No Bake Oatmeal Energy Balls are a gluten-free no-bake treat! Crushed nuts, chocolate chips, rolled oats, creamy nut butter, and dried cranberries come together to taste just like oatmeal cookies, in the form of a snack.
Cookies don’t last long in our house. But neither do energy bars or energy balls. Pretty sure my husband is the snack king!
Thankfully I have a secret weapon to curb snack cravings: oatmeal cookie balls! All the same ingredients and flavors I love in classic oatmeal cookies, but without the high amount of sugar (and gluten).
Want to learn how to make no-bake gluten free oatmeal energy balls? Let’s get the ball rollin!
Why You’ll Love Oatmeal Energy Balls
- It’s like a cookie…but it’s better for you. These energy bites have many of the same ingredients as traditional oatmeal cookies, just without as much sugar. That means just as tasty bites that are more nutrient dense!
- No baking, no blending. Forget baking or blending up ingredients, simply mix the dry ingredients with nut butter and honey or maple syrup and then roll into small biteable balls. Easy peasy!
- Super snackable. Make a big batch and pull one or two out for a quick snack, or take 3-4 with you when you’re headed to your workout (check out my other favorite fueling snacks here). They can even double as a quick breakfast or even a slightly sweet dessert!
- They’re kid-friendly. Whether you have little ones at home or are just a little one at heart, these oatmeal bites are a fun recipe to make. Don’t be afraid to dig in and get your hands dirty!
- Honey roasted nuts: Nuts serve as the base of these bites and provide protein, healthy fats, and a crunchy texture. I used honey roasted mixed nuts, but you can choose any regular or sweetened nuts as a substitute.
- Gluten free rolled oats: Oats are also a foundational ingredient in cookie bites that bulk up the balls and help keep them firm when they’re mixed with the wet ingredients. I used Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats, but quick oats can also be used (you may just need a bit more as they’re usually much smaller pieces of oats).
- Honey or maple syrup: A liquid sweetener like honey or maple syrup gives the bites flavor but also serves as a sticky thickener that helps hold the oat and nuts together into small snackable balls. Choose maple syrup if you’re making these vegan.
- Nut butter: Nut butter helps energy bite ingredients to stick together, while also providing protein and healthy fats. I like no stir almond or sunflower butter, but any nuts butters will do (though you may have to adjust the amount depending on the consistency).
- Chocolate chips: Any chocolate chips will do, but we like Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (which are vegan and allergen-friendly).
- Dried cranberries: Dried fruits like cranberries are great in energy bars and bites, as they are nutrient and fiber dense. I use unsweetened cranberries, which are usually very tart but provide a nice complementary flavor with the sweet chocolate and honey.
- Vanilla extract and ground cinnamon: A bit of vanilla extract and a dash of ground cinnamon make these bites taste even more like a delicious oatmeal cookie!
- Optional ingredients: I always keep a little protein powder or my favorite flour (coconut flour would be tasty!) on hand in case the mixture is too sticky and I need to dry out the ingredients. You could also add more rolled oats, if needed.
How To Make (RECIPE VIDEO)
1. Mix together dry ingredients: The first step to making cookie balls is to prep and mix the dry ingredients! To do this, crush the nuts and add them to a big bowl with oats, dairy free or dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and cinnamon and give them a good mix to combine.
2. Add in the sticky ingredients: Next add the nut butter and the vanilla to the mixed dry ingredients and stir until the ingredients are well mixed. The mixture will be pretty thick and a bit dry. Then slowly add the honey (or maple syrup) a bit at a time, mixing with a spoon (or your hands!) between pours. Adjust the amount of honey you use until you have a thick batter that holds together well, but isn’t sticky.
If the batter is too wet and your energy balls are too sticky, add a few tablespoons of rolled oats, coconut flour, or protein powder and mix until you get the right consistency. If your bites are too dry and are not sticking together enough, add a bit more nut butter and liquid sweetener.
3. Chill and roll, then freeze: After the batter is done, place it in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes so that the balls are easier to roll. When you remove from the fridge, simply roll the batter into 1-1.5” balls and place on a cookie tray or on baking dish lined with parchment paper. Stick them into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes until they harden, then remove and enjoy!
Storage and Freezing
I usually make a big batch of cookie bites once or twice per month and then store them in a large plastic bag and pull them out one at a time (ok, maybe 2 or three at a time).
Energy balls keep really well, here are the general timeframes for the best texture and flavor:
- Room temperature (counter top): 4-5 days in an airtight container
- Refrigerator: 1 week in a airtight container or sealed plastic bag
- Freezer: 6 weeks in a sealed freezer-safe bag
Energy Bite Variations
The cookie bite possibilities are endless! Below are a few ideas to make this energy ball recipe your own.
- Switch up the nuts: Use crushed almonds, pistachos, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds for a different crunchy base. Note – this is easy to make nut free! Swap the nuts out for coconut flakes and use sunflower seed butter!
- Do a different dried fruit: While cranberries are my go-to fruit, raisins, dried apricots, dried cherries and even funky fun fruits like goji berries are great in energy bars and bites. Tip – If you’d like to reduce sugar intake, then use no sugar added dried fruit.
- Have fun with add-ins: Try adding in your favorite protein powder, dried unsweetened coconut flakes, hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flax, or other flavorful ingredients.
Did you try these energy bite snacks? If so, let us know how it turned out by leaving a comment and star rating. And as always, feel free to comment and ask questions if you need substitutes!