Ever since we have had two kids in school, snacks have become a top three planning item for the Crunch Time House. I like snacks like these No Bake Energy Balls with Dates that not only work as after-school snacks, but also I can add them to a lunch box!

Many versions of energy balls like this have shredded coconut in them as a binder, but I thought they were way too sweet so I added crackers instead. The crackers work great as a binder and are easy to crush and mix-in even without a food processor!

These energy bites can be made almost as an after-thought and keep great in the fridge for a week or so for healthy snacking.

What Ingredients to Use in Energy Balls?

I like to use dates for sweetness in energy balls like this. The Medjool dates are very common and can be found pitted in most grocery stores. After that you can kind of customize these to your liking. I do not recommend adding more sweetness if you are using dates. Things like honey or brown sugar can help binding the bites together nad are common in a lot of recipes, but I find they make the energy balls too sweet. 

Energy Ball basic ingredients.
The basics.

I like to add some sort of nut to the mix. I chose walnuts but you could use peanuts, pecans, or any similar nut.

For the binder, like I said, I chose crackers, but coconut works well also and makes for a sweeter finished energy ball.

Do you need a food processor to make these?

Many recipes for energy bites or energy balls on the Internet rely on a food processor to blend the mixture together into a singular consistency. While this is certainly easier, and what I use most days, it is far from essential. 

If you have a knife and a few minutes, you can chop up all your ingredients and stir them together. As your ingredients get mashed together, they will start to stick together and you can form a ball out of them. If you needed to add a little extra binder to the energy balls, try adding a nut butter or peanut butter that keeps the sugar levels lower. 

Making the Energy Balls

You have two options when it comes to making these energy balls.

Option one: Add the dates and nuts to a food processor and pulse until they are combined and stick together. Then add the other ingredients and pulse until everything is combined evenly.

Option two: If you don’t have a food processor or just don’t want to get it dirty for a snack recipe, just finely chop everything and add it to a bowl.

Chopped energy ball ingredients - dates walnuts.

I went with option two for this version!

Add the salt, vanilla, and hemp seeds (optional), and then mix everything until it sticks together. You should be able to form a ball easily with your hands. 

Mixture for energy ball with dates.

Then just roll the mixture out into balls that are about tablespoon-sized. As a rough estimate, you should be able to make about 16 energy balls out of the mix. You could make them smaller if you wanted.

I like them to be about a 2-bite snack. 

These No-Bake Energy balls are really delicious and give you a nice boost of natural sugars without any added sugar.

Give them a shot the next time you need a snack for your family!

No Bake Energy Balls with Dates

Variations for energy balls

There are unending variations you can try for these energy balls. Here are some ideas!

  • Add nut butters. If you want to make these a little more substantial, you could add peanut butter, almond butter or another nut butter to use as a binder. I would start with a few tablespoons and adjust. You don’t want the balls to be too sticky. 
  • Roll the energy balls in a coating like coconut or crushed nuts or crackers for some extra texture. 
  • Add more protein to the energy balls by adding a scoop of protein powder to the mix. This will change the flavor of the energy balls depending on what flavor of protein powder you use.
  • For a completely different twist on energy bites, try my S’more energy balls
  • Add-in a mix of seeds. Chia seeds or ground flaxseed are great and add extra fiber to the snack. 
  • Turn them into granola bars! Adding two cups of rolled oats, along with some extra binder like peanut butter, and pressing the mixture into a baking sheet will let you chop them up into bars! 

Storage tips and tricks for energy balls

These energy balls are very easy to store. They keep well in the fridge for at least a week. While you could freeze them, I don’t really think that’s necessary unless you want to make a large batch and freeze a batch for later. 

Personally, I just make a batch if I need a snack for the kids and I store them in the fridge and know that they will be gone within a week without a problem! 

Here are some of my other favorite after-school snacks

I’m really working on building out my snack ideas on Crunch Time Kitchen. You could start with this peanut butter version of the energy balls if you like that flavor profile or try this copycat RX bar recipe, which is a personal fave of mine.

Energy Balls with Dates

No Bake Energy Balls with Dates

4.25 from 4 votes
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 16 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 10 minutes
Need a quick and easy snack? Try these energy balls with just a few ingredients! Easy to mix up even without a food processor! No bake. No added sugar. Vegan!


  • 12 pitted medjool dates, finely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 6 RItz crackers, crushed
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Finely chop the dates, walnuts, and crackers. Stir together in a bowl and add the hemp seeds, vanilla and salt.
  • Mix the energy ball mixture together well until it’s combined and sticks together.
  • Roll out about 16 energy balls, each about a tablespoon.
  • Store the energy balls in the fridge for a week. Add to lunches or use as after school snacks!


Serving: 1ball | Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 18IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Snack Time
Cuisine: American

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Here are a few other great snack recipes!