Healthy Chocolate Fudge DIY Protein Bars (Free Printable + Video!)
Healthy Chocolate Fudge DIY Protein Bars are the perfect snack, sans the guilty aftertaste. At only 7 ingredients and $1.12 per bar, these homemade protein bars are a new staple of mine.
I used to have this bad habit of never planning ahead. Especially when it came to food. My hunger would always catch me off guard and at the worst time, so I often made bad food choices. You know what I’m talking about! When the hunger strikes, that fatty, sugary chocolate chip muffin at the checkout counter looks better and better by the second. Your eyes say, “YES YES YES,” while your body says, “NO NO NO!“
Impulse usually always won me over, and my body just said, “TSK TSK TSK.”
While I would feel satisfied for a full twenty minutes, I would soon experience a sugar crash and feel lethargic for the rest of the day. Finally, I became sick of that unhealthy feeling and started planning ahead — one of the biggest steps in my transition to healthy eating. Took me long enough! About one hundred muffins and my entire high school career later…
I always made sure I had healthy snacks on hand for when I was hungry. Since I was in school, bars were the easiest to carry around. They aren’t bulky like a sandwich, bruisable like a banana, and perishable like yogurt. I started buying those horrifically processed protein bars thinking they were healthy. If I saw “high protein” and “sugar free” on the package I would grab a few right there, not even thinking to check the nutrition labels and ingredient lists. I really regret doing so. Months later, I found out these bars were made with unhealthy fats like partially hydrogenated oils (aka, dangerous trans fats), artificial sugar alcohols (which cause bloating and gas), and over a dozen ingredients that I had never heard of.
I then turned to Clif Builders bars, PureFit Bars, Simply Bars, and Organic Food Bar. I was a girl obsessed. But, they were super expensive, some contained quite a bit of added sugar, and I went through them way too quickly.
I gave up bars for a few months straight and went through withdrawal really missed them. I hated bringing apples around with me. People were probably wondering why my purse had a strange protrusion… plus, apples aren’t filling to me. I have a fast metabolism so an apple is like air. I began getting that, “Oh no, I have no healthy food!” freakout moments again.
It was time to make protein bars myself.
I needed something that was tasty, something that would keep me full for longer than two seconds, and something that was packed with nutrients, healthy fats, fiber, and protein. When I found a protein powder I liked, I was thrilled and got started on developing a recipe.
After lots of failed attempts, I finally made a successful batch of homemade protein bars: these Chocolate Fudge DIY Protein Bars!
I decided to calculate the cost per bar since my budget is becoming more and more important to me. Here’s the cost breakdown for this recipe (screenshot from my cookbook):
^^ Wow! So much cheaper than all of the bars I’ve bought throughout the years!
So, what about the taste? What about the texture?
Taste? Excellent. These are not as sweet as those super processed bars I used to buy, but they are sweet enough to satisfy your cravings at any time of day!
Texture? Amazing. Fudgy and almost brownie-like! Even straight out of the fridge.
Here’s a little showdown comparing PowerBars’ Reduced Sugar Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars with my Chocolate Fudge DIY Protein Bars:
Triscource Protein Blend (Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate), Maltitol*, Chocolate Flavored Coating (Palm Kernel Oil, Maltitol*, Cocoa, Polydextrose, Sodium Caseinate, Soy Lecithin, Monoglycerides, Natural Flavor, Sucralose*), Chicory Root Syrup, Peanut Butter, Natural Flavor, Soy Crisps (Soy Protein Isolate, Tapioca Starch, Salt), Glycerin, Peanut Flour, Water, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose.
*Artificial sweetener. Maltitol can cause bloating, gas and abdominal pain.
Desserts with Benefits
Almond Milk (Water, Almonds, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Locust Bean Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Natural Flavor, D-Alpha-Tocopherol, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2), Chocolate Brown Rice Protein Powder (Brown Rice Protein, Cocoa, Natural Flavor, Stevia, Xanthan Gum, Pectin), Almond Butter, Oats, No-Sugar-Added Chocolate Chips (Unsweetened Chocolate, Erythritol, Inulin, Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract, Stevia Extract), Cocoa, Vanilla Crème-Flavored Liquid Stevia Extract (Water, Organic Stevia Extract, Natural Flavors, Vanilla Extract), Salt.
The Chocolate Fudge DIY Protein Bars have fewer calories, less saturated fat, zero cholesterol, less sodium, HALF the carbs, no added sugar, and more calcium and iron than PowerBars.
PowerBar® cost per bar: $2.99
DWB’s cost per bar: $1.12
Final Verdict? Okay, we all know that I’m a little bias in this competition, but I totally win ALL three categories! I use 100% natural ingredients, my nutrition label beats the storebought bar in nearly every aspect, and, it’s cheaper!
Win win win.
Healthy Chocolate Fudge DIY Protein Bars
- 128g (½ cup) Roasted Almond Butter or Natural Peanut Butter
- 1 cup 2 tbs Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (or milk/nondairy milk of choice)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Crème-Flavored Stevia Extract
- 168g (1¼ cups, lightly packed) Chocolate Brown Rice Protein Powder **
- 80g (⅔ cup) Oat Flour
- 2 tbs Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- 2 tbs No-Sugar-Added Dark Chocolate Chips or Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- Line an 8x8” brownie pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In an electric stand mixer bowl fitted with a beater attachment, add all of the ingredients except the mini chocolate chips. Mix on low speed until everything is fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for one last mix. Mixture should be thick and fudgy, like cookie dough.
- Scoop the mixture into the brownie pan and flatten it out. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on top and press them into the surface. Tightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Lift the mixture out of the pan. Slice into 10 bars. Individually wrap the protein bars in plastic sandwich baggies. Keeps in the refrigerator for ~1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
@cultivatewithkruti made a batch! How good do these look??
Here’s the recipe in a FREE, downloadable printable format for ya!
Watch me make these no-bake Chocolate Fudge DIY Protein Bars on camera:
Eat protein bars.
PS: If you like this recipe, then you’ll LOVE my DIY Protein Bars Cookbook! With 48 protein bar recipes, you’ll never buy protein bars from the store again. To learn more about the book and see some sneak peeks, see this page!
I love the fact you’ve given such a thorough review! I don’t really suppliment protein powder much at the moment but have been thinking I should, particularly as I am going throigh a chnage in my workout regime, so your recipes have been a great source for some of my inspiration! Thanks.
OMG delicious! I have been wanting to start making my own bars at home, I think I will start with this recipe 🙂
For the beginners, this recipe with video are absolutely an easy course. The information of ¨nutrition label¨ gave me a clear concept. Really simple and useful, Thanks!
This is a really in-depth recipe and review, I love love love it. I wish I could live inside your head for a while just to see how you come up with all these ideas 🙂
SO delicious looking. And so much healthier than conventional protein bars! Could the oat flour be subbed for coconut or almond flour?
I’m sure you can use another flour, these bars are very adaptable. Because coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture, I would suggest adding it last and adding 1 tablespoon at a time. I haven’t worked much with almond flour, but I would recommend adding it just like you would with the coconut flour. Good luck! 🙂
Hi Jessica! So sorry to hear about your food allergies. I actually love your site because I also have food allergies! You mentioned a while ago posting more about the allergies, has that post come out yet?
I’m sorry but no I haven’t posted about it yet. I will soon though, it just ended up being a longer post than I had expected and I feel like it’s going to get even longer as I finish writing it D:
In the meantime though, you can check out my pantry staples page (the tab’s at the top) where I list some of my allergies and show my new pantry and old pantry. If you have any suggestions or favorite products you love, please let me know!
One suggestion would be almond flour. I love http://www.elanaspantry.com and http://www.comfybelly.com for almond flour recipes. High in protein and it tastes almost buttery because it’s high in fat. Works great for scones, muffins, etc. instead of wheat flour. I’ll be looking forward to your allergy post. 🙂
These look amazing! I’ve been leaning towards trying out a gluten free diet and these look like a great way to kick start my mornings! Also, have you ever checked out Swanson’s Vitamins online? They have *amazing* prices on GF oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, protein powders, etc. (www.swansonsvitamins.com)PS. I am in no way affiliated with them and am not getting paid for name dropping!!! I just ran across their site on another blog a few weeks ago, and they’ve saved me a lot of money already! PPS. I ran across your site on FoodGawker 🙂
I haven’t checked out swanson’s but I will now! Thanks for the tip 🙂
And check out Vitacost.com too. They have Jarrow Brown rice flour for Under $9.00 a pound! I use it because it’s vegan. While I am not, yet, I have a lot of friends who are. Not sure if it contains any of your allergens, but all the ingredients are listed in the description.
PS I know you like hearing about new and innovative food products… Have you heard of PB2 yet? Dehydrated, powdered peanut butter with less than half the fat (I believe) of regular peanut butter. Not sure if nuts is one of your allergies, but if not, it’s REALLY good!
Wow, $9/lb sounds awesome! I’ll definitely check that out.
I’ve heard of PB2 (and thank goodness I’m not allergic to peanuts… only cashews and walnuts), it sounds awesome but for some reason I’ve never bought it. I guess I’m scared it will taste bad. I bought Better n Peanut Butter and didn’t like it at all 🙁
I’ll have to check that out too! Thanks Cheryl 🙂
Wow, I really love your recipes. Chocolate and peanut butter are a perfect pair. How do you come up with these? 🙂
These look great and they are exactly what I’ve been looking for. No joke. Just yesterday I was googling and trying to find a gluten-free, sugar-free/low sugar, vegan protein bar. Two questions though, do you make these with 1 cup of oat flour or 1 cup of rolled oats and then grind the 1 cup of oats into flour and just use whatever amounts come from the rolled oats? Also, I can’t eat truvia. Do you have any suggestions for a substitution? Maybe even a small amount of regular sugar or maybe I can just omit the sweetener all together? Thanks again for the recipe. I look forward to getting your feedback and making these protein bars.
I measure out the oats and then blend them. I like to blend them into a slightly coarse flour (you can kind of see it in the pictures), but you can blend it into a fine flour if you want.
The truvia packets are 2x as sweet as regular sugar. A similar product would be stevia packets (http://www.amazon.com/SweetLeaf-Sweetleaf-Sweetener-70-Packets/dp/B00430EJR8/ref=sr_1_2?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1342361811&sr=1-2&keywords=SweetLeaf+Sweetener+packet)
But you can use a combo of your sweetener of choice + 1/2 teaspoon of liquid stevia extract (I’ve made these with 1/4 cup of granulated erythritol + 1/2 tsp of liquid stevia extract with good results. You can find the links to these products in the Pantry Staples tab up at the top of the page under the header). Some good, natural sweeteners you can feel good about using are date sugar, coconut sugar, pure maple sugar and xylitol. Hope you like the recipe!
Thanks for the delicious recipe! I can’t wait to make these, I’ve been wanting too make my own protein bars for a while now because store bought ones are too pricey and don’t have enough protein. Do you think subbing water for the almond milk will affect the flavor too much?
Hmm, I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it will work. Out of the 1 cup + 2 tbs of liquid used in the recipe, I would reserve the 2 extra tablespoons of water on the side only if you need it. Just note that the almond milk provides a bit of creamy flavor, kind of like milk does in coffee. Feel free to add a little bit of vanilla to “fill the almond milk void” lol. Hope you like the bars!
Would love to try this, but am wondering if you have a recommendation for a less expensive protein powder??
Yum, delish! I had no almond milk ready, so I used unsweetened coco milk instead, replaced half the rolled oats (grinded in a coffee grinder) with homemade almond flour and lined my dish with coco flakes instead of parchment paper. I added dried cranberries for a little fun and spunk…Yummy! Love your blog! Thank you!
I’m so glad you liked the bars Julie! I love how you lined the dish with coconut flakes. You are a genius 😉
My bad habit of eating never stop Especially when it came to delicious food. Some of the food can increase your weight,increase sugar level and fat. So you should have to take the perfect protein bars with high carb,pure protein and “free sugar” to boost up energy and get healthy body. Now many delicious flavors are available for protein bar but chocolate brownie is my best flavor. Right protein bar can give lean and strong muscles.
protein bars low carb
I think you are my new best friend.. These are amazing.
I swapped the peanut butter for PB2 and added 2 tbsp of Kraft Natural crunchy peanut butter in with some goji berries.
Heated them in the microwave and topped with PB2.
Perfect! I’m a huge brownie fan and that’s exactly what it tasted like.
Hey I was wondering how long these would stay good for if you keep them in the fridge? I’m a college student without access to bowls and pans so I was thinking I could make that at home over Thanksgiving break and then eat them over the next three weeks at school. Do think they would be okay for that long? Thanks!
Great recipe by the way, love Sunwarrior <3
Hi Nickie! These protein bars keep well if kept in the fridge, however I haven’t gotten to the point of keeping them for as long as three weeks. The longest I’ve had mine in the fridge was for 10 days. I’m sure they will be fine, just make sure to wrap them well and keep them cold 🙂
any idea how many calories each bar has?
The nutrition label is near the bottom of the post 🙂
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Hi Jessica, this recipe looks great! I only have vanilla or berry soya protein. I was wondering, when your friend substituted soya protein, did they go by volume or weight?
Can’t wait to try this recipe!
I believe my friend substituted it by weight. And one packet of sweetener has the sweetness of 2 tsp of sugar 🙂
Hope you like the recipe!
I forgot to ask, how ,much is in one packet of sweetener? I only have loose (unpacketed) stevia
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I’ve found cheaper brown rice protein powder while giving you more for the buck. It’s “Nutribiotic Rice Protein, Chocolate, 3 Pound” on Amazon. Only has a few ingredients and it may be heather than that sun protein stuff. Only thing I’ve noticed that is different than what is described is that the bars taste bittersweet instead of sweet. But isn’t bad at all. Eating two bars after hard exercise on the weight machines felt great.
Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for info about this topic for a long
time and yours is the best I have came upon so far.
However, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive in regards to the supply?
Love these bars! I made them with whey protein and I have to store them in the freezer to keep them solid, and I was wondering how long you think they’ll keep in the freezer? I made some about a month ago and they’re still good, do you think they’ll keep for much longer?
Whey protein doesn’t solidify like brown rice protein for some reason. When I tried using whey instead it turned all gooey and sticky! I’m glad freezing them helped, but I’m not sure exactly how long they’ll last. I bet they’ll last quite some time, but just to be safe, I would say up to 3 months as long as they’re wrapping tightly 🙂
Hope this helps! And I’m glad you tried out the recipe!
Wow. These are a-maze-ing! I just made them and added coconut and a thin layer of melted chocolate (to hold the coconut on, of course), and these are husband AND kid approved. We used a casein and whey combo instead and they turned out slightly sticky, which is how we like our brownies anyway. So delicious, thank you for the recipe!
YAY I’m so glad you made the recipe!! Mmmm, your coconut addition sounds awesome 🙂
Yeah, for some reason whey/casein/egg protein powders turn really sticky and gooey while brown rice protein firms up more and creates a fudgy texture. I’m working on a whey protein bar recipe but haven’t had much luck 🙁
Anyways, thanks for trying out the recipe!
if I wanted to ship these in the mail, do you think that they would be ok?
These protein bars are best served straight from the fridge, so if you want to mail them, I would recommend freezing them until solid, wrapping them with ice packs in an insulated box, and shipping with expedited shipping.
Since they don’t contain any milk, they’ll last a bit longer out of the fridge, but they shouldn’t be left out for a week or something 🙂
Hey! I would like to make the bars, but I only have whey at home. Why doesn’t it work with whey?? What if I used less milk? What proteins do work? Casein? Egg? Isolate?
Would love to hear from you! 🙂
Unfortunately, whey, casein and egg white protein powders can’t replace the brown rice protein powder. They all turn the dough SUPER sticky and gooey, and it doesn’t solidify properly. I tried using less milk and it just didn’t work 🙁
Brown rice protein thickens up the dough and creates a really fudgy texture 🙂
Can you substitute a different type of protein powder?
I haven’t tried substituting the brown rice protein with other vegan protein powders like soy or hemp, but I do know that whey, casein and egg white protein powders don’t work at all, sadly :/
I have a question, it sounds like these things become a hot mess in room temperature? has anyone come across a simple protein bar that keeps it’s awesomeness in a warm climate? Say sitting in your lunch bag in a hot car? I want to make these for my lunches but I’m scared they are going to be a hassle to care for and get the rest of my lunch all sticky…. I need a protein bar that can hold form without the fridge
I’m afraid these protein bars (as well as storebought protein bars) aren’t the best after being in a hot car. These DIY Protein Bars become soft at room temperature, so they’re best straight out of the fridge. You can freeze them and they’ll defrost in about 2-3 hours 🙂
Wow. I just made these yesterday. They turned out perfectly! Thank you so much for such a great recipe. Delicious, amazing fudgy texture! These will definitely be my new go to recipe . I am looking forward to trying the other ones now 🙂
P.S. I used a different protein powder, vegan , plant based called orgain, it worked absolutely fine! (but that is very similar to brown rice powder, same types of ingredients)
YAY!! I’m so glad you liked the DIY Protein Bars!! Thank you so much for letting me know Orgain works instead of SunWarrior. A lot of people have been asking about alternatives 🙂
Have a great week!
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These looks great and I can’t wait to try them. I found the Brown Rice Protein Powder on amazon, which is great….but other than these bars, what do I do with it? Do you have other recipes that use the powder? Thanks!
Thank you Shannon 😀
As for the brown rice protein powder, I use it ALLLLL the time! I don’t like it in shakes because it can be a little gritty, but in protein bars and frostings, it gets really thick and smooth and fudgy. Here are all the recipes I have using brown rice protein powder:
Well, it’s official…I love these bars. I bought the powder you recommended, made them, and have been eating them all week. I used regular milk instead of almond milk and no sweetener. My stomach doesn’t agree with a whole lot of proteins, but these didn’t bother me at all 🙂
YAYAYAY!!! I’m so happy you got a chance to make the protein bars, and I’m glad they didn’t make you feel sick. Thanks for commenting and letting me know Shannon 😀
I’m super excited to make these for my husband, especially with your rave reviews! I’m looking at a few websites with brown rice protein powder since we only have whey…do you know the difference between the brown rice isolate and the concentrate? The concentrate powder is cheaper and has less sugar so that’s currently the more attractive option 😉 but I don’t want to get it if it won’t work! The concentrate is the first link. Thanks!
I don’t know too much about the differences of isolate and concentrate for rice protein, but I do know that there is a difference in whey… in this recipe I would recommend Jarrow rice protein. I’ve used both brands before, but I found that Growing Naturals absorbed a lot more liquid than SunWarrior, which is the brand I almost always use.
Hope you like the recipe Kara!! 😀
Finally made a batch of these yesterday and they turned out OK but were a bit dry (like I had to take a sip of water between each bite). Any advice for making them a bit more moist? You mentioned using whey protein powder would leave them horribly gooey, which I can attest to because I’ve BTDT, but maybe we could mix in 1 or 2 scoops of whey protein in addition to the rice protein powder?
Hmmm, that’s strange, these shouldn’t be very dry. It could be the difference in our peanut butter, possibly. My peanut butter is pretty drippy, it’s not the typical solid kind like Jif.
It could also be differences in measurements… did you use a kitchen scale? I always use a kitchen scale because rice protein and oat flour are pretty difficult to measure. They always seem to pack in tightly or loosely, kind of like brown sugar does.
If you want to try adding whey to the recipe, you might need an extra tablespoon or two of the milk 😀
Seriously, these are amazing! I was even able to bargain with my housemate last night that he would do the washing up if I gave him another bar! They are so good that they function as currency in our house lol 😀
Love your cookbook. I predict millionaire status in your future, hun!
these look so yummy! I don’t buy bars ever because they are so expensive and I have never found one I actually enjoy. These a great sounding though
For the beginners, this recipe with video are absolutely an easy course. The information of ¨nutrition label¨ gave me clear concept. Really simple and useful, Thanks!
Hi Jess! How do i make sure my almond butter has the same nutrition? I want to know exactly how many calories are in each bar 🙂
Hi Amy! I’m pretty sure almost all almond butters have very similar nutrition facts, as long as the only ingredient is almonds. For my particular almond butter, these are the macros per 32g (2 tbs):
180 cals – 16g fat – 4g net carbs – 3g fiber – 7g protein
Hi Jess! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I’m so glad I found this and your site!!
I do have a question about the sweetener though. Unfortunately I don’t have the liquid sweetener you used but would I be able to substitute a small amount of honey for it? Would that affect the texture at all? Or should I just omit it all together if I don’t have the liquid sweetener?
Literally cannot contain my excitement at the thought of trying these!
The stevia can’t be subbed with honey because you’d need ~2/3 cup of honey to replace it, and that would throw off the dry:liquid ratio. I wouldn’t recommend omitting the sweetener because these will definitely NOT taste good without it 😉
I buy my stevia off Amazon.com because it’s WAY cheaper than Whole Foods or any other store.
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Ooo I can’t wait to get the ingredients from the store to make these! Do you make your own oat flour or are you able to buy it pre-packaged? Thanks for such an awesome recipe! There’s so many ingredients in many of the store protein bars, so I’m thrilled to make these for my husband. He has them while he is training for his half marathon!
I buy my own oat flour but I have made these with homemade oat flour before (you just grind oats in a food processor until it’s fine) 🙂
I use Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour.
Wishing your husband good luck on his half marathon! How exciting! 😀
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Is there a protein powder you recommend without such a strong stevia after taste? The one linked on your site was almost unbearable with the addition of the extra stevia.
Other then that the texture was perfect… but all I tasted was Stevia.
I don’t detect a stevia taste at all with SunWarrior so it’s probably just a difference in the way we taste things. Every other rice protein powder I’ve tried have been super gritty so I stick with SunWarrior. I suppose you can try another brand though!
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Thank you for sharing your recipes. I read your blog daily!
I used whey protein but I added half tablespoon of gelatin and half the quantity of almond milk. This way the bar was firm.