Peanut Butter Oat Balls

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Peanut Butter Oat Balls! Oh goodness, I think these might be my new favorite snack of all time. I’ll admit, I’m a peanut butter fanatic and I try to find as many ways as possible to incorporate it into my diet. That’s probably why these Easy Energy Balls have now become a healthy obsession of mine.

Have you ever seen a Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls and wondered what was inside it? I’m talking about the interesting things like how deep it goes and what’s beyond it. It’s not just a seed. These amazing nuts come with more health benefits than you think. This is why they are so good for your body and your taste buds.

Peanut Butter Oat Balls

Sweet, sticky dates act as the glue for these no-bake energy balls. Perfect for hikes or during sports, this healthy snack travels well. For the best flavor and texture, use Medjool dates–the largest and most luscious date variety. Look for them in the produce department or near other dried fruits.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup chopped Medjool dates
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • Chia seeds for garnish

Directions

  • Step 1Soak dates in a small bowl of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain.
  • Step 2Combine the soaked dates, oats and peanut butter in a food processor and process until very finely chopped. Roll into 12 balls (a scant tablespoon each). Garnish with chia seeds, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 week.

Tips

To make ahead: Refrigerate airtight for up to 1 week.

Easy Energy Balls

This peanut butter energy balls recipe is the best easy snack! Healthy oatmeal balls pack protein and fiber into tasty bites.

Here’s a healthy snack that’s so delicious, you might find yourself sneaking one for dessert. Try this peanut butter Energy Balls recipe! Yes, we can’t stop riffing on combinations of peanut butter and oatmeal, though any nut butter works here. Just mix a handful of simple ingredients together and bam! You’ve got an instant homemade snack that’s infinitely more delicious than store-bought granola bars or energy bites. Even better, they’ve got a good amount of protein and fiber for a tiny ball. We think they’re pretty darn perfect.

Ingredients in the best energy balls recipe

These energy balls are quick and easy to make, and full of very simple ingredients you might already have on hand. That’s very intentional, in fact. Years ago, we used to make energy ball recipes with trendy Medjool dates, a large variety of date with a sticky sweet, caramel flavor. We love them, but they can be hard at the grocery and very expensive. Also, I burned Alex out on Medjool date energy bites (oops!).

  • Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • Creamy peanut butter: no sugar added! Use sunflower butter for nut free
  • Honey: substitute agave syrup for vegan
  • Kosher salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla or chocolate protein powder: see notes below
  • Mini chocolate chips: make sure to get mini-chips! They’re best for keeping the balls tightly packed

How to roll peanut butter energy balls

This energy balls recipe could not be easier: all you have to do is mix together the ingredients and roll them up! It’s that simple. Want them to look as beautifully uniform as the energy balls in the photo? Here are a few tips on rolling these energy bites:

  • Freeze the dough 5 minutes before you roll. Just a few minutes in the freezer firms up the texture so it’s easy to roll.
  • Use a cookie scoop (1 1/2-inch or #40). This is the magic behind making them look so uniform! A cookie scoop is perfect for proportioning out the dough. Don’t have one? No problem, just approximate.
  • Use mini chocolate chips. Using mini chocolate chips helps the entire texture to stick together well: large chips can cause fractures.
Peanut butter oatmeal balls

Use any nut butter you like: and some troubleshooting tips

These don’t have to be peanut butter energy balls, of course. You can use any nut butter you like: almond butter, cashew butter, walnut butter pecan butter, pistachio butter, or sunflower butter for nut-free! Here are a few notes if you use a different nut butter:

  • Make sure to use a creamy nut butter. You’ll want a nut butter with a nice creamy texture that will make the energy balls stick together.
  • You can use homemade, but be aware of texture. You can use homemade nut butter, but be aware: some homemade versions can be very dry.
  • If it’s too dry, add a little more honey or a few tablespoons milk. If you can’t get the balls to stick together, it’s ok: all nut butters have a different consistency. Just add a little more honey or your milk of choice (dairy or non dairy) until the dough is able to stick together.

Are these healthy energy balls?

These peanut butter energy balls come out 1,000 times more delicious than a store-bought granola bar. And guess what? They’re fairly healthy too. You can get a decent amount of protein in a few balls (which would equal 1 store-bought energy bar). Here are the particulars:

  • Protein: Each energy bite has 3 grams of protein of 6% of your daily need.
  • Fiber: Each energy ball has 1 gram of fiber or 5% of your daily need.
  • Fat: Each energy bite has 4 grams of fat or 5% of your daily allotment.
  • Calories: Each ball has 100 calories.
Energy balls recipe

What protein powder to buy (or omit it!)

Here at A Couple Cooks we don’t usually include protein powder in our recipes. But for these peanut butter oatmeal balls we wanted to maximize the overall protein content! If you prefer, you can definitely omit it without sacrificing flavor.

Energy ball flavor variations!

There are so many ways to mix up this energy balls recipe! As we’ve mentioned above, no need to make them peanut butter oatmeal balls, though that’s our favorite way. Here are a few ideas on how to vary the flavors:

  • Chocolate peanut butter: Go to No Bake Energy Bites.
  • Almond joy: Use almond butter instead of peanut butter, and add ¼ cup shredded coconut (so delicious!). Remember if your almond butter has a dry texture, add a little more honey or a few tablespoons milk until the dough comes together.
  • Birthday cake: Add ¼ teaspoon almond extract and 3 tablespoons all natural sprinkles.
  • Cherry vanilla: Substitute dried cherries for the chocolate chips (roughly chopped) and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Blueberry lemon: Substitute dried blueberries for the chocolate chips and add ½ teaspoon lemon zest.

There are so many more options…how would you customize these energy bites? Let us know in the comments below.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls

Make a batch of these no-bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls to have on hand for hungry kiddos during the week—or to feed yourself a naturally sweet snack whenever you need one! They taste so good and are filled with nutritious ingredients. Plus: They’re ready in under 10 minutes!

peanut butter oatmeal balls with toddler hand

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls

Before anyone states the obvious, I do realize that most toddlers do not need more energy! They usually have plenty all on their own. But these are such a delicious (and easy snack) full of nutritious ingredients for little bodies.

These are easy to make ahead and keep in the fridge for easy snacking. Plus, you don’t need any fancy ingredients or to use any complicated methods to make these energy bites. You simply warm the wet ingredients and stir them into the dry—all in under 10 minutes.

And they have a texture that’s sort of like cookie dough so they’re great for younger toddlers too—just dice them up if needed.

We love these for afternoon snack with some milk, as an easy bedtime snack, or I often grab one when I’m busy, but really need to eat something quickly.

ingredients in peanut butter oatmeal balls

Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at the pantry ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • creamy unsweetened peanut butter 
  • honey
  • vanilla extract
  • rolled oats
  • chia seeds
  • raisins or chocolate chips

TIP: I like the “natural” kind from Smuckers or Teddies, but any brand will do.

how to make peanut butter oatmeal balls step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at how to make this easy energy ball recipe so you know what to expect. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.

  1. Warm the peanut butter and honey. Stir together
  2. Cut the raisins in half, if large, to make the balls easier to bite into for the little eaters.
  3. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir together.
  4. Roll into balls.

TIP: The recipe works with regular oats, but grinding the oats—or using quick oats or oat flour—makes the balls taste more like cookie dough. You can skip the chia seeds if you don’t have any!

Here’s what you need to make these oatmeal bites:

  • Peanut Butter: or just the nut butter of your choice! You can also use a seed butter to keep these nut-free. I used a crunchy peanut butter for a little extra texture.
  • Maple Syrup: as our refined sugar free sweetener. You can also use honey (not vegan, though) or date syrup.
  • Gluten-Free Rolled Oats: these add such a delicious texture to the bites.
  • Gluten-Free Oat Flour: this helps hold our bites together. You can use almond flour here too if preferred.
  • Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon & Salt: our flavor agents! These all add delicious extra flavor to our bites. Skip or reduce the salt if you’re using a salted nut butter.

Putting these bites together couldn’t be simpler either – just stir together all of the ingredients, divide the dough into about 15 balls (I love using my OXO small cookie scoop for this), roll them into perfectly round balls, and devour!

Want to jazz them up a bit? Try adding some mini chocolate chips to the mix, or drizzle the finished bites with dark chocolate!

To store:

You can eat these immediately, but if you have some leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

They’re so great to have on hand when you need a quick pick-me-up, and because they’re made with peanut butter, they’re loaded with healthy fats to help keep you full!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add chocolate?

Sure, just use mini chocolate chips in place of the raisins! That will definitely taste like cookie dough and I expect will make the kids really happy. (And probably the grown ups too!)

Can I make these nut-free?

If you can’t do peanut butter in your house or you need a nut-free snack to send to preschool or school, try these energy bites with sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. They should work just fine and taste similar.

Can I make these gluten-free?

Sure thing, just reach for certified gluten-free rolled oats and you should be good to go.

How long can I store these?

You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. They might not last that long though—I make these as much for my kids as I do for myself. I store each batch in a quart-size mason jar in the fridge and cut them up for younger eaters to ensure that they are easy to chew.

Health Benefits Of Peanuts?

1. May Promote Heart Health

Eating peanuts may help protect against coronary heart disease (CHD) . A study conducted by the Harvard School Of Public Health found that peanuts may lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels . Bad cholesterol leads to plaque development in the blood vessels, and peanuts may prevent this. A study conducted on rats also stated that polyphenol-rich peanut skin extract may reduce the inflammation that causes heart disease 

The resveratrol in peanuts has antioxidant properties that may help combat heart disease. That is why peanuts seem to have similar cardioprotective effects as other foods containing resveratrol .

A study conducted by Purdue University found that regular intake of peanuts also lowers triglycerides, further promoting heart health. This effect can be attributed to the presence of monounsaturated fatty acids, folate, and magnesium . Furthermore, a study on rats conducted by Marmara University (Turkey) found that peanuts increase the levels of good cholesterol . However, more studies are warranted to understand this effect of peanuts.

2. May Aid Weight Loss

Peanuts are very high in calories, but they contribute to weight loss instead of weight gain . Peanuts are energy-dense foods . That is why having them as a snack may make you consume fewer calories later in the day. Peanuts elicited stronger feelings of fullness when consumed as a snack than with a meal . This may eventually help with weight loss. Some studies suggested that higher nut consumption was not associated with greater body weight gain and may aid weight control .

Including peanuts in your diet is one way to enhance nutrient intake without causing weight gain . Research also shows that the consumption of peanuts and peanut butter can increase feelings of fullness. These could satisfy individuals better than carbohydrate-filled snacks in equal quantities

3. May Prevent Gallstones

Consumption of peanuts is linked to a lower risk of gallstones. A study conducted by the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston) found that consumption of peanuts may lower the risk of gallstones. Men consuming five or more units of nuts (including peanuts) a week are at a lower risk of gallstone disease .

Women consuming five or more units of nuts a week are at a reduced risk of cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) . However, long-term studies are required to understand this benefit of peanuts.

4. May Aid Blood Sugar Control

Adding peanuts or peanut butter to a meal does not spike blood sugar levels. Having them along with a meal high in GL (like a bagel or a glass of juice) may stabilize your blood sugar levels. Peanuts have a GI (glycemic index) score of 14. While the GI of peanuts is 14 (on a 100-point scale), their GL (glycemic load, which tells what a particular food will do to your sugar levels) is just 1 . That is why the American Diabetes Association names peanuts as a diabetes superfood. The fiber in peanuts also helps lower blood sugar levels. They also contain magnesium and other healthy oils that play a role in this aspect .

One study conducted by the Federal University Of Vicoça (Brazil) on obese women found that consuming peanuts or peanut butter right in the morning may control blood sugar levels throughout the day . Another study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that higher intake of peanuts and peanut butter can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in women .

Additionally, daily intake of a diet enriched with peanuts over 24 weeks could improve health parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes. The rich nutritional profile of peanuts is responsible for this, which includes monounsaturated fat, fiber, arginine, niacin, folate, and vitamin E .

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