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5-Ingredient Chocolate Date Energy Balls

5-Ingredient No-Bake Chocolate Date Energy Balls are made with all whole food ingredients and make for a lovely snack or healthy dessert. Vegan and gluten-free!

bowl of chocolate energy bites

Once upon a time, I made a different batch of energy bites (also known as fat balls, or protein balls depending on the ingredients) every week for between-meals snacks.

My Cranberry Orange Energy Balls and my Carrot Cake Fat Balls have always been favorites, followed closely by Fig and Date Energy Balls.

Well here we are with a brand new healthy snack recipe that requires fewer ingredients and comes together quicker than any of my last endeavors.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll love how easy this simple recipe is to make! Simply buzz everything up in your food processor, roll the dough into balls, and you’re off and running!

Plus, these chocolate date energy bites are ideal for the warm months of the year when you’re craving a sweet treat but have zero desire to turn on the oven to bake. Make a double batch to keep them on hand for little bites of bliss.

I find these energy bites to be a great all-natural snack for kids, a solid pre or post-workout snack, staving off the afternoon munchies, or healthy dessert. They are also great to bring hiking.

Anyone who enjoys chocolate, almond butter (or peanut butter), or dates will surely love them!

Let’s discuss the simple healthy ingredients. 

Ingredients for Chocolate Date Energy Balls:

Rolled Oats: Old-fashioned rolled oats get blended up in a food processor until they form a flour-like consistency. This makes for the dry portion of the recipe that is responsible for getting the sticky ingredients to form together into a cohesive ball. 

As an alternative to rolled oats, you can also use quick oats or instant oats, oat flour or almond meal.

Unsweetened Almond Butter: Creamy almond butter, creamy peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, or different nut butters butter can be used here. This ingredient acts as part of the glue that holds the balls together (the medjool dates being the other portion of the glue), and also brings richness to the energy bites due to the fat content.

If you love the flavor of peanut butter, use it to replace the almond butter, as peanut butter energy balls are also a great snack!

Raw Cacao Powder: The chocolate portion of these energy bites! Raw cacao powder has a smooth and creamy chocolatey flavor to it, which is typically my preference. You can just as easily use unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch press cocoa powder as a 1:1 replacement. 

Medjool Dates: Pitted medjool dates bring a stickiness to the recipe, which ensures the energy bites hold together nicely. Be sure to use large medjool dates (they vary in size) and if you have a kitchen scale, I recommend weighing them to be sure you’re getting enough sweetness and stickiness.

Medjool dates contain a great deal of natural sugar, so if you follow a low-carb or keto diet, make my Keto Peanut Butter Edible Cookie Dough (and roll it into balls for peanut butter energy balls).

Vanilla Extract (Optional): While the vanilla extract is optional, it provides that inviting warmth which really makes the whole experience that much better.

Sea Salt: A sprinkle of sea salt enhances each individual flavor so that the chocolate date energy balls are exploring with flavor.

all of the ingredients for the energy bites in a food processor

Optional Additions:

Ground cinnamon, protein powder to bring extra protein and make protein bites, chocolate chips, chia seeds, hemp seed, sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, or raw nuts are all great additions.

Just keep in mind if you add more dry ingredients, you may need to add additional almond butter or dates to get the mixture back to rolling consistency.

You can play around with all sorts of pantry ingredients to try different flavors and create your own energy ball recipes.

Now that we’re experts on what goes into these power balls, let’s make these delicious bite-sized snacks!

Bowl of chocolate date energy bites with one of the balls with a bite taken out.

How to Make Chocolate Date Energy Balls:

Add the oats to a food processor and process until a flour forms. It is okay for the flour to be somewhat coarse but the goal is to get it to the same consistency as regular flour if possible so that the balls don’t have any grittiness to them. Remember, you can also replace the oats with oat flour or almond flour.

Transfer the rest of the ingredients to the food processor (almond butter, cacao powder, dates, vanilla extract, and sea salt) and process until a thick dough forms. This mixture should have a thicker consistency than regular cookie dough and also not be sticky or oily. If the mixture does turn out sticky and doesn’t form balls easily, refrigerate it for 1 to 2 hours or until it has set up.

Roll the mixture into balls, forming any size you desire.

If you’d like, roll the chocolate date balls in unsweetened shredded coconut or more cacao powder (this is mostly for looks).

Store the energy balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. You can also store them in a zip lock bag in the freezer for up to 4 months.

You can certainly use this as a base recipe for all your energy ball adventures. Change it up by incorporating your favorite goodies for a real good time!

horizontal image of bowl of chocolate energy bites

More Healthy Snack Recipes:

Enjoy these sweet superfood energy bites!

bowl of chocolate energy bites

5-Ingredient Chocolate Date Energy Balls

Yield: 20 Balls
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

5-Ingredient No-Bake Chocolate Date Energy Balls are made with all whole food ingredients and make for a lovely snack or small dessert. Use peanut butter instead of almond butter to make peanut butter energy balls. Mix it up with your favorite add-ins!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats*
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond butter**
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 10 large pitted medjool dates (6.5 oz, 186g)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, optional
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, to taste

For Rolling:

  • Raw cacao powder
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

    1. Add the oats to a food processor and process until a flour forms. It is okay for the flour to be somewhat coarse but the goal is to get it to the same consistency as regular flour if possible so that the balls don’t have any grittiness to them. Remember, you can also replace the oats with oat flour or almond flour.

    Oats in a food processor for energy balls

    2. Transfer the rest of the ingredients to the food processor (almond butter, cacao powder, dates, vanilla extract, and sea salt) and process until a thick dough forms. This mixture should have a thicker consistency than regular cookie dough and also not be sticky or oily. If the mixture does turn out sticky and doesn’t form balls easily, refrigerate it for 1 to 2 hours or until it has set up.

    all of the ingredients for the energy bites in a food processor

    3. Roll the mixture into balls, forming any size you desire. If you’d like, roll the chocolate date balls in unsweetened shredded coconut or more cacao powder (this is mostly for looks).

    plate of rolled peanut butter energy balls

Notes

*Replace the oats with oat flour or almond flour if you’d like

**You can also use sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, etc.

For the best result, be sure to weigh your pitted dates using a kitchen scale, as there is a large variation in the size of dates. You'll want all the stickiness you can get, so weighing them is the best bet to get the right texture.

If the mixture seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk (dairy or non-dairy) until the mixture is thick and sticky, similar to cookie dough. Keep processing and adding as needed until the mixture is easy to form into balls.

Store the energy balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. You can also store them in a zip lock bag in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Nutrition Information
Yield 20 Serving Size 1 Ball (of 20)
Amount Per Serving Calories 115Total Fat 7gCarbohydrates 11gFiber 2gSugar 7gProtein 3g

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collage for energy balls

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Patti

Wednesday 1st of June 2022

I added milk just to get consistency right and they turned out great.

Julia

Saturday 4th of June 2022

I'm so thrilled to hear they turned out well for you! Thanks for pointing out that you needed to add milk - I typically don't need to but sometimes the mixture turns out drier and sometimes it turns out wetter...it's a little different each time for me too ;)

Jessica

Wednesday 1st of June 2022

Oh boy! I'm sorry that this is a negative review but these balls are so dry. My family loves power balls but honestly they stick inside your mouth and sort of make you gag. Missing something to lessen this dryness. I ended up rerolling adding choc chips to try to undo the arid texture. Any other suggestions?

Julia

Saturday 4th of June 2022

Hi Jessica! I'm sorry to hear the recipe didn't turn out for you. I've found a lot of variation in the way energy balls/bites turn out - it can be very dependent on the moisture of the dates and the exact measurement of oats and nut butter. Did you weigh your dates? I've found weighing them makes a huge difference because they aren't always the same size and you really need all that stickiness to get them to bind together. As another reader mentioned, you can always add any form of milk (dairy or non-dairy) if the mixture is visibly crumbly rather than sticky. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until the mixture comes together in a sticky dough. I hope that helps!

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