Friends, behold: the easiest, most irresistible DIY protein bars on the block.

They’re salty, naturally sweet, and topped with (optional but not-so-optional) melted dark chocolate. But most importantly, they require just 5 ingredients, 1 food processor (or blender), and 20 minutes to make.

Let’s do this!

Food processor filled with wet ingredients for making our 5-Ingredient Protein Bars recipe

These protein bars are adapted from our beloved 5-Ingredient Protein Ball recipe and feature a few modifications and flavor swaps.

They are also inspired by our Plant-Based Protein Bar Review — after sampling the bars, we felt like the world could use one more DIY option (store-bought just can’t beat homemade).

We went for peanut butter in this recipe because it’s always the flavor we reach for in a pinch. Plus, peanut butter and chocolate are just made for each other.

Food processor filled with ingredients for making grain-free low sugar protein bars

Once your dates and peanut butter are blended together, simply add your chia seeds, hemp seeds, and protein powder of choice and blend.

Our favorite these days has been Tropeaka Lean Vanilla Protein (an Australia-based brand with seriously high-quality products — not sponsored). But if you’re looking for other favorites, check out our Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder and Chocolate Protein Powder Reviews!

Using the back of a spoon to flatten protein bar dough for our homemade peanut butter protein bars recipe

The texture should be firm but moldable like cookie dough (see photos).

Drizzling melted dark chocolate onto a batch of homemade peanut butter protein bars

Once pressed into your loaf pan, simply drizzle with melted dark chocolate (optional) and freeze until semi-firm to the touch, which allows for easier slicing.

For these photos, we sliced ours into 7 bars. However, they’re quite dense and protein rich, so we recommend cutting them into 12 bars (or squares) to achieve proper serving sizes.

Drizzling a second layer of melted chocolate onto date-sweetened peanut butter protein bars

We hope you LOVE these bars! They’re:

Peanut buttery
Quick & easy
Naturally sweet
Low in sugar
Grain-free (depending on your protein powder)
& PACKED with protein!

These little bars clock in at 14 grams of protein per serving! That’s a seriously satisfying snack. We prefer ours after workouts or as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Into energy and protein bites? Be sure to check out our 5-Ingredient Protein Balls, Dark Chocolate Hemp Seed Energy Bites, 5-Ingredient Golden Milk Bites, and Matcha Bliss Balls!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Partially eaten peanut butter protein bar resting beside a stack of the rest of the batch


US Customary – Metric


  • 1 ¼ cups creamy salted peanut butter (or sub almond, cashew, or sunflower)
  • 5 medjool dates, pitted (add more for sweeter bars)*
  • 2/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds (or sub other seeds, such as sesame or flax)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup protein powder (vanilla, flavored, or chocolate — or other flavor of choice)*

FOR TOPPING optional

  • 1/4 cup dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped (we like Enjoy Life, Theo, and Lily’s for a sugar-free option)
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp cacao nibs


  1. Add peanut butter and pitted dates to a food processor and pulse a few times to incorporate. Then add hemp seeds, chia seeds, and protein powder and pulse until all ingredients are well combined and a cookie dough-like texture forms (see photo).
  2. If too wet, add more dry ingredients of choice, such as protein powder or hemp seeds. It too dry, moisten with a little more nut butter.

  3. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more protein powder of choice for flavor or more dates for sweetness (if adding more dates, chop first to encourage even blending). Mix again until well combined.

  4. Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper. Transfer mixture into the pan and spread with the back of a spoon, then use a flat-bottomed object (such as a drinking glass) to flatten into an evenly packed, flat layer.

  5. Transfer to the freezer to chill for at least 10-15 minutes to help the mixture firm up. The longer it freezes, the firmer it will become.

  6. Optional for topping: Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler on the stovetop, or in 20-second increments in the microwave, stirring occasionally to encourage melting. Then drizzle over the top of bars (see photo). Top with cacao nibs for added texture (also optional).

  7. Once chilled, remove from freezer and cut into 12 even bars or squares.

    We recommend storing these in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer up to 1 month (freezer is best!). They are enjoyable straight out of the refrigerator or freezer and tend to soften at room temperature.


*Photos above show mixture cut into 7 large protein bars. However, we recommend cutting into 12 bars or squares for a proper serving size / accurate nutrition information.
*To swap out dates you could try subbing maple syrup to taste (~1 Tbsp (15 ml) per 2 large dates), just adjust dry ingredients of choice to compensate for altered texture.
*The protein powder we used was Tropeaka Lean Vanilla Protein. Note: It does contain brown rice protein, so if you need to keep this recipe grain-free, ensure your protein powder is grain-free, such as Nuzest.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of protein powder and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 12 bars)

  • Calories: 276
  • Fat: 19.4g
  • Saturated fat: 2.3g
  • Sodium: 104mg
  • Potassium: 195mg
  • Carbohydrates: 16.7g
  • Fiber: 5.4g
  • Sugar: 7.9g
  • Protein: 14.1g