Well, that headline might be a little sensational.  But they are damn good tasting, can be made in under 5 minutes, and are quite healthy.  Trust me – these are simple to make and I’ve got the recipe and tricks to make them fast (and even pictures to go with the instructions!) at the end of this post.  In contrast to their simplicity, this turned into a long post!

Last autumn I was addicted to protein bars.  I loved Protein Plus from Powerbar, and Clif Builders from ClifBar.  But I would go for anything that had a lot of protein and tasted good.  I’d have one before, and one after, every workout (I wasn’t taking protein shakes).  Yes, I knew the sugar was bad for me.  But they were so yummy!!!

Then in December, as I kicked my training up a notch, I realized I had to kill this fetish.  I had to stop eating these “candy bars with protein” but I still needed convenient access to healthy protein (and a guy can only eat so much chicken and tuna…).   What I needed, was a homemade protein bar.  One that had all the good stuff and none of the bad.

[Aside:  when I was in grad school, my buddy Ross introduced me to his homemade protein bars.  Except, we called them "rope bars" because they were so high in fiber that they were like eating rope; and that's also what they tasted like.  Anyway...]

Goals For The Perfect Protein Bar:

  • fast to make
  • high protein
  • slow carbs (no processed sugar)
  • taste good
  • inexpensive

So I did what everyone does these days when we want to find ideas – I went to Google and searched.

Holy cow, there are a bazillion different recipes out there.  I spent hours reading what everyone else was doing.  And I tried a bunch of them.

To Bake Or Not To Bake

Essentially, you’ve got two classes of protein bars:  those you bake, and those you don’t. I tried some of the baked variations but they take too long (especially because you have to cook them at a really low temperature so that you don’t degrade the protein powder ingredient).  But the non-bake ones I tried all tasted bad (unless I veered away from the healthiness.

In the end, I threw away everyone else’s recipe and came up with my own.  And it achieves 100% of my goals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of no fat cottage cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
  • 2 cups of whole oats
  • 3 scoops of chocolate-flavored pure whey protein power

That’s it!  Couldn’t be simpler right? Now, I will state for the record I HATE cottage cheese.  But somehow, in this combo, it tastes awesome!

So now you try.  Here’s the process (really, under 5 minutes)…

How To Make These

Here’s a picture of the ingredients:

perfect homemade protein bar 2

And here’s all you need for utensils:  a bowl, a measuring cup, a measuring spoon, and a fork.  [I find it much easier/faster to mix with a fork rather than a spoon.]

perfect homemade protein bar 3

First add all the cottage cheese to the bowl.  Generic brand.  Save the container though!

perfect homemade protein bar 4

Second, add the oats.  Generic brand is fine.

perfect homemade protein bar 5

Then the protein powder.  I like the double chocolate flavor from ON but you can experiement.

perfect homemade protein bar 6

Lastly, add the natural peanut butter.  Make sure this is natural PB – the “regular” stuff has so much sugar it’s crazy.

perfect homemade protein bar 7

Now take the fork and mix it all at once.  Don’t worry, your forearms can handle it!

perfect homemade protein bar 8

Result has  the consistency of a light tuna fish salad.  Hey, it actually even looks like tuna fish salad…  Anyway, after you’ve mixed it you can now add it back into the cottage cheese container.  There will be about enough for one and a half containers, so I usually have an extra one around.

perfect homemade protein bar 9

Now here’s the only real downside.  You have to store them in the fridge because of the dairy. I’ve tried to shape them into bars, and they do hold the shape pretty well but since you have to keep them in the fridge anyway, I figured it was too much hassle.  So I just keep them in the container.

Since each batch ends up being about the equivalent of 6 bars, you can do a good job just eyeballing 1/6 of the mix if you are counting calories.  And the cost is under $0.50 per “bar”.

Nutritional Content

This results in the following nutritional content for the entire batch:

Calories = 1470
Fat = 45 g
— Sat. Fat = 8 g
— Trans Fat = 0
Cholesterol = 140 mg
Sodium = 1836 mg
Carbs = 147 g
— Fiber = 22 g
— Sugar = 24 g
Protein = 160 g

I break the batch into 6 servings so that means each serving would have (rounding the math):

Calories = 245
Fat = 8 g
— Sat. Fat = 2 g
— Trans Fat = 0
Cholesterol = 23 mg
Sodium = 306 mg
Carbs = 25 g
— Fiber = 4 g
— Sugar = 4 g
Protein =27 g

Highlights – strong protein, low sugar, low fat, slow carbs.  You like?  If so, post your comments here.  And spread the word – post links to this page everywhere!

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63 Responses to “World’s Best Tasting, Fastest, Healthiest Homemade Protein Bars”

  1. This sounds great! But I am not sure that I will find “cottage cheese” here in Italy… Is it very different from “ricotta”, in nutritional content and for the bar’s density?

  2. Those look awesome! I am trying them out!

  3. Great – I’m sure you’ll love them. Paolo – cottage cheese is different from ricotta, but might be worth trying! You can read more at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cottage_cheese

  4. Thanks for commenting on my website!

    Sorry, Darrin, I can’t agree with you that there is anything ‘healthy’ in these bars. As a primarily raw vegan bodybuilder, I can’t eat a single one of the ingredients, and I would strongly suggest that they all should be avoided.

    The cottage cheese and whey protein are pasteurized dairy, which are extremely detrimental to health, are acid-forming in the body, and contribute to loss of bone calcium. Please visit http://www.notmilk.com for information about how pasteurized dairy products are devastating to health. If nothing else, read the autopsy report of Florence Griffith-Joyner. The peanut butter is OK, but most peanuts (even ‘organic and natural’ ones) still contain fungus and aflatoxins, so they are not safe to consume. The oats do still have some semblance of health benefits left in that they still contain fiber, but they are most likely steamed and heat-processed, so they do not carry live enzymes and are thus a dead food. I have nothing against oats—I do eat RAW oats, which are soaked and sprouted to be the peak of nutritional power.

    Unfortunately, these are the types of ‘foods’ that are being touted as healthy by the mainstream media and all the big food and supplement companies with their clever and underhanded marketing. Most people in the health and bodybuilding fields have bought into these lies for years. I did too. I was right there a few years ago, until I started asking questions and thinking independently. Now I only eat Living Foods which have their enzymes fully intact.

    Your bars are a great idea, and I especially love the ‘quick, cheap and easy’ part. And I am sure they taste great, but they are harming your internal organs and your health as well. That can’t be good!

    Let’s make your great idea into a TRULY healthy bar:

    1 lb raw cottage ‘cheeze’ made from sprouted living nuts (like almonds, Brazil, macadamia, etc.) OR RAW dairy cottage cheese
    4 Tablespoons RAW Almond, cashew, pecan or hazelnut butter (or it’s NOT cheap, but raw jungle peanut butter is awesome! Jungle peanuts are true nuts, not legumes like what we call peanuts, and they taste delicious with tons of nutrients.)
    2 cups of sprouted RAW oats
    3-4 scoops of Sun Warrior RAW vegan brown rice protein, chocolate flavor

    Process all together in a food processor. (Definitely not as easy as yours by simply stirring, but you will need it for the raw oats) All the ingredients, except the Sun Warrior, will be available at any health food store, Whole Foods, or good grocery store. The Sun Warrior is available through my website at http://defiant-health.com/so-w.....r-protein/.

    Now this does sound pretty good. I will have to try it. You could also throw in some nuts, seeds, raw cacao nibs, etc to jazz them up a bit. Give it a try!

    Thanks again!

    Christy, aka “Defiance”

    http://www.Defiant-Health.com

  5. Paolo, you could try quark as a cottage cheese replacement, I can’t remember if there is a low fat version, but the texture is a bit like cottage cheese.

  6. Cool suggestion Defiance! For those of you who share her concern with dairy and our overall food supply, it sounds like a creative alternative.

    If others have more suggestions, or questions, chime in.

  7. Holy Cow! There is nothing wrong with these products. They are great for you. Don’t let the Vegan’s scare you. The whole Vegan thing is a political movement. I haven’t tried these, but I will because they contain the perfect foods.

    Thanks for the recipe,

    Dean

  8. The vegan stuff has merit and is a good alternative, but the foods in the bars are in no way unhealthy for you.

  9. None of these ingrediants are bad for you at all. You just have to eat them in moderation and you’ll be fine. All you vegan’s out there are crazy. Eat some freakin’ meat and go on with your life…

  10. Hello
    Very Nice blog with good ideas !
    Very instructive…
    Thanks
    John

  11. Today I found this blog and are amazed by the quality of information posted here.
    Nowadays are very few blogs that offer quality of information.

  12. Nice Post . . . I’m thinking about writing a reply actually or at least it got me thinking about some things I might want to write about . . .

  13. These bars are great. I just made them and they are by far the easiest, quickest, best tasting protein bar you can make or find! Thanks for the sharing the recipe!

  14. I have been trying bars for a while and not really crazy about the taste. I made these, it tasted a lot better than the ones I have bought in the past.

    My ingredients and measurements are as follows:

    Calories Protein

    Cottage Cheese 400 56g
    Peanut Butter 400 16
    Whey 420 75
    Oats 600 20

    Total 1820 167

    By the bulk, I can finish this in five servings. Which translates to 364 Calories and 33.5 grams of protein. I would suggest using a sause pan and a thick wooden spatula to mix the ingredients. Mine came out really thick.

    Thanks for sharing.

  15. I really despise most of the store-bought protein bars and yet I need one on hand very often. I want a bar with very few ingredients like this one…but I think I’m missing something obvious, here. I realize you are not shaping them into bars, but, how *are* you eating this container of protein? Are you saying you just scoop it out and eat it as basically cold oatmeal? with a spoon or… ? Or, do you cut off a piece if it’s firm enough? After you’ve eyeballed a portion, how are you dishing it out and eating it? Lordy, I’m so confused! But the ingredients are right up my alley, so I really will be verklempt until I see a response. I’m a little OCD that way.

  16. Hey Kate,

    I have been making these bars for almost a year now. I eat 1 or 2 a day depending on when I workout. Just make them the way he describes, and take some wax paper if you want to make them into a bar and use your fingers to shape them or you can put them into containers. I have done both. My preference is to make them into bars. Feel free to email me at dsawyer82@gmail if you have any other questions. This guy really discovered something great here! These bars are amazing. Just make sure to use all natural peanut butter.

  17. Can I put these in the oven for a bit to make them a little more solid?

  18. or should i shape them into bars and freeze them?

  19. @Hussain – I’ve not tried cooking them but given the high amount of cottage cheese, I doubt cooking them would work. Freezing them does work to firm them up a bit.

  20. i’m about to start the new year off by making my own protein
    mix. for the past week i was eating “pure protein” bars but
    i’m beginning to realize there may be more hidden cons in
    them from what i’ve read. is everyone still good with this
    recipe? have you made any adjustments to it & are you
    achieving your goals with it? thanks for the feedback,

    “E”

  21. @eric – I’m a bit biased here of course, but I swear by these. I eat them several times a week, every week, for years now. I do dial up or down on the amount of peanut butter, because that’s the source of (good) fat, depending on what my overall fitness goals are each month. But they taste great, are affordable, easy to make, super-healthy, and filling. Not much can beat them (though the ones in Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle are also great, just more effort).

  22. ok i made a batch, the numbers are close except for the sodium. there’s 1600 mg in 1 lb of fat free cottage cheese. all together about 1900 per batch. divided by 6 & it’s over 300mg per bar, not the 40
    you have. am i missing something? 1.5 lb fat free is 5 servings, 400mg per serving.

  23. @eric – I think you are right! It might depend on the brand, but the cottage cheese I use has 1600 per container. The other ingredients have 236 per batch (for my brands) so that’s where my error was. That means 1836/6 or 306 mg sodium per bar. Thanks for catching that! I’ll correct the post now.

  24. I love this recipe. Just finished making it again with almond butter. Might I make one tiny suggestion from someone who loves to cook:

    -Mix all the wet ingredients first, then add the oatmeal. Much easier to mix and you can do it with a spoon :-)

  25. hey darrin, been tweeking the recipe for 40+ days now.
    found a low fat, low sodium cottage cheese @ whole foods,
    a low fat, low sodium all natural peanut butter, 1 cup of
    the oats instead of 2 for slightly less carbs & 4 scoops
    of a whey isolate protein powder instead of 2. the ratio’s
    are awesome! the stuff is so much better than the protein
    bars from the stores that have a bunch of hidden sugar
    alcohol and i’m not a cottage cheese fan. i can’t even
    taste it. i’m hooked. with the rest of my weight lifting
    & cardio routine i’ve dropped 10 lbs in that time & have
    packed on some muscle too. this has been a good fit for
    me. thanks again.

  26. Fine work sir!…. Kudos to you

    These taste great and I hate all cheeses!. I thought with the smell of the cottage cheese whilst mixing that this recipe would not work for me but i’m so glad I tried it! I actually had to stop myself from nailing loads once it was mixed.

    For info I added a little ground flax seed to mine.

    Cheers again matey!!!

  27. This really sounds interesting, and I’ve re-read this over and over including comments, but I don’t get *how* you are eating these. Do you just scoop it out of the container in a 1/6 portion? Is it soft enough to eat with a fork or can you hold this “wad” in your hand? I.e., is it portable once you’ve taken a portion from the container? I don’t “see / understand” how the end product is presented and served from the pic of a container of protein dough. I’m not hung up on it being a bar shape, but I do hope it’s somewhat ambulatory in that it can be taken on the go.

  28. @kristy – if you stick with my ratios, it will not form a nice bar but it will be thick. Keeping in fridge is required of course because of the cottage cheese. But take a couple scoops in a little plastic container and it’s good for an hour or two. I’ve frozen it in bar shapes and that works great for a few hours to the gym. Some people have changed up the recipe to get it more solid, but they’ve reported either worse taste or worse healthfulness. It’s pretty easy and cheap to try, so I suggest you try it and see. Then you can adjust if you need it to be ultra portable.

  29. Hi Paolo S

    Sure you can get cottage cheese in Italia. Try Conad – it’s fiocchi di latte. Definitely NOT the same as ricotta.

  30. When you say “scoop” and “cup” how much is that in grams , roughly? Thanks for the recipe I will try this out (when I have sorted this out).

  31. @Runar – usually protein powders have a built in scooper, typically 25 or 30 g. And a “cup” is a standard unit of volume. “Grams” is a unit of weight, so to convert between the two, it depends on what is in the cup. So, just use a standard measuring cup.

  32. Just made these and solved the “bar” dilemma – for me at least. I poured the mix onto a non-stick cookie sheet and formed it into a large rectangle of even thickness. I popped the whole thing in the freezer to firm up and then cut the rectangle into 6 even sections (“bars”). I pop them back in the freezer and eventually have 6 frozen bars I can individually wrap in plastic wrap.

    Just a note – I may use a different brand of powder next time. I drink the ON Double Chocolate Whey as a shake but am not loving the taste in these bars.

  33. I just made these but instead of Chocolate protein I used Vanilla and I can say they taste very nice, kind of like white chocolate!

    Also a question about the protein powder that you put in, my scoop is about 15g of protein per scoop, would your scoop be 30g?

    I put in say double my scoop to your one scoop because that seemed about correct to match the protein in the overall recipe.

    Thanks for the great idea, I was kind of on the edge about making these when I saw the ingredients but it actually works!!

    YUuuuuUuUuUumMmmmmmmMMMM.

  34. I’ve tried this recipe yesterday as I’m trying to change my diet (I’m off processed sugar, not much dairy, not much meat, no wheat etc.)
    It’s absolutely amazing. I did it with gluten free oats and a raw protein so even without the chocolate it tastes pretty ok…I can only imagine how it tastes with a chocolate protein powder. I’m a woman and I’m trying to build muscle so it’s not so easy to find tasty, healthy protein when you don’t want to eat meat that is not super high calorie rich. what a great find.
    I do have one question though: how long does it last in the fridge?

  35. @Benjamin – 25-30g
    @Charlie – Mine seems to get a bit “funky” after 4 or 5 days in the fridge
    - And thanks guys for sharing your thoughts!

  36. While researching recipes I saw this one with so many positive responses and knew I had to try it! I agree with the majority-great taste, easy ingredients and most importantly good nutrition. Seems like a versatile recipe that is open to playing with different flavors too. Two thumbs up!

  37. I just made this for the first time, and I must say, just like everyone else; the taste is amazing!

    PS: If you don’t worry too much about the calorie content; topping the bars with some crushed almonds is a great addition!

  38. wow… i tried these, and was quite taken back at just how good they were! i hope you dont mind but im going to post your recipe on face book, ill post your link with it.

  39. I just made my first batch this morning. Soo happy that I was able to find an alternative to the expensive protein bars found in stores. Now that I have a basic recipe, I am going to experiment with nuts and dried fruits to enhance flavor and texture.

  40. I just made my first batch last night. I used almond butter instead. I also put mine in the freezer for a harder texture. I took one out to thaw about 30 minutes before i ate it and it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

    I travel a lot for my job, if you or anyone else knows of a good homeade bar that can sustain travel and doesn’t need to be refrigerated, please let me know. Thanks again!

  41. sounds amazing going to try this recipe out as generally struggle with eating protein bars due to lack of taste and too much sugar. I have a query though what constitutes a cup (my idea of a cup would normally be for drinking tea, yet when i look at your pics its more like the scoop you find in apack of oats)

  42. @Paul – one cup means one measuring cup (not just an oat scooper).

  43. @Paul – 1 measuring cup is about 2,5 desiliters.

    ;)

  44. Just made these. You should call them “Fill Me Ups”. I had one and nearly exploded. Tastes pretty good too. Thanks!

  45. I just made myself a batch of these puppies, without the oats. When I need the carbs I will mix them in seperately but otherwise this is a good low carb protein bar. SECOND, I added extra peanut butter to make it thicker so I could make it more “bar like”.
    And FINALLY!!!!!!!!!
    They are actually fairly delicious. :)

  46. Awesome everyone – I love hearing of tweaks/improvements!

  47. I’ve just done a substitution of 1/2 the oats for the same of TVP (textured vegetable protein). Was pretty cardboardy until I added a splash of vanilla. Suddenly I was scraping the bowl clean. Adds a whack of protein and fiber to boot.

  48. @ Defiance: as an MD and someone whos job is to learn about this stuff everyday, alot of the stuff you preach is more faith based science and not truly backed by real scientific blind or cohort studies. I’ve seen quite a few people come who get sick and they end up having Listeria infections from drinking unpasteurized milk. Fact: pasteurized milk is much safer than unpasteurized milk. So on one hand you say fungus is unsafe , but unpasteurized milk is safe (which also contains toxins from bacteria and fungi)…doesn’t quite make since. Cottage cheese does not cause bone loss in fact it is one of the products recommended for women with osteoporosis. And while I do agree most raw foods provide more nutrients (with the exception of carrots and a few others) they also provide more parasites, and bacteria that can kill you and deplete your nutrients. There is a reason why pasteurized milk became a standard in developed countries because many people were getting very ill from infections from unpasteurized milk like Listeria which is a parasitic bacteria that feeds off of your body.Its funny how people (not just you but politicians, businessmen,etc.) use a few select cases out of thousands that dispute their case to prove their point to the uninformed public, it’s almost like me saying all snakes are poisonous because I know one person that was bitten and died.

  49. Just tried your 5 min protien bar receip and it’s f***ing pish, not good at all

  50. They came out pretty good but I think I’ll add a little Stavia artificial sweetener next time…just to give a litte more flavor. I molded into squares using some soap molds from Michael’s craft store…then froze them, popped them out and drizzled very lightly with belgian chocolate (super lightly). Very nice…I’ll definitely make them again (sweeter) and write a post. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your recipe! :)

  51. Fair play I just tried this (and I was pretty sceptical) and its come out pretty good! I used about 300g of Low fat Cottage Cheese, 3 table spoons of natural p/b, Raw Oats (not that I’m vegan or anything but agree that its a bit healthier than processed oats), 2 scoops of Diet Whey Protein (Maximuscle) and also tried some grated dark chocolate (85% cocoa) on top, although to be honest the last bit didnt really have any noticeable effect.

    I’ve had about 2 tablespoons and it has filled me up, which is a minor miracle! Pleased for my first batch, although with hindsight I will use a bit less protein powder next time as its a touch dry, so had to add a splash of water.

    I have already started thinking of adding pumpkin seeds to it, and also have blueberries which I will try – only challenge now is to find a small enough container to take it to work… as I will eat it all :). Thanks!

  52. I was looking for a protein bar recipe I could make to take to work since making a protein shake at lunchtime was just not feasible for me. I made these but tweaked the recipe to my liking. Instead of cottage cheese I used a container of Fage Greek yogurt, 4 scoops of Isagenix chocolate protein powder, 4 Tbsp Nutella hazelnut spread, 3 Tbsp light Agave syrup, 1 Tbsp chia seeds and 2 cups oatmeal but I ground my oatmeal up in the blender before adding to the rest of the mixture. It reminds a lot of chocolate no bake cookies, one of my favorites.

  53. I just made these the other day, and I love em. The taste isn’t absolutely amazing, but it’s not bad. And I don’t really care anyway because I’m just looking for healthy food to help with my bulking. The only thing is it makes my mouth pretty dry, which is why I always eat it with milk. I love the fact that I don’t have to bake them, and I can make them in only a couple minutes. I keep it in Tupperware in the fridge, and so far it’s kept for about 5 days. I always hated cottage cheese as well, but you can’t even taste it in this mix! Which is great, because I always hear cottage cheese is one of the best things to have right before bed when trying to build muscle.

  54. I made these for my Live Healthy America Team at work and they did not go over well. They’re mushy and do not tast good. I would not recommend. “World’s Best Tasting” Hardly.

  55. Hi Angi – sorry to hear you didn’t like them. If you have a better homemade bar recipe, please share!

  56. these taste awesome

    vegans are crazy and need to wake up to themselves and that if eating this is unhealthy and we are all wrong and we are killing the earth then why the ehll are they using computers.

    also if you spoon the mix out into silicon cupcake moulds and then freeze they are easy to portion and take on the run.

  57. To up the protein and cut the calories further, I used 0% Greek yogurt in place of the cottage cheese. Also, instead of the oats, which I find have an unpleasant texture, I used oat flour.

    I shaped the bars after refrigerating them and stored them in the freezer. If I thaw them about five minutes, they are PERFECT to eat. Awesome recipe!

    I love that they are a high volume, low calorie bar. Most protein bars are much too calorie dense to have enough and be satisfied.

  58. Allen @ Allen's Fitness Blog
    March 6th, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Thanks for the recipe. I going to have to try these. They look great.

  59. I, too, am always searching for a tasty protein bar that has no sugar (at least no processed and minimal other, such as dates). It’s a tough road and although this recipe looks great, I try to avoid dairy when possible. That being said, I think I’ll try them and replace one ingredient at a time with something vegan and still try to keep the yumminess.

    Thanks for the recipe and keep searching for the perfect protein bar!

  60. I like this recipe and read most posts until I came across Amy’s reply and realized I make something similar. I use 1C Greek yogurt, 2Tbsp of PB and then whip. When I first found this recipe, it called for a little honey and some oats. I typically cut those out in order to keep carbs and sugar down. This can be a 20+ protein snack to indulge a couple times a day.

    Good Luck to All and Keep it up!
    NH

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