You only need 5 ingredients for this chocolate date balls recipe! These healthy bite-sized treats are full of nutrition, whip up in just 15 minutes, and taste like decadent chocolate brownie bites! And they're naturally gluten free, vegan, and paleo.
I absolutely love dates.
They have a caramel-like sweet flavor with notes of molasses and brown sugar.
They're really versatile! You can chop dried dates and add them to salads, pilafs, muffins, breads, etc. (Or if you want a super quick, easy, and decadent treat, cut a date in half, remove the pit, stuff it with peanut butter, drizzle some melted chocolate on top, and sprinkle on a little sea salt. This is one of my absolute favorite desserts to make with dates!)
Dates last a really long time in the pantry.
Of course dates are rich in antioxidants and fiber, and offer a variety of health benefits.
And you can use them to make absolutely decadent chocolate treats that are chock full of nutrition!
These chocolate date balls are made with just 5 ingredients (not including water and salt), and they're quick and easy to whip up in just 15 minutes. They taste indulgent, but are full of real foods that will nourish your body.
I like having a batch stashed in the fridge for a quick afternoon pick-me-up (think of them as date energy balls!), or for when a chocolate craving hits. Date cocoa balls are also the perfect lunchtime treat in a packed lunch for work or school!
Easy 15 Minute Chocolate Date Balls Recipe
In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.
- Dates - I used Medjool dates, but Deglet Noor Dates are also a great choice
- Hot water - you want the water right off the boil so it's very hot; we use this to rehydrate the dried dates if need be
- Raw walnuts - raw pecans or almonds will also work well
- Unsweetened cocoa powder - this adds rich chocolate flavor
- Coconut oil - this helps our balls set up (coconut oil is solid at temperatures below 76F); I like to use refined coconut oil because it has a mild flavor; you can also use extra-virgin coconut oil, but it will add a subtle coconut flavor to these date balls
- Vanilla - for flavor and aroma
- Sea salt - salt is a natural flavor enhancer that helps create a balanced profile
Soak the Dates (This is Only Necessary if They're Hard)
- Add the pitted dates to a small bowl and cover with hot water by ½ inch. Let the dates soak for 3 minutes.
- Drain off the liquid. Reserve the soaking liquid in case the date ball mixture needs moisture.
Make the Chocolate Date Balls
- Add the walnuts, soaked dates, cocoa powder, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt to a food processor.
- Pulse a few times, and then puree until it’s smooth and comes together as dough. If the mixture seems too dry, you can add the soaking liquid 1 teaspoon at a time. (Don't over-mix; we just need it to come together similar to dough.)
- Use a 1 tablespoon scoop to measure out the mixture, and then roll into balls.
- Put the finely chopped walnuts in a shallow bowl and roll each ball in the nuts to coat.
- Nuts - instead of walnuts, you can use pecans or almonds
- Flavorings - feel free to play with the flavorings or extracts; one of my favorite variations of this recipe is to add about ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Coating - instead of rolling these in finely chopped walnuts, you can use any nut or seed, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, or sprinkles
- Complete decadence - or instead of rolling these healthy chocolate truffles in chopped nuts, dip them in chocolate and let the chocolate set before serving
One of the best things about this recipe is that they last for quite a while, which means they're great if you want to meal prep and have a healthy (yet decadent) snack on hand.
You can store chocolate date nut balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. I love freezing these because they're perfectly portioned; you can easily take out one or two at a time and let them thaw to room temperature before enjoying!
Date Balls Recipe FAQs
What Type of Dates Work Best?
Medjool dates work really well for making date energy balls like these. They're usually soft with a thick flesh and incredible flavor. If you can't find Medjool dates, Deglet Nour dates are another great option.
What if My Dates Are Dry and Hard?
Not to worry if your dates have been sitting in your pantry for a little too long! If your dates are dry and hard, soaking them in hot water for just a few minutes will do the trick. After that, drain them and proceed with the recipe.
And if your dates are fresh and soft, go ahead and skip the soaking process!
Are Energy Balls Good For You?
These chocolate date balls are a healthy option when you want a sweet treat! Each one only has 104 calories. They're mainly comprised of dates, walnuts, and unsweetened cocoa powder, all of which have a variety of nutritional benefits.
This recipe for date balls is a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. And did you know that theobromine in cocoa powder helps reduce inflammation? (You can read about the health benefits of dates on Health, the health benefits of walnuts on Healthline, and the health benefits of cocoa powder on Nourish by WebMD.
More No Bake Chocolate Dessert Recipes to Make
Chocolate Date Balls
- 1 cup Medjool dates about 10 Medjool dates or 175g pitted dates
- Hot water just off the boil for soaking the dates if they’re hard
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil melted
- ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoons walnuts finely chopped; for coating (see Notes)
- If the dates are hard, add them to a small bowl and cover with hot water by ½ inch. Let the dates soak for 3 minutes, and then drain off the liquid. Reserve the soaking liquid in case the date ball mixture needs moisture.
- Add the walnuts, soaked dates, cocoa powder, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt to a food processor. Pulse a few times, and then puree until it’s smooth and comes together as dough. If the mixture seems too dry, you can add the soaking liquid 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Use a 1 tablespoon scoop to measure out the mixture, and then roll into balls. Put the finely chopped walnuts in a shallow bowl and roll each ball in the nuts to coat.
- Topping Ideas: Instead of finely chopped walnuts, you can use any of the following for coating the chocolate date balls: finely chopped almonds, finely chopped pecans, unsweetened shredded coconut, or sprinkles.
- Almond Joy Variation: Use almonds instead of walnuts, add ¼ teaspoon almond extract, and roll the balls in unsweetened shredded coconut.
- Storage: You can store chocolate date nut balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. I love freezing these because they're perfectly portioned; you can easily take out one or two at a time and let them thaw to room temperature before enjoying!