Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
30 Sep

Make Your Own Primal Energy Bars in 10 Easy Steps

Energy BarsYou know the drill. You slept late, your son misplaced his lunchbox, the cat threw up in the flowers. You’re already 10 minutes late for work and there’s nary a minute to scarf down a breakfast, let alone one that a caveman would approve of!

Enter the protein bar – it’s individually packaged, it’s relatively affordable, and you can easily eat it in the car while you’re doing your hair in the rear view mirror and practicing your presentation for later this afternoon – in essence, it’s the ultimate grab-and-go food.

However, there is a downside. In many cases, these protein bars contain ingredients and chemicals that very few people – bar the odd organic chemist or real nutrition expert – can pronounce and still fewer would actually want to ingest.

The solution? It’s time to put your chef hat on, because the only way you’re going to find an energy bar that is Primal and palatable is if you do a little D.I.Y… (and trust us, it’s really not that hard!).


1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup almond or sesame seed meal
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (check your local health food store)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of raw honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries or blueberries


  1. On a cookie sheet, toast nuts and shredded coconut until golden brown (you may need to shake the tray once or twice to make sure they cook evenly).
  2. Once toasted, pour mixture into a food processor and pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground.
  3. In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and almond butter (about 20 seconds). Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold in nut mixture and almond (or sesame seed) meal until mixed thoroughly.
  6. Fold in blueberries/cranberries.
  7. Press mixture into an 8 by 4 loaf pan.
  8. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.
  9. Cut “loaf” width wise. Should make 6 good-sized bars.
  10. Enjoy! (or, if you don’t plan to eat immediately, you can store the bars in the refrigerator, covered loosely with a paper towel and plastic wrap.
manray3 Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

How to Make Your Own Jerky

DIY – Butter, Yogurt, Kefir, Oh My!

Homemade Condiment Creations

Choose Your Own Salad Adventure

The Easiest Guide to Safe Household Cleaners You Can Make Yourself

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. sorry, should read hemp hearts.

    Shirley wrote on April 26th, 2009
  2. While I know dessert is sort of frowned upon by the primal diet, these broken into little bits make GREAT dessert.

    Graham wrote on September 25th, 2009
  3. Soaking the nuts in pure water for at least overnight or longer makes them more digestible. The almonds will even sprout a tiny bit. Then soak the almonds in hot water to loosen the skins. The skins have phytic acid which lessens the absorption of B-vitamins. This is more work but imo worth it. I agree with skipping the microwave and using a low heat burner on the range to melt the oil and nut butter. I always double the recipe. Once I used Butter Buds for the binder but wasn’t overjoyed with the resultant texture.

    Nikki wrote on September 25th, 2009
  4. Question: Since I do not like coconut (wish I did) what do you think would be the best substitute for that in this recipe in terms of consistency–more nuts, flax meal, or something else? Thanks–this looks wonderful. Reminds me a little of Larabars (TM), my favorite store-bought bar.

    livesimply wrote on December 1st, 2009
  5. i made these today and cut them into tiny little squares which was plenty! as for the coconut, you can’t taste it at all!!

    i would love to know more about what to do with pumpkin…. it’s my fave and don’t really know how to do anything paleo with it!! (i will probably search pumpkin on this right now and come up with 18 things…!) love the site!

    em grace wrote on March 8th, 2010
  6. I like this, but I might combine some shelled hemp seeds to bring in a tad of healthy carbs, and some flax seeds whole, and ground..Maybe try them with no honey, or less..

    Sawtooth Rider wrote on May 6th, 2010
  7. I’ve made these twice now, following the recipe precisely, and both times the bars came out very crumbly, even crumbling when I initially cut them. What can I do to get these bars to hold together? Right now I just have a zip-lock bag full of crumbs!

    Terry wrote on May 13th, 2010
    • Maybe use it as a granola cereal add some coconut milk, instead making bars…

      I’m off to get the ingredients 😀 … will report on the results…

      Robeil wrote on July 2nd, 2010
  8. LOVEthese bars. But we found them a little dry and the coconut on top was very messy. The next time we increased the honey to 1T, subbed cherries for the cranberries and added some dark choc chips. We left off the coconut on top and instead sprinkled with more pecans before putting under the broiler. So crispy and yummy also very energizing.

    Donna wrote on March 2nd, 2011
  9. I make something similar that I believe came from “Elena’s Pantry”.
    2 Cups Almonds
    1/2 Cup flax meal
    1/2 cup coconut flakes
    1/2 cup almond butter
    1/2 tsp. sea salt
    1/2 cup ooconut oil
    1 Tblspn raw honey
    1 Tblspn vanilla extract
    1 cup dark chocolate

    Add almonds, flax meal, coconut flakes,sea salt and almond butter to food processor. Process to a fine consistency or to your liking. Melt coconut oil over low heat, take off heat and add vanilla and honey. Pour into nut mixture and process until it sticks together. Spread into 8×8 pan and refrigerate for 1 hour. Melt dark chocolate and spread onto bars and put back into refrigerate to set. Presto – ready to eat.

    Marybeth wrote on March 16th, 2011
  10. I see that alot of the recipes call for coconut milk. Is there a subsitute for coconut milk my daughter is allergic.

    Mary wrote on May 7th, 2011
  11. I’ve tried these three times now and haven’t been very successful. First they aren’t binding very well. Perhaps I am not grinding the sesame seeds fine enough? Secondly I tried to take them along with me and they melted! Any ideas? I am trying to find something that I can bring along in the car for a few hours…

    Kristen wrote on June 19th, 2011
    • Mary–Try Almond Meal (I got mine at Whole Foods…over $10/bag, but it will last you several batches…Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour). My first batch came out very nice, and I bet it is because of the Almond Meal.

      Also, I can see how these would NOT hold up if not chilled somehow. Likely would do well in a plastic sandwich container (the hard kind with lid), tucked into a chilled lunch bag….

      Will wrote on August 24th, 2011
  12. This info and website is nothing short of awesome!!!! I’m glad I found this site because the internet is filled with misinformation and junk but Mark is the real deal. This is my primary source of quality info on health and fitness. Thank God for you Mark!!!

    DEREK wrote on June 22nd, 2011
  13. Just tried this recipe today. This instantly became one of my all-time favorites!

    QUESTION: It is SO good (and a bit sweet–not too much, just that it IS sweet)…did I do something wrong?

    I can tell the effect of the almond butter and coconut oil in the satisfying fats and incredibly rich, luxurious taste….just didn’t expect the sweetness (even with a little honey).

    Will wrote on August 24th, 2011
  14. I just made these and they are awesome! I had all the ingredients in my “primal pantry”. I used just pecans and added 1 scoop of whey . The fruit I had on hand was dried apricots. I also used a larger pan and cut into 18 squares. The plan is to use them for my driving home from work snack or for dessert craving emergencies!

    Amyamm wrote on November 6th, 2011
  15. Hey do you have any recommendations for making homemade protein/energy bars that will keep for extended periods of time? I am looking for recipes to make and mail to my adopted solider in Afghanistan … I have a vacuum sealer to keep the air out but I don’t want to send him something that could spoil before he was able to enjoy it!!!! Any help would be great please email me carollynnpayne@gmail and put solider recipe so I know its not spam! !!!! Thank you

    Carol Payne wrote on November 17th, 2011
  16. Delicious! Thanks for sharing. I used PB, cherries and semi-sweet Choc chips, and frozen fresh coconut that I toasted.

    kristina wrote on January 22nd, 2012
  17. The first time I made them I had somehow listed the wrong item on my grocery list and bought coconut flour (instead of Almond meal)…tasted both bars and…to me it was quite an happy mistake! :) Can’t wait to play some more with that recipe!

    Annick wrote on May 15th, 2012
  18. love these! however, when I make them they don’t seem to hold together very well!.. :( I’m not quite sure how to measure the ‘liquid’ ingredients aka the coconut oil and almond butter!! Melt first? Measure in dry measuring cups and melt after?! HELP! I’ve had two mishaps and hate to waste all these great ingredients because it’s to oily or won’t hold together properly.. any tips guys?! Also, I added 1 tsp of chia seeds just for some punch!! Thanks! :)

    Ossi wrote on February 11th, 2013
  19. Throw all this in a food processor, press out, cut and your done! 3 steps!

    Amanda wrote on March 7th, 2013
  20. I wish that someone would come out with soy and nut free bars like this for those of us who have allergies but also are trying to live a Paleo/Primal lifestyle. I’d love to be able to make something like this to have for breakfast on the go, but so far I haven’t been able to find anything at all that I can eat. :(

    Cindy wrote on March 17th, 2013
  21. I made these with a few tiny modifications and they worked great and didn’t crumble. I didn’t use honey, used dried apple instead of berries, and used half flaxseed meal and half almond meal instead of all almond meal. I also added a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and about a tablespoon of chia seeds.

    I pressed it down really really firmly onto a tray lined with baking paper and I put it in the freezer for an hour or two. Once it was hard it was easy to cut into bars without it breaking. I don’t know if it was the freezing or the addition of flaxseed meal and chia seeds that helped!

    And it tasted great! I’m so glad I’m learning to appreciate more subtle sweetness in foods.

    Genevieve wrote on December 31st, 2013
  22. can I use fresh blueberries for the bars?

    Brett wrote on July 26th, 2014
  23. These are awesome! My 12-year-old boys loved them – kept coming back for more – I’ve gotta make a bigger batch next time. Way better than a cereal breakfast, thanks!

    JRos wrote on January 11th, 2015
  24. Thanks so much for this recipe – they are awesome! My 12-year-old boys loved them so much, they’re nearly gone – will make a double batch next time. Much better than breakfast cereal!

    JRos wrote on January 11th, 2015

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