These Coffee Whey Protein Balls are chewy, high protein, grain-free and taste like coffee cake. They come together easily too. All you need is a bowl and a spoon, no need for a blender or food processor!
I make the recipe into 16 small balls, then usually eat two at a time as a snack. Two balls gives 9.4g protein at 684kJ (163Cal) total, which isn’t bad for homemade protein balls without artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners.
To coat the protein balls and provide some textural contrast, I roll them in crushed almonds. It’s totally optional, but it does stop the balls from sticking together. That way, you can pile them into a container or jar straight after making them to store in the fridge.
To crush the almonds without getting a food processor out, I place a small handful of them on some cling film, fold the cling film over to enclose the almonds, then hit them with a mallet or heavy bottomed glass. It’s very satisfying and the cling film stops the almond crumbs going everywhere.
Ingredients for Coffee Whey Protein Balls
Cashew butter: I use unsalted cashew butter in this recipe, but unsalted almond butter also works well and gives slightly more protein. I would just avoid peanut butter because its strong peanut flavour might taste a bit strange with the coffee.
Rice malt syrup: Rice malt syrup is a fructose-free sweetener, handy for anyone with fructose sensitivity. It’s milder tasting than honey or maple syrup. If you prefer sweeter balls, you could use honey or maple syrup instead.
Whey protein isolate: I use unflavoured whey protein isolate. I’ve written about the difference between whey protein isolate (WPI) and whey protein concentrate (WPC) here if you’re curious. If you only have flavoured whey protein, vanilla should work well. Chocolate would give a mocha vibe. You will need to use whey protein though as its sticky texture when mixed with the coffee is what holds the balls together.
Vanilla extract: Vanilla brings extra sweetness to the balls and blends well with the coffee. I always prefer extract over essence because vanilla essence sometimes has a slightly chemical flavour.
Instant coffee granules: We dissolve the instant coffee granules in a small amount of water to get a strong coffee concentrate to flavour the balls. You could use freshly brewed strong black coffee if you prefer.
Coconut flour: This gives the balls structure and chewiness. You may need to adjust the amount used depending on how runny your nut butter is.
Sea salt: Adding a pinch of salt to the mixture enhances the flavours. You can leave it out if you prefer, but I highly recommend including it!
If you’re looking for another whey protein ball recipe that’s packed with protein, my Choc Mint Whey Protein Balls are also easy to make with just a bowl and a spoon. This recipe is a variation of that one, using coffee as the flavouring.
For a recipe using vegan protein powder, you might like to try my Easy Vegan Protein Balls. They’re made with a base of almonds, rolled oats and vanilla or chocolate plant-based protein powder.
16 small balls
- 1/2 cup (125g) cashew butter
- 1/4 cup (60ml/85g) rice malt syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons (6g) instant coffee granules, dissolved in 4 teaspoons boiling water
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup (50g) unflavoured whey protein isolate
- 6 teaspoons (16g) coconut flour
- Handful of almonds, for coating (optional)
1Mix the cashew butter, rice malt syrup, vanilla, dissolved coffee and sea salt in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
2Add the whey protein powder and coconut flour and mix until you get a dough. If your mixture is too sticky, add a little extra coconut flour. If it’s too dry, add a few drops of water.
3Divide the mixture into 16 portions. I do this by rolling the mixture into a large sausage, splitting it in two, then splitting each half in two and repeating this twice more on each portion to get 16. Bash up a small handful of almonds, if using, to coat the balls.
4Roll a portion of mixture into a ball and immediately roll it in the crushed almonds, if using. You want the ball to be warm from your hands so the almonds lodge themselves into the ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
5Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days, or freeze if you will take longer to eat them.
Since the whey protein powder is mixed with water from the coffee, I only trust the balls in the fridge for 1-2 days. I store enough balls in the fridge for this amount of time, then wrap the remaining balls in foil or a ziplock bag and freeze them. Defrost in the fridge for a few hours as needed.
Serving size: 1 ball (excluding optional almond coating)
Energy: 342kJ (82Cal)
Total Fat: 4.1g
Saturated Fat: 0.9g
Total Carbohydrate: 6.2g
Dietary Fibre: 0.7g
Nutrition information is an estimate only. It may vary depending on the brand of ingredients used.