(aka Quick and Healthy Snack Bites)
~ These delicious no-bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls are loaded with nutrition to keep you powered up and energized – filled with lots of whole grains, fiber and protein! They’re quick and easy to make, and freezable, too. A healthy snack your family will love, and you’ll feel absolutely terrific about giving them! ~
(Originally published as Quick and Healthy Snack Bites on April 18, 2013. Updated photos, text and tips.)
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Freezable • Make Ahead • Vegetarian •
These scrumptious energy balls are truly The Ball That Started It All!
They were the very first recipe we ever shared here at Two Healthy Kitchens, and they embody everything we believe in … all in one tiny, perfect bite. They’re:
- So quick and easy (no baking, no cooking!)
- Absolutely, addictively delicious
We originally named all our energy balls “snack bites,” but I realized most of you guys out there think of them as energy balls, or even energy bites … so I’ve renamed them.
And, I’ve added handy tips I’ve learned through all my years of making literally hundreds upon hundreds of these yummy balls. You might notice I’ve upgraded the photos for you a bit, too. It made me kinda sad to ditch those very first photos, but you know … progress.
A Healthy Snack That’s Now Even Healthier!
Oh! And I’ve dramatically slashed the honey, even beyond the already-lower-sugar recipe we originally posted back in 2013.
My family honestly likes these energy bites even better now, because they’re not so … well … sweet. And, of course, less sugar is always a win!
But don’t worry … for those of you who’ve been making those original “Quick and Healthy Snack Bites” for years … you can still make ’em the same way you always did.
But trust me. Try cutting back the honey a bit, and I bet you won’t even notice!
Why We All Need Energy Balls in Our Lives (The Backstory)
I first started this website back in 2013, with my very best friend and business partner, Gretchen. We knew that this one, simple energy ball recipe was the perfect, yummy little hero to help us kick off our brand-new site. Here’s how it happened (cue the time warp) …
Once upon a time, in a land not-so-far-away, there were two beautiful princesses (sorry, got carried away there) … we were chatting about our kids’ hectic schedules, and we came to a realization:
Hands-down, the weak link in our families’ otherwise nutritious lives was the grab-and-go snack!
We’d always tried to be really diligent about providing super-healthy meals, but somehow the wheels totally fell off at snack time.
Oh sure, we had the best intentions. But, as the kids came home from school and the whirlwind of homework and afternoon activities began, we often found ourselves reaching for those convenient (and maybe not-so-healthy) snacks.
And, talking with friends, we realized that most other families were facing the exact same challenges. Healthy snacks were somehow just hard to achieve in the midst of busy family schedules.
We knew there had to be a better way!
We scoured cookbooks and the Internet looking for fun and healthy ideas. We tested, tasted, re-tested, re-tasted … you get the idea.
And finally we found a winner! (aaaaahhhhhhh – picture a choir of angels singing here)
Actually, we found lots of winners (some were even hiding in our own recipe collections!), and we could’t wait to tell you all about them as we launched this site!
This Peanut Butter Energy Ball recipe, however, quickly found its way into our hearts (and our tummies, again … and again …)! We just knew that this HAD to be our first recipe post. It truly does feature every single thing we stand for here at THK – it’s so tasty, so nutritious, so quick, and so easy!
We adapted our recipe from Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots, and you can find her original recipe here. While we absolutely loved her version, we wondered if we could amp up the nutrition without losing any of the flavor … ’cause that’s just how we roll.
We concocted about 8 or 10 different variations (yeah, we were eating A LOT of these, long before we ever shared them with all of you!) until we settled on the perfect balance. In our version, we:
√ Swapped in wheat germ for some of the flax, which allowed us to keep a decent amount of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, while reducing the calories and total fat a bit, and increasing the Vitamin E and folic acid a smidge.
√ We also reduced the chocolate chips, which meant less sugar.
√ And we used crunchy peanut butter for, well, some added crunch.
Our families fell in love with them. We stocked our freezers with healthy snack bags full of grab-and-go energy balls. They really even developed somewhat of a legendary, cult-following amongst our early readers.
Thank you, tiny Peanut Butter Energy Balls. You truly were the perfect way to kick off our site!
And with this little refresh … brand-new pics, a few tried-and-true tips and tricks … the beloved snack bites are ready to keep right on snackin’ with new readers (and of course, with all our original, reader-friends, too)!
Here’s all you’ve gotta do to give them a try …
How to Make Your Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Begin by adding your ingredients (except, hold off on the chocolate chips – for now) into a medium bowl.
Mix it all together until it’s really well combined. (And, yeah … this is probably a good time for a little taste test. Mmmmmmmm …)
Next stop … the chocolate chips!
Yeah, this is where it gets REALLY good. I mean … chocolate chips and peanut butter??? Yes, please!
Mix ’em right on in there, so you’ll get little bits of chocolate in every bite. (And now’s another great taste test opportunity. Just sayin’ 😉 )
See how easy this is? You’re practically done already. (The hardest part is the taste testing, right?!?!)
Now all that’s left to do is shape your yummy, healthy snack mixture into one-inch balls. (Unless you’ve already eaten it all straight from the bowl. Which I would totally understand.)
Pro Tip: You can’t just lightly roll this between your hands like cookie dough. You actually have to press it together firmly to get it to stick.
Although it’s ok if your energy bites sit out at room temperature for a while, we recommend storing them in the fridge (particularly if you’re using natural peanut butter that should be refrigerated), or stashing them in the freezer. Which brings me to:
• Your Peanut Butter Energy Balls will keep beautifully in the fridge for several days.
• But, I actually like to store mine in the freezer, where they’ll easily last for 3 months or more (although I’m not sure mine have ever made it quite that long before being chowed).
• To make healthy snacking as easy as possible on busy days, it helps to pre-package two or three energy balls per zippered snack baggie. Then, gather up all those individual baggies and store them together in one, big, gallon-sized freezer bag.
When the munchies strike, a healthy snack is as easy as opening the freezer. See ya later, store-bought junk snacks!
Big Batch Tips
So, if I’ve talked you into freezing these, then the next obvious step is to make a BIG batch while you’re at it. Stock the freezer …
meal prep snack prep for the win!
In fact, I almost always make a quadruple batch, any time I’m making energy balls.
I’ve found a couple tricks to help:
If you’re making a giant batch of Peanut Butter Energy Balls, it helps to mix all the dry ingredients together first (the oats, coconut, flax and wheat germ). Then add the wet ingredients … and then finally the chocolate chips.
Although it’s no problem to thoroughly incorporate the dry and wet ingredients together in a normal, 1x recipe situation … when you’ve got a ginormous mixing bowl goin’ on, it’s much easier to get the dry ingredients mixed together before adding the sticky peanut butter and honey.
The one downside to making such huge batches is that it takes a little while to shape sooooo many energy balls. (Even though, later, you’ll be so glad you did!) It seemed like, whenever I did this, I kept running out of time before I had to scurry off to the next meeting or soccer pick-up.
Turns out, this is actually no problem!
I quickly figured out that I could simply throw some plastic wrap over whatever energy ball mixture was left, un-balled in my mixing bowl. I shove the bowl in the fridge, and finish shaping the balls a day or two later, whenever I have a couple more free moments.
Working in big batches saves so much time, and this energy ball recipe is super flexible to accommodate however much time you happen to have!
Can I Make Energy Balls with Other Nut Butters, Besides Peanut Butter?
Sure! We have specific Energy Ball recipes for almond butter, and even walnut and pecan butter, too. (See the list down below for lots of ideas!)
Can I Use Old-Fashioned Oats in Energy Balls, Instead of Quick Oats?
We really prefer quick oats in this particular Peanut Butter Energy Balls recipe. But, you technically can use old-fashioned oats if you prefer. It’s important to note, though, that the texture of your finished energy bites will be much chewier because of the thicker, coarser nature of the old-fashioned oats.
Can Energy Balls Be Frozen?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s a great idea to make a triple- or quadruple-batch, and store them in the freezer. They’ll last for at least 3 months, all ready for healthy snacks any time you need ’em. I recommend portioning the balls out into individual, snack-sized zipper bags, and then storing all the little baggies together in one big, gallon-sized freezer bag.
Do I Have to Make All the Energy Balls Right Away? What If I Run Out of Time?
No problem here! Especially when I make a huge quadruple-batch, I often don’t finish making all the little energy bites right away. Just mix the ingredients all together and cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap, then stash it in the fridge until you have time to finish.
You can feel good about handing these over to your kids (if you don’t eat them all yourself!) for a quick snack as you dash out the door.
With all the whole grains, fiber and protein packed into these little gems, you can be sure this snack will stick to their ribs and give them the power they need!
Our families are even content to have these tasty nuggets of joy for dessert!
So hey … after you make this recipe, you’ll probably be looking for more great energy ball ideas. Gotcha covered, friend …
Even More Energy Balls You’ll LOVE
Since my family (and our readers) fell sooooo in love with the whole energy bite concept, over the years, I’ve created lots of other deeeee-licious no-bake energy bite recipes, too. Lots of addictive flavors, but they’re all designed to be easy, and healthy, too … just like these first Peanut Butter Energy Balls.
Scroll through ALL the yummy flavors in our Energy Ball Recipes collection, or go ahead and just click on through to the one that you wanna try next …
- “Cookie Dough” Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Energy Balls
- Granola Energy Balls
- “Almond Joy” Almond Butter Energy Balls
- “Peanut Butter Cup” Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls
- Walnut Oatmeal Energy Balls
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Energy Balls
- Tropical Date Energy Balls with Chia Seeds
Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?
Please leave a star-rating in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!
Peanut Butter Energy Balls (aka Quick and Healthy Snack Bites)
These delicious no-bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls will keep you powered up and energized! An easy, healthy snack everybody loves!
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Freezable • Make Ahead • Vegetarian •
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup natural, crunchy peanut butter
- 3 1/2 tablespoons honey (note: original recipe called for 1/3 cup)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.
- Stir to combine.
- Add chocolate chips to mixture and stir again, just until combined.
- Using your hands, press FIRMLY to form one-inch balls.
- Place in air-tight container and refrigerate as needed (or freeze per directions in notes below).
Honey: This recipe was originally published calling for 1/3 cup honey. But, through all my years making these, I started to decrease the honey by even as much as about 1/3 – and nobody seems to notice. Energy Balls made with less honey will not be quite as wet and sticky, but I still have no trouble forming them.
Shaping the Energy Balls: Be sure that you are pressing these balls together FIRMLY (not lightly rolling the balls like cookie dough). If you're still having trouble, it could be that you're using a type of natural peanut butter that's stiffer/firmer than what we usually use (some brands are very thick) or that your coconut is quite dried out (I normally use Baker's brand, which I've noticed is moister than some others). Also, you'll have a lot more difficulty forming balls if you try to substitute regular-sized chocolate chips, instead of the minis we specify. Regardless, to correct for this issue, I recommend slightly decreasing some of the dry ingredients (such as the oats, flax, or wheat germ).
Storage and freezable make-ahead tips: If your peanut butter is one of the natural brands that needs to be refrigerated, then so do your Snack Bites. Actually, regardless of the peanut butter you use, these will keep much better in the refrigerator. They can even be frozen in air-tight bags for up to 3 months. When frozen, these energy balls will be thawed in about 20 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 servings Serving Size: 2 Energy Balls
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 41mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.
85 thoughts on “Peanut Butter Energy Balls”
Great recipe! I substituted date syrup for honey and it worked out perfectly.
I’m so happy you liked it, Renee – thanks so much for the great feedback (and the ingredient swap idea, too)! 😀 ~Shelley
Anything I can substitute for the coconut, I am not a fan.
Hi, Kathy! I’ve had comments from readers such as one that said, “Our Girl Scout Troop really enjoyed making and trying these. … The leader and I don’t like coconut very much but we both agree we really like these snack bites!” So, it could be worth a try, anyway. But, I definitely understand that some people just aren’t coconut lovers. No worries! Luckily, our Energy Balls are very adaptable! For example, you could try making them more like our popular Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls, by leaving out the coconut and increasing the honey a little if you find you need a bit more sweetness. For another alternative, you might like to try our Granola Energy Balls or our “cookie dough” Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Energy Balls instead – neither of those have any coconut. I hope that helps! ~Shelley
Thank you. I will leave the coconut out and adapt it without it. I am also going to try the one with pecans
Wonderful! I think you’ll really like them both – Energy Balls are one of my family’s must-have snacks, and my freezer is sad and lonely if I don’t have a supply all ready to go in little grab-and-go baggies lol! One great thing about them, in your particular case, is that you can taste them as you go, and throw in a little more of whatever you’d like, adjusting until the flavor and texture is precisely how YOU like it! Super adaptable and flexible. Let me know what you think – and have a lovely Sunday, Kathy! 😀 ~Shelley
Can the wheat germ be omitted if you are gluten-sensitive?
Definitely! What I normally recommend in this situation is simply to sub in a bit more of the other dry ingredients, just so the texture gets how you like it and isn’t too gloppy or sticky. You don’t necessarily need to use the exact same amount as the missing wheat germ – just whatever amount you need to get the texture of the energy balls where you want it. If the texture is ok for you, then you can honestly leave the wheat germ out altogether, without adding other dry ingredients back in. It’s all about getting a good texture that you can press firmly into balls. I hope this helps – good luck, and let me know how it goes! ~Shelley
Love anything peanut butter and these are so great for a healthy pick me up in the afternoon!
So happy you love these energy balls, too, Carrie! I can’t even tell you how many times it’s saved the day that I had a little baggie of these tucked in my purse … ready for instant energy when my day got loooooong and I needed a little boost! They’re my secret weapon in the fight against energy crashes hahaha! 😉 ~Shelley
Do you have to use the flaxseed meal or will it be ok without it?
Hi Andee! You can omit the flax, but might find that you want to slightly increase either the oats or wheat germ (or a little of both) to make up for the missing 1/4 cup of flax, if needed to get a good texture that adheres well and isn’t too soft. As long as the texture is ok, though, the flavor will be just fine without the flax. Enjoy – I hope you love these as much as we do! 😀 ~shelley