Date Energy Balls (Vegan & Paleo)

These Date Energy Balls are a healthy snack that you can whip up in minutes. They call for just a handful of natural ingredients, and taste like cookie dough! Even my kids love them (which is saying something).

date energy balls on pan

Note: I’ve recently updated these photos and have removed the coconut oil that this recipe originally called for. I don’t think it’s necessary, and at times made these Date Energy Balls too greasy, but if you miss the old version, simply add 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil as desired, then roll into balls.

How to Make Date Energy Balls

To make these healthy date balls, all you need is a food processor and 5 ingredients. You’ll process the walnuts and shredded coconut in a food processor until crumbly, then add the dates, salt, and vanilla and process again.

walnuts in food processor

The only thing to keep in mind when making this easy snack is that you don’t want to over-process this mixture. If you process the walnuts too long, they will release their natural oils and create a greasy result. As soon as the dough looks crumbly but sticks together when pressed between your fingers, stop processing the mixture and roll it into balls.

date balls in food processor

Healthy Snack for Breastfeeding Moms

These little gems are also a lifesaver for moms who are breastfeeding! When I was up in the wee hours of the night nursing my babies, I always had a huge appetite. These bite-sized treats are easy to grab and eat one-handed. (One-handed snacks are necessary for nursing moms, if you ask me.)

date balls

These bite-sized treats were just what I need to power through all-night sessions, giving me a burst of energy with a healthy dose of fat, fiber and carbohydrates.

Health Benefits of Walnuts & Dates

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 lower risk of breast cancer. (source)

coconut walnuts and dates

Paired with fiber-rich dates, which may help to prevent constipation, this is a healthy snack I feel good about reaching for any time. Research shows that the antioxidants in dates may help to lower cholesterol and help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, like Atherosclerosis. (source)

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

4.81 from 82 votes
date energy balls on pan
Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

These DATE ENERGY BALLS are a quick & easy healthy snack. Made with walnuts, coconut, and dates, they remind me of cookie dough!

Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dates, snack
Servings: 24
Calories: 123 kcal
Author: Megan Gilmore
Ingredients
  • 2 cups walnuts , or other nut/seed of choice
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups soft Medjool dates , pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, process the walnuts and coconut until crumbly.

  2. Add in the dates, vanilla and sea salt and process again until a sticky, uniform batter is formed. (You can add a tablespoon of coconut oil, only if needed to help the mixture come together.) You don't want to over process, or the batter will become oily, so process until crumbly, but sticky when pressed between your fingers.

  3. 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 fridge or freezer to set for at least 30 minutes 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!)

Recipe Notes

For a gourmet-looking truffle, you could also roll them in shredded coconut or cocoa powder before chilling.

Per ball: Calories: 123, Fat: 8g, Carbohydrates: 11g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 1g

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?

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Comments

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.

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?

    Megan

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

    Debbie

    I had the same problem so I used a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter to help with the binding.

      JanetDi Rienzo

      Did you melt the coconut oil first? Sorry, but I am not that familiar with coconut oil.

    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.

ami@naivecookcooks

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.

    Megan

    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!

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!

Lizzy

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

Thanks!

    Megan

    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.

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!

Heather

This was delish!!! : ) thanks for the recipe!

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.

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?

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!!

Sara

These are a staple in our house! Thank you!

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!

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!!

Jen

These are sooooo good!!! Recipe came out fantastic! The touch of sea salt is perfect!

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!

Mich

Thank you so very much for all your wonderful recipes!!!
Loveeeeee!!!

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!

Anna

What is the recommended serving size? When people have these for a snack.. are they talking about just having one?

    Megan

    It depends on my appetite and time of the day. I usually have 1-2 at a time.

Tracy

I’ve tried adding orange zest & sunflower seeds. Still is missing something….any suggestions?

    Barbara

    Try cardamom!

Bev

Thanks for another easy, super yummy recipe!!

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.

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!!

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!

Adeela

It’s funny because I also made these because I was nursing at the time (still am!) and it’s a great energizing snack. But I wanted my extremely picky toddler to eat some too so I turned then into “Date Pops”!

http://honeyanddates.com/2014/07/16/date-pops/

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Just super hard to form into balls and I never get more than 18

    Megan Gilmore

    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! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Robyn

      Thank you! I will try soaking the dates ๐Ÿ™‚ Appreciate the reply!

    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!

brenda

I did not put the oil in and it turned out great.

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!!!!

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?

    Megan Gilmore

    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!

    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..

Julie

Love this recipe. I used pecans instead of walnuts and Ghee instead of coconut oil. Great snack for my daughter who is breastfeeding.

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!!

    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!

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!

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

    Sandy

    Agreed. They’re a bit too salty for my taste. I’m using less the next time I make these.

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