Raw Cacao Protein Balls

Posted · 46 Comments

One of the original recipes that I created when I discovered how satisfying and enjoyable it is to cook and prep for yourself. Not that I do it everyday, or that you need to either.

This recipe is still the one I come back to, even all these years later and (humble brag), have never found a store-bought option, or other recipe to top it.

Yum, freaking, yum.
Raw Cacao Protein Balls | Nadia Felsch
I’ve done the hard work here testing, and sampling various protein ball combinations. It was really tough…. These are on high rotation in our house as they’re simple to grab in the morning, can be frozen and they provide you with delicious energy too.

A few ingredients, a simple recipe, no cooking or baking and stores well.

These balls are among the most popular recipe on my website so clearly others agree with me!

Anything that can be made quickly and with such easy ingredients gets a big tick from me. It’s convenient, yummy and loaded with energy to fuel you. Feel free to mix it up with the nuts – just keep the amounts the same. Remove the spices if you don’t have them – they’re not necessary for the recipe to work though they are yummy. And don’t use the protein powder if you don’t want to, don’t have it. Protein powders are so overused and over-marketed when they are simply a nutritional supplement. Don’t stress. And if you’re vegan and want to use a protein powder – use a vegan option.


Raw Cacao Protein Balls
Prep time
Total time
yield: 25
  • 175g raw almonds
  • 175g raw walnuts
  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao
  • ½ tablespoon natural vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ¼-1/2 cup water
  • Raw cacao, desiccated coconut or whizzed nuts for rolling (optional)
  1. Place nuts, cacao, cinnamon and protein powder into the food processor
  2. Blend until the mixture looks crumbly
  3. Add in the dates, vanilla extract & chia seeds processing again until the mixture begins to come together
  4. You may need to scrape down the sides of the processor to ensure that all of the mixture is processed
  5. If you notice that the mixture is not soft enough to form a soft ball, add water slowly as needed and continue to process
  6. Once in soft ball form, roll into small balls
  7. Coat with optional topping
  8. These balls can be stored in the fridge or freezer for as long as 4 weeks (the freezer is the best!)


raw cacao protein balls | Nadia Felsch

**This is not a sponsored post though if you do purchase a product linked to from this post, I receive a commission that allows me to continue creating fabulous free content for you to enjoy.**
46 Responses to "Raw Cacao Protein Balls"
  1. amyalt says:

    Have you tried these: http://www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk/nakd-fruit-and-nut-bars/nakd-cocoa-orange-bar/ ? They come in loads of flavours and are all cold pressed (no cooking :)) really yummy. I love them but they are a bit pricey though. Think it’s time I made my own!

    • Nadia says:

      I have not tried these as I love making my own!

      You should definitely give this recipe a go and let me know how you go… x

  2. Reblogged this on livingonsaturn and commented:
    these look so good, AND healthy 🙂

  3. Roz says:

    Yummo, just tried one and asked for the receipe. Will be shopping for the ingredients tonight to make for myself..

  4. Priscila says:

    Is there any substitute for cacao? I can’t eat it.

    • Nadia says:

      Hi Priscilla thanks for your message!

      We are currently reviewing some options for you… The first thing that comes to mind is coconut (without preservative 220) though let me get back to you 🙂

      • Priscila says:

        Thanks a lot Nadia!
        I will try to make with coconut and I let you know the result. 🙂

  5. Chrissy says:

    Do you need to soak the chia seeds before adding them?

    • Nadia says:

      Hi Chrissy no you do not need to soak the chia seeds before adding to the recipe.
      When we soak chia seeds they enlarge – taking all the water up with them and for this recipe that is not required.


  6. Lydia says:

    How many carbs are there?

    • Nadia says:

      Hi Lydia

      An average ball size of 34g has the below macronutrients:

      Protein – 5.4g
      Fat – 9.5g (high nut content)
      Carbs – 11.3g (almost entirely from the date content so adjust this quantity if the carbs are too high)


  7. Jodie says:

    Thanks so much for this Nadia. I made these for Christmas and used a bit of rum instead of vanilla essence = rum balls which are at least mostly healthy. They were a hit with everyone and have just made another post-Christmas batch sans the alcohol – just as tasty. Cheers.

    • Nadia says:

      Great to hear Jodie and thank you for sharing!

      Clean rum balls sound like a great (and delicious!) idea so go you. Enjoy the new batch x

  8. brooke says:

    Hi !, what if we don’t use the dates & only almonds.. what would the macros be then?

    • Nadia says:

      Hi Brooke – thanks for the question!

      I would recommend a few dates or a high quality oil (macadamia or coconut for example) to hold the ingredients together. Additionally the dates are the “sweet” factor in this recipe.
      However should you choose to use the recipe WITHOUT the dates the nutritional guide is below:

      Average weight of a ball – 34g
      Calories – 200
      Protein 9.2g
      Fat 16.8g
      Carbs 2.3g


  9. Judy Clarke says:

    I have a REALLY healthy version of PROTEIN BALLS. Great for kids to snack on that will build them up, give them energy, concentration, health with NO sugar, No preservatives, Nothing bad.
    with Maca powder, protein powder, Hemp powder, coconut,pureed dates, a beaten egg, coconut oil, raw cacao,real vanilla and almond meal.

    • Nadia says:

      Good one thanks for sharing Judy!
      For anyone wanting to try this one out, be sure to test egg allergies first especially with kids as often whole raw eggs can cause a reaction.

  10. Michelle says:

    Hi Nadia thanks so much for sharing a wonderful recipe. I love the freezer idea too. In the beautiful shot of the protein balls the ones in the middle have a pretty yellow coating. What did you roll those in? With thanks, M

    • Nadia says:

      My pleasure Michelle and I’m thrilled that you love the idea – I tell you the freezer aspect is a game changer! For storage and consuming purposes.. they almost become fudge-like….

      Believe it or not the yellow coating you can see is whizzed pistachios, sometimes they go more yellow than green.
      Enjoy the recipe! x

  11. Raquel says:

    I’ve tried others recipes but this one is the best ever!!!!! I used what I have at home tonight like brazilian nut and raw cashew, all organic……yummy!!!!! I would like have all :))

  12. Karyn says:

    Hi Nadia
    What can I use as a substitute for the protein powder ?

  13. Stephanie says:

    how much is a “scoop” of protein powder

    • Nadia says:

      Hi Stephanie!
      Each manufacturer will include a scoop within the protein powder and it would be an even scoop using this utensil.
      Most that I’ve seen are 30g.
      Hope that helps.

  14. Sarah says:

    My protein powder doesn’t have a scoop but a serve is 25g. In this recipe would I use one serve? Thank you 🙂

    • Nadia says:

      Hi Sarah!

      I’d use 2 serves – the recipe was created off 60g protein powder though 50g in your case will be fine.

  15. Aysha says:

    with your ingredients and quantity, I got 24 balls. is that ok? Should they be smaller & more? Tastes great!

    • Nadia says:

      This is a great result ! And thrilled you love them! You can make any size you prefer and yes fewer dates will equal less sweetness. If the texture doesn’t seem right with less dates, add a tiny amount of water as needed.

  16. Aysha says:

    How can I make it less sweet? Fewer dates?

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