Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars | no bake, gluten free, vegan

Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars (+ Video!)

I have been pretty busy lately so I’m falling back in love with quick and easy “grab and go” snacks.  Scratch that, I meant “snack.”  No plural there, because these Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars are pretty much the ONLY thing I think about when I’m in a hurry with a stomach that is growling at me like my dog growls at vacuums.

Unlike Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream, these Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars are low in sugar, high in protein and high in fiber! They're easy to make, totally craving-worthy, and 100% healthy. Indulge in this peanut butter-chocolate-pretzel combo, guilt-free!

I love peanut butter, I love chocolate, and I love pretzels — that means I love that famous Chubby Hubby flavor combo.  So I made it into protein bars.  DIY Protein Bars, that is!

And these are kind of oxymorons, because these totally won’t make you chubby.

Unlike the Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream, which contains refined flour, butter, and a ton of bleached sugar (sugar is both the 3rd and 5th ingredients), these Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars are low in sugar, high in protein and high in fiber.  And, if you choose to use gluten-free and/or vegan pretzels, then they’ll be gluten-free and vegan too!

So indulge in these (secretly) Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars.  They are easy to make, totally craving-worthy, and 100% healthy.

Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars from the DIY Protein Bars Cookbook – authored by Jessica Stier of the Desserts with Benefits Blog
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Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars

Servings: 12 bars
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Unlike Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream, these Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars are low in sugar, high in protein and high in fiber! They're easy to make, totally craving-worthy, and 100% healthy. Indulge in this peanut butter-chocolate-pretzel combo, guilt-free!



Recipe Notes

I originally wasn't going to share the recipe here because I worked so incredibly hard on publishing DIY Protein Bars.  But, I'll meet you halfway...  how does that sound?  I've provided you with all the ingredients AND measurements used in the recipe!  That way, you can determine on your own whether or not the cookbook is for you!
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars
Amount Per Serving (1 protein bar)
Calories 250 Calories from Fat 95
% Daily Value*
Fat 10.5g16%
Saturated Fat 2.5g16%
Sodium 270mg12%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 18g36%
Calcium 60mg6%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Breakfast, Snacks
Cuisine: Protein Bars
Keyword: Chocolate, Dairy Free, DIY, Gluten Free, High Protein, No Bake, Peanut Butter, Protein Bars, Vegan

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!

The DIY Protein Bars Cookbook is a collection of 48 easy, healthy no-bake protein bar recipes! Homemade protein bars are healthier than storebought, and they're also cheaper. You'll fall in love with each and every protein bar recipe!


DIY Protein Bars Cookbook on - The DIY Protein Bars Cookbook is a collection of 48 easy, healthy no-bake protein bar recipes!


Watch me make these Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars on camera:

As noted ** in the recipe, I’ve tested this recipe using a few different kinds of pretzels.  I’ve used Mary’s Gone Crackers® sea salt pretzel sticks (organic, whole grain, gluten-free).  I’ve also used Newman’s Own® salted pretzel rods (organic), as well as grocery store brand pretzel sticks.  Pretzel rods are the way to go because they stay the crunchiest the longest.


I am so incredibly lucky to be a part of such a loving, adoring, and supportive online community.  Here is one of my favorite pictures a reader tagged me in on social media of her Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bar remake!

Unlike Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream, these Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars are low in sugar, high in protein and high in fiber! They're easy to make, totally craving-worthy, and 100% healthy. Indulge in this peanut butter-chocolate-pretzel combo, guilt-free!

Instead of a chocolate drizzle and pretzels on top, she used chocolate chips and pretzels inside the protein bars.  A very good way to do it, indeed.

Thanks @realist_nutritionist!


Be happy.

Live fully.

Eat protein bars.


– Jess


102 comments on “Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars (+ Video!)”

  1. I’m so glad I picked up a bag of Sun Warrior protein powder in Vanilla. I’m usually not a fan of rice protein powder (too grainy) but I trust your blog, because so far, none of your recipes have failed to satisfy me! I will be making this ASAP!

    • Jessica | Desserts With Benefits

      I find SunWarrior to be gritty too, so whenever I make a smoothie I make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight… it helps a little on the texture. I hope you like the protein bars! Make sure to read the recipe note on the pretzels [they don’t stay crunchy because the bars are moist, however they do add a pretzel flavor 🙂 ]

  2. Hello 🙂

    I can’t have oats; do you think buckwheat flour would work?


    • Jessica | Desserts With Benefits

      Hmmm, I think buckwheat might add too strong of a flavor in these bars, and I’m not sure how it would taste. If you have brown rice flour or almond flour or any other mild flavor flour I would use that instead. But, if you love buckwheat I guess you can try that! 🙂 Hope you like the protein bars!

  3. I love having homemade protein bars on hand. I’m excited to try your recipe!

  4. To try and help the pretzels retain their crunch you could try covering the with chocolate which will block the pretzels from the moisture of the bar. I’ve done it in homemade chubby hubby ice cream and it worked wonderfully and I’m sure it will work just as well when I go ahead and make these.

    • Jessica | Desserts With Benefits

      Great advice Maddie! And that would add even more chocolate to the recipe, and you can’t go wrong with that of course 😀

  5. I made these and my friends and co-workers liked them a lot! I used regular brown rice protein powder because I can’t find vanilla brown rice protein powder anywhere and I used the thin pretzel chips with hopes that they wouldn’t take out as much moisture from the bars. The bars still came out a little dry. I did bake them for about 7 minutes at 325 because even after refrigerating overnight, they still wouldn’t completely hold together well. The baking really did the trick! Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

    • Jessica | Desserts With Benefits

      I never would have thought to bake the protein bars! However baking could be the cause of the dryness.
      I’m glad you all liked the recipe though!

  6. What is a good sub for rice protein powder? Can I use any vanilla protein powder?

    • Jessica | Desserts With Benefits

      I believe soy protein powder and possibly hemp protein powder can replace the brown rice protein powder, but I would not sub it with whey protein powder (whey gets extremely gooey and does not set… however, my friend who uses whey just freezes it, but it is also difficult to mix)

      • This could very well be maker-error, but I subbed in soy flour and added a couple tablespoons vanilla and they came out too dry to stay together. I also used soy milk rather than almond milk, so that could have been the problem too. I’m going to give it another try with less soy flour and a little more peanut butter. I should note that the brand of PB I used seemed a bit dry to me, so that probably contributed to the problem.

      • BC-
        In my experience with soy flour, I find that soy flour absorbs A LOT of liquid… kind of like coconut flour or peanut flour. Soy milk should work just fine to replace the almond milk, so I would say they ended up dry because of the soy flour (and possibly dry peanut butter… the PB I use is quite drippy). If you try this recipe again, I’d start off with 1/4 cup soy flour and keep the rest of the recipe the same. If you need to increase the amount of flour, just do it tablespoon by tablespoon 😀
        I hope the recipe works out better the second time around!

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  8. I don’t have any stevia or truvia on hand… I wonder if maple syrup or honey would do the trick, and maintain some moisture in the bars. Any idea how much I should use? Thanks for the recipe! Super excited to try it.

    • Hmmm I’m not sure how a liquid sweetener will work in this recipe. The bars might be too gooey and not firm enough to spread into the pan… however, you can try omitting the stevia/truvia and replacing it with 2/3 – 3/4 cup of pure maple syrup/honey. Keep a few extra scoops of protein powder nearby and slowly add some to the mixture while it’s running. Add just enough to make it form a thick cookie dough.
      I hope this works for you!

  9. These look great, would it still work with an alternative protein powder? I can’t source the brown rice stuff in time for when I want to make these, so hoping to use a regular protein powder instead?

    • These protein bars might work with another protein powder, like soy protein or hemp protein, but whey protein DOES NOT work… sadly 🙁 I’ve tried it and a lot of my readers have too. Whey protein gets really gooey and it doesn’t solidify. My friend uses whey and freezes the mixture for a while and then slices it, but it’s a lot of work to mix.

  10. Thanks so much for your reply. I’ll have a look locally for another type as I have about 15 whey’s but nothing else, doh!

    The rice one is quite difficult to source here so I’ll see what else I can find & let you know the results. Love the blog 🙂

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  12. Sounds delicious!

    Can i replace the oat flower with grouded roled oats? I bought too much oats at Costco…

  13. I tried this recipe out…by they came out runny. They did not harden in the fridge, and I refrigerated them from 3pm to 7:30am.

    I don’t know what went wrong. I made my own oat flour mix because trader joes did not carry any. And I substituted Vanilla Whey protein instead of the brown rice protein (That protein is really expensive).

    Other than that I followed the recipe and its more of a pudding. But still tasty.

    • Sadly, it’s the whey protein 🙁 For some reason whey protein gets really gooey and sticky. My friend makes these protein bars with whey protein still (not sure why though because they’re so difficult to mix!) and just adds a few extra scoops. She also freezes them for a little bit until they harden slightly and then she slices them. Still a bit sticky, but she said they’re good!
      I’m working on a whey protein bar recipe… it’s hard to make one nutritionally balanced though. I always need to add too much peanut butter or too much agave/honey/maple syrup 🙁

  14. Great recipe! Do you think these would keep unrefrigerated for a camp-out? Maybe if they’re chilled in the freezer instead of the fridge? Thanks!

    • Thanks! 😀
      The protein bars do need to be refrigerated otherwise they get really really soft, kind of like fudge (which sounds good, but they get squished easily). When I bring protein bars to class I like to put them in a sandwich baggie, place them in the freezer for ~4 hours and they’re the perfect texture in another few hours after they’ve have some time to thaw.
      Have fun on your camping trip!! 🙂

  15. Can you bake this without using the protein and rice powder?❤️

  16. Thank you for this recipe, I will try it again!!

  17. I made these using plain brown protein powder. I thought I should try using flavored Stevia, and using more of it to give it that extra flavor.
    Unfortunately it was still a little bland. Next time I’ll use vanilla protein powder.5 stars

    • Yeah, plain brown rice protein powder is really bland, especially compared to the vanilla version which I used in the recipe. The flavored protein powder already has vanilla powder in it, as well as some stevia. If you only have the plain version though, maybe try out vanilla-flavored stevia! I use SweetLeaf’s vanilla stevia and I love it 🙂
      If you don’t want to buy that, try adding 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste to the recipe (you won’t need to change any measurements, it’s okay to add just a 1/2 tsp)
      Or you could just add more chocolate chips 😉

  18. Thanks Jess, will give it a go. In the mean time I’m using chocolate spread/nutella for this batch. Keep up the good work

  19. Hi! I was wondering if you could maybe use the pb2 peanut butter instead of regular? What effect do you think it would have on these bars??

    • I haven’t ever used PB2 so I can’t be sure. If it has the same texture as regular peanut butter (super thick), then I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!
      Just note that PB2 contains added sugar and salt, so you’ll need to reduce the stevia extract to 1/4 tsp and reduce (or even omit) the salt.
      I hope you like the recipe! 🙂

  20. I made these and even though the batter’s yummy, it came out super sticky and gooey, almost like a sticky toffee. The only difference is that I didn’t use Sun Warrior brand powder, and that I omitted the chocolate chips. Any suggestions? I have them wrapped and in my freezer. Thanks!5 stars

    • I’m not sure what protein powder you used, but it sounds like you used whey, casein or egg white protein powder. Whey/casein/egg tends to make the mixture really sticky and gooey and unable to set, while brown rice protein powder thickens the mixture into a cookie dough-like texture. To salvage the batter you already made, I would recommend using it to top oatmeal or add it to smoothies! I’m currently working on a whey protein bar recipe, but for now, all I have are the brown rice protein bar recipes 🙂

  21. Oops! I forgot to write the brand. It was Jay Barrows Vanilla Brown Rice Concentrate. Do some brown rice powders absorb less liquid than others? I would like to re-make it and I’m thinking just use more…? Thanks!!!

    • Hmmm, that’s strange. I’m not sure why that brand didn’t work out, it should’ve worked just fine! Did you use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients? I always use a scale to measure the protein powder because sometimes it gets really packed in the bag and sometimes it’s fluffy… if you measure by scoops that could have been the problem.
      Hope this helps!

  22. can I use stevia packets instead of the extract? if so how many do i use?

    • Yup, stevia packets should replace the extract just fine! If 1 packet has the sweetness of 2 tsp of sugar, I would recommend using about 10-12 packets. Give the dough a taste after adding 10 packets and see if you want more 🙂
      Hope you like the recipe!!

  23. Aha, that must have been my problem! I didn’t use a scale, I just shook the container and scooped out the powder. Thanks, I can’t wait to try again, because boy, were they yummy!

  24. Absolutely amazing! Really easy recipe to follow, good consistency and actually pretty delicious. I used almond flour instead of oat flour which didn’t seem to make any difference to the outcome but added some more protein. Thanks for the recipe!

  25. Do you think brown rice powder protin would work as well? And will the taste change majorly?

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  27. I followed the recipe to the letter, the only difference is that I used plain brown rice protein instead of vanilla and therefore I added 1 tsp vanilla for flavor. The end result was so bland it was like I was eating Poi (a flavorless Hawaiian dish made of taro root). I then added some shredded sweetened coconut and granulated coconut sugar which made it at least palatable, but still very bland and flavorless. Any ideas on how to add a little more flavor to these?

    • Sorry about that! Unfortunately, 1 tsp of vanilla extract won’t add enough vanilla flavor to make up for the unflavored brown rice protein powder.
      Also, the unflavored brown rice protein powder is unsweetened while the vanilla flavor is sweetened… so you would also need to add a lot more sweetener to compensate for that.
      I would recommend making the recipe again using the vanilla brown rice protein powder and you should be a lot happier with the result 🙂
      Also, you could try increasing the salt to 1/4 tsp if your pretzels aren’t very salty.
      I hope this helps James!

  28. What is the reason we can’t use whey protein powder? My main reason for not using the rice powder is price.

    • For some reason, whey, casein and egg protein powders can’t replace the brown rice protein powder at all. They all turn the dough really gooey and sticky and it doesn’t solidify properly. Brown rice protein thickens up the dough and creates a really fudgy texture 🙂

  29. Recipe looks delicious! Just wondering what the reason is to not use whey? Whey is the only powder I have and I don’t really want to buy more:)

    • I totally understand! 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. Brown rice protein thickens up the dough and creates a really fudgy texture 🙂

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  31. i don’t have brown rice protein powder ( it is super expensive)so maybe i could use whey and add some oat flour to thicken it? do you think it would work?

  32. Hi Jessica,

    Love your protein bar recipes. I prefer using regular sugar ideally brown sugar instead of stevia/truvia or any sugar substitutes. In this case what proportion of sugar would you recommend using for your recipes?

    • Raj-
      The amount of sugar will depend on the recipe, and whether or not the recipe requires baking or not. Usually, 1 tsp of stevia extract has the sweetness of one cup of sugar. In baked goods, however, all that sugar can make the cake/cookie/brownie dry, crunchy and crumbly… it’ll require some recipe testing. In this recipe, the Truvia and stevia have the sweetness of about 3/4 cup sugar (this substitute will increase the calorie/carb/sugar content significantly). Hope this helps Raj!

  33. Michelle Kickham

    Hey Jessica,
    Hope you’re doing well. I’m so proud of you and your book! Well done! You so totally deserve it!

    I was planning on making some of your protein bars this week – I dont usually eat them (store bought ones) – they’re usually full of all sorts of crap!
    But this year is my year for health – I have to gain a lot of weight, and I want to do it right.I finally fully committed to it two days ago. Whole new plan this year – a new year, a new me!
    So, which protein bar of yours would you recommend is the best, with respect to health benefits and nutritional value? I know they’re all fantastic, but which do you think would be the best? I trust your opinion, considering your education.
    I am underweight with very low lean muscle mass – which needs to change!
    I haven’t bought your book – YET. I wan to make sure I enjoy the taste of them, first! (Though, I seriously doubt that I wont!)
    Any help I would greatly appreciate!
    Again, well done on the book. I saw the sneak peak of the smores protein bars…oh my. they look GOOOOOOOD. (Amazingly – I’ve never even had a REAL S’more. How crazy am I? Or maybe it’s just cuz I’m Irish..hah. We’re boring!)
    Best wishes

    • Thank you so much, I’m so glad I’m finished with the book… so much time spent, recipes made, frustration and roadblocks, grrr… but now it’s done 🙂
      Congrats on your resolutions. My health journey actually began on January 1st 2011!
      I think every protein bar has its own benefits and a TON of nutrition, so it’ll be hard to choose just one 😉
      If you’re starting to exercise, I’d recommend one with more complex carbohydrates and fruit. If you’re aiming for more calories, I’d recommend eating any protein bar, and two if you’re hungry. I usually eat 2-3 when I bring them to school.
      From the recipes already on my blog, I’d recommend:
      1- Chocolate Fudge Protein Bars
      2- Triple Chocolate Protein Brownies
      From the recipes in my cookbook, I’d recommend:
      1- Red Velvet Cake Fudge Protein Bars
      2- S’mores Protein Bars
      Of course, these are just my recommendations… I don’t have a lot of personal health information about you so I can’t obviously make a perfect recommendation based on your protein-, carb-, fat-, calorie-needs… or allergies if you have any. I hope I helped in any way Michelle!! 🙂

  34. Michelle Kickham

    Hey Jessica,

    Thanks a million. I like peanut butter so they’ll be the ones I’ll make, I think.
    Im not allowed exercise yet but when i’ve gained a bit I’m allowed start yoga.
    Thank you so much
    Best wishes

  35. Hubby loved them as a meal replacement. He bikes and this is great! I cut them larger. Only changes I made were honey-peanut butter and added coconut !

  36. Cookie dough like bars? Please help. I only had whey protein on hand so I substituted that for the protein stated in the recipe. My bars came out resembling raw cookie dough. How can I fix them? Were they supposed to be baked?
    Thank you

    • Whey protein doesn’t work 🙁
      Whey, casein and egg don’t substitute because they just dissolve while brown rice protein acts as a thickener. These protein bars don’t need to be baked. Maybe can try freezing the mixture for a couple hours until you can slice them. Store them in the freezer and when you want one, just let it thaw slightly until they’re ready to eat 🙂

  37. What consistency should the dough be before it sets? I haven’t refridgerated them yet but I just made them with soy protein and its the consistency of cookie dough. Just wondering if this is right or if I need to adjust the recipe.

  38. Did you use the classic or the warrior blend of protein?

  39. These look amazing!! Do you think it will work well with vega protein?

    I also do not like stevia, can I use maple syrup (or anything else) instead?

    • Tamara-
      I haven’t used Vega in a while, and I’ve heard they changed their formula, so I can’t be sure. To replace the stevia you’d need about 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup, but that would throw off the dry:wet ratio… I don’t think this recipe will work with vega and syrup, sorry!

  40. hi. I made this recipe and accidentally used whey which a very gooey result (deliciously gooey, though!) . Obviously not trying that again, but would I be able to use soy protein instead of brown rice or would the result be similar? Thanks. 🙂5 stars

  41. Heyy! Love the recipe!!Would definitely want to try out the recipe. One quick question though..i do not wish to use stevia or truvia in the recipe..any other sub that would work well? Also would want to omit the protein powder alltogetjer..should i substitute it with oat flour? Please let me know.

    • Deepika-
      Hmmm, I’m not sure those substitutions would work. The protein powder creates the bulk of the recipe and is what creates the nice and fudgy texture. Another sweetener also won’t work… BUT, I do have another Chubby Hubby-flavored recipe on the blog, Chubby Hubby Fudge. It still uses protein powder, but it’s sweetened with honey or pure maple syrup 😀

  42. Love this recipe. One workaround I found to the soggy pretzel issue is to use a bag of pretzel m&ms. I usually take out half the chocolate chips in the recipe (to account for the extra chocolate in the candies) and space the candies out over the surface right before flattening it in the pan. The candy coating bleeds a little but otherwise the crunchy pretzel goodness is preserved.

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  44. William Sammarco

    My local store sells “vegan vanilla raw plant protein” in bulk bins. Do you think this well work since it must not be egg/casein/whey which you suggested would yield gooey bars?

    • I haven’t used protein powder from a bulk bin before (that’s so cool by the way! I wonder if my local store has that, and I hope it’s cheaper by the pound!), but I guess it’s worth a shot 🙂
      Maybe as what brand it is or check up on the ingredients. The ingredient list should contain just brown rice protein, some flavoring (vanilla + salt), natural sugar-free sweetener (stevia), and maybe xanthan gum. It shouldn’t have hemp protein or pea protein. I find hemp and pea proteins to be way too absorbent.
      Hope this helps William!

  45. Great recipe.

  46. If I win I’m going to make something with chocolate first.. maybe red velvet? So many choices!

  47. Looking for some protein bar recipes and just came across your recipe via Foodgawker. You bars look and sound absolutely delicious, I’ll have to have a go at making them in the very near future

  48. Hi, Jessica!

    Will the 2nd Edition of your book be available on Kindle soon?

    Thank you!

  49. Not that I’m complaining, because I don’t eat oats, but I noticed the video and the ingredient lists no longer lists oats. DId you change the recipe? Thanks, girl!

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