Almond Butter Date Balls

Have snacks, will travel! These Almond Butter Date Balls are made with just dates, maple syrup, almond butter, and nuts. They come together quickly in the food processor. I dare you to eat just one!

Chocolate almond butter balls
Alison Conklin

In mid-afternoon, when the hungry children come running off the bus and throw open the fridge or pantry doors and declare with utmost urgency, “I NEED FOOD!!!!” I need to be armed. Lest I face the wrath of the hangry.

I want something that’s going to sustain them, and keep them from saying to me in ten minutes, “I’m still hungry!”

Enter these almond butter date balls.

A Kid-Friendly Afternoon Snack

I love throwing a snack together quickly that keeps in the fridge for days. Bonus points if it can be made with ingredients I already have on hand. And double bonus if it’s relatively “healthy,” insofar as it’s not loaded with sugar. (There is a time and a place for things that have sugar and you’ll never see or hear us at Simply Recipes get preachy. But sometimes you want something that’s a little less, ahem, indulgent.)

These almond butter date balls meet the criteria—and then some, because they will sustain the kids thanks to the protein in the almond butter and the nuts. And the balls are just sweet enough that they can satisfy the sweet teeth my children have inherited from both sides of the family.

Triple bonus? If both of my boys like it, this means they will look for it—which means that they’ll eat it without being reminded that it’s there. And that’s the case with these date balls.

Chocolate almond butter balls add the maple syrup, almond butter
Alison Conklin
Almond Butter Energy Balls
Alison Conklin

Easy Protein Balls in the Food Processor

This recipe would not be possible without a food processor. It’s just what you need, and there’s no real way to do it without one. But it happens so quickly, and you can have your kids lick the bowl. Reward!

A Few Words of Advice

There is a small margin of error with this recipe. A couple of tips!

  • Don’t tightly pack the dates into the measuring cup. You’ll have too much and the ingredients won’t come together properly in the food processor. This may result in the motor stopping in its tracks, creating a sad ending for what looked like a delicious beginning.
  • Don’t be tempted to add more liquid. You’ll think you can fix by adding more liquid (i.e., maple syrup), but trust me, I have learned the hard way that this recipe is not very acquiescent to course corrections! You will just create new problems—i.e., a gloppy batter.
  • Stop the food processor as soon as the mix comes together. If you don’t, it will inevitably result in the food processor motor getting stuck and the whole works will come to a screeching halt. Again.
No-Bake Almond Butter Balls place them on a rimmed baking sheet
Alison Conklin

Have Snacks, Will Travel

Because these babies are so fast to make, and because they’re sweet and small, they are the perfect snack or after-dinner treat if you don’t want to have something really sugary but want to indulge a little bit.

They also travel well—I’ve shared them with my yoga classes many times.

Dates and nuts are incredibly good for you (magnesium, fiber, protein, so on and so forth) anyway, but regardless, these just taste good. They also happen to be vegan and gluten-free, if those are two areas of concern.

How to Store These Date Balls

These date balls keep great in the fridge, covered, for a couple of weeks. I’ve kept them longer than that, mostly when I was recipe testing and forgot they were in there, but honestly most of the time they go pretty quickly.

They're fine at room temperature, and you can store them covered in a container at room temperature for a few days. But if it’s hot or even just a bit warm, be prepared for them to go a little splat and get a bit misshapen.

Try These Other Tasty Snacks!

Almond Butter Date Balls

Prep Time 5 mins
Chill 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 15 to 16 date balls

I sometimes like to add a tablespoon or so of dried cranberries to give this a bit of a tart twist.


For the balls:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts

  • 1/2 cup pitted dates (about 4 to 5), cut into quarters

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, any kind (I usually use Hershey’s Special Dark)

  • Scant 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup almond butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds

  • Cooking spray, optional

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Special Equipment

  • Food processor


  1. Start the date balls:

    Place the walnuts and dates into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, and pulse several times until well combined. The pieces should look like a rough crumble.

    Add the cocoa powder, maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract, and sea salt and pulse until the mixture is smooth and thick; it will start to peel away from the edge of the bowl.

    When this happens, stop the food processor; if it keeps whirring away, it may get stuck because these ingredients are, well, sticky! Keep a close eye on this, as it will come together quickly.

    Almond Butter Energy Balls add the dates and walnuts
    Alison Conklin
    Date almond butter coconut balls pulse the dates and walnuts
    Alison Conklin
    Chocolate almond butter balls add the maple syrup, almond butter
    Alison Conklin
  2. Add the almonds:

    Add the almonds and pulse a few times to incorporate them. You want them sort of irregularly sized, so that some pieces are still pretty crunchy and offer a variety of textures.

    Almond Butter Energy Balls
    Alison Conklin
  3. Roll the date balls:

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Place the coconut in a small bowl and the cocoa powder in another bowl.

    Using a cookie scoop measuring about 1 1/2 tablespoons (like this one) and sprayed with cooking spray for easy release, scoop out the mixture, roll it into golf-ball shapes, and roll in the shredded coconut or the cocoa powder. (I usually do some in coconut and some in cocoa powder, and leave some plain.)

    Chocolate almond butter balls roll the balls
    Alison Conklin
    No-Bake Date Balls roll the balls in cocoa powder
    Alison Conklin
  4. Chill and store the date balls:

    Transfer the date balls to the baking sheet and chill them for a few hours or overnight, if needed. Once they've firmed up, transfer to a plastic lidded container and keep in the fridge for several weeks, but I've never, ever, had them last that long. They are usually consumed too quickly.

    Chocolate almond butter balls line the balls on the baking sheet
    Alison Conklin
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
173 Calories
11g Fat
17g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 15 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 173
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 57mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 170mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.