Busy Day Peanut Butter Protein Balls


Once a month we’re featuring a new family-friendly dish from the Hatfields for our Kids Can Cook section. The dairy-free teen cooking star is Katherine and this week she and her mom, Sarah, have been rolling dairy-free peanut butter protein balls. Sarah has the pictures and details for us.

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Balls - an easy energy recipe for busy days!

While school doesn’t start in our district until after Labor Day, fall activities are up and running. Band camp and cross country practice began in August, and soccer and dance won’t be far behind. Tae kwon do?
It’s year round, baby.

Besides my constant nagging about hydration and sunscreen, I am forever reminding everyone to fuel up on protein. A slice of toast with dairy-free margarine just isn’t going to get you through four hours of marching in 90 degree heat with 80 percent humidity. But I also know that you don’t necessarily want to run five miles with a homemade breakfast sandwich bouncing around in your stomach. The kids were looking for something satisfying that wouldn’t weigh them down. Something to grab and go during the brief snack breaks they are allowed.

So I went to my recipe file to dig up a favorite peanut butter recipe from my childhood. As I scanned the faded ditto machine copy (Remember those?), I was surprised to see that the recipe called for corn syrup, and a lot of it. So in addition to making this classic recipe dairy free, Katherine and I also made it lower in sugar with healthier sweetener options.

Then we had tons of fun dipping the protein balls in every coating we had in the house. I didn’t have any wheat germ on hand, but I think it would be fun to add some for that ultimate 1970’s flavor. You can also make your own peanut butter using the How to Make Peanut Butter guide at Texanerin.

Be sure to pack the protein balls in an insulated container if you are taking them to practice, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Balls - an easy energy recipe for busy days!

Special Diet Notes: Peanut Butter Protein Balls

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, optionally grain-free, optionally nut-free, optionally peanut-free, optionally vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.

For soy-free, dairy-free peanut butter protein balls, you can swap in rice milk powder. Most coconut milk powder brands do contain dairy, but Native Forest Coconut Milk Powder is a good dairy-free option.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Balls
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 24 balls
Peanut Butter Protein Balls
  • 1 cup peanut butter, nut butter, or sunflower seed butter (for nut free)
  • 1 cup powdered dairy-free milk (We like Better Than Milk Soy Powder,Original flavor)
  • ⅓ cup honey or agave nectar (for vegan)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt (omit if the nut butter is salted)
Coating ideas:
  • Gluten-free rice cereal
  • Coconut flakes
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Dairy-free mini chocolate chips (We used Enjoy Life)
  • Chopped nuts or sunflower seeds
  • Ground flax seeds or wheat germ
  1. Add the peanut, nut or seed butter, dairy-free milk powder and honey to a medium bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  2. Pinch off a small section of the dough and roll into a ball that's approximately 1-inch in diameter. Continue with the rest of the dough.
  3. Roll the balls in your desired coating, or leave plain.
  4. Place on waxed paper.
  5. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Balls - an easy energy recipe for busy days!

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. Her previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at Travelago.com, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Sarah was a 'mom blogger' for many years but now mostly hangs out on Go Dairy Free and Instagram.


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  2. We love this recipe. To add a good sensory touch and to make the mixing easier, we wash our hands thoroughly and do the initial mixing of the ingredients with our hands in a large bowl. Much easier to mix this way and it is fun for the kids to be involved. Fun to lick our fingers clean when we’re done mixing!

  3. Do you think pure maple syrup could be substituted for honey or agave? Both of those are far too high in excess fructose for our son who has fructose malabsorption.

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  5. These would be PERFECT for my 9 year old. He doesn’t ever have an appetite nor want to eat, and I’m constantly hounding him to get in some calories and protein. I’ve NEVER seen him turn down chocolate though, so perhaps these will be a winner 🙂

  6. I love the non-sticky magic that happens when you mix nut butters with honey. And I LOVE all these great coating ideas. What other alternative powdered milks are out there?

    • That’s so true! It’s a bizarre yet very cool reaction. I like the Native Forest Coconut Milk Powder. I’ve had success with Growing Naturals Brown Rice Milk Powder, but they have at least temporarily stopped producing it. I haven’t tried the other brands, but there are several. I actually think pea protein powder could work great, too, but didn’t want to add that to the notes above without testing.

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