Years ago when I was first learning how to refuel my body after a workout, I would grab whatever snack was available in the gym’s vending machine. It was 2009, and everyone was still on the low-fat diet craze. I remember gobbling down bars with weird ingredients: fake fiber and sugar, plus plenty of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Shortly after the bars with insane amounts of fiber came on the scene; they were filled with fiber that isn’t even found in nature, but rather made in a lab. Those sketchy mofos.
Soon after I started making my own fiber and protein packed bars filled with simple ingredients and tons of flavor.
Enter: these homemade no bake coconut chocolate protein bars packed with real, wholesome ingredients and an excellent ratio of fats, fiber and carbs. AKA perfect for post workout, or a quick on-the-go snack.
Fall in love with these homemade no bake protein bars
I first made these coconut chocolate protein bars back in 2017 and they became a true AK staple. They are one of my favorite protein bars to make and keep in the fridge.
- Protein-packed. These babies are full of 10g of protein per serving from nut butter and your favorite protein powder, making them the perfect post-workout snack.
- Plenty of healthy fats. The nut butter, chia seeds and coconut all add the perfect boost of healthy fast to keep you full and satisfied.
- AMAZING taste. These protein bars are seriously good enough to enjoy for dessert! With rich dark chocolate, nut butter and coconut they’re almost like a healthy almond joy. They’re also naturally sweetened with a little honey instead of stevia or erythritol (commonly found in packaged protein bars).
What you’ll need to make these coconut chocolate protein bars
You’re going to love the simple ingredients in these amazing protein bars. They’re the perfect way to use pantry staples in a filling, delicious snack. Here’s everything you’ll need to make them:
- Peanut butter: the main ingredient in this protein bar recipe is peanut butter. The important thing to remember is to use a natural, drippy peanut butter made with just peanuts and salt. I love Wild Friends peanut butter: use the code ‘ambitious15’ for 15% off your order!
- Coconut oil: a little bit of coconut oil helps the bars stay moist and chewy with the addition of peanut butter. It also helps the bars set up nicely and offers the addition of healthy fats and flavor (hello a hint of coconut!) Do not skip it.
- Honey: I naturally sweetened these coconut chocolate protein bars with a little honey.
- Protein powder: I love me some regular or vanilla protein powder and especially love sharing how it can be used in things other than smoothies. I like to use Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides or Bob’s Red Mill. For plant based or vegan, I like Aloha and Four Sigmatic.
- Oats: get a nice chewy texture from rolled oats! Don’t forget them. Also, be sure to use gluten free certified oats if you’re GF.
- Dried fruit: I used dried cherries in this recipe but I think you could go with whatever is your favorite or skip it altogether! They are completely optional.
- Chia seeds: using chia seeds adds a boost of fiber, protein, omega 3 and crunch. I’m in love.
- Coconut: you’ll get another boost of healthy fats and wonderful flavor from unsweetened shredded coconut.
- Chocolate: gotta do it up with that drizzle of dark chocolate. YUM.
Make these protein bars your own
Feel free to mix and match the ingredients in these coconut chocolate protein bars. Work with what you have! Here are some suggestions:
- Choose your nut butter. I love using peanut butter in these protein bars but you can use any nut or seed butter you’d like! Just be sure it’s a natural, drippy kind that’s just nuts or seeds and salt. Sunflower seed butter would be wonderful for the kiddo’s lunch boxes.
- Get creative with dried fruit. I used dried tart cherries but feel free to go crazy with your fav kinds. Chopped dried figs, dates, or dried blueberries (MY FAV) would all be amazing! Or you can skip the fruit all together like I do most of the time.
- Keep them vegan: these coconut chocolate protein bars are naturally sweetened with honey but feel free to use maple syrup or coconut palm syrup to keep them vegan. Be sure to use dairy free chocolate chips for the drizzle, too!
Can I skip the protein powder?
I wouldn’t recommend omitting the protein powder as the bars won’t hold together very well. If you don’t have any protein powder on hand, feel free to add almond flour instead and mix it in until a soft dough forms.
Coconut & chocolate protein bars in 4 simple steps
- Mix the wet ingredients. You’ll want to mix together the peanut butter, coconut oil, honey & vanilla in a saucepan over low heat so they get nice and smooth.
- Add the dry. Stir in the protein powder, then fold in your yummy add-ins: oats, dried fruit, chia seeds and coconut. Add the “dough” to a lined 8×4 inch loaf pan and press it down evenly.
- Melt the chocolate. Add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a saucepan over low heat and melt it. You can also do this in a microwave safe dish! Drizzle it over the bars.
- Refrigerate and enjoy. Put the bars in the refrigerator to set for about 1 hour, then slice and enjoy!
How to store homemade protein bars
- In the fridge: store these coconut chocolate protein bars in an airtight container or a Stasher Bag in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- In the freezer: feel free to keep them in a freezer-safe bag in your freezer for up to 1 month. If you do keep them in your freezer, be sure to leave them out on the counter for a few minutes before serving so that they soften up a bit.
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I hope you love these coconut chocolate protein bars! If you make them, be sure to leave a comment below and rate the recipe. You can also snap and picture and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen. And of course be sure to follow Ambitious Kitchen on Instagram. xo!
Coconut & Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Delicious no bake coconut chocolate protein bars made with simple ingredients like oats, peanut butter, chia seeds and your favorite protein powder. These healthy coconut and chocolate protein bars are packed with healthy fats, easy to customize and a great homemade snack to have on hand!
natural peanut butter (just peanuts + salt)
honey (use coconut palm syrup if vegan)
vanilla protein powder*
chocolate chips + 1 teaspoon coconut oil
unsweetened shredded coconut
- Optional: 1/3 cup dried tart cherries (or dried fruit of choice)
- Fancy sea salt, for sprinkling
Heat peanut butter, coconut oil, honey and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat. Mix together until well combined and smooth, then remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
Stir in protein powder until smooth, then fold in oats, chia seeds, coconut and dried cherries, if using. Place in a 8×4 inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
Add chocolate chips and coconut in a small saucepan and place over low heat until melted. Drizzle over the tops of the bars. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Place in fridge for 1 hour before removing from pan and cutting into 10 bars or squares. Store bars in fridge tightly wrapped or in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
*If you don’t have any protein powder on hand, feel free to add almond flour instead and mix it in until a soft dough forms.
Nutrition info does not include dried fruit, but does include chocolate.
To keep these bars vegan: Use a vegan protein powder and coconut palm syrup, maple syrup or brown rice syrup instead of honey.
Servings: 10 bars
Serving size: 1 bar
Saturated fat: 5.7g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This recipe was originally published on February 21, 2017, updated & republished on April 19, 2021, and republished on October 5th, 2022.