Homemade Protein Energy Balls – Way Better Than Ferrero Rocher!

Craving Ferrero Rocher but want something healthier? Try these protein energy balls with dates and oats, and, of course, hazelnuts! They capture the luxurious taste of your favorite chocolate treat but are packed with healthy and nutritious ingredients.

homemade Ferrero Rocher protein balls

Perfect for a pre-workout or post-workout snack or a guilt-free sweet indulgence, each protein ball is loaded with about 6 grams of protein and a perfect blend of carbs.

Let’s make these rich, chocolatey, nutritious, and healthy Ferrero Rocher balls!

Simple Ingredients for Delicious Protein Energy Balls

Before we jump into making these delightful treats, let me break down the ingredients that are actually quite simple and you may already have in your kitchen; if not, then below, I have listed some alternatives you can use instead.

homemade Ferrero Rocher protein balls
  1. Hazelnuts: The secret to that Ferrero Rocher taste! Roasting these will bring out a delicious, nutty flavor; in my opinion, it really makes a difference.
  2. Dates: A natural sweetener. Remember to soak the dates in hot water for about 10-15 minutes before use. This softens them up, making them easier to blend. And don’t forget to pit them!
  3. Protein Powder: This amps up the protein content. My favorite is this Creamy Vanilla Whey Isolate. But feel free to use any brand or flavor you like or have already.
  4. Cocoa Powder: If you don’t have any yet, get this healthy one here for an irresistible chocolatey taste, much like in a Ferrero Rocher.
  5. Oat Flour: It helps bind all the ingredients. If you don’t have oat flour, no worries! Just use regular oats; they work just as well, but the texture might be just slightly different.
  6. Maple Syrup: Adds a bit of natural sweetness and helps to bind everything together. If you don’t have any maple syrup, you can use honey.
  7. Dark Chocolate: We’ll use this for coating. It gives a lovely, rich finish to the balls, much like the outer layer of a Ferrero Rocher but just healthier.

Let’s Make Some Yummy Protein Energy Balls!

blending the ingredients

Alright, let’s get into making these super yummy Protein Energy Balls! I’ve got some easy steps for you to follow. And, if you’re more of a visual learner, just check out my recipe video also.

And don’t worry; there is really no cooking if you have already purchased toasted or roasted hazelnuts.

Step 1: Roasting Hazelnuts

roasting hazelnuts in oven

Start with roasting the hazelnuts – a helpful step to unlock that Ferrero Rocher flavor. Preheat your oven to 190°C (374°F) and roast the hazelnuts for about 10 minutes. You’re aiming for a very slight golden color and an aromatic scent.

Then, wrap them in a towel and rub them to remove the skins. Hazelnut skins have a bit of a bitter taste so I would say it’s worth the extra effort.

Step 2: Preparing the Mixture

blending hazelnuts dates and oats and protein powder

In a food processor, blend 2/3 of the roasted hazelnuts with the soaked and pitted dates, protein powder, cocoa powder, oat flour (or regular oats), and maple syrup.

Blend until you achieve a sticky, cohesive mixture. If it feels too dry, add a little hot water or maple syrup. The texture should be like a firm dough.

Step 3: Shaping the Balls

folding one hazelnut inside the dough

Next up, grab some of that blended mix and flatten it a bit into a small disk. Pop a hazelnut right in the middle and then roll it into a ball. Super simple, right? Each protein ball turns out with a neat little hazelnut surprise inside, kind of like a Ferrero Rocher.

rolling the protein balls

Try to keep them all about the same size for even setting. You should end up with around 7 to 10 of these yummy protein balls.

uncoated protein energy balls with dates and oats

Once you’ve got them all rolled out, put them in the freezer for a little while as you prepare the chocolate coating.

Step 4: Chocolate Coating

mixing chopped hazelnuts with dark chocolate

It’s time for the fun part – coating them in chocolate! Chop up the remaining hazelnuts. Then, melt the dark chocolate and stir in the nuts.

dipping each protein ball into the chocolate mixture

Next, dip each protein ball into the chocolate mixture, making sure they get an even chocolate coat all around.

Step 5: Setting the Protein Balls

Place the coated protein energy balls on a tray and refrigerate until set, usually about an hour.

Ready to Enjoy These Protein Balls?!

chocolate coated protein energy balls

And there you have it – your own batch of homemade Protein Energy Balls, echoing the taste of Ferrero Rocher but, in my opinion, so much better.

Do check out my video recipe for these energy balls. It’s especially useful for visualizing the consistency of the mixture and the chocolate coating process.

Customization Ideas for Your Protein Energy Balls

low calorie version of these protein balls

One of the best parts about these Protein Energy Balls is how easily you can tweak them to suit your taste buds or dietary needs.

Here are some fun and tasty ideas to customize your batch:

  1. Mix Up the Nuts: Not a fan of Ferrero Rocher or hazelnuts or simply want to try something different? Almonds, walnuts, or pecans are great alternatives. Each nut brings its own unique flavor and nutritional benefits.
  2. Experiment with Protein Powders: Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, or just have a preferred protein powder flavor, feel free to switch it up. Chocolate, vanilla, or even unflavored protein powders can add an interesting twist to the balls. Check out these 10 Complete Plant Protein Powders Here.
  3. Spice It Up: For a warm, spicy note, add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg. These spices not only enhance flavor but also offer additional health benefits.
  4. Vanilla or Almond Extract: A dash of vanilla or almond extract can significantly elevate the flavor profile of your energy balls.
  5. Get Fruity: Consider adding dried fruits like cherries, apricots, or raisins for a different sweetness and texture. You can chop them up or add them to the food processor with other ingredients for a smoother texture.
  6. Nut or Seed Butter Twist: Add a spoonful of almond butter or tahini, or any nut or seed butter of your choice for a creamier texture and extra protein kick.
  7. Chocolate Chips or Cacao Nibs: For chocolate lovers, adding a handful of dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs can make these balls even more irresistible.
  8. Coating Variations: Instead of dark chocolate, try rolling the balls in unsweetened cocoa powder, crushed nuts, or shredded coconut for a different finish.
  9. Seed-Based for Nut Allergies: If you’re catering to nut allergies, use seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds as a nut substitute.
  10. Sweetener Adjustments: If maple syrup isn’t your thing or you’re watching your sugar intake, try using honey, agave nectar, or even this keto-fredley sugar-free maple syrup here.

Remember, the key is to have fun and experiment. Feel free to mix and match these ideas to create a protein ball that’s uniquely yours!

How to Store These Protein Energy Balls?

For short-term storage of your protein energy balls, keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days or refrigerate them for up to a week to maintain freshness.

If you want to store them longer, freeze the protein balls on a baking sheet and then transfer them to a freezer-safe container; they’ll last for about three months. Just remember to thaw them slightly before enjoying them.

Protein Energy Balls Recipe – The Perfect Blend of Carbs and Protein!

Recipe by Jen Evansy
5.0 from 3 votes
Course: SnacksCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Cooking time




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Indulge in a healthier treat with these homemade Ferrero Rocher-inspired Protein Energy Balls! Packed with the goodness of dates, oats, hazelnuts, protein powder, and natural sweeteners, they offer a perfect balance of rich flavor and nutritional benefits. Ideal for satisfying your chocolate cravings with fewer calories and more protein, these energy balls are a delicious, guilt-free snack that’s easy to make. Enjoy the luxurious taste of your favorite chocolate treat with a healthy twist!

Cook Mode

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  • Begin by soaking the dates in hot water for about 10-15 minutes. This softens them and makes them easier to blend. After soaking, slice each date open and gently remove the pit from each date. Set the pitted dates aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 190°C (374°F). Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast them for 5-10 minutes until the skin peels off. Allow to cool.
  • In a food processor, combine 2/3 of the roasted hazelnuts with the pitted dates, protein powder, cocoa powder, oat flour, and maple syrup. Blend until you have a grainy, sticky dough. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little hot water. If it’s too loose, add more oat flour. The dough should be able to hold its shape when rolled into a ball.
  • Shape the mixture into small disks, add a hazelnut in the center, and roll into balls. You’ll get about 7 to 10 balls. Place them in the freezer while you are making the chocolate coating.
  • For the chocolate coating, chop the remaining hazelnuts. Melt the dark chocolate in a water bath and mix in the chopped hazelnuts. Coat each ball in this chocolate mixture.
  • Allow the chocolate-coated balls to cool completely in the fridge until they are set.

Recipe Video


  • Roasting Hazelnuts: Make sure to roast the hazelnuts until they’re just slightly golden brown. This not only enhances their flavor but also makes the skin easier to remove. After roasting, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins.
  • Soaking Dates: If your dates are very dry, soaking them in hot water is crucial. This softens them, making it easier to blend them into a smooth paste. Remember to remove the pits before blending.
  • Consistency Check: When processing the ingredients, stop occasionally to check the consistency. The mixture should be sticky enough to hold together but not too wet. If it’s too dry, add a bit more maple syrup or a splash of hot water.
  • Coating with Chocolate: For a smoother finish, use a fork to dip the balls in melted chocolate, letting excess chocolate drip off before placing them on a parchment-lined tray or plate.
  • Customization: Feel free to customize the recipe by adding a pinch of sea salt, vanilla extract, or even a sprinkle of chili powder for a unique twist.
  • Nut Allergies: If you’re catering to nut allergies, you can substitute hazelnuts with seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a different but still delicious flavor profile

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In Summary

There you have it – a simple and delicious way to make protein energy balls with dates and oats that are not just a treat for your taste buds but also nutritious, resembling healthy Ferrero Rocher balls in both taste and texture.

These protein energy balls are perfect for when you need a quick energy lift or a healthy snack on the go. I love having a batch ready in my kitchen, and I’m sure they’ll become a favorite in your snack repertoire too. Give them a try and enjoy the perfect blend of carbs, protein, and flavor!

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.