These carrot cake energy bites are one of my very favorite no-bake snacks to make. They are a delicious snack that gives me a little boost when I’m feeling low on energy. They taste completely sinful, but are actually grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and naturally sweetened with dates, meaning there’s no additional sugar added to these energy balls. They are also a healthy snack for my kids, that they actually like!
You’ll want to keep them refrigerated, but that doesn’t mean you can snag a few for the road. They are great little snacks when you’re hiking or doing something else outdoorsy. They also make a great car snack when you are traveling with kids!
Carrot Cake Energy Bite Ingredients
I sat down to think about my favorite components of carrot cake — the carrots (duh), coconut, nuts, and dried fruit. I also like the spices in carrot cake. (Okay, I like the cream cheese frosting too, but there wasn’t any room for that in these healthy energy bites!)
Normally when I make protein balls, I use gluten-free rolled oats. But for these carrot cake balls, I like to use raw cashews. They’re a bit like Larabars that way.
The dates and carrots sweeten them just a bit without being too sweet and also helps them hold together. The sunflower butter also helps with that.
I love the flavor of these, but they do benefit from some unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. It takes the bites into the realm of tasting like dessert without actually being dessert. You can also roll them in shredded or desiccated coconut.
How to Make No-Bake Energy Bites
You will need a food processor fitted with a blade attachment for this energy bite recipe.
Place the carrots in the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Transfer them to a bowl and set them aside. Next pulse the raw cashews in the food processor until they are finely chopped, then add them to the bowl with the carrots. Repeat the same process with the coconuts and the dates.
Add all the ingredients back to the food processor and add the sunflower butter, spices, and vanilla, pulse the mixture until it comes together. If you feel like your mixture is too dry, add a little more sunflower butter.
Now roll the carrot cake energy mixture into 18-20 balls, laying them on a piece of parchement paper as you go. You can also roll them in unsweetened coconut at this point. Refrigerate or freeze them, or eat them right away!
Can I use another type of nut butter?
Yes, most definitely! I used sunflower butter to make these energy bites with dates, but you could substitute almond or another nut butter if you want, or even leave it out and add a few more dates.
How to Store Energy Bites
This energy snack recipe come together very quickly and keeps well in the fridge for a week or so, in an airtight container. They will also keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. That means you can whip up a batch or two and not have to worry about making more for a few days.
Tips for Making Carrot Cake Balls
Be sure to use raw cashews to make these healthy energy bites and not the roasted and salted kind. Raw cashews are firmer and milder in flavor.
Likewise, you should use unsweetened shredded coconut rather than the sweetened kind found in the baking aisle. I bet chunkier coconut flakes would work too, but I prefer using shredded.
Feel free to add more spices to suit your own tastes. I think these carrot cake energy bites are perfect as is, but to each her own.
More Healthy Snack Recipes:
- Roasted Chickpeas 3 Ways
- Tahini Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
- Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie
- No-Bake Healthy Lemon Macaroons
Carrot Cake Energy Bites
- 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 10 medium sized dates (or 5 very large)
- 2-4 Tablespoons raw sunflower butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Place carrots into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
- Next place raw cashews into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place in bowl with carrots.
- Repeat the same process with the coconut and transfer to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Put the dates into the food processor and pulse until chopped, then add the carrots, cashews, coconut, 2 Tablespoons sunflower butter, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture comes together. If it's too dry, add more sunflower butter a little at a time. Scrape down sides and pulse again, if needed.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper in a clean, dry surface. Use the small ice cream scoop or tablespoon-sized measuring spoon to form the mixture into 18-20 balls. Eat immediately, or place in fridge or freezer to firm up a bit. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about 1 week, or in the freezer for a month or two.
- Note: You can roll them in unsweetened coconut or leave them as is.
Originally posted May 2014, pictures and text updated January 2019