Homemade vegan protein cookies are a healthier, more affordable alternative to store-bought protein cookies and bars. With pea protein powder, cocoa, and unrefined sweeteners, you'll love how naturally wholesome these are! Each 125 calorie cookie contains almost 9 grams of plant-based protein.
Why You'll Love Homemade Protein Cookies!
My husband is (or was) a fan of those Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookies. So I set out to create a healthier, more affordable option, and I have to say, mission accomplished!
Since my vegan protein cookies don't contain enriched wheat flour, palm oil, gums, or lots of refined sugar, they don't taste exactly like any of the Lenny & Larry's cookie flavors, but honestly I think they taste better!
These protein cookies taste like real food. They're moist from mashed banana, lightly chocolatey, not overly sweet, and thanks to peanut butter and pure pea protein powder, they're very satisfying.
And these contain almost twice as much protein as Lenny & Larry's!
Flavor-wise these remind us of my Oil-Free Banana Brownies, which are one of my most popular healthy dessert recipes. The combination of cocoa and banana is just too scrumptious.
So how do these stack up nutrition-wise? Let's take a look...
Protein Cookie Nutrition Facts
Half of a Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookie is considered 1 serving, and per serving they contain:
- 210 calories
- 6 grams fat (3 grams saturated)
- 8 grams protein
- 30 grams carbohydrate
- 12 grams sugar
For comparison's sake, let's call two of my Vegan Protein Cookies a serving because that's similar to the number of calories in half of a Lenny and Larry's Complete Cookie.
Per 2 cookies, these contain:
- 257 calories
- 10 grams fat (2 grams saturated)
- 17 grams protein!
- 30 grams carbohydrate
- 17 grams sugar
Of course, we all know that macros don't tell us whether a food is healthy or not. It's about so much more than that.
But I wanted to highlight exactly how much protein these cookies contain since there are a lot of athletes, bodybuilders, etc, who make an effort to take in more protein than us average folks.
I would certainly rather eat these 9-ingredient wholesome cookies that DON'T contain all of the unwanted stuff but have TWICE as much protein. Feels like a win, right?
To create a delicious cookie that didn't need a lot of added sugar, I decided to use ripe bananas as the base of the recipe. So in case you're curious about substitutions, I haven't tested these any other way than with banana.
I did make a completely different version one day with almond flour and applesauce, and they had potential! But we really enjoy the flavor bananas bring to the recipe, so they won out in the end.
If you experiment with a different combination, let us know in the comments below!
- 2 very ripe bananas - the sweeter and more fragrant the bananas are the tastier the cookies will be.
- peanut butter - substitute another nut or seed butter, if needed
- coconut sugar - or other granulated sweetener such as cane sugar, date sugar, or brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- pea protein powder - I use Anthony's brand unsweetened pea protein. If you choose a sweetened, flavored protein powder you can reduce the amount of sugar slightly, and add a few more oats or other dry ingredient to compensate.
- oats - regular, old fashioned rolled oats add fiber and complex carbs and make these cookies even more satisfying.
- cocoa powder
- baking powder
- mini or regular chocolate chips - these are optional but do taste great; Enjoy Life brand makes vegan, allergy-friendly mini chocolate chips
See the recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
How to Make Protein Cookies
- First, peel and mash the bananas. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the pea protein powder, baking powder, cocoa powder, and oats. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and fold in the chocolate chips, if using.
- Scoop up approximately 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie. If you have a 1.5 Tbsp cookie scoop that makes it easy. Just put two scoops of dough in your palm, squeeze them together, and roll it into a smooth ball.
- Gently flatten each cookie into shape, then use a fork to flatten them even more and create a criss-cross pattern on top.
- Bake the cookies in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes.
And that's it! You just made delicious, healthy protein cookies that you can snack on all week long.
- other protein powders - instead of plain pea protein, use your favorite sweetened protein powder (we love vanilla), and reduce the sugar. With less sugar if the dough is too wet, mix in more oats, cocoa, or a spoonful of any flour.
- other nut/seed butters - Instead of peanut butter try almond butter or tahini, or use sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option.
- peanut butter protein cookie - replace the cocoa with powdered peanut butter (like PB2).
- additions - instead of chocolate chips try dried cranberries, currants, raisins, or chopped nuts.
How to Store and Freeze
Store protein cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Since these are a somewhat moist cookie, I like to keep them refrigerated just to be on the safe side. Of course they're fine at room temperature for the day if you're taking them with you to work, school, a hike, or out while running errands.
You can also freeze protein cookies. They will harden in the freezer, so be sure to allow time for them to thaw.
Ways to Use Pea Protein
Now that you have pea protein powder on hand, you might be curious about other ways to use it.
Unflavored and unsweetened pea protein is actually very versatile and neutral in flavor. It can be incorporated into many different recipes like smoothies, overnight oats, and baked treats like these cookies.
Here are a few more ideas:
- add pea protein powder to energy balls like these almond pulp bites
- mix it into oatmeal and make protein overnight oats
- make your own Go Macro copycat protein bars
- and stir it into cereal and granola
I hope you enjoy these vegan protein cookies as much as we do! If you try the recipe please leave a comment and a star rating below to let us know how they turned out!
Vegan Protein Cookies
- 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 medium-large bananas) - They should have a lot of spots and smell very sweet.
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup natural peanut butter, salted - If using unsalted peanut butter, add ¼ tsp fine sea salt.
- ¾ cup pea protein powder, plain/unsweetened
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ⅓ cup mini vegan chocolate chips (see Notes) - Check for allergens, as needed.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Place bananas in a mixing bowl, and mash with a fork. Whisk in the vanilla, coconut sugar, and peanut butter.
- In a medium-size bowl whisk together the pea protein, cocoa, baking powder, and oats. If using unsalted peanut butter be sure to also add about ¼ tsp fine sea salt.
- Pour dry ingredients into wet, and stir to combine. The dough will be very thick. Fold in the chocolate chips, if using.
- Scoop up a scant 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie. Using a 1.5 Tbsp cookie scoop works well. Just put two scoops of dough in your palm, squeeze them together, and roll into a smooth ball. Use your palms to gently flatten each cookie into a thick patty shape. Place on the baking sheet. Use a fork to create a criss-cross pattern on top of the cookies, further flattening them into a cookie shape.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the bottoms are golden. Let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before storing.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
Have been wanting to try these cookies for a while, and decided today was the day. Super quick to put together and bake. Tasty, chocolatey, and full of protein. Used same ingredients and amounts as in the recipe. Turned out exactly like the picture. Great addition to any meal that needs a protein boost. Will definitely make them again.
Is it possible to sub a protein powder I have on hand?
Also different subject -
Do you have any peanut butter powder recipes?
Yes, other protein powders work, too. If it's already sweetened you may want to reduce the sugar in the recipe.
I'm glad you asked about powdered peanut butter. I don't currently have any recipes that use it but have been meaning to create some. You can incorporate it into thee cookies in place of the protein powder.
You can just reconstitute the Peanut butter powder with the instructed amount of water and use as per regular Peanut butter. Great way to cit the fat way down!!
Let me start by saying I’m not vegan.
I did, however buy some chocolate flavour vegan protein powder and discovered it was very different in many ways from my regular stuff and I didn't like the taste of the protein powder at all. THESE COOKIES ARE AMAZING! A great way to utilize that pea protein powder! I used 1 cup of powder and added a tablespoon of cocoa powder. I also added an egg. Oh, and I used regular light peanut butter too. A few adjustments but I’m obsessed with these cookies!!
Any suggestions on how to not eat all of the dough before it makes it to the oven?
Just made these, so good! My 10 year old nephew is enjoying too. I used Vega chocolate protein and greens powder, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder it worked well. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi so I've just made these and they're in the oven I only made 10?? I followed recipe using my tblspn measure x3 to form the ball. I had to spray oil on my hands to form the balls otherwise it stuck. I found the ingredients difficult to measure out as my scales don't do small grams, have you or anyone doubled up on the amounts?? I'll let you know how they taste.
My cookie batter turns out very runny. So they bake really flat and are kinda sticky. Despite this they taste great. But I can’t figure out why the dough isn’t dryer. There’s no way I can mold it with my hands. The only difference in ingredients is that I used whey protein powder. Suggestions? Thanks so much!
Glad you like the flavor! As far as the consistency of the batter, it's possible whey protein doesn't absorb as much moisture as pea protein. That makes sense to me, although I don't have any experience with whey so it's really just a guess. The great thing about cookies like this is it's pretty easy to adjust the moisture level. Adding a small amount of any dry ingredient can reduce the stickiness of the dough, something like oat flour, coconut flour, or almond flour.
Thank you so much for the quick response Lori! Appreciate it! I’ll try pea protein next time. I just didn’t have it on hand. Cheers!
Hi! I probably did something wrong because these taste and smell very hard like the pea protein powder. I wanted something to mask the taste. But these where really strong on that. They also were very sweet. I am not sure what I did wrong. Maybe I added too many pea powder? I am sad because these look very tasty but they aren’t yummy at all. Maybe it was also that I used carob cocoa powder? I can’t explain it they taste very chalky and grassy and very sweet.
Hmmm it does sound like maybe you somehow used too much protein powder. I'm surprised they also tasted too sweet, unless your pea protein is flavored and sweetened. Did you also use very ripe bananas (important for moisture) and the full amount of nut butter?
I added Vegan Peanut Butter Protein Powder for that extra hit of peanut as i love it... turned out delicious! Definitely didn't get 12 cookies out of the mixture, more like 9 but still love them and they taste amazing ( albeit a bit sticky with the mixture)! Very cost effective, yummy and better than the store bought options! Thank you!
Love these cookies. Made them quite large so I extended the cooking time to 20 min. I used PANA dark cooking chocolate pieces and put them in the middle of the cookies. Absolutely delicious
Can these be made without the protein powder?
I'm sure they can, but you'll just need to add another dry ingredient as a replacement. More oats or a small amount of oat flour should work! Let us know if you give them a try.
Super easy and less protein-y taste than traditional bars. Also much cheaper. Will be making again, thank you!
These look great, but I tend to prefer almond butter to peanut butter. Will that work? I"m also not a big fan of ripe bananas. Could it work to use bananas that are less ripe? thanks for your suggestions and great recipes!
Hi Katy, yes almond butter is great. And for the bananas... when they're ripe they contribute more moisture and sweetness. So if it's just that you don't like eating ripe bananas straight, you may still be okay with them here after being baked. But if you know you don't enjoy ripe bananas in baked goods you could try using less ripe ones, then add a splash of milk and maple syrup for extra moisture and sweetness. That would probably work. 🙂 Enjoy!
Those are great suggestions, thanks! Can't wait to make these.
You could try using sweetened applesauce, but I'd start out with maybe ¾ cup (vs 1 cup banana) as it has more moisture than bananas do. If the batter is too sticky/runny, try adding a few more oats and an extra tbsp of cocoa/ protein powder. Good luck!!
Could also use applesauce instead of bananas. May make a runnier dough, but definitely eliminates the banana problem!
QUESTION: If I only have Chocolate protein powder, do I omit the Coco Powder?
Hi Madison, good question. I would probably keep 2 to 3 tablespoons of cocoa, just to make sure they're chocolate-y enough. And since chocolate protein powder is sweetened you may even want to decrease the sugar just a touch. Hope that helps!
These were awesome! With all the healthy baking I've done over the years, I actually don't think I'd ever made protein cookies. I subbed the coconut sugar for monk fruit sweetener and carob powder, and I also used chocolate-flavoured protein powder, so they were extra chocolatey and brownie-like. Will definitely be making these again. Thank you!!
Woohoo! Glad you loved 'em, Rhi.
Just made these and they are delicious! Thanks so much. How many cookies do you get out of a batch? I got 6 and just want to check that sounds about right. The reason I’m asking is because I want to know is so I can make sure each cookie is roughly 128 calories.
So glad you like them! I got 12 cookies per batch. You can find that information in the recipe card above. See where it says "servings 12" right next to the calorie content? Hopefully that helps!
Such a great recipe! I made these with my 5 year old daughter, she loves them! Their satisfying texture feels a lot like brownies. Not overly sweet or peanutty, and the banana flavour is nice (and I don't usually like cooked banana). Thank you so much!
It was great!
This is the best recipe with pea protein powder I've ever tried. Thanks a lot for sharing
hey i was super grateful to find a recipe that used unflavored protein powder because i bought a ton of it really cheap! i used 50g of soy protein isolate rather than pea protein and rounded it out with ~25g of PB2 (powdered peanut butter) to add protein but also cut the soy taste and it turned out great! also replaced coconut sugar with brown sugar bc that's what i had. these turned out awesome and are a great affordable higher protein alternative to a basic clif bar! <3
That's awesome, Lev. Love the PB2 addition. So glad you enjoyed them!
I must have mismeasured somewhere b/c the dough turned out dry and crumbly. It aslo yielded 19 cookies! I also used reg sized chocolate chips, which I had a hard time keeping in the dough. So will go mini next time. I'm not vegan, just a person who bought too much protein powder, so added an egg to the second batch to bind the dough better. It definitely turned out fudgier with the egg. I'll still keep playing with the recipe though and keeping it vegan.
These are not only delicious, but really hearty and satisfying. The banana gives them a nice touch of sweetness and we really like the chocolate pieces in them. Another great addition to our cookie rotation!
I'm so glad you enjoyed them, Karen. Thank you for the feedback!