Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars

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.

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

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!

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

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

12 bars

Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars

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



You can find the full recipe and instructions in the DIY Protein Bars Cookbook!


I originally wasn't going to share the recipe here because I worked so incredibly hard on publishing DIY Protein Bars.  But, I understand not having a recipe here can be frustrating.  So, I'll meet you halfway...  how does that sound?  I'll show you all the ingredients I use in the recipe.  That way, you can determine on your own whether or not the cookbook is for you!
**I’ve used quite a few different kinds of pretzel rods and pretzel sticks, including Mary’s Gone Crackers® sea salt pretzel sticks (organic, whole grain, and gluten-free), Newman’s Own® salted pretzel rods (organic), and grocery store brand pretzel sticks. I think the pretzel rods are best because they stay the crunchiest the longest. The nutrition facts are calculated using Newman’s Own® salted pretzel rods.

Be sure to follow @DessertsWithBenefits on Instagram!  If you try this recipe, make sure to snap a picture of it, tag me @DessertsWithBenefits, and hashtag #DessertsWithBenefits #DIYProteinBars #DIYProteinBarsCookbook.  I’d love to see it and feature you on #FanFaveFridays!


DIY Protein Bars Cookbook – authored by Jessica Stier of the Desserts with Benefits Blog

Last week, I posted about these Healthy Matcha Green Tea Fudge DIY Protein Bars to officially announce that I finished the 2nd edition of my DIY Protein Bars Cookbook! 🙌  I retested the recipes, rephotographed them, and redesigned the book’s interior.

These are the pics from the 1st edition:

Bird’s eye view:

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

An inside look:

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

As noted ** in the recipe, I’ve tested this recipe using a few different kinds of pretzels.  In my book’s 1st edition, I used Mary’s Gone Crackers® sea salt pretzel sticks (organic, whole grain, gluten-free).  In my 2nd edition, I 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!

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

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.


With love (and healthy dessert),

– Jess



90 comments on “Healthy Chubby Hubby DIY Protein Bars

  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!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      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?


    • dessertswithbenefits

      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.

    • dessertswithbenefits

      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!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      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?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      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.

    • Mary-
      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?

    • Mark-
      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 🙂

    • Mark-
      No problem, I’ll try to make a whey protein bar recipe soon! Every batch I’ve made has failed beyond belief. One batch actually broke my crappy 4 year old stand mixer because the mixture was so gooey and thick, like silly putty 🙁

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  12. Sounds delicious!

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

    • Eyal-
      Yup, you can just grind some oats in a blender or food processor and that will work just fine!
      Costco has a way of doing that to people… I think I bought enough organic hummus one time to last me three years… 😉

  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.

    • Andrew-
      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!

    • LAR-
      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?❤️

    • Aynur-
      I’m afraid the protein powder is necessary in the recipe. It absorbs a lot of liquid and helps keep the protein bars firm and fudgy. Without it, it’ll just be soupy from the peanut butter and almond milk.
      Hope this helps!

      • Is it possible to use Almond flour instead?^^

        • Aynur-
          Hmmm… you can try using almond flour instead but I don’t know how that will turn out. In my experience, almond flour is really crumbly, so these protein bars might fall apart. If anything, oat flour might work, but I really don’t think the brown rice protein powder can be replaced :/

  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. Do you know if I could use vanilla powder, and if so should I just increase the proportion of almond milk?

  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??

    • Angel-
      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!

    • Vanessa M.-
      I’m not sure what protein powder you used, but it sounds like you used whey, casein or egg white protein powder. For some reason, only vegan protein powders work in my protein bar recipes.
      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!!!

    • Vanessa M.-
      Hmmm, that’s strange. I’m not sure why that brand didn’t work out, it should’ve worked just fine!
      I was just wondering, 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?

    • Laney E-
      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?

    • James-
      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.

    • Saad Ghazi-
      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:)

    • Hali-
      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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