Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars {gluten-free, refined sugar-free}

Overhead view of protein bars scattered on a sheet of parchment paper, alongside a knife and a small bowl of sea salt.
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Ditch the pre-packaged bars and make your own with this easy peanut butter protein bar recipe. These bars are soft and chewy with a rich peanut butter flavor, topped with dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt. With about 16g of protein per bar, they're high in nutrients but taste like a sweet treat!

  • Author: alexandra
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Chill Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 bars 1x
  • Category: snack bars
  • Method: no-bake
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free



Peanut Butter Protein Bars:

  • 6 1/4 scoops (53cc scoop size) (4 1/8 ounces) Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (I used Less Naked Whey)
  • 5/8 cup (2 1/2 ounces) almond flour
  • 5/8 cup (2 ounces) gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) natural unsweetened, salted peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) maple syrup
  • 2 1/2-3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping:

  • 6 ounces no-sugar-added dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • flaky sea salt/fleur de sel (optional) 


Peanut Butter Protein Bars:

  1. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Combine ingredients in food processor: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment, pulse together the protein powder, almond flour, oats, and salt until the oats are broken into smaller pieces and all ingredients are evenly combined. Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, 2 1/2 tablespoons water, and vanilla extract and pulse just until the mixture comes together, stopping to wipe down the bowl with a spatula if needed. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon water if needed to bring everything together.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press down in a flat, even layer (it helps to use a wide, flat spatula for this). Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.

Chocolate Topping:

  1. Make the topping: In a small, microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and coconut oil. Microwave for 30-second increments, stirring in between, until smoothly melted. 
  2. Pour chocolate over bars and transfer back to refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes. Once set, use parchment or foil to lift bars from pan and slice into 12 individual pieces. Sprinkle bars with sea salt or fleur de sel if desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 



  • Chocolate whey protein powder can also be used in place of the vanilla protein powder for a double-chocolate variation.
  • Sliced almonds can be used in place of almond flour. Just process them in your food processor until they've reached the consistency of almond flour. Or, use any other nut flour instead. 
  • The peanut butter can easily be substituted with any kind of natural, unsweetened, and salted nut butter.
  • Honey, or a sugar-free liquid sweetener like allulose, can be used in place of the maple syrup.
  • For another flavor variation, try white chocolate instead of dark chocolate for the chocolate layer on these bars. Lily's make a white chocolate bar with no added sugar.

To make these bars without a food processor: Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk together wet ingredients in a second bowl or measuring glass. Then mix wet ingredients into dry with a spatula, using your hands if needed to finish bringing the dough together. If using this method, make sure you use almond flour (not sliced almonds) and quick-cooking oats.