Made with my fellow peanut butter lovers in mind, crafted from wholesome ingredients and containing 12 grams of protein per bar, these protein chocolate peanut butter no bake bars are the perfect snack when you are looking for a healthy treat to satisfy you sweet tooth.
Chocolate + Peanut Butter = The ULTIMATE winning food combination. At least in my opinion. It's no wonder that Eatmore bars are my favorite candy.
Even combined with healthy ingredients (like in this great recipe for 3 ingredient banana brownies), PB and chocolate automatically feels like you're eating a decadent and delicious treat.
So it should come as no surprise that my go-to recipe for protein bars is based on this pairing.
A protein packed and healthy snack, these bars are made from simple ingredients and are a great option when you're wanting an energizing, sweet treat.
Next time you find yourself looking for healthy options to snack on or for a quick breakfast on the go, try a batch of these bars.
And if you're really just here for the chocolate, be sure to try this chunky chocolate granola, too!
- Rolled Oats- Oats provide a bit of a chewy texture and serve as the base for the bars. Old-fashioned oats or quick oats will work. If you need the recipe to be gluten free, ensure that you use certified gluten-free oats.
- Protein Powder- I typically use unflavored pea protein isolate or brown rice protein powder. Feel free to experiment with your favorite protein powder (a chocolate or vanilla flavored one would taste good in the recipe). If using a different powder and the mixture seems dry, try adding 1-2 tablespoon of water.
- Ground Flaxseed- These provide some fiber and healthy fats as well as helping to bind the bars.
- Cacao Nibs- Along with being rich in antioxidants, cacao nibs add a bit of crunch and extra chocolate flavor. Feel free to use mini chocolate chips or another add in instead.
- Peanut Butter- Creamy peanut butter binds the ingredients together and provides key. I prefer to use natural peanut butter but shelf stable should work as well. If you want to make them peanut free, you can use another nut or seed butter.
- Coconut Oil- Coconut oil adds moisture and also solidifies when chilled which helps the bars hold their shape. Don't substitute with an oil that is liquid at room temperature as the bars won't hold their shape. If needed, you can try replacing it with additional nut butter or regular butter if you don't need the bars to be dairy free.
- Pure Maple Syrup- This sweetens the bar as well as add moisture for structure. If needed, honey or agave syrup can be used. Or check out this post on maple syrup substitutes for more options.
- Cocoa Powder- This provides the chocolate taste to our bars.
- Espresso Powder- An optional ingredient, this enhances the chocolate flavor.
- Fine Sea Salt- A pinch of salt balances the flavor of the bars and helps to bring out the chocolate taste. If needed, it can be left out.
1. Mix Dry Ingredients. In a large bowl, combine oats, protein powder, ground flaxseed, cacao nibs, espresso powder and salt.
2. Mix Wet Ingredients. To a medium microwave-safe bowl, add peanut butter and coconut oil. Microwave for 30-60 seconds until melted. Mix in maple syrup and cocoa powder until well incorporated.
3. Combine. Pour the melted peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture. Use a rubber spatula to blend the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.
4. Shape. Line a 9x9 baking dish with a silicone mat, parchment paper, or wax paper and transfer the mixture into the pan.
Use your hands to press it firmly into an even layer. TIP: Wet your hands slightly to prevent sticking.
5. Set. Place the pan in the fridge for an hour or freezer for 30 minutes. This helps the bars firm up and hold their shape.
6. Slice. Remove the pan from the freezer and using the lining for easy removal, lift the bar slab onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 equal bars.
Leftovers and Storage
To Store: Place your chocolate peanut butter protein bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If you want to make them easy to grab and pack along, you can individually wrap them in some reusable plastic wrap. *For best texture, I recommend keeping them chilled.
To Freeze: These bars freeze well for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw at room temperature for 5-10 minutes if you prefer them softer.
Make it Your Own
- Use a Different Add In- In place of the cocoa nibs, you can use dark chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut flakes or another favorite add in.
- Make Protein Balls– Scoop out 1-2 tablespoon of mixture, roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes and then move into a container. Be sure to lightly wet your hands as you go so that it doesn’t stick to you.
- Crunchy Protein Bars- Take a note from crunchy peanut butter granola bars and reduce the oats to 1 cup and add 1 cup of crisp rice cereal.
- Protein Bars with Chia Seeds- Substitute the ground flaxseeds for an equal amount of chia seeds.
- Add a Chocolate Topping- After pressing the bars into an even layer, place them in the freezer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 4 ounces of semi-sweet or dark chocolate in a small bowl in 20 second burst in the microwave, stirring after each, until melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the bars and tilt the pan so that the chocolate covers the bars completely. Place in the freezer for an additional 20 minutes before slicing.
- Or a Chocolate Drizzle- If you don't want to commit to a full chocolate topping layer, you can melt 1 ounce of chocolate and drizzle it over the bars instead.
- Make the Peanut Free- If needed, you can use cashew butter, almond butter or sunflower seed butter (which would also make them nut free) instead.
- Skip the Protein Powder- If you would prefer to make these bars without protein powder, you can substitute with almond flour.
Tips and Notes
- Adjust for Protein Powder: The protein powder used can affect the consistency. If needed, adjust the consistency by adding a bit of water if the mixture appears too dry.
- Although I recommend using a plain kind, you can try using a flavored powder, but ensure it's flavor would complement the bars (such as chocolate or vanilla).
- The type of protein powder used may affect the amount the grams of protein per bar. The nutrition label on the recipe card is an estimate based on pea protein isolate.
- Ensure Bars Set: When shaping the mixture in the pan, press it down firmly to create cohesive bars. Wetting your hands slightly can prevent sticking and make the pressing process smoother.
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And if you liked this recipe...
...you might also like:
- Homemade Granola Bars with Quinoa
- Lava Cakes
- No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
- 3 Ingredient Banana Brownies
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- 1 and ½ cups rolled oats
- ¾ cup pea protein isolate or protein powder of choice (chocolate, vanilla or unflavored)
- 2 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- ½ cup cocoa nibs (optional) or another add in such as dark chocolate chips, peanuts or coconut flakes
- ¼ teaspoon espresso powder optional
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 and ¼ cups peanut butter
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, protein powder, flaxseed, cacao nibs, salt and espresso powder.
- In a medium microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter and coconut oil. Microwave for 30-60 seconds until melted. Add maple syrup and cocoa powder and stir to combine.
- Using a rubber spatula, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
- Line a 9x9 baking pan with a silicone mat, parchment paper or wax paper and pour the mixture into it. Press the mixture firmly into the pan (tip: wet your hands slightly to prevent sticking) and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and using the lining, pull the bars out and place on a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars and enjoy.