These one bowl peanut butter energy balls are a low-calorie snack filled with protein, fibre and healthy fats making them the perfect little afternoon snack. I love making a big batch of them and freezing them for a quick snack-on-the-go!
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it. Peanut butter… no bake… less than 100 calories. We live in a world of convenience, and all too often when looking for a quick fix we reach for the sugar-packed granola bars or trans-fat laden potato chip. What if I told you that a healthy and tasty treat may only require 15 minutes of your time? Put ingredients into a bowl and roll into balls, easy right? And in return, you will get 3 weeks worth of these healthy and convenient no-bake 100 calorie peanut butter energy balls.
“Peanuts are rich in monounsaturated fats which are a major component of the heart-healthy, Mediterranean diet and have been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Why I Made These 100 Calorie Peanut Butter Energy Balls
They Are So Easy To Make
I love making these energy balls with kids. The recipe can be used as more of a guide and kids can choose to add some of their favourite ingredients. If the mixture looks too dry, add more honey/maple syrup or water. If it looks too runny, add more oats or peanut butter.
Making Energy Balls Without Dates
I do food workshops quite often, and very often we make energy balls. I tend to use a lot of dates in my energy balls but I’ve found that not everyone is a fan of dates. These energy balls are bound together not by dates, but by the ratio of peanut butter and honey – no dates required.
A Quick Power Snack
To help make it easier to make better snack choices, it is helpful to have something healthy always on hand. I love making a big batch of these energy balls and freezing them for when I need them. They even taste great frozen!
Peanut Butter Myths Busted
Does My Peanut Butter Contain The Carcinogen Afloxtoxin?
Peanuts have also been vilified due to their susceptibility to the carcinogen aflatoxin which is produced by molds which are grown on crops, such as peanuts, in humid climates. Chances are if you’ve landed on this recipe you love peanut butter as much as I do.
To limit our exposure to aflatoxin we should purchase our peanut butter from a reputable brand and country to ensure it has been handled and stored properly. If you are unsure of the quality of your peanut butter store it in the fridge as mold loves hot and humid temperatures and is less likely to grow in a cooler environment. Even better, ask your peanut butter supplier how often they screen for aflatoxin. This should be done yearly.
Is Peanut Butter Fatty?
Many people tell me they try to avoid peanut butter because of its high-fat content. The fat in peanut butter is predominantly monounsaturated fat, the same type of fat found in olive oil and avocados.
These healthy fats are an important component of the Mediterranean heart-healthy diet and a good ratio of healthy fats is important for the structure of cell membranes. They also help to keep our skin and hair nice and healthy, and with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Tips For Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Making Soft Energy Balls
Depending on how oily your peanut butter is will depend on how much water you will require in the recipe. Often natural peanut butter will be dry towards the bottom of the jar. If the peanut butter is very dry and no water is added this will result in dry, crumbly energy balls. Be sure to add additional water if this is the case.
Should I Use Honey or Maple Syrup?
I’ve adjusted that ratio of honey to peanut butter as best I can to produce a low sugar content, but enough stickiness to hold them together. The stickiness of the honey is important in forming the energy balls, so reducing it any further may result in dry, crumbly energy balls. I find that honey sticks better than maple syrup, but maple syrup still works for those looking for a vegan alternative.
Variations For These Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Use this recipe as more of a guide – I love adding new things and trying out different combinations. Try some of these different variations
- Nut Butters: These taste great with almond butter, there is no need to adjust the amounts of nut butters. I have even done them with tahini, I love the combination of tahini and honey.
- Dried Fruit: Try it with chopped dates instead, or raisins taste great as well. I find sour cherries are the best as the tartness balances the sweetness of the honey.
- Flaxseed: These are used to help bind the peanut butter balls, chia seeds would work as well.
- Maple Syrup: Use this in place of honey for a vegan alternative. The energy balls won’t be as sticky as with honey, so you may need to add some more peanut butter.
Notes For Making Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Storing Your Energy Balls
Store them in the fridge in an airtight container to keep them fresh, and if you aren’t finishing them all within 5 days then best to store them in the freezer. They taste great straight out of the freezer, no defrosting required!
Short On Time
The resting time in the fridge after you have mixed all the ingredients isn’t necessary and only helps to set the balls so they stick better. If you are short on time, let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes.
Toasting the coconut intensifies the flavour of the coconut, and again this is not necessary and the energy balls taste just as good without this. If you are short on time you can skip this step.
Making The Gluten-Free
Make sure the oats are certified gluten-free if you are planning on gifting these energy balls to someone that has celiac disease. For those with a gluten-intolerance, oats are naturally gluten-free but do run a small risk of contamination.
Making Them Vegan
This recipe works best with honey, but if you are vegan you may wish to use maple syrup. I find that maple syrup is not as sticky, so you will need to use more peanut butter to form the energy balls.
A Little Note on Peanut Butter For Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Choosing a Good Peanut Butter
Look for one that is natural meaning it doesn’t contain any added sugar or fats. I have seen some peanut butter containing trans fats, or even palm oil. Peanut butter should be 100% peanuts (some will have added salt which is OK). Sometimes there may be a small layer of oil separation on the top, but my peanut butter source says this isn’t always the case and 100% peanuts shouldn’t separate very much.
How To Store Your Peanut Butter
For years I was under the impression that you had to store your peanut butter in the fridge, which often resulted in a rock-hard peanut butter that was difficult to spread. In fact, my favourite peanut butter company insists that natural peanut butter is best stored in a cool, dry pantry for up to one year.
Want More Peanut Butter Recipes?
I love peanut butter and it makes a regular appearance in my recipes. Check out these favourites:
- High Protein Peanut Butter and Hemp Energy Balls are so good
- Or this savoury and satisfying Indonesian Style Peanut Sauce with Vegetables
- Try these Vegan and Gluten Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with peanut butter
- I love these Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
- Need some breakfast inspiration? Try this High Protein Steel-Cut Oats with Peanut Butter recipe
Want To Save This Peanut Butter Energy Ball Recipe For Later?
No Bake 100 Calorie Peanut Butter Energy Balls Recipe
- 2/3 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
- 1 cup traditional oats rolled
- 1/2 cup peanut butter natural
- 3 tbsp flaxseed ground*
- 1/2 cup sour cherries dried
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds raw
- 1/4 cup honey unpasturized
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp water optional
- If your coconut is not already toasted, turn on the stove to give it a quick toast to help intensify the flavour. To do this, heat a heavy bottom frying pan over medium heat and add the coconut. Watch carefully as it will burn quickly. Once heated, toss around in the frying pan for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remember it will continue to cook in the hot frying pan even when off the heat.
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for about half an hour. After 30 minutes check it and if the mixture seems to dry add more water. You want the mixture to stick together, and not be too crumbly.
- Finally roll the mixture into 20 small, equal sized balls. They should be about 1.5" in diameter.
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup in place of honey. Make it gluten-free: Use certified gluten-free oats. Don't like sour cherries: Use dried cranberries, raisins, or chopped dates.. Store for later: Store the energy balls in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or longer in the freezer. What peanut butter to use? Choose one that is natural, with no added oil or sugar.
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.