Chocolate Energy Balls taste like little brownie bites, and they are 100% fruit-sweetened! All you need is 5 simple ingredients to make them.
Why Are They Good For You?
These chocolate energy balls are naturally sweetened with dates. They have NO added flour or sugar, and yet they really do taste like a brownie!
Benefits of Dates:
- Dates are high in fiber, so they may help to prevent constipation.
- They contain flavonoids, which may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Dates also contain phenolic acid, which may help to lower the risk of cancer.
- Eating 6 dates a day may help pregnant women naturally go into labor. (And have a shorter labor!) I did this with both my first and second pregnancy, and it seemed to work for me!
- Dates also contain minerals that may promote bone health, like phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Paired with walnuts, these date balls taste like… you guessed it, a walnut-studded brownie. Studies have shown that walnuts may particularly help with decreasing fat deposits in the mid-section.
How to Make Them
To make these chocolate date balls, you’ll start by pulsing the walnuts in a food processor, until they are finely ground. This should take about 30 to 60 seconds.
Once the walnuts are ground, add in the dates, cacao powder, vanilla, and salt. Process again, until the mixture sticks together when you press it between your fingers.
It’s okay if the mixture looks crumbly, as long as it does stick together. If it doesn’t stick together, keep processing the mixture until it does stick together.
Important: Keep in mind that you CAN over-process a date ball. If the mixture starts to look super-oily, that means you processed it too long, and it’s hard to fix that other than trying to sop-up the oil with a towel.
Scoop the mixture using a tablespoon, then roll them between your hands to form balls. I like to arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place them in the fridge or freezer so they will firm up.
Once the balls are firm to the touch, you can roll them in cacao powder for a fancy presentation, but I actually think these taste best without rolling them in the extra cacao. (The added coating will make them more bitter, FYI.)
Transfer the chocolate energy balls to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for an easy treat that’s ready to grab!
Which Dates Work Best?
When shopping for dates, look for ones that are either refrigerated, or in the produce section. They should be nice and squishy, and I think the ones that contain pits stay the freshest, longest. (Pitted dates tend to dry out.)
If you don’t have soft & squishy dates on hand, you can soak the dates in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes to help them soften up. Drain the water, then use the dates as directed.
Chocolate Energy Balls (5-ingredients!)
- 1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves (162 g)
- 1 cup Medjool dates (188 g; soft & squishy; pits removed)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (24 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (6 g)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (2 g)
- Additional cocoa powder , for coating (optional)
- In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, grind the walnuts into a fine meal.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients, and process again until a sticky, uniform dough is formed.
- Scoop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, to prevent sticking. Roll the balls between your hands, and roll them in cocoa powder, if desired.
- Store the balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- I prefer the taste of walnuts in these brownies, but feel free to use any other nut you like, including pecans or almonds. (Seeds may work, too, for a nut-free version.)
- If you don’t have access to dates, try making these with another dried fruit, like raisins, instead. The flavor will be different, but still tasty!
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite chocolate dessert?
Questions and Reviews
Have you tried other nuts as a substitution for walnuts?
These look great. I usually have a tub of protein/energy balls in the fridge to help with the Hangrys!
Made these with a mix of raw almonds and cashews…tasty!
I know that walnuts are enjoyable to many, but since they are deadly to me this recipe is sad. I’d love to try this without the nuts, or possibly with pistachios?
Would roasted hazelnuts be a nice substitute for walnuts anyone?
I used hazelnuts and cashews instead. They were so good!!
These look amazing, will be trying this weekend. I am curious why the recipe specifies walnut halves when they are going straight into the food processor? Any nut in pieces versus whole or halves is going to be cheaper.
I just specify because of the way the volume of walnut halves fills up the cup. Walnut pieces will be more dense, so if you use pieces there will probably be more walnuts in your measurement– which isn’t a huge deal, I just try to be precise!
That makes sense — accuracy is of utmost importance in a recipe, of course. I will experiment with using walnut pieces and see what happens. Thanks for the reply!
Just made these tonight. So good! Thank you.
I can’t stop making these, all of us love them and my bunch don’t usually like anything that’s healthy! Thanks so much for sharing, so glad I found this site.
Hi! Do you think it would work to dehydrate this recipe? I want to travel with them!
I just made them. These are delicious and satisfying. Thank you for the recipe.
I finally made these last night. What a great treat to have around when the urge for chocolate strikes. I like that they are not too overly sweet, but very chocolatey. Yum!
Have made these twice in the past month to serve as a treat with a cup of tea in the evening – hits the spot every time. Pro tip: DO NOT forget the 1T water..! Second time I used 1T and a little more, made the bites a bit sticker and they stayed together better while I was rolling them together. May not be necessary for all, but worked for me. Thanks for the great recipe!
Pro tip #2: make sure your dates are fresh..! Just returned to this recipe (for the 50th time) for a quick treat but the dates were too sticky and jammed up my food processor (although I have a mini-processor so that could’ve been part of it). But, still love this recipe and will be going to the store to get fresh ingredients today!
i have pre-ground almond meal; do you know if i would still use 1.5 c?
Put it all in the food processor, and if it doesn’t hold together, just add more dates until you get the consistency you want!
Yum! I finally got around to making these. Wish I hadn’t waited! I forgot to add the water but mine are still quite soft and stick together well. After reading the other comments, maybe I let it run too long in the food processor. I also added just 4 drops of stevia extract, because I like my chocolate really sweet. Will be making them again!
Just made these and I LOVE them! They’re easy AND healthy! I had less than a cup of walnuts in the house so I made up the difference with almonds (putting a tiny bit less because I noticed they filled the cup more tightly than the walnuts) and it worked out beautifully. Thank you for a healthy way to satisfy our sweet tooths… er, teeth? 😀
OMG, I know from reading the ingredients that I am going to love these. Thanks for making the recipe available!
Made these today. Soooooo good! My only regret is that I didn’t buy enough ingredients to make 2 batches!
These are perfect for when I need a chocolate fix. My kids LOVE them so much too. I can’t tell you how many batches I’ve made of these this year. I love so many of your recipes but this is def one of my favs.
So good! Have made these twice.
I add in 2 tblsp of dark chocolate and 1 tblsp of cacao nibs
Thanks for the amazing recipe!!:)
I’ve been struggling to meet the 6-dates-a-day quota for pregnancy since dates are too sweet for me, and THIS SOLVES MY PROBLEM. I could eat a million of these at a time, they’re soooo good and not too sweet. Plus I think my baby likes them. 🙂
Oh my gosh these are amazing!!!
I didn’t have fresh dates, only packet pitted dates so I soaked then drained them before putting them in the processor! I didn’t add the tablespoon of water as th soaked dates were quite soft!
They were perfect and it’s very hard to not eat too many! Thanks!
I was out of dates last week for our umpteenth batch of these so made rhem with raisins instead. We all actually love them more made with raisins!
Just made these and they are wonderful. Didn’t add the extra salt. Perfect for that afternoon chocolate crave. Thank you.
these are amazing!!!
I followed a recipe from a different site last week and they didn’t work out but these were perfect and so easy to make! I substituted vanilla extract with orange extract and they were amazing, thank you for the recipe!
exactly what I was hoping to find. I just had 3 of them. they are so lovely! many thanks!
OMG! These were soooooo yummy!!! I added some figs, chia and flax seeds and these are absolutely PERFECT for chocolate/sweet craving! I even ‘tricked’ my guy into trying one and he said they were ‘Okay brownie-ish’ (he hates all things vegetable and fruit or good for you). Love love love these! Thank you so much! I am new to this eating clean lifestyle and I was struggling to find yummy things. I am struggling with a low body pH so I am now gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, grain free, paleo/vegan/organic/alkaline. Phew! Thanks again!
Anyone know the nutritional information? How many is a serving? The carb and sugar count?
I used the MyFitness Pal app to figure out nutritional info. Based on 6 servings (2 bites per serving), each serving is 301 calories and has 35g of carbs (27 g sugar), and 5 g protein.
If you consider each bite a serving, there are 150 calories per serving, with 18 g carbs (14 g sugar) and 2 g protein.
These were amazing and absolutely delicious. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a sweet but health snack.
Sooo tasty and very SATISFYING! When I want to indulge I Don’t feel the slightest bit guilty. Yum!
FAB! Just made these and I was skeptical of the overall time described in the recipe, but much to my disbelief making these brownies was quite fast (~10 minutes or less)! I’m also happy to say that these ingredients were easy to find in the grocery store too, not like some paleo, vegan, etc. recipes.
Are these Whole30 appropriate? I believe yes…..?????
Ingredient-wise, yes. I think they are “anti-dessert” in general, even if it’s made with compliant foods, but I would go for it personally. 🙂
Thanks Megan! Yes, anti-dessert but I AM going to go for it because it falls within the specified guidelines sooo……I like to tread the line if you know what I mean. Not starting for a week…will let you know how they are. Prepping for it now! Thank you!
Easy and great recepy
I have been making these for several years now, 2 batches at a time. Absolutely love them. Every other time instead of water added, I use fresh squeezed orange juice & add orange zest to the paste/dough. I added some dried cranberries once, delicious. My husband turns his nose up with my grain free lifestyle, but loves the bites.
Great recipe, I followed it exactly, except instead of water and vanilla I added Rum. It is so good!!! Kind of like a rum-balls, but healthier. I added about 4 tablespoons full. Used 12 large dates and pecans, turns out I was out of walnuts.
I make these at least weekly. My kids LOVE them. This last time I rolled them in hemp hearts to make them look “pretty.” The flavor went to a whole new level. Definitely try that when you want an exquisite presentation and a complex buttery finish. I chilled the balls for 10 minutes to maintain form and then lightly rolled/pressed the hemp seeds. Keep in fridge.
What is everyones favorite healthier cocoa powder options?
These are wonderful and I could not find anything wrong with them if I tried. Chocolatey, fudgy, and satiating. I ran out of dates so I used 3/4c dates and 1/4c raisins. I didn’t detect the raisins at all.
Wow, these are amazing! Thank you for the awesome recipe! We will be making these again! Making them in a blender worked ok for us (just had to stir quite a few times). We like them rolled in coconut.
So yummy and so easy! Inspired by another review who mentioned using espresso instead of the water, I used a tablespoon of black coffee. Thank you for a great recipe that was the perfect way to use up a container of dates I forgot I had.
These look great. How long can you store them in the fridge without going bad? Thanks!
Taste like brownies! Even my husband likes them!!!
Easy to make and filling!
Just made this since I had a ton of dates and almonds (I’m allergic to walnuts) but the flavor is SO good! Tastes just like the chocolate date bars from Trader Joe’s but these bites are so much better and more fun to make 🙂
Thanks for the recipes, dear I love it!
Delicious! Great snack! Love these!!
Made these for the first time today. Used pecans. Highly recommend! After doing the breast cancer thing earlier this year I decided that I needed to change the way I cook and eat. Megan’s cookbooks and recipes are what I’ve cooked from the most in my new lifestyle.
I haven’t made these in a while, they were a staple for sometime. I feel like the recipe has changed Since the last time I visited your site. The original recipe created a more creamier, truffle style bite. Not that this recipe isn’t great, just different. The other recipe had a bit of water in it didn’t it?
Love love love these and make them all the time- combine all ingredients prepared and get your clean hands dirty lolz -roll balls – refrigerate or freeze long enough to form up and eat up or freeze for next batch.. Triple down on the recipe cause they won’t last for the two weeks anyway (or you’ll be making them every week or sooner!
Thanks Detoxinista! Instant glory! 😋😋😋😋oh and be sure to share this recipe to your no so into baking cooks:) 💕
Is cocoa powder the same as cacao? If not, Cacao be used or would it be too strong?
I use them interchangeably lately, but most often use cacao powder, so it should be great!