I have been looking FAR AND WIDE for a good homemade protein bar recipe without using protein powder.
But in my search, I ran into a bunch of problems.
The biggest issue with these homemade protein snacks is that they often come out WAY too high in fats, carbs, sugar, or all three.
A lot of the recipes I found were also WAY too high in calories and/or were ridiculously complicated to make (if a recipe calls for more than one or two things you can’t get at a normal grocery store, fuggedaboutit)
This is just a fact: Adding protein powder to a recipe allows you to jam pack it with protein without really adding much of anything else. It’s just too hard to replicate that with natural ingredients and still make the bars edible.
BUT. I was determined to find something that worked, and I think I stumbled on a pretty dang good compromise courtesy of Darebee.com
Introducing: This excellent recipe for homemade, peanut-butter, no-bake, NO-POWDER protein bars.
I told you this would be easy.
These no-powder protein bars only call for four ingredients:
Peanut butter (1 1/3 cups)
Uncooked oatmeal (5 cups)
Coconut milk or cream (1 cup)
Honey (3 tbsp)
And best of all, no protein powder!
Mix everything together in a big bowl! It’s that easy.
Start with the coconut milk/cream. Whip it up until it’s smooth.
Drizzle in the honey and stir.
Add the peanut butter and mix until combined.
Finally, dump in the oats and use your hands to combine thoroughly.
Line a glass dish with parchment or wax paper and press the “dough” flat into the dish
Cover and refrigerate for 2+ hours
Slice and serve
Keep the bars refrigerated (for about a week) or frozen (about a month)
OK, while this is a good recipe, I feel I have to set your expectations properly before you take your first bite.
This is not a dessert.
I know, I know. They kind of look like a super sweet after-dinner treat, but that’s really not what these homemade protein bars are about.
They are a very cheap, very easy-to-make, natural protein delivery system.
And yes, they taste pretty good. Mostly like peanut butter and oatmeal (which is pretty much all they are).
But they are not very sweet. I wouldn’t say they’re addicting the way that, oh, brownies might be. One bar will be plenty for you.
You could make it sweeter with some added sugar (or by sprinkling chocolate chips on top), but again, that would cause some nutritional problems if you want to use these as a part of your workout program.
BUT. If you don’t like using protein powder and/or you’re on a budget and can’t afford to buy store-bought protein bars all the time, these are a pretty good alternative that are certainly worth a shot.
Cost per batch: About $10, Cost per bar: About 70 cents.
These bars use four ingredients; each is going to run you somewhere between 1-4 dollars depending on brand, where you live, etc. I had almost everything in the pantry already except the coconut milk.
I’d estimate the cost at one batch of no bake protein bars at about $10.
If you slice this bad boy into 14 pieces (which is reasonable), you get a cost per bar of 70 cents
I know what you’re thinking, GIMME THE MACROS ALREADY.
Well here they are according to the recipe’s creators, and just know this is an estimate that can change depending on what ingredients you use. It also depends how bars you choose to slice from the block
The Bottom Line
For the best combination of taste and macronutrients, it’s really hard to beat processed foods and protein powder. It just is.
But these bars are definitely worth a try if you’re going for a more natural approach, or just want to make your protein snacks in bulk at home.
(And if homemade isn’t your thing, be sure to check out the best protein bars for cutting.)