By: The Real Food Dietitians Posted: 10/4/23
These No-Bake Pumpkin Protein Balls are a delicious healthy snack (or even a grab-and-go addition to breakfast) that are perfect for the cozy fall season. Rolled oats, protein powder, shredded coconut, flaxseed, pumpkin puree, warm spices, and almond butter combine with mini chocolate chips and roasted pumpkin seeds to create seasonal pumpkin energy balls. It’s a great recipe for meal prep and they’re sure to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthful way. These pumpkin snack energy balls are so tasty you’re likely to find yourself making them all year long!
This post was created in partnership with Puori.
Recipe Highlights: Pumpkin Protein Balls
There’s a lot to love about these pumpkin balls, including:
- Minimal prep time and a total time of around 30 minutes
- They’re a make-ahead snack you can grab and go on busy mornings or as you head out the door between sports practices
- A healthful snack recipe with protein, vitamins, nutrients, healthy fats, and fiber
- A naturally gluten-free recipe that can be modified to be dairy-free and nut-free, too
- They contain real pumpkin
- Naturally sweet and free of refined sugars
A New Snack For Your Collection Of Pumpkin Recipes
When fall arrives so do all things pumpkin and pumpkin flavored. But we aren’t complaining! With recipes like our Paleo Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Coffee Cake, and our popular Pumpkin Protein Muffins, we’re more than happy to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. And to be honest, we never really get off it, as we fit pumpkin recipes into our meal prep routines throughout the year.
In the spirit of the cozy fall season, we decided it was time to add something new to our favorite pumpkin recipes, and created these pumpkin protein balls as a seasonal treat. Perfect for lunch packing and after-school snacks, they’re tastier than store-bought protein bites, quick to prepare, contain real pumpkin, and are perfect for taking on the go. Plus, they’re studded with mini chocolate chips and chopped pumpkin seeds, making them picky eater-approved.
Ingredients To Make Protein Pumpkin Balls
Here’s what you’ll need to gather to make a batch of pumpkin balls:
- Rolled oats – otherwise known as ‘old-fashioned oats’. Quick oats will work in a pinch, but you may need to add a bit more quick oats if your dough is too sticky to roll into balls. Use certified gluten-free oats, if needed
- Puori Vanilla Protein Powder (PW1) – our whole team loves this high-quality whey protein powder, which doesn’t contain any low-calorie or artificial sweeteners and is third-party tested and made from only five quality ingredients
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Ground flaxseed (flax meal) – may sub chia seeds
- Spices – you’ll need 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice plus ground cinnamon and salt, which infuse these bites with a warm, slightly sweet pumpkin flavor
- Almond butter – may sub any other seed or nut butter such as cashew butter, creamy peanut butter, or sunflower seed butter
- Pumpkin puree – make sure you don’t use pumpkin pie filling, which has added sweetener. Instead, incorporate 1/3 cup pumpkin puree for a bold pumpkin flavor plus added fiber and vitamin A
- Maple syrup – used to sweeten the balls without the need for more refined added sugars. May sub pure honey, if preferred
- Coconut oil
- Vanilla extract
- Mini chocolate chips – use semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate chips. For a dairy-free option, we like Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
- Roasted pumpkin seeds – chopped walnuts or pecans also work great
For the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition analysis, listing kcals, protein, carbs, fiber, sugar, sodium, and more per serving.
How to Make These Pumpkin Energy Bites
With no food processor required, this recipe comes together with just a few simple steps below:
- Combine the ingredients: Add all the ingredients to a medium or large mixing bowl, and stir to combine.
- Chill the mixture: Transfer the bowl to the fridge to chill.
- Shape the balls: Use your hands to divide the oat mixture and roll it into equal-sized balls. To make this recipe less messy, you could also use a cookie scoop to portion the mixture into balls.
Adjust the Ingredients
Depending on how much of each ingredient and whether you add in any extra items, you may need to adjust the amounts included in order to get the balls to hold their shape. For example, if the mixture feels too soft and won’t stick together when you roll it, you can add more oats. Or, if the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add more nut butter or maple syrup until it can easily be shaped into balls.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main ingredient in pumpkin protein balls?
The main ingredient in this pumpkin balls recipe is oats. The oats form a base for the rest of the ingredients while also adding complex carbohydrates that help the balls hold their shape and give you a boost of fiber, too.
Are pumpkin protein balls gluten-free?
The ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten-free, but you’ll want to be sure to check the ingredient list and look for items that are certified gluten-free to avoid any cross-contamination with gluten-containing items.
Can I use any kind of nut or seed butter?
Yes, feel free to swap out the almond butter with any other nut or seed butter you like best.
How long do these pumpkin protein bites last?
Stored in an airtight container, these pumpkin balls will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Can I freeze pumpkin energy balls?
Yes, feel free to freeze this recipe for up to 6 months. To enjoy, just let the protein balls thaw in the fridge. Or, set them out at room temperature to soften.
How many servings does this recipe make?
With a serving size of one ball, this recipe will yield between 20-26 servings, depending on how large you make each pumpkin ball.
Can I use collagen instead of protein powder?
Sure! Feel free to use unflavored collagen peptides in place of or in addition to the protein powder, and adjust the ingredients as needed.
Recipe Swaps and Substitutions
Need these pumpkin protein balls to be nut-free? Looking for a dairy-free option? Following a vegan diet? We’ve got you covered with these simple modifications.
Replace the almond butter with sunflower seed butter or tahini. If coconut flakes are not an option, omit them completely or replace them with extra pumpkin seeds. This will change the flavor of the protein balls slightly, but they’ll still taste great.
Just as with the dairy-free option, you’ll want to replace the whey protein powder with a vanilla or neutral-tasting plant-based protein powder and use dairy-free mini chocolate chips.
Servings: 20–25 protein balls 1x
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, shredded coconut, flax meal, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt; stir to combine.
- Add the almond butter, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, chocolate chips, and pumpkin seeds; stir well to combine all the ingredients. Chill the mixture for 10-20 minutes.
- With your hands, roll the mixture into 20-25 balls.
- Store balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 3 months.
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We absolutely love Puori PW1 whey protein powder for its ultimate quality, clean ingredient list, and flavor. Puori whey protein is made from protein concentrate harvested from pasture-raised cows and flavored with real bourbon vanilla. Puori PW1 Vanilla is 3rd party tested and recently ranked #1 in Clean Label Project’s test of 133 protein powder products from 52 brands. Use code PUORIxRFD for 20% off your order (we also love and use other Puori supplements, including their omega 3s, vitamin D, magnesium, and collagen peptides.)
*If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own. To do so, mix 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, and a pinch of ground cloves.
- Serving Size: 1 protein ball
- Calories: 116
- Fat: 6 g
- (Sat Fat: 2 g)
- Sodium: 15 mg
- Carbohydrate: 12 g
- (Fiber: 3 g
- Sugar: 3 g)
- Protein: 5 g
- Cholesterol: 3 mg
© The Real Food Dietitians
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