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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.

Protein Bars with chocolate chips and oats and peanut butter.
Homemade protein bars beat out store-bought bars

No-Bake Protein Bars Recipe

You’re about to leave expensive, complicated-ingredient-filled packaged energy bars behind today. These super easy homemade protein bars are made of only 5 natural ingredients. You’ll be rewarded with a nice batch of fresh protein bars that cost way less than typical store bought bars.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Five Good Ingredients: You’ll only need 5 simple pantry ingredients, all of which are simple and pure ingredients. Nothing artificial or unfamiliar.
  • Flavor: These homemade protein bars taste so much better than store-bought versions.
  • Affordable: You’ll immediately notice how much money you save by making your own protein bars.
  • Make-Ahead: You can make a big batch and keep them chilled or even frozen until you’re ready to eat.
Protein Bars ingredients  are peanut butter, oats, honey, whey protein powder.
Only 5 pure, simple ingredients go into these easy protein bars

Only 5 Ingredients

You’ll love the pure, nutritious, simple ingredients that go into these 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 like regular whole milk for this recipe, but feel free to use your milk of choice.
  • Optional Add-ins: We love dried blueberries, chocolate chips, or drizzled chocolate.
  • Pro 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 drizzled with chocolate on top.
Protein bars are delicious with chocolate chips and drizzled chocolate on top!

Substitutions and Variations

  • Nut or Seed Butters: Feel free to substitute peanut butter with almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower butter for a nut-free version.
  • Whey Protein Powder Flavors: We recommend pure, unflavored 100% whey protein powder, but if you want extra flavor, feel free to use vanilla or chocolate versions.
  • Sweetener: You’re free to interchange pure maple syrup with real honey, or even agave nectar, if you like.
  • Type of Milk: Feel free to use your milk of choice – cow’s milk, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, etc.
  • Add Ins: Try white chocolate chips, dark chocolate, dried cherries, dried cranberries, carob chips, shredded toasted coconut, or roasted chopped nuts.

Easy Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Combine milk, peanut butter, and maple syrup/honey over low heat. Stir just until all ingredients are well combined and warmed through.
  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.
  1. Press evenly into pan, using firm pressure to compress mixture into desired bar thickness.
  2. Allow bars to cool completely and cut into squares. Cover and chill until ready to eat.

Tips for Making Ahead

  • I make a nice big batch, which comes in handy for pick-me-up snacks when anyone in the family gets the munchies. These bars are great for breakfast on the go.
  • Make them ahead of time and keep at moderate room temperature for 3-4 days, stored airtight.
  • These bars keep even longer if kept in an airtight container or in individual baggies in the fridge, up to 1 week.
  • Feel free to freeze some protein bars so you can have them on hand all month long. Simply defrost in fridge or on the counter.
cut protein bars on a plate with dried blueberries.
Play with healthy add-ins for your protein bars recipe: dried fruits and chocolate chips are a favorite.


Commonly Asked Questions

What kind of whey protein should be used for protein bars?

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.

Can I use vanilla or chocolate protein powder?

You can certainly use your favorite flavor or protein powder, though we recommend using unflavored, pure whey protein and your choice of add-ins for best results.

How long can I store homemade protein bars?

These protein bars keep well when stored airtight, up to 1 week at moderate room temperature. They can keep longer chilled in fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Do I have to use whole dairy milk?

We love the creamy richness whole milk provides, but feel free to use your choice of milk: almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk can all be substituted.

What are some good add-ins for protein bars?

We love semi-sweet chocolate chips or dried blueberries. You can also try white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, dried cherries, dried cranberries, toasted shredded coconut, or roasted chopped nuts.

Can I freeze protein bars?

Yes, you can! Once they’re completely cool, cut them into bars, wrap them individually, and freeze for up to one month.

Are protein bars healthy?

This recipe is chock full of only good ingredients and nothing artificial. These bars are loaded with whole oats, peanut butter, milk, honey, and pure unflavored whey protein. You’ll get plenty of protein and fiber, especially if you also add in dried fruits or nuts!

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

homemade protein bars with dried blueberries on a plate.

5-Ingredient Protein Bars (no-bake!)

4.93 from 272 ratings
These 5-ingredient Protein Bars are super easy, packed with nutrition, and are the perfect pre/post workout fuel. They're reminiscent of store-bought energy bars, but are way more budget-friendly. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 bars
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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, add 1 tsp milk at a time just until it's stir-able; mixture should still be thick and not at all watery.
  • 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. 
  • Allow bars to cool completely. Once cool, cut into squares. If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate and let cool completely.
    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 measuring cups, not the scoops that come inside the tub of protein powder. If needed, check for certified gluten-free labeling.
  • You can use vanilla or chocolate protein powder, but we recommend using unflavored, pure 100% whey protein powder, made without fake/artificial sugars and no funny aftertaste. 
  • Make it dairy-free: use whole almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or oat milk. 
  • Lactose-free cow’s milk can be used, for those with lactose intolerance.
  • Make it nut-free: use sunflower butter instead of a nut butter.
  • For additional variations/substitution ideas, see original article. 
  • If you’re planning to pack these bars to go, use add-ins rather than drizzling anything on top, to keep your bars easy to transport.
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ❤️

Nutrition (per serving)

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 41IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Breakfast, snacks
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: Stovetop

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4.93 from 272 votes (207 ratings without comment)

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159 comments

    • Kat&Phil

    These sound yummy! Our go to ‘power snack’ is homemade granola bars. Will have to try this recipe next. Thanks!

    • Ashley R
    • 5 stars

    I used to make these all the time. I just love them. They are so tasty.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you love these, Ashley! They really are tasty 🙂

    • Kristine Nicole Alessandra
    • 5 stars

    You had me at no bake. Since I promised myself to pick healthier food this year, I am going to make these protein bars to snack on instead of chips. Thanks for the recipe. I will make some this weekend.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Kristine! 🙂

    • Joann
    • 5 stars

    LOVE this recipe! Very easy to make and so delish!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Joann! I’m so so happy you love it 🙂

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