4-Ingredient Nut-Free Apple Cinnamon Energy Balls

5 from 3 votes
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Apple Cinnamon Energy Balls are quick and easy healthy no-bake snacks kids love with the flavor of a sweet and sticky caramel apple. You only need four ingredients and a few minutes to make this gluten free after school snack recipe. Since they are nut-free and peanut-free, these energy bites are a perfect allergy-friendly treat to pack in a lunchbox too!

Originally published Aug 17, 2014.

Apple Cinnamon No-Bake Energy Balls Recipe

My kids, like most, are all about snacking. Whether it’s yogurt stuffed apples or easy peanut butter banana snacks or just a granola bar from a box, when they are home they want to eat all the things. That’s why I always need quick and healthy snacks to make.

These easy snacks are one of my boys’ favorite things to munch on. I have made several versions of no-bake energy balls, like these Funky Monkey Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls. But I wanted to make a variety without nuts or nut butter or any other major allergens. This way we could pack them on-the-go or share them with friends without having to worry about any kids with food allergies or sensitivities.

These no-bake energy bites have the caramel apple flavor you love with the perfect hint of cinnamon. They are an easy snack recipe the kids love to make and eat. Perfectly portable and poppable, they have only four ingredients, and are gluten free, dairy free, nut- and peanut-free, and vegan. Made with only real, whole ingredients, so you can feel good about eating this healthy snack. Even better, from the making to the eating, they are totally kid-friendly.

No-Bake Apple Cinnamon Energy Balls made with the four ingredients shown on the platter

Ingredients

  • Pitted Dried Dates – this is the key to making sticky energy balls and making these taste like caramel apples without adding sugar. They are “Nature’s caramel”!
  • Dried Apples – the chewy kind, not the crisp freeze-dried apples.
  • Uncooked Old-Fashioned Oats – you can get certified gluten free oats if needed.
  • Cinnamon – it adds a lovely warm spice flavor that always pairs so well with the flavor of apples.

Other than that, all you need is a food processor or blender and a spatula.

BRIANNE’S FAVORITE BLENDER

You can also use a Blendtec blender with the Twister Jar which allows you to scrape down the sides while blending it. I am a Blendtec ambassador, and should you make any purchases through that link, I will receive a small commission, but that also means you can use the code CUPCAKESANDKALECHIPS to receive 20% off. 

For making energy balls, recommend a high-powered blender like the Blendtec blender with the Twister Jar which allows you to scrape down the sides while blending it.

I am a Blendtec ambassador, and should you make any purchases through my  Blendtec Store link, I will receive a small commission, but that also means you can use the code CUPCAKESANDKALECHIPS to receive 25% off. 

Directions

  1. Toss all of the ingredients in the food processor.
  2. Pulse until it forms a thick paste, adding a bit of water and scraping down the sides, if needed.
  3. Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into balls. You can use about 1/2 teaspoon if you want to make mini snack bites.
Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls can even be made as mini energy bites

Tips for Success

  • As I mentioned, these are made with the chewy kind of dried apples. If you prefer a brand unsulfured and preservative-free dried apples, I will caution that these tend to be a bit drier. If that is the case for the ones you purchase, just add a teaspoon of water at a time until you get a thick paste consistency.
  • For the full-sized energy balls, use about a tablespoon of the mixture for each. If you have toddlers, you can use about one-quarter to one-half teaspoon to make little baby energy bites.
  • You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for several days, but they will also last longer in the refrigerator. They can even be frozen in a plastic freezer bag for a few months.
  • Since they are nut-free, they are perfect to pack for daycare or school.
Easy Nut-Free Apple Energy Balls Recipe on a green pedestal with the four ingredients to make them

More easy nut-free snack recipes

More energy ball recipes

5 from 3 votes

No-Bake Apple Cinnamon Energy Balls

Only four ingredients for the sweet flavor of a caramel apple in a healthy, gluten free, vegan, nut free snack perfect for lunchboxes or after school.
Prep: 10 mins
Servings: 12 -14

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried apples not freeze dried, these are the chewy ones
  • 1/2 cup uncooked oats gluten-free, if necessary
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender and process until it forms a thick paste. You may have to stop the food processor a couple of times to press down the mixture with a spatula.
  • Using about a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into balls. If you want the little bites, use about 1/4 teaspoon each.
Nutrition Facts
No-Bake Apple Cinnamon Energy Balls
Amount Per Serving (1 energy ball)
Calories 47
% Daily Value*
Sodium 6mg0%
Potassium 84mg2%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 8g9%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Enjoy!

62 Comments
  1. Laura

    When I blended the ingredients it was completely dry. I added about 2 tablespoons of honey plus a few tablespoons of water to get the consistency needed to form balls. That being said my husband really enjoyed them and I will make them for him again.

    1. Hi Laura! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. I have found that there are some brands of dried apples that tend to be more dry than others (and occasionally my dates get a little dried out when I buy the giant bag at Costco. Adding a touch of water is the perfect solution. You remind me that I should add that note.

  2. Krystyl

    Hi, I was wondering how well these store? Can I make them a day or two ahead of time and do they need to be refrigerated? They sound delish!

  3. Lindsey

    I’m not sure if I purchased the wrong dates.
    A unsweetened pitted dates in a yellow reclosable bag. I’m not familiar with dates but it was the only choice of dates at the small store. They are chewy but don’t seem wet enough to blend the other dry ingredients.

  4. Katherine

    My kitchen whiz struggles to blend these well, but I add some water and it works out. The flavours are fantastic! Keep up the great recipes.

      1. Tanya

        5 stars
        I used chopped dates which I think were too dry to allow the mixture to stick together. I added about a teaspoon of maple syrup and it worked great. These are delicious!

  5. Shellie

    Thanks for your response. Are the apples the apple chips? I’ve gone to a million stores and can’t find anything besides dried apples which are the apple chips. Thanks

  6. Liz.R

    Please, please ,please, stop posting things as gluten free when they contain oats. I’m sick of trawling websites for gluten AND dairy free treats to find oats everywhere! If you could put apple and oat in the title, that would save others like me some time and energy. Thanks 🙂

      1. Maria

        5 stars
        I just love them… I hike a lot and these are perfect for when I’m at the top of the hill for a break..
        Thanks a lot

  7. I love these so much! I’m pretty obsessed with making energy balls and I’ve never done this combo. The apple, cinnamon and dates is like a healthy bite of pie with no guilt! I bet some nuts would be amazing in these, too. LOVE!

  8. Kyris

    How long do these store and do they need to be refrigerated? I’m thinking they would be great for the hungry college kid care package.

  9. Gwen @simplyhealthyfamily

    I call my little girl ‘bugs’ too 😉 I know what you mean, my kids eat ALL day long during the summer I swear my entire paycheck goes to Costco 😉
    These little bites are so pretty and I can just taste them now, love the apple cinnamon combo! Gorgeous photography! Where do you get your pretty color backgrounds?

  10. My daughter was an eating machine when she was smaller and still is at times. She would have devoured these and asked for more too!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  11. Lisa @ Panning The Globe

    This looks like a perfect snack for my kids and me and my husband! We all appreciate a tasty, healthy energy boost!

  12. OMG…this is too funny! Your kids are like the mouse in ‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’…one of my favorite books. You REALLY need the book, ‘Five Minutes Peace’!!

    Great snack idea and the small ones could probably fit underneath the bathroom door…when you finally get some time for yourself!

  13. Haha, never a dull moment at your house! I remember those crazy times! I’m sure these wonderful energy balls keep the madness down to a manageable level…they sounds absolutely fabulous!!!

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