These pumpkin protein balls are the best healthier Fall treat! They're made with wholesome ingredients like real pumpkin puree, chia seeds, nut butter, collagen, and oats. They're easy to make and are a delicious pre or post workout snack.
Pumpkin season is here, so let's ring it in with some no bake pumpkin protein balls! These spiced energy bites are super tasty served with coffee in the morning and make a great on-the-go breakfast or high-protein snack. They taste like little balls of pumpkin pie cookie dough and are healthy too, with 5 grams of protein per serving.
Protein balls are one of my all time favorite snacks. Also known as bliss balls, energy bites, or power balls, they're perfect for meal-prep and come together in under 30 minutes. They are gluten free and can easily be made vegan and dairy free with a few substitutions.
If you're a pumpkin lover, try my pumpkin chai snack cake and almond flour pumpkin muffins. If you're craving more truffles and bites, try my boozy chocolate truffles and chocolate peppermint bliss balls.
Why This Recipe Works
- Real pumpkin puree- This recipe uses real pumpkin puree instead of pre-made pumpkin pie filling or canned pumpkin with additives. Pumpkin puree is 100% real, steamed and pureed pumpkin.
- Easy to make- The balls are no-bake and come together in 1 bowl in less than 30 minutes.
- Take on the go- You can meal-prep and take the bites on the go all week. Pop one in your mouth before a workout or have them as an after school or midday snack.
- Wholesome ingredients- Nut butter, whole rolled oats, and chia seeds provide healthy carbohydrates, fat, and fiber. These ingredients keep you fuller for longer while satisfying your sweet tooth.
Watch How to Make Pumpkin Protein Balls
Here are notes about some of the ingredients used. For quantities and the full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Whole rolled oats- Quick cooking oats can be used, but don't use steel cut oats because they won't absorb enough liquid and get soft.
- Chia seeds- These little seeds help thicken the balls by absorbing liquid. They have fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and many health benefits. You can buy chia seeds at health food stores and regular grocery stores and use leftovers to make cookie butter overnight oats, lemon cheesecake overnight oats, or chia seed banana bread!
- Pumpkin pie spice- This is a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. You can find pumpkin pie spice at most grocery stores or spice shops. You can also make your own!
- Collagen- For protein, I used a scoop of collagen peptides. Collagen is said to benefit skin, hair, and nails, although large-scale research is lacking. You can also use plain or vanilla protein powder, or even plant-based protein to make the pumpkin balls vegan.
- Cashew butter- I like creamy cashew butter for its mild taste. It holds the ingredients together but lets the pumpkin and warm spices stand out while adding healthy fats.
- Maple syrup- This sweetens the dough and adds a warm flavor and moisture.
- Pumpkin puree- Use pumpkin puree that doesn't have added ingredients, sweeteners, or artificial flavors. Do not use pumpkin pie filling or "canned pumpkin"! Here's an article that describes the difference. My favorite is Whole Foods 365 Pumpkin Puree.
- Vanilla extract- A splash of vanilla enhances the other flavors.
- Coconut- Use toasted shredded coconut or coconut flakes for extra crunch and flavor.
- Chocolate chips- You can use any chocolate you like- milk, dark, or white! I personally prefer mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs.
- Oats: If you need to make these gluten free, use certified gluten free whole rolled oats. Also check the nutritional panels of the other ingredients for cross-contamination.
- Chia seeds: These are optional, and hemp hearts can be substituted.
- Cashew butter: Any creamy nut or seed butter can be used, like peanut butter, sunflower butter, or almond butter. Avoid nut butters with added sugar.
- Maple syrup: Any thick liquid sweetener can be used instead, like honey or date syrup.
- Chocolate chips: If you don't like chocolate in your protein balls, you can leave it out and use pumpkin seeds or pecans instead.
Helpful Equipment and Tools
You need a large mixing bowl, whisk, rubber spatula, and an airtight container to store the balls in.
Step by Step Instructions
STEP 1: First, add the oats, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, allspice (optional), and collagen to a large mixing bowl. Mix until the oats are coated with spices.
STEP 2: Next, add the cashew butter, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Then, stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until well combined. The batter will be thick, wet, and sticky.
STEP 3: Gently fold in the shredded coconut and chocolate chips, scraping around the sides of the bowl. This evenly distributes the chocolate chips so you get some in every bite.
STEP 4: Next, roll about 1 tablespoon of batter into a bite-sized ball with your hands. The dough will be quite sticky!
Use a measuring spoon or 2 ounce cookie scoop to be more accurate. I like to drop batter from a cookie scoop into my palm and roll each portion to even out the edges and make it round.
STEP 5: Once the balls are rolled, set each one on a plate or lined baking sheet and let them chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Chilling helps the ingredients solidify and stick together so the balls don't fall apart.
After that, transfer them to a storage container and enjoy your snacks for the week!
- If the mixture seems too dry before rolling the balls, add a little more honey or cashew butter.
- If the mixture seems too wet, add more oats to absorb the liquid.
- Use a cookie scoop to portion the mixture if you don't want to use your hands.
- If the dough is a little too sticky and messy, refrigerate it for about 10 minutes before rolling into balls.
Additions and Variations
There are lots of different mix ins you can add here! I recommend only adding a few to keep the structure. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Nuts and seeds: Chopped nuts (like pecans, almonds, or walnuts) and seeds (like flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds) provide extra protein, healthy fats, and a satisfying crunch.
- Spices: Add more spices like turmeric, anise, and cardamom to change the flavor profile.
- Dried fruit: Diced dried fruit like dates, apricots, or raisins add natural sweetness and chewiness.
- Flavor extracts: Experiment substituting the vanilla with other extracts like almond, maple, or coconut.
How to Store
Store your protein balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 5 days. Don't store on the counter at room temperature because they will get too sticky.
Freeze the balls in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Before enjoying, let them thaw in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or eat them frozen!
Frequently Asked Questions
I prefer unflavored collagen peptides. You could also use unflavored or vanilla protein powder, pea protein, whey protein, or even bone broth powder.
You probably didn't add enough nut butter. Add a little more and problem solved. If your dough is too wet, add more oats to soak up the liquid.
You can eat them any time! Enjoy them for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, for dessert, or as a nourishing midnight treat. They are also a great boost of protein before or after a workout to replenish your energy.
More Fall and Winter Recipes to Try
Pumpkin Protein Balls
- large mixing bowl
- First, add the oats, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, and collagen to a large mixing bowl. Mix until the oats are coated with spices.1 ⅔ cup whole rolled oats, ¼ cup chia seeds, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon allspice, 1 scoop collagen peptides
- Add the cashew butter, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, and vanilla to the bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until well combined. Batter will be sticky.1 cup cashew butter, ½ cup maple syrup, ½ cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Gently fold in the shredded coconut and chocolate chips, scraping around the sides of the bowl.¼ cup shredded coconut, ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- Using your hands, roll about 1 tablespoon of batter into a bite-sized ball between your palms. The dough will be super sticky! Set each protein ball on a plate or lined baking sheet after rolling.
- Chill the protein balls in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to solidify. Transfer to an airtight storage container and enjoy.