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5-Ingredient Protein Bars (no-bake!)

For deliciously nutritious energy on the run, grab a couple of your own homemade Protein Bars! These couldn’t be easier to make and are much more affordable than store-bought bars.

no bake protein bars recipe
Homemade protein bars beat out store-bought bars

No-Bake Protein Bars Recipe

If you’ve ever stashed up on store-bought protein bars, you know it can quickly empty your wallet. The price of high quality pre/post workout energy in the form of a bar…it adds up fast. Not to mention, many pre-packaged energy bars are loaded with ingredients that leave you scratching your head in doubt.

You’re about to leave all that behind, with these super easy homemade protein bars, made of only 5 pure, natural ingredients. You’ll be rewarded with a nice batch of fresh protein bars that cost way less than your typical CLIF-type store bought bars.

Feel energized, fueled, and happily satisfied when grabbing your own homemade protein bars on the go. And have leftover cash for that latte after your workout, because you can.

Protein Bars ingredients
pure, simple ingredients

Homemade Protein Bars – only 5 ingredients

You’ll love the pure, nutritious, simple ingredients that go into these quality protein bars. All you need are:

  • Whole Rolled Oats: whole oats provide a more robust texture than quick or instant oats.
  • Real Peanut Butter: we love chunky peanut butter, as it lends a bit of crunch to the bars.
  • Whey Protein Powder: feel free to use your favorite flavor, though we highly recommend steering clear of artificial sugars, as those tend to have an unpalatable aftertaste. Our personal favorite is pure, unflavored 100% whey protein powder, which we’ve been using for years.
  • Real Maple Syrup or Honey: it just feels better than sugar. Plus, maple or honey has the sticky texture needed to help bind the bars.
  • Milk: we use regular cow’s milk, but feel free to use your milk of choice.
  • Totally optional: add-ins! We love dried blueberries, chocolate chips, or even drizzled chocolate on top.

Tip: If you’re planning to stash these bars in your gym bag, backpack, or lunch sack, we recommend skipping the drizzle on top. They’ll stay a lot neater that way and you’ll like us more.

Protein Bars in pan
Just press into a pan and chill; no baking needed

Homemade Protein Bars Keep Well and Freeze Well

These no-bake, 5-ingredient protein bars are JUST the thing for a nutritious energy boost.  I make a nice big batch, which comes in handy for pick-me-up snacks when the kids get the munchies. They’re even great for breakfast on the go.

Thankfully, these homemade protein bars keep extremely well at a mild room temperature, stored airtight. They keep even longer if kept in an airtight container or in individual baggies in the fridge. If you like prepping ahead, feel free to freeze some protein bars so you can have them on hand all month long.

Protein Bars on a plate
Play with healthy add-ins of your choice

Try This Maple Cinnamon BakeD Oatmeal, too:


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Protein Bars on plate

5-Ingredient Protein Bars (no-bake!)

4.9 from 20 reviews

These 5-ingredient Protein Bars are super easy, packed with nutrition, and are the perfect pre/post workout fuel. They’re reminiscent of Clif energy bars, but are way more budget-friendly when you make them at home. 

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup or honey, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup vanilla, chocolate, or plain whey protein powder*
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
  • Optional: 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • Optional Add-ins (1 cup): chocolate chips, raisins, dried blueberries, chopped dates, or melted chocolate for topping

Instructions

  1. In a medium heavy pot, combine milk, peanut butter, and maple syrup/honey over low heat. Stir just until all ingredients are well combined and warmed through. Remove from heat.
  2. Add protein powder, oats, and optional cinnamon or add-ins. Stir to combine well. Taste and add more maple syrup or honey if desired. (If mixture is too thick to stir, simply add a bit more milk.)
  3. Lightly grease an 8×8 pan. Press evenly into pan, using firm pressure to compress mixture into desired bar thickness. Tip: use wet or lightly greased hands to prevent sticking. 
  4. Allow bars to cool completely. Once cool, cut into squares. If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate and let cool. Wrap in airtight container and store at moderate room temp for several days, or chilled in fridge for a week. 

Notes

Protein powder is to be measured according to standard cups, not the scoops that come inside the tub of protein powder. If needed, check for certified gluten-free labeling.

We recommend using a protein powder made without fake/artificial sugars, as those tend to have a funny aftertaste. We prefer using pure, unflavored 100% whey protein powder. This one is my personal favorite. 

Make it dairy-free or nut-free: use almond or coconut milk or any other milk of your choice. Use sunflower butter instead of a nut butter.

If you’re planning to pack these bars to go, use add-ins rather than drizzling on top. 

If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating 🙂  

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 279
  • Sugar: 26 g
  • Sodium: 108.1 mg
  • Fat: 11.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38.4 g
  • Protein: 8.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.6 mg
  • Category: snacks, breakfast
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: homemade protein bars, oatmeal bars

Did you make this?

Leave a comment below and tag @chewoutloud on Instagram

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Add a comment

Recipe rating

96 comments

    • Hmhmm

    To be fair, these should be called Carbohydrate bars. Not enough protein in these to justify calling them protein bars, even the fat content is almost 50% higher than protein.

    • Elise

    can i make these with water instead of milk?

      • chewoutloud

      Elise, I’d recommend trying any alternative milk, such as coconut, soy, etc. for more flavor and texture. Enjoy!

    • Gina

    What preservatives do I add to it to make it stay longer ..Want to make it for commercial purpose.

      • Jack

      LOL. You want to steal her idea and sell it?

    • Alicia

    My bars came out a little too moist although they firmed up when I froze them. I used a plant based protein and next time will try cutting down on the amount of milk to 1/4 to 1/3 cup. They taste really good though.

      • chewoutloud

      That’s awesome, Alicia! 🙂

    • Laura

    Taste great! I left them in fridge over night but still gooey. No stiffness at all. What do I do?

      • chewoutloud

      If you’d like them to chill up firmer, add more oats. Hope that helps!

    • Alexis

    I needed a protein snack for a recent road trip and these were perfect. So yummy and easy to make.

      • chewoutloud

      So glad you liked these bars, Alexis! 🙂

    • Ramona

    All-natural is my thing and I really love the look and sound of these beautiful protein bars. they look so appetising and amazing for a sugar rush craving and not only. We will be giving these a try this coming weekend. I love that they are no-bake too.

    • Kari Heron

    This is such a really yummy looking protein rich recipe and works with within my diet so yay me for finding this!

    • Emily

    These protein bars are so delicious! I made a big batch and my family loves having them on hand to snack on!

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you!

    • Chef Dennis

    I made your bars and they were a big hit with my family! They’ve already asked me to make them again

      • chewoutloud

      Wonderful, Dennis! 🙂

    • Stine Mari

    These look so delicious, filling AND healthy. Chunky peanut butter is the best. I just need to get some unflavored whey protein – I agree, that sounds best!

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you!

    • Leslie

    We go through a lot of protein bars in this house and they are SO expensive to buy! I love making them! This recipe is amazing!

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you, Leslie!

    • Barbara

    The link for the MAPLE CINNAMON BAKE OATMEAL BARS recipe isn’t working.

      • chewoutloud

      Link should be working now; thanks, Barbara!

    • agnes

    Hi,
    I tried this yesterday and they taste very good! Unfortunately I think I put a little bit too much milk when I was mixing it (I don’t like my oak too dry) so the final bar is a bit soft. Can you share a picture of the mixture’s consistency so that I can roughly tell if mine have enough water?
    Thank you!!!

    • Tricia

    Hi, I have digestive issues due to several surgeries done at abdominal area and also have a bolted colon.
    Would like to know what can I replace the oats with for easy digestion. Also, can maple syrup replace honey?
    Many thanks.

      • chewoutloud

      Tricia, would it help to use quick-cooking oats, with the finer texture? Otherwise, maybe try using some rice crispy type cereal (dry) …and yes, maple syrup can be used 🙂

    • Susana

    Thank you for this easy and healthy protein bar! I went grocery shopping today and forgot to buy protein bars; I made these instead. Glad I made these instead!

      • chewoutloud

      Oh, awesome, Susana! So happy you liked these bars 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife

    These look so easy and yummy! I’ll have to give them a try!

    • Kara Guppy

    My kids swim for a club and these would be perfect for snacks during a gala

    • kumamonjeng

    I love the recipe and love the chocolate toppings! I am sure this is a perfect dessert for my Chinese new year party.

    • Dhemz

    oh, my goodness! I would love to try this for sure. Thanks for sharing.

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