Healthy No-Bake Protein Bars--low carb, vegan, gluten-free

These Homemade Protein Bars are no-bake, easy to make, and so good! Skip the overpriced store-bought bars, and make these instead for a healthy breakfast, snack, or treat on the go or anytime!

homemade protein bars in a stack on a plate

I'm always on the lookout for healthy snacks for my family, especially easy recipes since I am pretty busy.  We love my recipes for healthy chocolate trufflesno-bake cookies, and kale chips, but this recipe for homemade protein bars is one of our all-time favorites.

It's a great grab-and-go snack and is full of yumminess that you and your family will love.

If you've been buying protein bars in the store, here is your chance to make them at home for much less money and likely with much healthier ingredients.

I like to make these Homemade Protein Bars in bulk (I make just about EVERYTHING in bulk) and then place them in the fridge or freezer for a fast healthy snack for the family. Sadly, however, the freezer party typically doesn't happen.  Most of my recipes make it to the fridge and that's it.  They get eaten faster than I can get them there....but I'm working on it!

I know that a lot of people still purchase ready-made protein bars in the stores for convenience purposes, but it really is great if you can carve out a little bit of time and make a big batch of something like this and have it on hand.

You'll save a ton of money, have total control over the ingredients, and well, they taste great too.

Try it and once you find a mix of ingredients you like, make a bunch of batches, freeze them, then grab them and go when you are on the run.

This homemade protein bar recipe is a lot healthier for you and for your wallet, plus who doesn't love some chocolate now and then, especially when it's this healthy?

homemade protein bars ingredients in blender
Place nuts, flax, nut butter, and salt into a blender.

How are these Homemade Protein Bars healthier?

  • Seeds and nuts give a great dose of healthy fats that are good for you and great for leveling out your blood sugar levels.
  • The optional organic protein powder provides a nice dose of protein.  (Yes, I know this is not necessarily considered a "real food", but for those of us dealing with food allergies, sometimes this is the best we can do)
  • Coconut oil is a great healthy fat as well
  • No preservatives
  • No questionable "natural flavors"
  • No highly processed protein powders (depending on what you choose if adding a protein powder.)
  • No extruder-processed puffed grains and such that have been cited for questionable effects on health
  • Low carb - there's a low-carb option for those who need it
  • Allergy free - make these bars however you need to in order to avoid allergens or sensitivities
hand putting bottom layer of low carb protein bars ingredients in pan

Carbs in These Bars vs. Store Bought

I learned the hard way how store-bought bars can be a real problem.

Recently, I bought a bunch of "healthy" bars on clearance for my kids.  I thought I was doing a good thing for my family as they were heavily discounted, and some of them had more protein than most other bars in the store.

However, the addiction factor kicked in pretty quickly.

See, we don't have many processed foods in our home.  I don't typically realize how "odd" this is, but when visitors look in our cabinets and fridge, they comment something like "Wow, you guys really do eat healthily!"

And the carbs have had a bad effect on one of the members of our family, who shall remain nameless.

My experience is that we are passing down weakened guts and immune systems to subsequent generations, and as such, more and more people can't handle carbs.  Well, these bars have more carbs (in the form of nice sounding "organic cane syrup", etc.) than I would typically let my kids eat, and though I figured that the protein and fats would balance it out, the fact is that they don't.

My kids do better on my homemade stuff and there is just not much of a way around it.  So even though I thought I was giving them something "healthy", I learned my lesson.  Organic cane syrup is sugar.  And we don't do well on it.

With these bars, you can control your carbs, which can be a very important thing.

pouring chocolate for diy protein bars into pan

Back to the Protein Bars.....

These originated as a recipe for Almond Power Bars on Elana's Pantry.  I tweaked the recipe a bit, made it more suited to variation, and gave nutrient boosting and sugar-free alternatives.

Other Processed Food Replacements you might like

- Powdered Sugar Substitute
- Homemade Chocolate / Carob Chips
- DIY Vanilla Liquid Stevia
- Homemade Marshmallows (SF option)

Warm Weather Tips

The only problem with these homemade protein bars is that they don't travel well in warm weather.  So take a cooler bag along with you if you plan to eat them on the road when it's not cool.

One warm weather tip - making these homemade vegan protein bars and the topping with cocoa butter instead of coconut oil will make them more stable.

Recipe Notes and Substitutions

  • Sweeteners: Use vegetable glycerine, xylitol, or erythritol (add in about 1/3 more) as the sweetener for a low-carb version. If you don't need low-carb, use Sucanat or honey or even maple syrup for more natural options. 1/32 teaspoon stevia extract is also a good choice.
  • More Protein: Substitute up to the total amount of the flax meal with the same amount of rice protein for an extra punch of protein. Nutribiotic makes a great brand from non-GMO brown rice. You could also use some of this great grass-fed gelatin to firm up the bars and give more protein.
  • Be Careful Processing! Please note - the recipe says to process the nuts to a coarse meal. If you over-process, you will have a nut butter, which will still taste great, but will make the bars more dense and not solid unless you freeze them. Still yummy, though!
  • Nut Options: For nuts, almonds and organic macadamias are good options. Mixing several kinds works well too. You can also sub 1 1/3 cups coconut butter or seeds for nut free. If using seeds, organic sunflower and organic pumpkin seeds work well.
  • Flax Meal: Here is a good brand of organic flax seeds to purchase to make flax meal. You can also use rice bran or organic protein powder instead of flax meal.
  • Coconut Butter: You can also substitute coconut butter for the nut or seed butter.
  • Coconut Oil: You can substitute an alternative solid fat for the coconut oil. Use organic cocoa butter or butter for a more warm weather-stable bar.
  • Stevia: You can use 1/32 teaspoon (1 scoop) of stevia extract (see How to Use Stevia) instead of xylitol.
  • Chocolate Chips: If you would prefer to make your own chocolate chips, here are my Homemade Chocolate / Carob Chips. My Homemade Chocolate / Carob Bar (1 cup of chips per bar recipe) is another option.
  • THM: This recipe qualifies as an "S" for those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.
homemade protein bars in a stack on a gray and white plate
no bake homemade protein bars in stack on gray and white plate

Grain-Free No-Bake Homemade Protein Bars

This Vegan Homemade Protein Bar Recipe is one of our favorites - Grain-free, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free and vegan homemade protein bars--great for special diets.
4.88 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, THM:S, Vegan
Keyword: Homemade Protein Bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 290.3kcal

Ingredients

Base:

Topping:

Instructions

  • Place nuts or seeds, flax meal, coconut, seed or nut butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Process until the nuts or seeds are ground into a coarse meal.
  • Melt coconut oil over low heat. If the temperature of your home is around 76 degrees, you can skip this step and add the oil directly to the food processor as it will be soft enough to process easily.
  • Add coconut oil, sweeteners and vanilla to processor bowl and process until well combined to form a thick, yet crunchy paste.
  • Press the mixture into an 8x8 square pan (you can be quite flexible here. A 9x9 will work just fine. A larger pan will produce thin bars, while a smaller pan will yield thicker ones)
  • Place in refrigerator to chill.
  • If you are making your own chocolate/carob chips or chocolate/carob bar, prepare while the protein bars are chilling, but do not harden the chocolate chips or bar.
  • Top bars with the chocolate chips or bar. Top either before the bars chill, or melt the chocolate topping and top with it.
  • Press the topping onto the chilled bottom layer.
  • Place back in refrigerator to chill (if you can wait that long :-)!)
  • Cut into squares and serve.
  • Store in refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 290.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.4g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 26.2g | Saturated Fat: 10.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.83g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8.29g | Sodium: 58.2mg | Potassium: 191.93mg | Fiber: 8.3g | Sugar: 1.3g | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1.1mg | Net Carbs: 7g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

Hope you enjoy the taste and the healthy boost that these Homemade Vegan Protein Bars bring to your wallet!

Would you eat these Homemade Vegan Protein Bars for--breakfast, snacks, on the go?

Photo Credits: Naomi Huzovicova

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393 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these once and hubby was hooked…we are both doing low carb.He likes them so much that I have to remind him they are a treat and not to eat more than one! I like them just as much. I add 2 TB of butter to the sugar free dark chocolate morsels I buy, which helps make the chocolate thinner, and easier to spread. Works great. Thanks so much for a scrumptious low carb recipe. I make them weekly while we travel in our RV!

    1. Thank you so much--so glad you all like them so much! It is hard to just eat one and my oldest has been bugging me to make these recently! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. 5 stars
    HI Adrienne! I've made your no bake protein bars a few times and make them in an 8 x 8 pan. How many servings are in this size pan. Wasn't quite sure. They are yummy!!!

    1. Hi there, Su! Serving size doesn't change based on pan size--the bar size will, however. So glad you like them!
      🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! I am incredibly selective about the recipes I choose to make. Yours ticked all the right boxes for me. My bars turned out beautifully. Thank you!

    1. Wow thanks and so glad to hear this! I'm working on a lot more so I hope to have them published soon. You made my day! 😀. These Almond Joy Bars might appeal to you as well--we love them!

    1. Hi there. Looks like it should be 16 since there are 16 servings noted on the recipe card at the top and there are 7 net carbs in each serving.

      Thanks!

  4. These look so good!
    You mention in the tips/notes about not grinding to 'butter' but you list nut BUTTER as an ingredient...confused.

    1. Hope you like them! I mean you can put the nut butter in, but you don't want to combine all of the ingredients together so that they make a butter. You want a lot of texture still. I think you'll see when you make it.

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe was way better than I thought it might be. Very good. Even my husband liked it and he’s not into healthy much. Thanks so much. Yummy.

    1. Sooo glad you liked it! That's the second similar comment I got recently. The other was on this post. Sooo glad to hear that people who aren't really into healthy stuff are enjoying things that are better for them!

  6. These sound great for my little guy. I can't get enough protein in him. Is the shredded coconut necessary? Could you sub with something else if you need the volume? Also, I would use honey. How much honey would be needed? Would it still be the two tablespoons?

    Thanks.

  7. I'm looking forward to trying these and know my family will love them. I would like to send some with my children on a trip where there won't be refrigeration. Do the bars have to be refrigerated? If you have already covered this in the post, I'm sorry. I did look but could not discern if this were necessary.

    1. Hi there - you don't have to but in warm weather they will get soft. You could use cocoa butter to make them a bit more firm.

      Hope it works for you! If not, let me know and perhaps I can direct you to some other options. I'm hoping to work on more bars in the future :).

  8. Looks delicious, but can you tell me how many carbs, protein and fats are in each serving?
    And the calories for each bar?

    1. Hi there. We just got the nutrition values entered. Please keep in mind that they are approximations. It's really hard to do this and each calculator has different values. Hope you like them!

  9. 5 stars
    Delicious! Made them using almonds and used stevia ascthe sweetener. Put melted dark chocolate on top. I made these a postpartum/ lactation support foods.
    Do you know the nutrition content?

    1. Thank you so much! I can see if I can get my son to do the calculations now. We've been inundated with personal and blog issues. You can use any online calculator that you trust.

    1. Thanks, Hana! Sorry but I don't allow people to promote their sites on my platform but hope you like the protein bars should you try them!

    1. Hi Shannon! First of all, thanks so much for reading. I am so sorry for the delay in responding. I was really puzzled when I read your comment b/c I remembered liquid sweetener being in this recipe and had to go and figure out what happened. It seems that the recipe pulled information incorrectly when we did a recipe update awhile ago. I fixed it now--you can use any kind of sweetener really. Hope you get the chance to make them and like them and again, so sorry! I have been inundated and kept forgetting to research the problem and finally got to it :).

  10. I have some grain free flour made from seeds and flax. If I were to use that instead how many cups would you suggest 1 1/2 perhaps?

    Thank you,
    Sue

    1. Since you are talking about a blend it's hard to say. Flax ground makes for more volume. You would have to know the proportions of the ingredients and figure it out from there. Might be too difficult I think or just do it and go by how the finished product looks.