time. This means you can make a few batches to have in your freezer all month for healthy snacks.
To freeze energy balls all you need to do is place the balls side by side in a large plastic freezer bag. Lay flat in your freezer. After the energy balls are frozen then place wherever you want in the freezer.
You can also freezer the energy balls on baking sheet and then after they’re frozen place in a freezer bag and store in the freezer.
When you’re ready to eat simply take the number of energy balls you want out of the freezer and give it about 20 minute or ½ hour to thaw.
Energy bites are great for morning or afternoon snacks and kids also love them in their lunch boxes.
Energy Ball Recipes
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