This quick, no-bake recipe for oat almond and date energy bites beats any granola bar. They’re a perfectly healthy and wholesome treat for on-the-go snacking that both kids and adults will love.
In 2011, when I first started this site, energy bites were all the rage. If you dig deep in the archives, you’ll find plenty of them here, too.
From copycat nutella balls to pumpkin spice chocolate chip bites for fall and gingerbread bites for winter, there are tons. Sometimes called balls or ‘bliss balls,’ other times, bites, protein bites or dough balls, but they’re all the same thing — a quick and easy snack that usually combines oats, nuts and dates.
These oat-based energy bites were one of the very first creations I made to contribute to this fad, and because of that, the photos really didn’t do them justice. We eat with our eyes first, and no one wanted to make a recipe with harsh yellow lighting before I discovered what white balance was in editing.
It didn’t take teeth-pulling to remake these. I try to make a snack like this every week, so I have something to nibble on around 3 pm when I typically sit down to write (exactly what I’m doing now), and this recipe is one of my favorites.
Oats, almonds and dates are all things I have in my pantry on the regular. There are a few other pantry staples that get thrown in but those are the basis for these energy balls.
The result is a sticky, toothsome bite that’s both healthy, satisfying and as delicious as your favorite granola bar.
What you’ll need to make these oat almond energy bites
Energy bites are forgiving. You can mix and match ingredients with ease, but to stay true to this recipe, you’ll need the following:
- Oats — Are a great source of protein and fiber for this easy snack.
- Almonds — Add richness, but any other nut can be used.
- Medjool dates — These add natural sweetness to the energy bites and help them stick together.
- Unsweetened coconut flakes — Contribute added texture and taste.
- Chia seeds — Add more fiber and omega-3 healthy fats to the bites.
- Pepitas — Incorporate some healthy fats.
- Cinnamon — Adds flavor and can be augmented with other sweet baking spices.
- Salt — A pinch of sea salt helps the flavors pop.
- Maple syrup — Helps to bind the bites together and adds a touch of additional sweetness. Honey can be swapped if preferred.
- Chocolate chips — Optional, but makes these energy bites a bit more like dessert!
The result is a nicely balanced snack that’s rolled into bite-sized pieces for easy snacking.
How to make oat date and almond energy bites
Add all the ingredients to a food processor except the maple syrup. Pulse until finely chopped and starting to stick together.
With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the maple syrup. The mixture should start to clump and form a ball. If you try to pinch it between your fingers, it will stick together easily. If not, add a touch more maple syrup until it does.
Remove the blade from the bowl of the food processor and transfer the mixture to a bowl. If using chocolate chips, add them to the bowl and fold in until incorporated. Roll into balls using your hands.
*Pro tip — It helps to wet your hands lightly when rolling so the energy bite mixture doesn’t stick.
What if the dates are hard?
If your Medjool dates have been sitting around in the pantry for some time, there’s a good chance they may have hardened. Don’t throw them out!
Simply add the dates to a small bowl with some warm water. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes until softened. They should be soft and pliable.
How to store energy bites
The bites are best stored in an air-tight container and kept in the fridge for up to a week. For anything longer than that, keep them in the freezer. They will defrost quickly at room temperature, so you’re able to snack on them any time.
They’re a great lunch box addition for kids. Pop them into their lunch in the morning from the freezer, and they’ll be ready for them by lunchtime.
The different ways in which you can make energy bites like these are practically endless. From making small changes like adding vanilla extract or another dried fruit to a complete revamp by using chickpeas as the base for a cookie dough bite, there’s an energy bite for every palate.
Kids love these peanut butter chocolate chip balls or copycat Butterfinger dough balls. Chocolate lovers will gravitate towards no-bake brownie fudge balls, and I’m personally partial to the cherry chocolate combination in these balls.
The basic science of a good energy bite is a binding base such as oats, a bunch of add-ins such as nuts and seeds and then some sweetness and flavor from a dried fruit.
Play around and make them your own, but when you’re looking for something simple with ingredients you know you have on hand, you can’t beat these oat and almond bites made with dates.
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! I’d love to know how it goes. Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Tag @runningtothekitchen on Instagram & Facebook.
Oat Almond Date Energy Bites
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/3 almonds
- 3 medjool dates pitted
- 2 tablespoons pepitas
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- dark chocolate chips optional
- Add all the ingredients except maple syrup and chocolate chips (if using) to a food processor. Pulse until finely ground and starting to stick together.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the maple syrup and continue processing until the mixture comes together and starts to clump. It should easily hold together when pinched with your fingers.
- Transfer to a small bowl and fold in chocolate chips if using.
- Roll the dough into bite-sized balls using slightly wet hands.
- Keep refrigerated.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.