It couldn’t be easier to make no-bake protein bars at home! These granola bars are made with oats, nut butter, and protein powder for a well-balanced and wholesome bar that can serve as a breakfast on the go or a post-workout snack. No-bake protein granola bars come together in under 15 minutes, and they set in about an hour.
Even better, this homemade protein bar recipe is completely customizable to your favorite ingredients (or in case you have allergies). My husband takes these to work for lunch, and they hold him over until he comes home for dinner!
There is so much good chocolatey flavor in these bars that you’d never know they were healthier for you! If you want a fully decadent chocolate bar (with no promises of health food anywhere!), I recommend trying my 10-minute ritzy fudge dessert bars.
Ingredients for No-Bake Protein Granola Bars
Homemade protein bars are easy to make, and they’re entirely customizable. Use your favorite nut butter, milk, protein powder, and chocolate chips for a one-of-a-kind protein bar your family will love.
- Rolled oats. Rolled oats will give you a heartier texture than quick oats, but quick oats can be used in a pinch.
- Peanut butter. The major binder in this recipe, nut butter provides necessary fat to hold everything together. Use creamy or chunky.
- Milk. I like to use oat milk, but you can use regular cow’s milk or plant-based milk, too.
- Maple syrup. Give the protein bars a touch of sweetness with maple syrup or honey.
- Vanilla extract. Just a bit adds a nice, light vanilla flavor.
- Chocolate-flavored protein powder. Any protein powder will work, but vanilla-, chocolate-, or peanut butter-flavored protein powder will work best with the flavors in these bars already.
- Dark chocolate chips. Use dark chocolate chunks or chips or even mini peanut butter cups if you want a real treat.
- Sprinkle of flaky salt (optional). I like to add a pinch of salt to balance out the sweetness. Flaky salt is preferred, but not necessary!
These bars are gluten-free (depending on the oats and protein powder you use, of course).
Are These Homemade Protein Granola Bars Gluten-free?
Yes, they are! Just be sure to verify that your oats and protein powder are gluten-free.
Are These Homemade Protein Bars Vegan?
They can be! Simply substitute plant-based milk for the milk and use vegan protein powder and dark chocolate chips.
Quick Tips for Prepping No-Bake Protein Bars
Rolled oats are much thicker compared to quick or instant oats. I prefer using old-fashioned rolled oats because that thick cut gives them more flavor and texture than instant oats. If you have a hard time digesting raw oats or simply prefer the thinner oats, though, use instant oats.
This recipe mixes together really easily over medium heat in a saucepan. The peanut butter melts in the warmth, which makes it easy for the protein powder and milk to mix right into it. Continue stirring the liquid ingredients together until the mixture is free of lumps. It’s time to add the oats when the liquid mixture forms ribbons when you drizzle it off the spatula.
Pressing the Protein Bar Mixture into the Pan
Once the protein bar mixture is fully combined, I pour it out into a square 8″ (20 cm) baking pan lined with parchment paper.
This recipe isn’t sticky and should spread really nicely into the pan, especially if you’ve used a parchment paper lining.
Then, let the pan sit in the fridge, uncovered, for about an hour until the protein granola bars have set.
Serving and Cutting No-Bake Protein Granola Bars
Once the mixture has set, sprinkle on the chocolate chips and a pinch of flaky salt on top.
Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into eight equal pieces, then store in the fridge for up to a week.
I like to wrap these homemade granola bars in a strip of parchment paper. That gives me a way to hold them without getting my fingers sticky!
How to Customize Homemade Protein Bars
There are countless easy ways to customize no-bake protein granola bars you make at home!
- Substitute plant-based milk for cow’s milk
- Use mini peanut butter cups instead of chocolate chips
- Use a mixed nut butter with seeds for even more flavor
- Change up the flavor of protein powder
An Extra but Delicious Step: Toast Your Oats
These protein bars are no-bake, but you can get a much richer oat flavor if you bake your oats in advance. The oats take on a light, toasted flavor that’s absolutely delicious!
To toast your oats, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the oats on it evenly. Bake at 350°F/180°C for about 10 minutes, until the oats on the edges take on a golden hue.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
If bars are your thing, my ritzy fudge is just as easy as this recipe but far more decadent. Quick, four-ingredient fudge is topped with Ritz crackers and salted caramel sauce.
Still have a craving for chocolate? These lavender chocolate chip cookies have a light floral flavor that pairs beautifully with whatever chocolate you like—milk, white, or dark!
Cleanup Rating: Not Too Bad
I rank my recipe clean-ups on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is only a handful of dishes, and 5 is everything including the kitchen sink.
These homemade protein bars have a cleanup rating of a 2. If you’re intentional, you can get away with only using one spatula, one saucepan, and one baking dish, though you shouldn’t need to wash the baking dish if you line it completely with parchment paper.
If you go the extra mile to make these pretty by drizzling melted chocolate over the top, you’ll still have an easy time on cleanup.
- 2 cups rolled oats (180g)
- 1 cup nut butter (260g)
- 1/2 cup milk (120 ml)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (60 ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup chocolate-flavored protein powder (70g)
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (40g)
- Sprinkle of flaky salt (optional)
- Line a square 8" baking dish with parchment paper. Allow the parchment paper to overhang the sides.
- In a medium saucepan on medium heat, stir together nut butter, milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and protein powder with a spatula. When fully mixed and warmed, the mixture will fall off the spatula in ribbons (about 5 minutes).
- Add in the oats and stir until fully combined.
- Press the mixture evenly into the baking dish with a spatula.
- For easier clean-up: Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and flaky sea salt. Cool in the fridge uncovered for at least one hour.
For extra presentation points: Once the bars have cooled in the fridge uncovered for at least one hour, melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Spoon the chocolate into a piping bag and drizzle the chocolate over the bars in a zig-zag pattern. Top with flaky sea salt and a handful of oats.
- When ready to serve, use a sharp kitchen knife to cut into 8 pieces.
Store in the fridge, covered, for up to one week.
Optional first step: For a greater, more oat-y flavor, place oats in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 7-10 minutes until light golden brown and fragrant.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4.6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 20g
The nutrition facts are estimated and may vary based on specific ingredients used.
Thanks for trying out my homemade no-bake protein bars! Please consider rating this recipe so others find it, too.
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