These healthy yet decadent, no-bake chocolate chia energy bars make the perfect snack for busy days, outdoor adventures or anytime you want something delicious yet nourishing.

Stack of 3 chocolate energy bars.

These yummy bars are easy to make in a food processor with just a handful of wholesome ingredients. You’ll love the soft, chewy texture with a little crunch from the chia seeds.

The flavour and rich and decadent with hints of dark chocolate, coconut, walnuts and sea salt. I like to keep a stash in the freezer for a nourishing and energizing snack anytime of day.

Features

  • Dietary Features: Vegan and gluten-free.
  • Snacking on-the-go. Wrap the bars individually in saran or wax paper and stash in the freezer so you can grab and take to-go anytime.
  • Great for hiking, camping and busy days on the go.
  • Made with natural, whole food ingredients.
  • Easy to prepare in 10 minutes.
  • Amazing rich chocolate flavour and soft, chewy texture.
  • Rich in essential fatty acids.
  • No baking required! Just blend, press, freeze and enjoy!

Ingredient Notes

Visual list of ingredients for making chocolate chia seed energy bars.

Complete list of ingredients with amounts and instructions is located in the recipe card below.

  • Dates: It’s important to use soft, moist dates though any variety works. If your dates seem too dry, it’s suggested to soak them in hot water for 15 minutes before use.
  • Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened dark cocoa powder is best but any variety works. You can also use raw cacao powder for some extra nutrients.
  • Chia Seeds: Any variety (white, black, etc.) of whole chia seeds works.
  • Coconut: Use fine or medium unsweetened shredded (desiccated) coconut.
  • Walnuts: Use plain, raw walnuts with no added oil or salt. Almonds, cashews or pecans are a suitable substitute or you can mix and match various nuts to make 1 cup.
  • Chocolate: Use chopped dark chocolate of choice or any dairy-free chocolate chips.
  • Oats: Use rolled oats, quick oats or old fashioned oats. If you can’t do oats, it’s ok to leave them out or replace with some extra walnuts, coconut and chia seeds.

Step-by-Step with Photos

Quick Note: It’s important to use soft, moist dates in this recipe. If your dates are on the dry side or if you’re unsure if they’re soft enough, place the pitted dates in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak them for 15 minutes then drain well before using them in the recipes.

Pitted dates soaking in a bowl of water.

Step 1: Add the walnuts to a food processor and process into a grainy consistency. It’s ok if some large pieces remain but they should be resemble a coarse flour.

Blended walnuts in a food processor.

Step 2: Add the dates and blend into a thick paste.

Blended dates and walnuts in a food processor.

Step 3: Add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a thick, sticky dough.

You should be able to pinch the dough between your fingers. If it’s too crumbly (this can happen if the dates were too dry), you can add 1-2 tbsp warm water and process again.

Thick chocolate dough in a food processor.

Step 4: Line a 7 or 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so it sticks out over at least two sides of the pan. Use your hands to firmly press the dough into the pan. Take a few minutes to press it down firmly and smooth out the top.

Chocolate energy bars in a baking pan.

Place the bars in the freezer for an hour to firm then lift out of the pan and cut into bars. Enjoy!

FAQ


Can I make these nut-free?

Yes, to make these nut-free, use sunflower seeds instead of walnuts.

Are these gluten-free?

Yes, these are gluten-free though make sure you use gluten-free certified oats if needed.

My dough is too crumbly!

This can happen if you use dates that are very dry. If you’re unsure, I’d suggest soaking the pitted dates for 15 minutes in a bowl of hot water before use. After soaking, drain them well, pressing them against the side of the bowl to help remove excess water.

The don’t have to be dry before using in the recipe, just make sure any excess water is drained off. If you don’t soak the dates and the dough is crumbly, add 1-2 tbsp warm water, process again and that should do the trick.

I prefer the texture of the bars without soaking the dates so I usually skip this step. As long as your dates are soft and moist, you can use them without soaking them first. I like medjool dates or sayer dates best as they’re usually quite soft, gooey and fresh, which is perfect for making no-bake recipes like these balls.

Overhead view of a chocolate chia seed bar on a piece of parchment paper.

Storing

  • Fridge: Store in a sealed container up to 2 weeks.
  • Freezing: Store as is or individually wrapped in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
  • If taking to-go, try to keep cool as they’ll get soft if it’s warm. They’re ok out of the fridge for a day or two, or longer if kept cool.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review.

Print
Stack of 3 chocolate energy bars.

No-Bake Chocolate Chia Energy Bars

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 14 bars 1x
  • Category: Snack, Dessert
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free

These double chocolate energy bars are a serious crowd-pleaser. They take just minutes to prepare in a food processor and after setting in the freeze, you’ll have delicious, homemade energy bars ready to enjoy.


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. It’s important to use soft, moist dates in this recipe. If your dates are on the dry side, place them in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 15 minutes then drain well before using in the recipe. If you’re unsure, it can’t hurt to soak the dates first.
  2. Add the walnuts to a food processor and blend until broken down into a grainy consistency. It’s ok if there are some larger chunks left behind but they should resemble a coarse flour.
  3. Add the dates and blend until the dates and walnuts form a thick, sticky paste.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until it forms a thick dough. You should easily be able to press the dough together between your fingers. If it seems too crumbly (this can happen if the dates were dry), add 1-2 tbsp of warm water and process again.
  5. Line a square 7 or 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper so it sticks out over the sides of the pan. Use your hands to firmly press the mixture into the pan, taking a few minutes to make sure it’s really pressed down, especially in the corners. You can wet your hands if it helps to smooth the top out.
  6. Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm.
  7. Lift out of the pan using the edges of the parchment and cut into 14 bars.
  8. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 234 calories
  • Sugar: 17 g
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 4.5 g

Keywords: chia seed bars, plant-based, no-bake, homemade, healthy, easy

Originally published April 4, 2014.