No Bake Energy Balls

I make these no bake energy balls just about every week. Nutty, sweet, and packed with good-for-you ingredients, they're the perfect healthy snack!

No Bake Energy Balls

This no bake energy balls recipe resulted from a massive cookie flop. I was craving a cookie, but I didn’t have the exact ingredients for my oatmeal cookie recipe on hand. I messed around with it, swapping in what I did have, and I ended up with a sweet and nutty “dough” made from oats and almond butter. It was never going to bake into perfect oatmeal cookies, but it tasted so good that I immediately thought, “Energy bites!”

A few tests later, and these oatmeal energy balls have become my favorite healthy snack. They’re rich, nutty, and chewy, and they take minutes to make! And even though they taste like cookies, they’re far healthier, made with wholesome ingredients like oats, dates, and nut butter. As a result, they’re fair game for snack, dessert, and even breakfast!

Energy balls recipe ingredients















Energy Balls Recipe Ingredients

These no bake energy bites are loaded with good-for-you ingredients:

  • Whole rolled oats – Old fashioned oats give these no bake energy balls a perfect chewy texture, so I don’t recommend replacing them with instant oats. If you’re gluten-free, make sure to use certified gluten-free oats in this recipe.
  • Flaxseed – It packs these balls with omega-3s and helps them bind together.
  • Roasted almond butter – It fills the balls with healthy fats, protein, and an incredible toasty, nutty flavor. Roasted peanut butter would be great here too.
  • Maple syrup and Medjool dates – They sweeten these healthy energy balls naturally. If your dates aren’t soft, soak them in warm water for 10-20 minutes before you make the balls.
  • Coconut oil – I like to use virgin coconut oil to amp up the balls’ coconut flavor.
  • Vanilla extract and cinnamon – They add delicious warm flavor.
  • Sea salt – It makes the sweet, spiced, and nutty flavors in this energy balls recipe pop!
  • Walnuts – They add healthy fats and a nice crunch!
  • Shredded coconut – It fills these energy bites with rich, buttery flavor, and it adds to the chewy texture.
  • Mini chocolate chips – Because chocolate is healthy, right? You really need mini chocolate chips here, as the energy balls won’t hold together with larger ones. If you don’t have mini chocolate chips on hand, a chopped dark chocolate bar will work in their place.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Almond butter, oats, and flaxseed in a food processor

Energy Balls Variations

I love the walnuts and mini chocolate chips in this recipe, but feel free to get creative with your add-ins! Chopped almonds or pecans would be fantastic in place of the walnuts, and chopped dried fruit would be a great sub for the chocolate chips. Just make sure that you maintain the ratios in the original recipe and chop any mix-ins to a small size so that the balls still hold together.

Energy bites recipe dough in a mixing bowl

No Bake Energy Bites Recipe Tips

  • Toast the oats. These energy balls come together in no time in the food processor, but you’ll actually do the first step on the stove! Toast the oats over low heat until they’re just beginning to brown around the edges. This extra step takes no time at all – just 1 or 2 minutes – and it gives the balls a richer flavor and makes them easier to digest!
  • Don’t cut the chilling time short. It’s tempting to eat the balls as soon as you roll them together, but I highly recommend waiting for a full 30 minutes to allow them to set up in the fridge. It gives the flavors a chance to meld and develop, and they’ll have a firmer, chewier texture.
  • Store them in the fridge or freezer. Store the no bake energy bites in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze them for up to 2 months. If they’re frozen, allow them to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before you eat.

No Bake Energy Balls

More Favorite Healthy Snacks

If you love these energy balls, try one of these healthy snacks next:

4.9 from 14 reviews

No Bake Energy Balls

Prep time
Total time
These no bake energy bites are the BEST healthy snack! They're naturally sweetened, vegan, gluten-free, and totally delicious.
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 12 bites
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons warm water
  • ¼ cup roasted almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 soft Medjool dates, pitted (or 2 additional tablespoons of maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips
  1. In a medium pan, toast the oats over low heat until just browned around the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and warm water and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes. In a food processor, combine the almond butter, maple syrup, dates, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Add the flaxseed mixture and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the walnuts and pulse until combined. Add the oats and coconut and pulse until combined. Add the chocolate chips and pulse just until evenly incorporated.
  4. Roll the mixture into 12 balls and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes. If the dough is too sticky to work with, chill it for several minutes before rolling.
  5. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
I used these vegan mini chocolate chips. A chopped dark chocolate bar also works great here.

If you're gluten free be sure to use certified gluten free oats.

I used freshly ground roasted almond butter from the bulk section at Whole Foods.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Kari from

    I love when something good comes out of a flop. I’ve definitely had times where I made a mistake and it turned out wonderfully. Then I was desperately back tracking my steps to see what I did differently so that I could recreate it!

  2. Jane

    Jeannie –
    Would standard almond butter work? I feel stupid not to know what roasted almond butter is vs. jarred.
    I love the fact I have all these ingredients in the house now & need something sweet!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jane – Yep, you can use raw almond butter, it’ll be just fine. I think roasted has a more complex nutty flavor, but the recipe will work either way!

  3. Sarah

    Love that these were inspired by a cookie flop! It just goes to show that there is always a silver lining:) Thanks for sharing this recipe! I think it sounds delicious and I can’t wait to make a batch.

    XO – Sarah

  4. Katie from

    These look fab!! I’ll be giving them a go at the weekend!

    Katie xoxo

  5. Elisa

    I just made these and can’t wait to see if the kids love them – I already do!! Thanks for recipe!

  6. I love how you took a cookie recipe fail and turned it into these yummy bites! These sound amazing and are being made the next time a cookie craving hits 😉

  7. sheila e martin

    Hi Jeanine. I just found your site. Your photos are great.
    One question: Can the recipe do without flax seed? Is there a substitute for it?
    If not, can I use flax meal?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Shelia, flaxseed meal is the same thing as ground flaxseed (packages sometimes name it one or the other) – so yes, go ahead and use that. It helps bind these together.

  8. Pali

    These cookies look so delicious! It’s amazing what can be discovered from a cooking flop 🙂 Pinning this recipe to try out later.

  9. Rachel

    Yum! These were awesome. I just came across your website and have to say I’m loving your recipes!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Rachel – thanks! So glad you liked them 🙂

  10. Alison

    These are so delicious! Super simple to make. I’ve made these twice now. They are great for snacking…but don’t last long! Thanks for sharing.

  11. This looks so yummy!! Definitely printing this out and adding it to my collection

  12. Sophie

    About to make my second batch of these! They make for a great mid-morning snack that is delicious and guilt-free. Also, I made my first batch of these with natural peanut butter instead of almond butter and they were splendid

  13. catherine

    OMG! So delicious! I mixed in some pecans with the walnuts instead. Everyone in the family loved them! Just got your cookbook too- it’s gorgeous! So happy to have found your blog and cookbook. Like you, I often need to be inspired visually to cook something new. Thanks from a 30 year vegetarian!

  14. Mary Brown

    Would a blender work as well as a food processor?

  15. Kathleen from

    These look AMAZING! I’ve seen other energy bites recipes, but these honestly look the best. Can’t wait to make them!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      thanks! Hope you enjoy!

  16. Kimberly Fowler

    Love these and so does my family! I add a half cup more oats and dried Montgomery tart cherries instead of the coconut. I’m making several batches a week.

  17. Elizabeth A

    Do you have any suggestions for these if you have nut allergies? Wondering if sunflower seed butter would work?

  18. megan

    mmm! these remind me of the no-bake cookies we would get in the grade school cafeteria. Accidentally added the chocolate chips while the oats were still hot – made them deliciously chocolatey. thanks for the recipe : )

  19. Kristine

    My husband is not a fan of coconut. What should I subsistute?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kristine, you can add extra walnuts, or just leave the shredded coconut out. Also, you might want to use refined coconut oil since it has less of a coconut flavor than unrefined.

  20. J

    I made these with figs instead of dates and it was really good! My bites turned out actually much smaller, so got ~20 balls out of the batch instead of 12, so they were truly bite size, and let them stiffen up on a baking sheet in the fridge, then put them into a container for storage. They kept they shape, and did not stick to eachother. Its a great snack to offer to kids when you see them lurking around, eyeing the pantry. I make double batches now! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Mary

    How many calories in each ball?

  22. Deana

    These are so perfect! Thanks for the awesome recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  23. Laura

    I made these on the spur of the moment looking for a healthy non-processed snack. I didn’t have all the ingredients in the house so I substituted 1/2 of a very ripe banana for the dates, and almonds for the walnuts. I’m really trying to watch my fat intake so I substituted 2 tablespoons of goat yogurt for the coconut oil. They came out beautifully!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Laura, I’m so glad you loved them!

  24. Carol Jensen

    These are delicious! I wanted a sweet healthy snack, and happened to have all the ingredients on hand (including a chocolate bar). I think I’ll make these with my granddaughter. It will be fun and rewarding!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them!!

  25. Jess

    Is there another oil or ingredient you could use instead of coconut oil??

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jess, this recipe requires coconut oil. If you don’t want a coconut-y taste, seek out refined coconut oil (next to the unrefined coconut oil). I hope that helps!

  26. annika

    Very delicious and super easy to make!!

  27. Leanne

    Delicious and easy to make. I enjoyed them yesterday with my afternoon tea. Will happily be making more.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  28. Elisa Stewart

    I’m allergic to coconut and wondering how to replace the coconut oil in these? Perhaps sunflower oil?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Elisa, I’m not sure because coconut oil firms up (unlike other oils) and helps hold these together. I might try these granola bars instead – you can roll them into balls if you’d like.

  29. Laura

    Can I use something in place of the flax? It’s the one ingredient I am missing

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Laura, you could try using an extra date and maybe a little water if the mixture is too thick.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.