Vegan Protein Balls
Published Aug 09, 2023, Updated Sep 12, 2023
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These 5 ingredient vegan protein balls are super easy to whip up and perfect for meal prep. They make for a great post-workout or on-the-go snack. Dairy-free + gluten-free.
One of my favorite snacks to meal prep is protein balls! They’re great as on-the-go snacks or post-workout fuel and they’re so easy to make.
I have a few different protein ball recipes on the blog already, but the top question I get asked is if they can be made without honey, so I decided to create this vegan protein ball recipe! It’s made with maple syrup as the sweetener, making them vegan, but still absolutely delicious.
Why You’ll Love These Vegan Protein Balls
- Vegan, gluten-free + dairy-free.
- Easy to make… you only need 1 bowl, 5 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time!
- Portable, freezer-friendly and perfect for meal prep.
- Customizable… feel free to make this recipe your own!
- Can be eaten as a healthy snack or dessert or as a post-workout treat!
- Protein-packed… one ball has 5 grams of protein!
- old fashioned rolled oats – rolled oats are the best type of oat to use for protein balls! Oats are naturally gluten-free, but often cross contaminated so make sure to grab certified gluten-free oats if needed. My fave brand is Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats.
- almond butter – this will serve as a binding agent and provide a good dose of healthy fats and proteins. Look for a brand with just one or two ingredients (almonds and salt). Also, try to use almond butter that’s creamy and drippy. Some of my favorite brands are Wild Friends creamy almond butter and 365 organic creamy almond butter.
- maple syrup – the glue that binds these protein balls together. This natural sweetener adds the right amount of sweetness to these protein balls and pairs perfectly with the almond butter and chocolate chips.
- vanilla protein powder – the main source of protein in these protein balls. Your favorite brand of vanilla protein powder works, but Nuzest is one of my favorite brands. It’s plant-based and has a minimal, clean ingredient list. Plus, the vanilla flavor is delish. You can use my code eatingbirdfood for 15% off your order.
- mini chocolate chips – I recommend Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips which are allergen-friendly or Lily’s chocolate chips because they are low in sugar and calories.
How to Make
These vegan protein balls couldn’t get any easier to make!
Start by placing the oats, almond butter, maple syrup, protein powder and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. This might require some elbow grease initially as the mixture might appear too thick.
Once your mixture is combined, use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to form the dough into balls. Store in a covered container in the fridge or freezer.
A helpful tip is to use your hands to knead the dough towards the end, which makes the process easier.
Substitutions & Notes
Maple syrup – If you want these protein balls to be low-sugar try using monk fruit sugar-free maple syrup. If you don’t need these protein balls to be vegan you can use honey as the liquid sweetener. Check out my other protein ball recipes, which are all made with honey.
Almond butter – If you’re looking to swap the almond butter with another nut butter or seed butter you could use cashew butter, peanut butter, tahini or sunflower seed butter.
Protein powder – I prefer the vanilla protein powder as it pairs nicely with the almond butter and chocolate chips, but feel free to use your favorite brand and flavor of protein powder for this recipe! If you’re looking for a recipe without protein powder you can make these no bake energy bites instead!
Chocolate chips – You could always skip the chocolate chips and add a different mix-in. Some great examples include: dried cranberries, raisins, shredded coconut, crushed nuts, cacao nibs, chia seeds or ground flax seeds.
- Peanut butter chocolate: Swap the almond butter for peanut butter and the vanilla protein powder for chocolate protein powder.
- Tropical: Add in some shredded coconut and swap out the chocolate chips for chopped dried pineapple or mango for a tropical twist.
- Berry: Use a berry-flavored protein powder like the strawberry flavor from Nuzest and swap the chocolate chips for freeze-dried strawberries or dried blueberries.
- Nut-free: If you need these protein balls to be nut-free replace the almond butter with sunflower seed butter.
- If the mixture is too dry/crumbly: This can happen if your nut butter isn’t drippy/creamy enough. You can fix this by adding a splash of water or milk to the mixture to help bind the ingredients together and make it easier for rolling into balls!
- If the mixture is too wet: Add a bit more rolled oats until you reach the desired consistency.
- Difficulty in forming balls: If the mixture isn’t holding together when you try to form the balls, chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before shaping.
How to Store
- At room temperature: Protein balls can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but they may become softer and less firm over time. To store them at room temperature, place them in an airtight container and keep them in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or in a warm environment.
- In the fridge: Store these protein balls in a covered container in the fridge. They will keep well for about 1-2 weeks. I like using glass storage containers or Stasher bags for storing protein balls.
- In the freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze them. Just place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before enjoying.
More Protein Ball Recipes
- No Bake Protein Balls – 4 Ways
- No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls
- Almond Joy Protein Balls
- Coconut Protein Balls
- Thin Mint Protein Balls
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Protein Bites
- Cinnamon Raisin Cookie Protein Balls
- Tahini Chocolate Chip Protein Balls
- Pumpkin Protein Balls
Popular Protein Snacks
- Easy Protein Shakes
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Bars
- Strawberry Protein Muffins
- Protein Cookies
- Peanut Butter Protein Cookies
- Double Chocolate Protein Muffins
- Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- Protein Muffins
- Protein Brownies
Vegan Protein Balls
- Place oats, almond butter, maple syrup, protein powder and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
- Stir to combine. Getting the mixture to combine takes a little arm muscle and it may seem too thick at first, but it will come together as you keep mixing. I used my hands to knead the dough near the end and that seems to help.
- Once combined, use a small cookie scoop to scoop and form the dough into balls.
- Store in a covered container in the fridge or freezer.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.