Chocolate Energy Balls
These superfood chocolate energy balls are made with dates, walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds and protein for a delicious and nutritious snack.
These chocolate energy balls with dates land somewhere between snack and dessert. They’re made with nutritious ingredients and have no added sugar but they taste like a brownie or truffle!
They have a dense, fudgy texture, and rich chocolate cinnamon flavour and are perfectly sweet and delicious.
Enjoy these no-bake bites for a yummy snack any time of day. Kids, adults, everyone will love them!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- No baking required!
- They’re easy to make in 15 minutes with pantry ingredients.
- They’re great for meal prep! Make a batch and stash them in the fridge or freezer for a sweet snack ready to go all week.
- They make a delicious, wholesome, healthy snack or dessert you can feel good about.
- They are portable for healthy snacking on the go. Take them camping, hiking or on your next road trip or travel day.
- They’re vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free and oil-free.
- They’re easily customizable with whatever nuts and seeds you have available.
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!
How to Make Chocolate Energy Balls
Step 1. 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. 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. 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!
Notes & Tips
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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?
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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.
- 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. Updated with new photos and text on November 3, 2020.