Chocolate Energy Balls

Imagine enjoying these brownie-like chocolate energy balls made with fewer than 10 ingredients. These healthy treats are made with nutritious oats, coconut, Omega-3 rich walnuts, and ground flax seeds, and, of course, cocoa powder.

Chocolate energy balls are grouped together with more in a bowl behind them.

These no-bake energy balls are a favorite treat around our house. We have one version or another around here all the time. They taste just as sweet as a cookie, and feel just as indulgent, but it’s so much healthier!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using walnuts as a fat source creates delicious texture and even adds Omega-3s.
  • Adding dates makes these energy balls completely refined sugar free.
  • Oats create a consistency that binds ingredients that helps hold the balls into a tight shape, and makes them filling, too.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

These no-bake energy balls use a minimal number of carefully selected ingredients to deliver the best health benefit per bite:

  • Oatmeal —I used old fashioned or rolled oats
  • Medjool dates — be sure to take the pits out
  • Cocoa powder — I use natural cocoa powder. For no-bake protein balls, substitute chocolate protein powder.
  • Walnuts
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Coconut — this is optional
  • Vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Chips — Use any of your favorite dairy-free chocolate chips — another optional ingredient, but highly recommended

Ingredient Spotlight

A mound of Medjool dates sit in a glass bowl on a white counter.

What Dates are Best for Energy Balls

Medjool dates are soft and chewy with a caramel flavor. Compared to regular (and firmer) dates, Medjool dates are best for using raw in date balls. Native to Morocco, Medjool dates may appear to be a dried fruit like raisins, but they are actually a fruit. Removing the pit is crucial as it is hard and can damage your food processor blades. You can find Medjool dates at stores like Sprouts, health food stores, and even Costco. If your dates are firmer, be sure to soak them in hot water to soften them.

Marly’s Tips

I think energy balls with dates and oats are the best! That’s because they’re naturally sweetened and the oats provide healthy fiber and texture, too.

How to Make Energy Balls

  1. Make a coarse flour by pulsing oatmeal, walnuts, and dates in a food processor.
    Oatmeal, dates, and walnuts in a food processor bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until everything is broken down and the mixture forms a ball in the food processor.
    Other ingredients, like coconut flakes, are added to the pulsed energy bite batter.
  3. Test the batter by squeezing a bit of it in your hand. If it stays together, you’re good to go. If it’s still crumbly, you’ll want to add another date or two or a tablespoon of agave nectar. Pulse for a few more seconds to combine.
  4. Roll the dough into bite-sized balls, using a cookie dough scooper for a consistent size.
A cookie dough scoop is used to create energy bites. Finished bites are on a small cutting board.

Storage Tips

Store energy bites in an airtight container. They’ll keep at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Are Energy Bites Healthy?

Energy bites are made with a lot of nutritious ingredients combined in a food processor, and pulsed until a dough forms. Some common ingredients include walnuts, ground flax seeds, cocoa powder, dates, and more to create some super healthy energy balls.

Health Benefits

Here’s some of the health benefits of these no-bake energy balls:

  • Natural Sugars — Dates add nutritious sweetness
  • Nutrition — Walnuts add omega-3s
  • Satisfying — Energy balls are just rich enough that you won’t overindulge
  • Easy — these treats are oh-so-easy to make
  • Filling — These are perfect for a pre or post-workout snack

I’ll make a batch or two of these energy balls and keep them either in the fridge or in a sealed container on the counter. We nibble on them throughout the week, some days eating more than others!

A close-up of chocolate no bake energy balls in a white bowl.

Energy Bites with Dates

You have options for how you sweeten your energy bites. I love using dates because they’re so nutritious and sweet. Also, dates add the stickiness you need to keep the energy bites sticking together.

Of course, you have options to sweeten your energy balls. Here are some alternative sweeteners you can use:

  • agave nectar
  • maple syrup
  • rice syrup

When it comes to these sweeteners, start with 3 tablespoons, then taste, and add additional if needed depending on your taste for sweetness and the stickiness of the dough. That’s because the syrup adds both sweetness and stickiness so you’ll need enough to hold the energy bites together.

A hand reaches in and grabs an energy ball from the top of the pile.

More Energy Balls

If you love these chocolate energy balls, here’s even more tasty energy bites to satisfy your taste buds!

A close-up of chocolate no bake energy balls in a white bowl.

Chocolate No-Bake Energy Balls

These chocolate no-bake energy balls may taste like brownies, but they deliver the punch of some healthy, delicious ingredients, like dates, walnuts, and ground flax seeds.
5 from 3 votes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 20 balls
Calories: 94kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup oatmeal uncooked
  • 1 cup walnuts , whole
  • 1 cup medjool dates , pits removed
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes , unsweetened
  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds
  • ¼ cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Make a coarse flour by pulsing oatmeal, walnuts, and dates in a food processor.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until everything is broken down and the mixture forms a ball in the food processor.
  • Test the batter by squeezing a bit of it in your hand. If it stays together, you’re good to go. If it’s still crumbly, you’ll want to add another date or two or a tablespoon of agave nectar. Pulse for a few more seconds to combine.
  • Roll the dough into bite-sized balls, using a cookie dough scooper for a consistent size.
  • Store energy bites in an airtight container. They’ll keep at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 10 days.

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Notes

I use about 8 to 10 Medjool dates in this recipe.
I minimized the use of ground flax seed in this recipe because the walnuts are providing some of the Omega-3s too.
If you don’t have any dates, you can substitute 1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup.
Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.7mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

2 Responses to Chocolate Energy Balls

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLori Reply

    5 stars
    I can’t keep these energy bites around! Everyone keeps eating them and I gotta make more. Good problem.

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMina Reply

    5 stars
    OMG! I think this is one of my favorite recipes! I love chocolate and I love brownies so this is perfect! I also like that it only needs a few simple ingredients and you don’t need to bake it. Yay!

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