These no bake peanut butter protein bars are made with rolled oats, protein powder, peanut butter and maple syrup. They’re easy to make, require just one bowl and are perfect for meal prep! Vegan + gluten-free.
I love having protein-packed snacks on hand, especially right now as I’m breastfeeding. The nursing hunger is no joke! While there are some quality store-bought snacks that are high in protein, I usually prefer to make my own at home like with these peanut butter protein bars!
These homemade protein bars taste better than store-bought, are made with healthier ingredients (like rolled oats, maple syrup and natural peanut butter) and are super easy to whip up. Plus, they’re totally customizable, so you can make your perfect protein bar at home!
Why You’ll Love These Protein Bars
Made with simple, wholesome ingredients.
Super easy to whip up – all you need is about 10 minutes of prep time and 1 bowl!
Perfect for a grab-and-go snack, breakfast or post-workout pick-me-up.
vanilla protein powder – I used the Sun Warrior Vanilla Warrior Blend for this recipe, which worked great! It’s vegan, soy-free, sugar-free and doesn’t taste chalky at all! Another fave of mine is the Nuzest protein powder. I haven’t tried these bars with a whey protein, but I bet they’d still turn out delicious!
sea salt – to bring all the flavors together. Leave this out if your peanut butter is salted.
chia seeds – these little “super seeds” will fill the bars with added protein, omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. Both black and white chia seeds work for this recipe.
natural creamy peanut butter – you want to use natural, drippy peanut butter not a thick peanut butter spread. I usually go for the store brand and read the label to make sure it has just one or two ingredients, the nuts and salt. Any natural creamy nut butter will work.
maple syrup – one of my favorite natural sweeteners. Just be sure to use pure maple syrup, not the artificial kind labeled “pancake syrup” and made from corn syrup… NOT the same!
vanilla extract – a delicious flavor enhancer.
almond milk – you can substitute with your favorite nut milk or cow’s milk. Try making your own almond milk!
chocolate chips – I recommend Lily’s dark chocolate chips because they have zero sugar added, but feel free to use your favorite brand of chocolate chips.
Substitutions & Notes
Allergic to peanut butter or aren’t a fan? Almond butter, cashew butter, tahini or sunflower seed butter are all great substitutes.
Don’t have chia seeds on hand? Feel free to skip the chia seeds if you don’t have any on hand or you can swap them with another seed like flax seeds or hemp seeds.
Want to use a different sweetener? Go for it! I prefer these protein bars with maple syrup, but feel free to use honey, agave or another liquid sweetener of choice. If you’re looking to lower the sugar content I bet using monk fruit maple syrup would also work!
Want to skip the chocolate chips? You could mix in your favorite dried fruit or nut instead! I bet dried cranberries, blueberries, pepitas, almonds or sunflower seeds would all be delicious!
How to Make
Combine: Add oats, protein powder, salt, peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla to a large bowl and stir to combine. If needed, use your hands to mix, as it may be pretty thick. Add almond milk as needed and fold in chocolate chips.
Chill: Press peanut butter mixture into a parchment-lined pan and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
Cut: Remove bars from fridge and cut into 10 equal-sized bars. Enjoy!
How to Store
One of the best things about these bars is that they store really well! I love making a batch every couple of weeks so I have healthy, protein-packed snacks ready to go throughout the week.
After the bars have set, store them in an airtight container (like a Stasher bag or glass container) in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to store them after being cut so they’re ready to grab and go! If you do freeze them, just thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before enjoying.
What’s the difference between protein bars and granola bars?
There are a few differences between protein bars and granola bars. The obvious difference is that protein bars have protein and granola bars don’t! Protein bars also tend to be a little bit denser compared to the granola bar. They’re almost like protein balls in bar form whereas the granola bars have more texture and seem a little lighter to me. You really can’t go wrong with either. It just depends on what you’re in the mood for!
Are protein bars healthy?
Protein is a super important macronutrient to consume and many people find it hard to meet their protein goals without supplementing with protein products like protein bars. I personally think it’s best to get your protein from whole, real foods when possible, but protein bars are a great option when needed.
Of course, you can buy protein bars at the store, but I really like making my own so I know exactly what’s in them. There are some protein bars on the market that really aren’t much better than a candy bar… loaded with artificial sweeteners and preservatives. These homemade bars have 14 grams of protein and they’re made with simple whole food ingredients!
When should you eat a protein bar?
These protein bars could be a breakfast replacement if you don’t have time for a full meal or are a great snack option. I like to have one as an afternoon snack… you know, when that 3:00 PM hunger rolls around! But they’re also a great post-workout snack as well. The protein helps repair and rebuild your muscles!
Is it okay to eat a protein bar every day?
These protein bars are healthy enough to eat every day! Of course, I recommend switching up your snacks and treats to add a variety of nutrients into your diet, but I don’t see any issue eating a protein bar once a day.
Can protein bars help you lose weight?
Protein bars, as long as they are eaten in moderation and fit into your healthy daily caloric intake plan, may help with weight loss because they can keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals and prevent mindless snacking.
These no bake peanut butter protein bars are made with rolled oats, protein powder, peanut butter and maple syrup. They're easy to make, require just one bowl and are perfect for meal prep! Vegan + gluten-free.
Combine all ingredients, except for almond milk and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. The mixture may seem too thick at first, but it will come together as you keep mixing. Use your hands to help. Add almond milk as needed.
Fold in chocolate chips
Press mixture into prepared pan. Let bars chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before cutting.
Remove bars from the fridge, cut into 10 equal-sized bars and enjoy.
Bars will last about one week in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.