Chocolate Energy Balls
These healthy, vegan, no-bake chocolate energy balls are made with dates, walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds and protein for a delicious and nutritious snack. Easy to make in 15 minutes!
These chocolate energy balls are made with dates, seeds, cocoa powder and walnuts land somewhere between a snack and dessert. Though they’re made with nutritious ingredients and have no added suga, they taste like a decadent brownie or truffle (these no-bake brownie bites do too, yum)!
They have a dense, fudgy texture, and rich chocolate cinnamon flavour and are perfectly sweet and delicious.
Let’s get into the ingredients you’ll need, how to make them and some helpful tips for energy ball success. When you’re ready to make them, scroll down to find the complete and printable recipe card.
If you’re hooked on energy balls after making these, don’t miss my lime coconut bites, gingerbread bites, chocolate protein bites and carrot cake energy balls.
If you prefer energy bars, these no-bake granola bars, lemon pie bars are sesame energy bars are all delicious and easy to make too.
Why These Make a Good Snack
These make a great snack for several reasons. Firstly, they’re quick and easy to make with simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
Secondly, they are portable so can be taken on-the-go, making them convenient for busy days, camping and hiking.
Finally, chocolate energy balls are a healthier alternative to sugary snacks providing a more balanced treat that includes healthy fats, protein and is made without added sugar.
These bite-sized treats are not only delicious but packed with nutrition to give you a boost of energy to power through your day. They’re perfect anytime for a snack or dessert and kids, adults, everyone will love them!
Ingredients & Substitutions
The recipe card below shows the complete list of ingredients and amounts. This section covers a few notes on the ingredients and possible substitutions.
- Dates: You can use any variety of dates as long as they’re soft and moist. My favourite dates for energy balls are medjool dates and sayer dates. If you have dates that are quite dry, you can soak them in hot water before using them in the recipe.
- Walnuts: Use plain, raw walnuts with no added oil or salt. The walnuts can be substituted with almonds, cashews, pecans or a mix of nuts. For a nut-free recipe, you can use rolled oats or sunflower seeds instead of nuts.
- Hemp Seeds: These are fairly easy to find in well-stocked grocery stores and health food stores. They may be labelled hemp hearts or shelled hemp seeds.
- Chia Seeds: You can use black or white chia seeds or replace them with additional hemp seeds.
- Flax Seeds: Be sure to use ground flax, not whole flax seeds.
- Protein Powder: Use any plant-based protein powder you like. I used plain hemp protein but any vegan protein powder works. For whole food protein powders, try plain hemp protein, soy protein or brown rice protein. For flavoured, sweeter protein, use a vanilla vegan protein powder.
- Cacao Powder: You can use raw cacao powder or any regular unsweetened cocoa powder. If you’re not using cacao, try a dark cocoa powder if you can find it for the best, rich chocolate flavour!
- Optional: I like to add cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt to enhance the flavour but they’re both optional. Use any or all!
Variations & Additions
- Chocolate Peanut Energy Balls: Use raw or dry roasted peanuts instead of walnuts.
- Coating: Try rolling your energy balls in cinnamon, cinnamon sugar, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, or coconut or drizzling with melted chocolate.
- To make these more like dessert truffles, roll the balls in melted chocolate to coat and place them on a parchment paper-lined plate or tray and place them in the fridge or freezer until the chocolate hardens.
- Add up to 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Add them to the food processor after blending the dough and blend or pulse briefly to mix them in.
How to Make Chocolate Energy Balls
Step 1: Blend Walnuts
Add the walnuts to a food processor and blend into coarse, grainy flour.
It’s okay if there are a few large chunks left behind but they should be mostly broken down.
Step 2: Blend Dough
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a thick, sticky dough you can pinch together between your fingers.
Help, my dough is too crumbly! If your dough is too dry and crumbly to roll into balls (this can happen if your dates were too dry), add 2 tsp extra water and process again. That should do the trick! You could also use a little maple syrup, peanut butter or almond butter.
Step 3: Roll Balls
Step 3. Use your hands to roll the dough into about 16 bite-sized balls.
Quick Tip: If you don’t want to roll the dough into balls, you can press it into a parchment paper-lined square baking pan then lift them out and cut them into bars.
For an extra treat, roll the balls in coconut sugar, hemp seeds, coconut or cocoa or drizzle with melted chocolate!
- Dates: It’s important to use soft, moist dates in this recipe. If your dates are overly dry or you’re not sure, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes then drain well before using. If using soaked dates, you can omit the 2 tbsp of water.
- The balls are best stored in the freezer. They can be enjoyed straight from the freezer because they don’t freeze solid.
- Hemp and Chia Seeds: If you’re missing one of these, you can just use more of the other. For example, if you don’t have chia seeds, use 4 tbsp hemp seeds.
- Walnuts: Can be substituted with pecans, almonds, cashews or any combination of the 4.
Yes. To make chocolate energy balls without protein powder, substitute powdered peanut butter or omit it and add an additional 1 tbsp of cocoa powder.
To make these nut-free, replace the walnuts with oats or sunflower seeds. You could also do 1 cup oats plus 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, or 1 cup oats or sunflower seeds plus 1/2 fine shredded coconut.
For nut-free energy ball recipes, try my cinnamon energy balls, sunflower seed energy balls or carrot cake balls. I also have a nut-free energy bar recipe here.
Yes, you can use any nuts you like in this recipe. Some good options are pecans, cashews or almonds.
Yes, you can customize the recipe but ingredients like chocolate chips, cacao nibs, or dried fruit like cranberries.
How to Store
- Fridge: Store for up to 2 weeks in a sealed container.
- Freezer (Recommended): Up to 3 months in a sealed container or freezer-safe bag.
- Room Temperature: If you’re taking the energy balls to-go, they’re ok up to a few days but try to freeze beforehand and keep them cool for best results.
Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
Chocolate Energy Balls
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 16
- Category: Snack
- Method: Food Processor
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
These superfood chocolate energy balls are loaded up with all the good stuff such as chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax so you can snack smart and know you’re giving your body plenty of nutrition.
- 1 cup packed (225 g), pitted dates
- 1 1/2 cups (200 g) raw walnuts
- 2 tbsp (21 g) chia seeds
- 2 tbsp (20 g) hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp (7 g) ground flax seeds
- 2 tbsp (15 g) hemp protein powder
- 2 tbsp (12 g) cacao powder
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla, optional
- 2 tbsp water, if needed
- Blend Walnuts: Blend the walnuts for a minute or so until they’re broken down into coarse, grainy flour.
- Add Remaining Ingredients: Add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a thick, sticky dough you can pinch together between your fingers. If the dough seems too dry to roll into balls, add 1-2 tbsp warm water and process again.
- Roll Balls: Use your hands to roll the balls into approximately 16 bite-sized balls.
- Coat Balls & Enjoy: Roll the balls in your choice of coating, if desired. Try coconut sugar, cacao powder, cinnamon, hemp seeds or coconut. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge or freezer.
Dates: It’s important to use soft, moist dates in this recipe. If your dates are overly dry or you’re not sure, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes then drain well before using. If using soaked dates, you can omit the 2 tbsp of water.
Seeds: If you don’t have both chia and hemp seeds available, you can use 4 tbsp of one or the other. If you don’t have ground flax, you can leave it out.
Protein: Hemp protein powder can be substituted with any other protein powder or powdered peanut butter, or replaced with an additional 1 tablespoon of cacao powder.
Coating: I rolled mine in a mixture of coconut sugar and cinnamon for an extra treat, totally optional. You could also roll them in hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut or cacao powder, or drizzle with melted chocolate. For more of a dessert truffle, coat the balls in melted chocolate and place in the fridge or freezer until hardened.
Storing: Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freezer (recommended) for up to 3 months. If taking to-go they’re ok up for 1-2 days at room temperature, or longer if kept cool.
- Serving Size: 1 ball
- Calories: 132
- Sugar: 10 g
- Fat: 8.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 13 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 3.5 g
Keywords: superfood balls, chocolate energy balls
Originally published on March 21, 2013.
I am super excited to incorporate hemp protein powder into energy balls. I have been reading how great it is post work out. I have never tasted it though. Is it overpowering in the energy balls? What does it taste like? Should I go easy my first time with maybe 1 tbsp? Thank you 🙂
It’s not overpowering in the energy balls, you can’t really taste it at all so no need to reduce the amount. Plain hemp protein does not exactly taste good, it’s very earthy. You could get a flavoured sweetened hemp protein for better flavour.
Thank you! I will give it a try using your recipe. Thanks so much for the information. 🙂
I love that these are packed with healthy ingredients and super tasty! They are my current go-to snack/treat to have on hand 🙂
I love making Deryn’s energy balls. These were delicious. Learning to use more dates & loving it. You won’t be disappointed!
Thanks, Dawna! So glad you enjoy them.
I’ve read that chia, hemp, and flax seeds do not release their nutrients unless soaked. Of course that would make the recipe more of a porridge! yI would value your knowledgable opinion.
They’re still nutritious to consume this way. Make sure you’re using hulled hemp seeds (hemp hearts) and ground flax. Soaking nuts and seeds is done to reduce the phytic acid content. The chia and flax can’t be soaked for this recipe but if you wanted to soak the hemp seeds and dry before use, up to you!
I’m crazy about the recipes I’ve seen in this email! I hope to try them all!!
Remember, No Hoppin’ outside!
Can I use oat flour in place of the hemp protein powder? I have everything but that ingredient and really wanna make these!
Hi Cora, you can leave it out and increase the cocoa powder to 3 tbsp and ground flax to 2 tbsp. Enjoy!
Could you please note the alternative volume of ready made nut flour? I buy mine ready made & would love a conversion! ❤️
I really love these balls. My kids love them too.
Well I’m very glad to hear that! Glad you enjoy them!
These look great! I’m a nursing mum & lately have been trying to find ways to get more oats & flax in to my diet to support lactation. I’m gonna whip these up with a tsp of brewers yeast & keep them on around for afternoon snacking. It also helps me to remain fit and healthy.
These are perfect for afternoon snacking!! They’re the perfect sweet treat but still full of nutrition.
Energy balls, YES PLEASE. Love them and love preparing them at home. Thanks for the recipe!
You’re welcome, Kelly! Hope you enjoy them.
Love chocolate energy bites…such a great snack to have on hand in the freezer! I need to make more ASAP 🙂
Can the energy balls be stored in glass cookie jar on shelf, if so for how long.
I would recommend storing them in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh. I’m not too sure how long they would last at room temperature, maybe up to 4 days in a cool, dry place? They can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can I used coconut oil instead of water?
You only need the water if the mixture is dry and you need to add a bit more moisture for it to come together. If you do need to add moisture, yes, you should be able to use melted coconut oil, starting with 1 tsp and slowly adding more as needed.
These look great! I will be trying them soon and sharing on my blog.
I just made these and oh my WOW!! I can’t stop eating them! Thank you so much for posting! They are beyond delicious! I think they should be called Super Chocolate Balls! 🙂
I do not like walnuts, and have an almond allergy…any recommendations on nuts that taste good with this recipe? I am in need of some new on the go snacks to take with me between meetings/appointments during the day, so I can stay steady, and not be forced to grab something not so good for me because I have gone too long without eating. 🙂 Thanks!
Hi Leanne 🙂
I think cashews and hazelnuts would work well!
I almost always have some kind of snack like these on hand for busy days for that exact reason!