Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)

These little gems have been a lifesaver for me during this time that I like to call “nursing boot camp.” SONY DSC

Thanks to my new sleep schedule, or lack thereof, I am up in the wee hours of the night nursing our little guy on demand–> which leaves me with a huge appetite!

And only one hand to feed myself.

These bite-sized treats are just what I need to power through these all-night sessions, giving me a burst of energy with a healthy dose of fat, fiber and carbohydrates. You can use any nut or seed combination you like in this type of snack, but I chose walnuts because of their high omega-3 fatty acid content, as well as their antioxidant and phytosterol content, which have been linked to a reduction in breast cancer. Paired with fiber-rich dates, which are thought to bring relief from constipation, heart problems, anemia and intestinal disorders, these treats are something I don’t mind eating after midnight! (Or at any other time of the day.)

I hope they prove to be helpful when you need a quick snack, too!

Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)
makes about 2 dozen


2 cups walnuts, or other nut/seed of choice
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups soft Medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, process the walnuts and coconut until crumbly. Add in the dates, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt and process again until a sticky, uniform batter is formed.Mix


Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons, then roll between your hands to form balls. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place in the freezer to set for at least an hour before serving. Store the balls in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for an even longer shelf life. (I prefer them frozen, myself!)

SONY DSCFor a gourmet-looking truffle, you could also roll them in shredded coconut or cocoa powder before chilling!

4.76 from 41 votes
Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
A quick and easy treat, perfect for snacking!
Servings: 24
  • 2 cups walnuts , or other nut/seed of choice
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups soft Medjool dates , pitted
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, process the walnuts and coconut until crumbly. Add in the dates, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt and process again until a sticky, uniform batter is formed.
  2. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons, then roll between your hands to form balls. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place in the freezer to set for at least an hour before serving. Store the balls in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for an even longer shelf life. (I prefer them frozen, myself!)
  3. For a gourmet-looking truffle, you could also roll them in shredded coconut or cocoa powder before chilling!

Substitution Notes:

  • This recipe is easily adaptable, so feel free to use any other combination of nuts and dried fruits that you like. The combinations are endless!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite go-to snack for energy?

Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organsβ€” no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

148 thoughts on “Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)

    1. Hillary Southwick

      Instead of coconut oil, I used all natural peanut butter. To get a texture where I could roll it into a ball, I added 1/2 cup of water to the mix. Just an idea – I love it with PB!

  1. Penny

    Hi, Megan!
    It sounds like you are embracing and loving being a new mommy, and I’m so happy for you! My toddlers are 3 and 1 now, but I vividly remember those early days! When my son was new, I ate chocolate chip granola bars during those late night/early morning nursing sessions, but these would have been so much healthier. With my daughter, I discovered co sleeping and dozing while nursing and I’m pretty sure that it saved my life LOL
    Sniff that baby head a ton for me, please! I still can’t believe how fast it flew by. Now I have to sniff friends’ babies. I hope that you are having a wonderful baby moon!
    I’m looking forward to making these one day when I have a food processor πŸ™‚

    1. Celeste Ciulla

      I love this recipe. And I don’t have a food processor! It might be old school, and they might come out a little chunkier but I just chop the dates (wearing latex gloves) and the walnuts (I use pecans…I find them less bitter). They are yummy!!!! Thanks so much!

  2. Bri

    Yum yum these look delicious, thanks for sharing. Congrats on your new baby, definetley need to keep your energy up feeding all day and night! I’m still feeding my 5 month old so these will be great little snacks to nibble on as well. I love your blog I’ve been making the vanillacado and chococado shakes all the time and my favourite meal is vegetable masala. Keep up the great work!

  3. Cynthia

    I just found your blog last week and adore your recipes! Congratulations on the birth of your first child…I nursed both of my boys for a year each and it is an incredible bonding experience…with that being said, you are so smart to start planning ahead for those times when hunger strikes. I ate like a linebacker when I was nursing and was tinier than ever after my burn so many calories while breastfeeding it is truly incredible. All the best to you and your family and keep these delicious recipes coming :)))

  4. Sarah

    Hi! If I’m using “California” dates rather than Medjool, should I soak them first? Looking around quickly online I couldn’t find any good comparisons of the two types of dates. Of course I’m just going to use what I have on hand…and maybe dunk them for a while first. Thanks and I love your website! πŸ™‚

  5. Alexandra @ Made to glow

    Oh I can’t wait to try these! Love that they have no added sugar. I am a big fan of using dates. I will definitely try them with walnuts. Thank you for sharing. I know this must be a busy time for you! Enjoy every second!

  6. Abbi*tarian

    I love all of these ingredients! Thank you for sharing this; it’s very impressive how you are keeping your blog so active while being so busy!

  7. Crystal

    A mama friend of mine made me something very similar during my second enlistment of nursing boot camp and they were a life saver for those first few weeks of all night feedings!

  8. Heather Williams

    I make these using figs, and truly, they’re so amazing to have around, right? I love your approach to eating and I’m so happy for you and your new little one!:) Great recipe and thanks for the update on how you’re doing!

  9. Sherie

    I didn’t like the sound of these at first but just made half a batch and they are delicious!!! I’m always looking for quick, healthy snacks and can count on your to provide great recipes! Thank you1

  10. JC

    Hi Megan,
    I saw on one of your other posts that you have a favorite Vitamix blender…But when I clicked on the link it wouldn’t work…can you repost it? It is definitely on my with list but there are so many options I don’t know what to choose…thanks for you input and your receipts are awesome (especially since I can’t have gluten, dairy, refined sugars, and limited corn and potatoes) your website has given me so many more options! Thank you and congrats on your little boy πŸ™‚

  11. Gina

    Hi Megan,

    Congrats to you and your family on the birth of your lil one! I have a 2 1/2 yo and they sure do grow fast! I BF for 18months and I’m so glad I stuck with it! I love your blog and can’t believe you are blogging still! Enjoy every moment! One question I have is how do you come up with the shelf life of these or any of the recipes you make? I never understood that. I am going to make these for sure! I am planning on making your eggplant lasg. later for the second time. I love it, but the first time I made it I left the skin on and think I will make it w/o this time. Thanks again for your recipes and time you put into this site!

    Gina : )

  12. Tina

    I made these without the coconut oil and they are super oily with oil dripping everywhere. Am I doing something wrong? Should I add more walnuts? They are very delicious though.

    1. Kristin

      I had the same problem but I used the coconut oil. Wondering if using calfornia dates instead of Medjool dates is why.

    2. Julie

      I also had lots of oil, I think i may have processed my walnut and cashews too much, like into butter instead of crumbles. I did use Ca dates too…are Ca dates oily?

    3. Jen

      It could be you’re blending the nuts for too long as that will cause them to liquidise, that’s all I can think of – hope it helps!

  13. Michele Schnelker

    holy crap these are tasty! to sweet! totally quality controlled 2 of them before putting them in the freezer…hope i can keep away to see what they’re like in an hour! πŸ˜‰

    so fast to roll up (used my melon baller/mini ice cream scoop to assist in this process). might make up fancy like you suggested if i take them to a carry in sometime.

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  21. Amy

    Great recipe! I added zest from one orange just because I love orange zest and think it fits into every sweet recipe! πŸ™‚ I would cut down on the oil a bit next time though. My hands were dripping coconut oil as I created the balls. They are delicious nonetheless! Thanks!

  22. linda O

    I just made these for my son who is body building..WOW ARE THEY GOOD!
    I used half pecans and 1/2 raw almonds and course sea salt. every once in a bite or so you get a little sweet salty thing going on.I may never eat candy or dessert ever again. Thanks for sharing

  23. linda O

    and I’m going to try the same combo but maybe substitute organic peanut butter for coconut oil or do you think i can still add a Tb of coconut oil in addition?

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  28. Leeann

    This is such an excellent recipe that can be easily adapted I reduced the amount of dates to one cup – too much natural sugar and substituted with chestnuts (I get them in jars), which are an excellent source of vitamin c and other vitamins. With the cup of seeds, pumpkin, sunflower and chia are great. They still have a sweetness but not too sweet.

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  31. Nadia

    Hi, I tried making your recipe but the mixture is not binding it’s very loose so I can’t form the balls. Any suggestions?

    1. Megan Post author

      I’d just try adding another date or two, or maybe just a couple tablespoons of water to make the mixture more moist.

    2. Kristina

      I have found the Woodstock dates with pits are the most moist. The Dole ones they sell at regular grocery stores are too dried out. I use almonds and I don’t add the coconut oil I try to keep them around 100 calories a ball.

  32. [email protected]

    Hi, Just came to your site browsing for energy balls recipe. Wanted to let you know that looks like the pic you have posted here is from some other recipe.

    1. Megan Post author

      Thanks for letting me know! I just recently used a batch program to compress all of the images on my site, and it looks like the program mixed up a few of my photos along the way… but the page has been updated now!

  33. Jeff

    These are simply amaze-balls! A friend of mine introduced me to these and I found your recipe online yesterday, and made them last night. I was never a coconut fan when i was younger, but now, being an aspiring health nut, I love it. Your recipe is super easy to use. My wife absolutely loves these as well.

    Thank you!

  34. Lizzy

    how would one adjust the recipe if they wanted to add bananas? and also, how to adjust if adding almond or cashew butter?


    1. Megan Post author

      Hmm, I’m not sure about the bananas. Let us know if you give it a shot! In regards to nut butters, I find that a good general rule is that 1 cup of nuts = 1/2 cup nut butter.

  35. Karen Riegler

    Hey! I love your recipes and I made this one we love and now can’t find it on your site! It was salted caramel dip made from dates. Do you recall this? How can I find it! You dip apples with it! Thanks!

  36. Anna

    Thank you for sharing this absolutely amazing recipe. I loved it – it was easy to make and so incredibly tasty. I like them frozen too. I shared them with a few friends and they were complementing me non-stop.

  37. Jenna

    These look so good. I was recently introduced to Larabars and this seems somewhat similar. As I had never really had dates before, I did a little research. I read that they are high in calories and carbs. Would you recommend using them in cooking when specifically making foods specifically for energy/working out?

  38. Stephanie Veljanovska

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I currently have a newborn and toddler and with so much breastfeeding I am feeling hungry a lot more. These are my saviour rather than reaching for something naughty. So yummy!!

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  40. Tonya

    I hate dates…like umm…ugh, can’t stand sight, texture or smell. BUT I am expecting a baby any day now and know the importance of compact energy sources so I ventured into making these. They are like crack! OMG…too good for words. I don’t even know what else to say but thank you, thank you, thank you!

  41. Skyler

    These are amazing!! I cut the recipe in half because i didn’t need 2 dozen and the only recommendation i would make is to just use a little less than 1/2 a teaspoon of sea salt. Other than that these are great!!

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  45. Katie

    For my taste, this is the best healthy ball recipe I’ve found online.
    Delicious as is or add a tablespoon of your fav protein powder or cocoa nibs.
    A really good recipe to start with & make your own.
    Thanks so much for sharing!


  47. Mel

    These are SO delicious! I didn’t use walnuts (I don’t like walnuts) I used cashews in their place but damn! I’m going to making these again for xmas!

  48. Kelly

    Delicious, yum and thank you! I’m avoiding all sweaters, natural and otherwise for awhile but need a healthy sweet treat once in awhile. These are excellent. I love your recipes and am sharing your website with friends.

  49. Ellie

    Thanks for this great recipe but you don’t need a food processor. I put nuts/seeds in a plastic snap bag and bashed them with a rolling pin and roughly chopped the dates/berries with a sharp knife, I added Goji berries and a handful of chia seeds. Perfect for people on the go!!

  50. Dalena

    Thank you for the base recipe! I used the left-over crumbs in a cashew/almond cluster bag, added pepitas, walnuts, and almond meal until I had the 2 cups. I threw in some cinnamon and grated nutmeg. Tastes great!

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  56. Robyn

    I’ve made these twice now and I never get a “sticky” batter or 24 balls! What am I doing wrong? They taste great tho πŸ™‚ Just super hard to form into balls and I never get more than 18

    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      It sounds like maybe your dates aren’t soft enough. Try soaking them in warm water for 15 minutes before processing them to see if that helps! And I do make the balls pretty small, using my trusty cookie scooper, but I always eat at least two of them at a time, too! πŸ™‚

    2. Kirstie

      I had this problem the first time too. I found that buying pitted dates just doesn’t work. I buy regular dates and “pit” them myself. Sooo much easier and makes for a stickier consistency. I’m addicted, I make them at LEAST once a month;) hope that helps!

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  58. Tania

    Thanks to this wonderful recipe, my 7-year old finally ate walnuts! He has some sensory issues with food so I processed for a lot longer until everything was really smooth. It’s already a favorite of his. Thank you so much!!!!

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  62. Cristy

    My husband and I loved these! But I had to add like 3tbs of coconut oil.I processed it for like 7minutes and it just wouldnt get to a sticky consistency.any tips?

    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      It sounds like your dates might have been on the drier side. Try soaking them in warm water for 15 minutes beforehand to soften them up, then drain before adding them to the food processor. That should help!

    2. Dorothy

      Adding a very small amount of warm water to the processing helps a lot if you are using pitted dates. I made them with Tangerine Olive oil instead of coconut oil, and used raw almonds. Delicious..

  63. sabijo

    So….I’ve been reading a lot about how we should soak or even sprout grains and nuts before using them. This has really become a bit of an obstacle to using nuts in recipes b/c after I soak them, I have to decide how to dry them off. I have tried drying them in the oven at the lowest setting, but they still have a very different texture than raw nuts. I have a whole bag of pre-soaked and dried nuts in my freezer now. I will try to just use them directly in the recipe, but I was wondering if you had experience using soaked nuts in recipes like this. Thanks!!

    1. Juliana Langley

      Put them in the oven on the lowest setting for 24 hours. I got this idea from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook and it always works for me. The nuts come out crisp and better than raw!

  64. Eleanor

    I substituted a cup of ground oatmeal for one of the cups of nuts,to give extra slow-release energy for my daughter’s snack box. And a splash of lemon juice to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients. Yum!

  65. Arnie

    I prefer to soak walnuts for eight hours. Only thing I wonder if I should dehydrate at 105 degrees the walnuts prior to food processor or other process? I usually use a blank in my twin gear juicer vs. food processor for a more refined creamy texture. I like combination of 1 Cup Walnuts, 1 cup almonds, 1 cup raisons and/or 1 cup of dates. HOWEVER, I prefer above recipe for better balance of ingredients. Thanks for sharing. I am thinking about making it happen for vegan bake sale benefiting local wildlife center. πŸ™‚

  66. Afton

    This is a great recipe! I think you could cut back on the salt, probably only using about 1/2 tsp for a lower sodium version. Also, there is so much oil in the walnuts that coconut oil really isn’t necessary, so I made them without it and they are still very fatty (and delicious!). Overall very tasty, will be making them again! Great snack on-the-go.

  67. L. Davis, Willits CA

    I’m not a vegan but was looking for a nice “sweet” treat for a boxed lunch. As a caterer we must look for ideas for our clients that may have different food orientations than us carb-evours, I found that this recipe was easy and very well liked, had a wonderful review from my client. And complemented my other vegan/vegetarian options! Will use this recipe and also share with others!

  68. Allie D.

    These are SO GOOD! I’m off refined/added sugar of all types and was looking for something sweet. These are so amazing and delicious. You don’t need salt at all and I added a little more vanilla, but that’s just my taste. They’re very satisfying, too. It really helps sate my sweet tooth.

  69. Stacia

    YUM! I also was looking for something healthy but sweet. These are so delicious. Almost too sweet. I will eat them in moderation. The little amount of salt is a nice addition. It gives it a sweet-salt taste.

    1. Darline

      Were the seeds used in substitution for something listed on the recipe? Or were they in addition to what the what it lists?

  70. Andrea

    Thank you for all your wonderful & delicious recipes – this one in particular is our favorite! My 3 year old eats up to 4 a day & I serve it as desert to all our guests along with fresh berries. Everyone who tries them asks for the recipe so I forward the link to your site everytime!

    One tip that I would offer is that I find leaving out the coconut oil to be much nicer – the shredded coconut, dates & walnuts are enough to bind it all together without it becoming so greasy when you roll them into balls.

    Thanks for your great work!

  71. Bobbi

    These are super yummy and so easy to make! My 3 year old and 1 year old love them as well. My 1 year old loved them so much the first time I made them he cried when I wouldn’t let him eat more of them. I’ve made them with pecans and with almonds. Every time they turn out perfect. Great healthy treat to keep on hand!!!

  72. Laura G

    These are absolutely delicious! I used table salt instead of sea salt (tho less than recommended) and found them on the verge of being too salty – won’t make that error next time! I think I may use a little less coconut oil too as my hands were super greasy after rolling them out πŸ™‚ My tip is use the most succulent dates you can find and add a small handful of cocoa nibs to the mix – they add a lovely bit of crunch!

  73. Martin

    The key is using “Medjool dates” as the recipe specifies. They are always super soft and delicious and never need soaking. I get them at Costco!

  74. mari

    I just made some “date energy balls” Soo delicious and filling.
    I didnt have Medjool dates in store cupboard so used ordinary no soak prunes instead with a mix of sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds – delicious.
    (Medjool dates are now on my shopping list).
    Would love to know how many calories if followed your recipe?

  75. Pam

    I did not have 2 cups of anything. So I used some pecans and some almonds. Some dates and some dried cranberries. When I mixed it the paste was a little dry. After reading other posts I added about 1-2 tbsp. Of hot water during the process. Only cause I didn’t know it was going to be dry till I started mixing. Did not use the oil only because I forgot it.
    These little balls are amazing, and so simple to make. I will definitely be making them again, and again, several times.
    Thanks for sharing.

  76. Janet T.

    I’ve made this recipe several times with success. I used toasted almonds and added a little orange juice instead of coconut oil. That way it added enough moisture without being greasy to roll in my hands. Also added orange zest from one orange. Stored them in an air tight container in refrig. They’ stayed fresh for several weeks.

  77. Deb

    I just made these and had to sub out nuts for sunflower seeds, I added a little bakery emulsion Butter flavor because I wanted the rich buttery flavors that nuts impart :{} They turned our fabulous!!! Thank you so much for all of your delicious recipes πŸ™‚

  78. Sheryl Bilodeau

    I just used date and raw mixed nuts and put them in my ninja and made into bite sized balls. They were good just like this and no extra liquid was needed. I used about 10 dates to maybe a cup of the nuts.

  79. melissa

    I have been making these for the past few years and the whole family loves them. We usually add a bit of cocoa powder for chocolate kick. I have shared them with friends, family and neighbors and every time I’m asked for the recipe!

  80. Kimberly

    I’ve made these multiple times, including occasions where I made them as food gifts for my boss! They are DELICIOUS! Thank you!!!

  81. Nick

    I’ve made them several ways:
    Mixing Almonds, Pecans and Walnuts
    Just Almonds
    Almonds and Walnuts
    Almonds and Pecans
    Even added in 100% cacao chocolate

    By far the best way to have these is….Mixing Almonds, Pecans and Walnuts and rolling them in coconut after formed into balls.

    Excellent job on the recipe and I felt nothing needed to be changed! You’re an official date ball Rockstar!


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