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Food & Recipes

Homemade Protein Bars Are Healthier, Cheaper + So Easy to Prep in 5 Minutes

Plus, learn how to customize them with your favorite toppings

Protein bars are everywhere these days, lining grocery store shelves and promising a convenient energy boost. But what if you could ditch the sometimes-hefty price tag and questionable ingredients? Here’s a secret: making homemade protein bars couldn’t be easier, more affordable and way healthier! We’ve got two recipes that take minimal prep and use wholesome ingredients to really satisfy and fill you up. Plus, experts share the importance of protein, the best ingredients for endless customization and storage tips to keep your bars fresh and ready to grab. So, get ready to fuel your day the delicious way — here’s how to make homemade protein bars.

Why is protein so popular?

You might already know this, but protein isn’t just for bodybuilders anymore. This essential micronutrient plays a starring role in almost every bodily function. We like to think of it as a MVP for your health. “Protein is essential for survival, and humans can’t live long without consuming it,” says Avery Zenker, RD, MAN, at EverFlex Fitness. “First off, it’s the building block for your body’s tissues, like muscles, skin and hair. Protein also makes up hormones, enzymes, transport molecules and other compounds necessary for good health and proper functioning.”

When we don’t consume enough protein, we can experience fatigue and muscle weakness. Zenker adds that “consuming adequate protein helps build, maintain and prevent loss of,muscle mass.” Additionally, “in the diet, protein is the most satiating macronutrient. It helps us feel full and satisfied longer after meals.”

In our fast-paced world, convenience often wins. This is a major reason protein products have become so popular in stores — from powders to yogurt to pancake mix. These brands offer a seemingly easy and fast way to add protein to your diet. However, commercially available protein food, especially bars, can be loaded with hidden sugars, unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients.

Looking for more high-protein foods? Learn how to cook with Silken Tofu and Whipped Cottage Cheese.

The benefits of homemade protein bars

“Making your own protein bars allows you to have control over the ingredients,” says Jaden Asuncion, health and wellness instructor at Frontline Innovation Studios. This means creating healthy and delicious snacks that perfectly suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. You can also say goodbye to mystery ingredients and artificial additives!

“Many manufactured protein bars contain allergens, which makes them unsafe for those who are sensitive. Additionally, the bars can contain high amounts of sugar, sugar alcohols and food colors that some may want to avoid,” adds Asuncion. Finally, making your own bars can be significantly cheaper than buying the store-bought brands.

Related: Homemade Coffee Creamer Is Healthier, Tastier + So Easy to Make With 3 Ingredients

Making the best homemade protein bars

The beauty of homemade protein bars lies in their versatility! Think of it like an all-you-can-eat buffet. We put together an easy, expert-recommended guide for building your bars with all the essentials.

1. Protein source

First, you’ll need a protein source. These can include whey or plant-based protein powder, nuts and nut butters, yogurt and seeds. While a bit pricey, protein powders are a popular and readily available option. You can choose from different flavors like vanilla or chocolate. But Asuncion points out that “homemade protein bars can be made with or without protein powder.” As alternatives, she explains that “nuts and seeds are a great source of protein that can be substituted for powder.”

Moreover, almonds, peanuts, cashews and their respective butters make excellent sources of protein and healthy fats. Finally, frozen Greek yogurt packs a ton of protein and doubles as its own binding agent.

2. Binding agents

You can use common pantry items like rolled oats or flour to help bind your protein bars. Additionally, nut butters make great binders due to their creaminess. You can even use chopped dates, which provide sweetness and a sticky texture, or natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. (See why oats are better than the Oatzempic diet for weight loss.)

3. Sweeteners

“Bars can be sweetened with sugar, but many recipes will opt for honey, maple syrup or Medjool dates as sweeteners,” says Asuncion. Or, you can include fresh fruit or dried fruits like raisins or cranberries. But if you crave a more indulgent bite, we love adding a bit of chocolate or stevia.

4. Bake vs. no-bake

“No-bake recipes are usually quicker, but baked recipes often provide a tasty crunch to the bars,” says Asuncion. No-bake bars might be better for beginners, often requiring just mixing and chilling.

“Also consider how long you’d like to store your bars, as well as where they will be stored,” adds Zenker. “A nut/date/protein powder bar will last out of the fridge, but one containing cooked bananas, for example, may not last as long outside of the fridge.”

2 easy homemade protein bars recipes

Ready to make your own high-protein snack? These two incredibly easy 5-minute-prep recipes will satisfy your hunger and keep you energized. We chose two non-bake options with under 5 ingredients to keep it simple. But you can customize them with whatever ingredients or substitutes you want!

No-Bake Protein Bars

homemade protein bars: chocolate, no-bake bars with nut butter
Irina Voitkova/Getty

This recipe from The Big Man’s World features wholesome ingredients and natural sweeteners. Plus, each bar has 21 grams of protein! Any protein powder works in this recipe, and you can also try flavored varieties like chocolate or peanut butter.


  • ½ cup coconut flour (or any flour)
  • 1½ cups protein powder
  • 2 cups peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)
  • ½ cup maple syrup (or any natural sweetener)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips, melted, optional


  • Active Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes, plus chilling
  • Yield: 12 servings
  1. Line a deep baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. For thicker bars, use an 8 x 8-inch pan. For thinner bars, use any size bigger. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Then, in a small mixing bowl, melt your peanut butter with maple syrup until combined. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. 
  3. Transfer the protein bar batter into the lined baking dish and press firmly in place. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. Once firm, cut into bars. Optionally, melt chocolate chips into a sauce and coat the bars or add them into the batter.

Note: For a sturdier bar, we recommend using plant-based protein powder. And if the batter comes out too thick or crumbly, add a little water or milk.

Frozen Yogurt Protein Bars

homemade protein bars: frozen yogurt bars with strawberries

This recipe from Beaming Baker looks more like a dessert bark, but it packs a protein punch. With just 3 ingredients, including yogurt, fresh fruits and any toppings you want, it couldn’t be easier to make on a warm day.


  • 1½ cups yogurt
  • ¾ cup cut fruit, frozen or fresh
  • 2–4 Tbs. your favorite toppings, like granola, nuts, seeds or chocolate chips


  • Active Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours (including chilling time)
  • Yield: 16 bars
  1. Firstly, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Clear some room in the freezer for this sheet, you will need it later.
  2. Place the baking sheet on a flat work surface. Then, spread the yogurt into a thick, even layer, about ⅓-inch thick. Sprinkle fruit and your preferred toppings onto the yogurt. Then, a spoon, gently press the toppings into the yogurt so they’re secure and won’t fall off later.
  3. Chill the yogurt in the freezer for 2-4 hours, or until completely firm. After, remove and carefully peel off the paper. Then, slice into bars.

Storing homemade protein bars

Most recipes for homemade protein bars can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For longer storage, wrap them individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper, then freeze them for up to 3 months. You can thaw frozen bars in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying. Frozen protein bars, however, should be kept in freezer-safe containers the freezer to prevent melting.

For more healthy homemade treats, try out these recipes below:

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Recipe Is a Must-Try Healthy and Indulgent Treat — Preps in 5 Minutes

Whip up Valerie Bertinelli’s 10-Minute Healthy Breakfast Cookies (Yes, You Read That Right!)

These Egg White Frittata Bites Are a Tasty Protein-Packed Treat + Bake in 15 Minutes!

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