These healthy no-bake peanut butter protein bars contain only four ingredients, are packed full of protein and are super easy to prepare! They make the perfect snack for on-the-go. So ditch those store-bought granola and protein bars and make your own!
Have you ever gone on a hunt for a pre-made convenient snack to throw into your lunch bag or take with you on the go that isn’t full of a bunch of sugar and other highly processed ingredients? I know that I’m often on a mission to find these types of snacks. But they’re tough to find!
That is why I LOVE these homemade peanut butter protein bars.
They contain only four simple ingredients (or potentially five if you add in the maple syrup)! And one of them just happens to be peanut butter.
One of my favourite foods EVER.
You just can’t go wrong with PB.
Now if I have the choice, I always prefer making something over buying the packaged version so that I can control the ingredients that are going into the meal or snack.
That being said, with a super busy schedule and very limited free time, I’d rather not slave over the recipe for hours and hours…. ESPECIALLY if I’m going to be making it on a regular basis.
Which brings me to the perks of these bars….
Benefits of these DIY protein bars
Quick & easy: with these bars, you can make them in less than 10 minutes, and they’ll last the entire week!
Freezer-friendly: Usually, I like to whip up a batch of these on the weekend and store them in the freezer in individual snack bags so that they’re all ready to just grab and go during the week. This is one of my strategies for having ready-made healthy snacks so that I’m less likely to grab for those not-so-healthy convenience foods.
Nutritionally-balanced: These bars are a great source of fibre with 4 grams per bar, and they’re low in sugar since the sweetness is primarily coming from the protein powder! I always recommend looking for a bar with at least 4 grams of fibre and less than 8 grams of sugar, so these totally meet that criteria There aren’t too many bars with that kind of nutritional breakdown…believe me! They also have the perfect balance of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and contain 14 grams of protein!
- Natural peanut butter
- Vanilla protein powder
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Maple syrup (optional)
How to make homemade protein bars
You won’t believe how easy it is to make your own bars! In fact, they’re SO easy that I have the ingredients memorized!
To start, in a large bowl, mix together the oats and vanilla protein powder.
Next, add the peanut butter, almond milk, and maple syrup, if desired.
Stir until well combined and slightly sticky. The mixture should be sticky enough that it binds together, but not so sticky that it becomes gooey. Add one tablespoon of additional almond milk at a time if you feel that mixture requires more moisture.
Expert tip: You may need to adjust how much almond milk you add based on the type of protein powder used. Generally, I find that vegan protein powders produce a thicker consistency and usually require slightly more liquid than a whey protein powder.
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan with a spatula or your fingers until equally distributed, ensuring that you’re pressing it into the corners of the pan.
Expert tip: Wet the spatula with a bit of water before pressing down the mixture to prevent it from sticking to the spatula.
Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove from freezer and cut the mixture into 8 equal bars. You may need to let it thaw out for a few minutes before you can cut through the bars.
I recommend placing each bar in a little Ziploc bag or saran wrap and storing in the fridge or freezer for easy grab and go access.
In general, you can store them in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
What type of protein powder should I use?
Although you can use any type of vanilla protein powder, I’ve had good results with the Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein Powder. I love its non-processed ingredients list and find it works well for bake and no-bake recipes as well. I use it for basically everything!
The key to making good tasting protein bars is using a protein powder that you actually ENJOY. Because if you don’t like the taste of the protein powder, you probably won’t like the taste of the bars.
What type of oats should I use?
You can use large flake oats or quick oats. The primary difference will be the consistency of the bars.
With large flake, the bars will be a little bit more chewy, whereas the quick will produce a smoother, less chewy consistency. I’ve used both kinds and had good results with each.
Should I add the maple syrup or leave it out?
This really is a personal preference. If you choose to omit it, the bars will be only lightly sweetened by the protein powder. This option is especially good if you’re looking to reduce the added sugars in your diet. Some individuals, however, may wish to have a sweeter bar so in that case, I would recommend adding the maple syrup.
Keep in mind that the maple syrup will add a few extra grams of sugar to each bar. Even with the addition of the maple syrup though, these bars will still be lower in sugar than your typical store-bought bar.
This protein bar recipe is designed to be very basic, so you can jazz it up any way that you please! You can either eat the bars as is, or feel free to add in the following options:
- Mini dark chocolate chips
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp hearts
- Chia seeds
- Flaked coconut
- Dried fruit
- Drizzle of dark chocolate on top
Want to make these gluten-free? Use a gluten-free rolled oats to ensure there is no cross-contamination with gluten.
Want to make these vegan? Use a vegan vanilla protein powder.
Want to make these nut-free? Sub in sunflower seed, pumpkin seed or wow butter instead of the peanut butter and use a rice milk or soy milk instead of almond milk.
At the end of the day, I recommend clearing the cupboard of those packaged granola bars and try making your own!
It’s SO easy and so much better for you in the long run!
Looking for other no-bake recipes? Check out these:
4-Ingredient No-Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats and vanilla protein powder. Next, add the peanut butter, almond milk, and maple syrup, if desired. Stir until well combined and slightly sticky. The mixture should bind together but not be gooey.
- Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan with a spatula until equally distributed. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from freezer and cut the mixture into 8 equal-sized bars using a sharp knife. You may need to allow mixture to thaw out for a few minutes before you can cut through the bars.
- Place each bar in a little Ziploc bag or saran wrap and store in fridge or freezer.
Looking for more healthy snack ideas? Get my FREE Download for 50 Healthy Snack Ideas here, along with all my other free printables and resources!
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UPDATED: This recipe was originally posted in January 2016, and has been updated with new photos and helpful tips in March 2020.