3-ingredient keto protein bars that require no cooking or baking. They are also vegan, paleo, grain-free and have 7.6 g protein per bar.
Summer is off to a rip-roaring start, which means I need all of the portable energy I can get my hands onto! And with my son starting a series of athletic camps this week, it also means I need plenty of packable options for him, as well.
Given that is Monday, how about a 3-ingredient, no-bake, no-cook option to get things started?
These simple energy bars are ketogenic because I use a keto-friendly brown sugar substitute. However, I also make these with coconut sugar (for my son). Do whichever version suits your needs.
Healthy Benefits of 3-Ingredient Keto Protein Bars
Here’s a quick summary of the bars. They are:
Made with 3-ingredients
Ingredients for the Bars
To make the bars, you will need the following ingredients:
Brown sugar substitute (e.g., Swerve brown sugar replacement, Sukrin gold…or coconut sugar if you are not making a keto version)
You will also need a splash of water.
How to Make the Bars
These are so easy, you barely need a description. However, I do have a few pointers to assure you that you are doing everything correctly.
Step 1: Combine the nut/seed butter & sweetener with water
In a small to medium bowl, stir the nut/seed butter and sweetener with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth.
Note:Nut and seed butter can vary a lot in terms of their stiffness/creaminess/dryness/moisture content. I’ve made these bars with several different varieties of butter, all of which were markedly different in terms of texture. However, 2 tablespoons of water worked as a good starting point for all.
Use your best judgment; if your butter looks especially loose, you may want to start with 1 tablespoon water. But avoid the temptation of adding more than 2 tablespoons at the start. You can always add more later!
Once combined, the mixture should be very thick, but not dry. Add more water, in droplets, if the mix is dry.
At room temperature (especially hot Texas room temperature), the mix will still have some softness, despite being thick. Add more coconut flour, a little bit at a time, as needed, but not so much that it becomes dry. The bars will be very firm once chilled.
Refrigerate the bars for at least 2 hours until firm. They will be sold straight from the refrigerator. Use the paper liner to lift the bars from the pan and cut into 7 bars.
These taste like the filling of a candy bar.
Add Extra Ingredients for a Twist
Amplify the candy bar vibe with a drizzle of melted sugar-free chocolate/chocolate chips (regular chocolate if not following a keto plan).
You can also vary the bars by mixing/kneading ingredients into the dough prior to pressing into the pan. Here are some ideas to get you started. For example, unsweetened flake coconut, raw or toasted seeds (e.g., chia, sesame, sunflower, pepitas), finely chopped raw or toasted nuts, or cacao nibs.
Make Protein Balls instead of Bars
You can also roll the dough into balls, for pop-able energy in an instant.
In a medium bowl, stir together the nut butter, brown sugar substitute and water until blended and smooth.
Add the coconut flour, stirring until blended. The mixture should be very thick, but not dry. If it appears dry, add a few more teaspoons of water until no longer dry. The bars will be very firm once chilled.
Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Firmly tamp down, smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm set.
Use paper lining to remove bars. Cut into 7 bars.
Storage: Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or the freezer for up to 6 months.
Paleo Tip: Do not use peanut butter if making these for a Paelo diet (peanuts are not considered Paleo-friendly).
Sweetener Options: If you do not need these bars to be keto-friendly, use an equal amount of coconut sugar or brown sugar in place of the brown sugar substitute. To keep the bars Paleo, use the coconut sugar option.
Note: I used Barney Butter smooth almond butter in my nutrition calculations (it contains nothing but almonds).
(1) Chocolate: Drizzle the cut bars with melted sugar-free chocolate chips (or stir 3 to 5 tablespoons chopped sugar-free chocolate into the dough). If not following a keto diet, use the chocolate of your choice; (2) Mix or knead in 3 to 6 tablespoons of ingredients into the dough, such as unsweetened flake coconut, raw or toasted seeds (e.g., chia, sesame, sunflower, pepitas), finely chopped raw or toasted nuts, or cacao nibs.
I followed the instructions to the letter but didn’t add water... not nearly enough coconut flour in this recipe to make it into a dough :/
Monday 13th of April 2020
Oh no, sorry these did not work for you, Stephanie! Do you mind me asking what kind of nut or seed butter you used? I've made these many times with almond butter, natural peanut butter and once with sunflower butter and the proportion were just right, but perhaps it was a particularly runny nut butter? You could always add more coconut flour, as needed.
Tuesday 4th of February 2020
Love these. Thanks for a great EASY recipe!
Tuesday 4th of February 2020
so glad you like them, Renee!
Wednesday 5th of June 2019
Tuesday 4th of June 2019
What do you think would work instead of coconut flour? (Coconut intolerance)
Tuesday 4th of June 2019
You could use almond flour/meal or tigernut flour (the latter usually needs to be ordered online; it is really delicious, though, faintly sweet!). You would need to play around with the amount you add, just adding more until you reach the consistency I describe in the notes. :)