bars gluten-free snacks

No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars

March 23, 2014

No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars – a healthy and portable snack packed-full of protein and made with healthy ingredients like dates, cashews, protein powder and rolled oats for a delicious and sweet no-bake treat.

No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars - a healthy and portable snack packed-full of protein!

Remember when I used to bake? Yeah, neither do I. Since The Great Valentine’s Day Healthy Bake-Off I have posted one single baked good recipe. I don’t know what has happened to me. I think baking 5 recipes in one week (well actually 7 if you count the two that failed) sort of did me in and I needed a little break. I have been baking some old classics but recently there has been very little experimentation at casa maven.

Then the other day the motivation came back to me and I set out to make some Peanut Butter Protein Cookies. However, when I pulled them out of the oven, they more closely resembled burnt turds than cookies. whomp whomp.

Part of me thinks my baking skills are a bit rusty, and another part of me knows how tricky baking with protein powders can be. I’ll be honest, I don’t tend to eat (or drink) a lot of protein powders. I’ve made a few protein powder goodies on the blog but in general I try to get my protein from meat, veggies and nuts. When I was exercising more I definitely found myself needing more protein and protein powders were certainly helpful, but now that I’m not in beast mode (thank god!) I just don’t need so much of it anymore. But when North Coast Naturals sent me some products for fun I wasn’t about to let them start collecting dust.

no-bake cinnamon roll protein bars 2Instead I went for attempt #2, with a muffin recipe. I put it out to you guys asking whether you prefer bars, balls or muffins as snacks and the majority of you said muffins. Well guys, I failed again (not the protein powder’s fault, I forgot to put a timer on the oven argh!) so you’re getting bars…that aren’t baked. SUCK IT UP. It’s cool though cause I drowned my baking sorrows by finishing a batch of these No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars in under 48 hours.

I know you’re a little impressed…

(edited: Just pulled some amazing muffins out of the oven. The baker is back!)


No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 bars 1x


  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews (could try substituting another nut)
  • 1 cup soft, pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup vanilla protein powder (I used Grass-Fed Whey)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 T unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

For the protein drizzle:

  • 3 T vanilla protein powder (I used Grass-Fed Whey)
  • 1 T almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)


  1. Place cashews and dates in a food processor or high-speed blender and process until they come together in a ball (about 2-3 minutes)
  2. Break up ball and add in protein powder, oats, cinnamon and salt. Process until oats are broken up.
  3. Add in 1 tablespoon of non-dairy milk and process until it comes together in a ball again.
  4. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with plastic wrap.
  5. Take “dough” from food processor and spread out in baking dish with hands. Top should be flat.
  6. Place in freezer for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile make the protein drizzle by combining the protein powder and non-dairy milk until powder has absorbed the milk.
  8. Remove bars from freezer and lift out of dish by picking up the plastic wrap.
  9. Cut into 12 bars.
  10. Add the protein drizzle to a ziploc bag and cut a very small hole in one corner.
  11. Pipe mixture in desired pattern over bars.
  12. Place in baking dish and freeze for another 15 minutes or until drizzle has hardened.
  13. Keep in fridge for up to 1 month or longer in freezer.

Healthy No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars - Your favorite dessert just got a protein makeover! The perfect school or work snack for an afternoon pick-me-up!
Cooking and baking, like riding a bike? Or do you have to be consistent with it? How often to you eat/drink protein powders?


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  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    March 23, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Whomp whomp indeed.

    This is the first no bake protein bar I’ve seen with dates in it- and withOUT a nut butter. Then I saw the damn food processor AGAIN. Can you stop catering to those with food processors (aka everyone) and cater for those without (aka me).

  • Reply
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
    March 23, 2014 at 6:23 am

    I don’t use protein powders either. I am definitely not in my baking mode even though I made cookies last week, I am no way close to baking like I used to all of the time. I think I go through phases. Lately, I think the main reason I am not baking is because I don’t feel like cleaning the kitchen!

  • Reply
    Tina Muir
    March 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Yes! Those look perfect! Definitely worth a failed effort of cookies I think! I will have to make a batch of these to take with me after hard runs. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
    March 23, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I love to bake, but I try not to do it every weekend or I’d be as big as a house because I really love to eat too! 😉 Sorry about all of the fails, but these definitely look like a win. Love that you used cashews… one of my favorite nuts to use with bars. Can’t wait to see what kind of muffins you cooked up!

  • Reply
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    March 23, 2014 at 8:34 am

    These look awesome! I do love my Quest bars but I hate paying for them…so I need to make more protein bars at home. I definitely do use protein powder on a pretty regular basis, but now that I’m not exercising as much I imagine I’ll be cutting back on those a bit.
    It’s been a little while since I’ve baked anything, but I’ve been craving banana bread…I think I’ll have to whip up your recipe again soon!

  • Reply
    jill conyers
    March 23, 2014 at 8:36 am

    The bars look amazing! My fails in making protein bars outweigh the successes but the successes are so worth it!

  • Reply
    Gabby @ the veggie nook
    March 23, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I haven’t been baking too much either! I think it’s because somewhere deep inside I know it’s supposed to be spring and that means less baking and more raw/no-bake treats. Soon mother nature will catch up with me!

  • Reply
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves
    March 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Oooo anything that tastes like cinnamon rolls has my attention! Even if it’s not baked. 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Polkadot
    March 23, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Even if you had a few baking fails you’re always on a roll with every of your no-bake bars/ balls. And on a cinnamon roll roll here – I like it!
    Despite my iron stomach when it comes to legumes I don’t handle protein powders – or the ones I tried so far – too well so I go very easy on them. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I used any. Same goes for not remembering the last time I baked [something non-savoury] and that clearly has to change. Keeping the bike riding skills in check, so to say.

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    March 23, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I’m kind of obsessed with that drizzle… and the fact that these are no-bake. You know me — I love not having to worry about the oven 😉 And you know all those failed experiments just mean you have to spend more time baking, so stop slacking 😛 Less savoury, more sweet!

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Nourish By Melissa
    March 23, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I seem to always be impressed with the amazing creations cashews can make! This recipe looks incredible 🙂

  • Reply
    Emily @smilemilegirl
    March 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    These look DELICIOUS!! 🙂 I’ve been searching for a new protein bar recipe. I’m getting bored of my staple. I can’t wait to try these.

  • Reply
    Ksenija @ With An Open Mind
    March 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    May I say that I am really happy about your failed baking attempts!? It’s only because I don’t have an oven for at least 6 more weeks (who knows when Jay and I will find a flat) and now I am actually able to make your recipe… but for the fact that I didn’t bring any protein powder to France. But I am considering to spoil myself with some hemp-protein, since I love to have it in my green smoothies.

  • Reply
    Becky @ Olives n Wine
    March 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    This looks like a protein recipe that I can get down with. Typically I think protein powder makes baked goods a little grainy (if that makes sense…) but with the addition of oatmeal, I think it would mix in super well! As for baking, I think it’s like riding a bike but then I’m a bakeaholic 😉

  • Reply
    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots
    March 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Oh wow these sound fab! I have been trying to figure out something to do with all these dates we have at the store and this just might be it!

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    March 23, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Oooh yum, bookmarking now to make soon! I totally know what you mean. I get on a kick of baking for a few weeks, then I don’t bake for a few weeks. Recipe creation in general comes and goes in waves for me! But I feel like I just like to let it flow and create recipes when I’m in the mood to, ya know?

    I put protein powder in my smoothies pretty often – usually every other day I’d say. I also eat protein bars probably every other day. I feel like with being a really active vegetarian, I need them to keep my protein intake high enough. No complaints though, I like my smoothies and Quest bars!

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    March 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Obvi I made these this morning and gifted you with pictures of my ball. Obvi they tastes amaaaaze. You’re the protein bar queen. Hope your hangover is calming itself. In the mean time, bring on da waffles!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Wow – I’m impressed with all of your baking experiments – even if they don’t work out perfectly!
    I don’t know if baking is like riding a bike – I’ve never been good at it.
    And, I don’t use protein powders – I’ve never tried them and don’t really want to (not sure why!).

  • Reply
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    March 23, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Dying for these, dying! Ok not dying, but extremely happy! I love cinnamon rolls so much, so put into a protein bar? Yes, girl, yes!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    These are so cute! Okay be honest. How did the drizzle on top taste? I’ve tried to do that before and it was yick.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 23, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Tasted amaaaazeballs. I squeezed the leftovers straight from the ziploc bag into my mouth #classy

  • Reply
    Heather @ Run Like a G!
    March 23, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I love to bake way more than I love to cook 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    March 23, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I really need to find a substitute for dates. They are the staple in so many delicious sounding recipes (like this one). And I can’t have them – grumble!!

  • Reply
    Mary Frances
    March 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    That is me and dates – I just can’t bake with them! So I love that you are a no baker 😉 Join the club!

  • Reply
    Gwen @simplyhealthyfamily
    March 23, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I havnt had acinnamonrollin 15 years! Love Em! These are sooooo happening ASAP!
    P.S. it says no bake but you have a cook time of 30 minutes.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Hi Gwen! I hope you enjoy them!

      They are technically no-bake but they do require two 15 minute intervals in the freezer. Still not sure if that counts as “prep time” or “cook time”! For google searches to appear in a certain way you need to include both so I just took a guess! Definitely confusing though 😉

  • Reply
    Brittany @ Barr & Table
    March 24, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Ha! I think my baking skills are a little rusty too.. I definitely didn’t knock it out of the park with my banana muffins this weekend. At least you have something delicious to replace yours with! I’ll definitely be making these 🙂

  • Reply
    Deryn @ Running on Real Food
    March 24, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Awesomeness!! These look so yummy and easy. I love anything no-bake because, well, I’m pretty lazy when it comes to making healthy snacks! Who needs ovens, anyways??

  • Reply
    Cara's Healthy Cravings
    March 24, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I love to bake and cook, but I am with you on the inspiration front. If I am uninspired, it just doesn’t happen, apart from cooking for work and for myself 😉

  • Reply
    March 24, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Davida, love that you used Cashews! Wasn’t expecting that! These sound and look perfect! Always looking for a new way to get protein. Saving for later 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    March 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I’ve also resisted protein powder so far.

  • Reply
    Jess @dearhealthyness
    March 24, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I’m really lazy to do anything at all today! Can you send them to me via ups, next day delivery? They sound really yummy!

  • Reply
    Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
    March 25, 2014 at 6:10 am

    You had me at cinnamon roll! And I’m definitely of the mindset that cooking/baking is like riding a bike…but it may take a couple of wobbly tried before you really get rolling! Trouble is, I have no patience for that…hence the reason it’s been FOR.EV.ER since I’ve (successfully) made a pancake. Whatevs…I’m a rebel…obviously without cause.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I love this!! Especially your “icing” – what an awesome idea!

  • Reply
    Alex @ Kenzie Life
    March 27, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I love no bake bar recipes because I’m about 100x more likely to make those ASAP because I don’t have to deal with an oven! I used to be really into protein powders (who am I kidding, I have 6 different kinds in my pantry right now–yes, it’s a problem) but I haven’t used them a lot lately. I usually do more in the summer, so I need to replenish my vanilla stock!

  • Reply
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs
    March 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Cannot wait to hear more about those muffins! Meanwhile, I think that these lovely bars could do ; ) Seriously, a cinnamon roll in bar form??? You’re a genius Davida! I’ll take ten of these!

  • Reply
    March 30, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Bars of these texture are SO DANGEROUS for me. I eat them like cookie dough. I have to try these though. They look like some quinoa energy bars I made… but I had an idea to improve them so I might remake and rephotograph!

  • Reply
    Mary @ Fit and Fed
    April 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Hi Davida. How cool that you even made a healthy frosting ‘drizzle’ for these. Energy bars are the one type of recipe where I do often use protein powder– it really gives the snack some staying power when you are out and about.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Hey Davida,

    Thanks for sharing. Very nice imagery and I love that it’s gluten free! 🙂


  • Reply
    Angela @ Protein Companion
    May 11, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Your baking misadventures reminded me of my own. Right from burning to forgetting ingredients, I have done them all. That’s why seeing the words ‘No-bake’ was such a relief for me and they look so yummy too.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Yes, thanks for post.
    I understands

  • Reply
    September 11, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    These are delicious! I had to use a bit more milk to make them a ball, but they turned out excellent!

  • Reply
    joy beckerley
    December 7, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    what is the nutritional protein grams and calories

    • Reply
      Vanessa M.
      February 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      I made mine without the protein drizzle. Cut into 8 bars, they were 250 calories and 11 grams of protein per bar.

  • Reply
    Jason Beecher
    August 11, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    WARNING!!!! Making these may hurt your appliances. Made a batch a week ago and they were pretty good, but my wife loved them so I decided to make another batch. This round made our rarely used Cuisinart 7 cup food processor smoke and smell like an electrical fire. Thankfully it has not caught on fire, but I think the motor is shot all because of some cashews and dates that make a gooey mess. The only thing we use our food processor for is making cauliflower mash so whipping up steamed cauliflower is hardy taxing on the machine.

    Overall the first round was tasty, but a little chewy for my preference, but they are filling and a good snack. My wife loved eating them after nursing or pumping for our 5 month old daughter since she was usually starving.

  • Reply
    Vanessa M.
    February 11, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I made mine without the protein drizzle. They tasted fantastic! A definite keep. I will probably double the cinnamon next time since I like it so much .

  • Reply
    February 12, 2017 at 2:54 am


    What does T stand for as a unit of measurement? for example 3 T vanilla protein powder


  • Reply
    Protein Clubs
    August 7, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Thanks so much for these nice recipes. I’ll try them.

  • Reply
    November 29, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Your protein bar recipes look awesome but I can’t seem to see where you list their protein content. It’s late and I’m tired so maybe that’s why I’m missing it.

  • Reply
    Lindsey R Grant
    May 24, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Do you know the macos on one bar, at least round about?

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