Homemade keto protein bars that taste like pecan pie! You simply can’t go wrong with a healthy no-bake energy bar, filled with healthy fats and collagen protein. They are so easy to make and have less than 2g net carbs per serving.
I used to be a real sucker for protein bars. Back when I worked in higher education administration, I usually had a drawer full of Luna Bars. And the pecan pie flavor was one of my favourites. Because if you know anything about me, you know I love me some pecan pie.
Now, of course, I favor keto pecan pie recipes, such as my classic Keto Pecan Pie, and my beloved Keto Chocolate Pecan Pie Muffins. But back in the day, I loved the pecan pie Luna Bars.
I thought I was doing something good for my body back then. It kind of blows my mind to think about it now. I shudder to think what was in them. Oats, sugar, soy, brown rice syrup. Things I wouldn’t dream of eating anymore.
And now I look at the exploding keto protein bar industry, which is surely in the many millions of dollars. I do understand the appeal of these easy keto snacks, for times when you’re on the go or just too busy to make something yourself. And there are some very tasty ones out there. But it’s quite a racket, when you think about it.
They are all wildly expensive, most of them costing at least $30 for a pack of 12. And a number of them contain rather questionable ingredients – no one is regulating the use of the term “keto” and there are quite a few that really aren’t keto-friendly. So be forewarned!
Why not make your own Keto Protein Bars?
I do keep some Perfect Keto bars on hand for travel or snack emergencies, but on the whole, I just don’t recommend making them a daily habit. The cost is just too prohibitive. And making your own protein bars means you know exactly how keto friendly they are.
It’s a lot easier than you think! Check out my video to see how quickly you can make these bars at home.
I created these Pecan Pie Energy Bars for my Easy Keto Breakfasts book. They honestly take about 15 minutes to make, although you do need to chill them for a while before you can dig in.
But the price is right, my friends. The recipe makes 10 bars, and each has only 4.5g TOTAL carbs. And more than half of that is fiber, so the net carbs are less than 2g.
Also if you account for the fact that all of your ingredients will last you much longer than this one recipe, the total price for 10 bars comes out to about $12. That’s a far sight better than $30 for 12!
There is also nothing in them that will go bad very quickly so they are shelf stable for at least a week, if not two. Now, I do admit that they are a bit fragile at room temperature. But if you pop them into a rigid container, you can take them on the go with you just about anywhere.
Best of all? I swear the flavor beats the pants off any purchased keto bars I’ve tried.
Tips for Making Keto Pecan Pie Energy Bars
These are so simple to make, you won’t even believe it. Here are my best tricks for making these easy keto energy snacks:
Toast your pecans first: Toasting brings out the natural sweetness and intensity of the nuts. I like to toast mine in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes. You can also toast them in a skillet over medium heat. No matter which way you do it, stay nearby and watch them carefully. Pecans can burn quickly when you’re not paying attention.
Grind the pecan finely: A food processor works best for this and you really want to take it to the point that they resemble crumbs. If they aren’t finely ground, your bars won’t stick together that well.
Use a powdered sweetener: Because these aren’t baked at all, you don’t want to use a granular sweetener – they will be far too gritty. I used Swerve Confectioners for mine.
Add collagen peptides: Collagen is a great source of protein and is said to be very good for our hair and joints, especially as we age. But I add it to these energy bars in part because it helps them stick together better. Since they require no baking, you need a little extra “glue” to hold them together.
I used unflavored collagen from Primal Kitchen but it just occurred to me that the Salted Caramel collagen from Perfect Keto would be DREAMY in these bars. (And, FYI, if you use coupon code ALLDAY15, they give you 15% off any of their products).
Work the melted butter in well: Once your dry ingredients are whisked together, you simply add melted butter and the extract. But you really need to work it into the dry ingredients until they begin to stick together. I find this works best with a silicone spatula, so I can really mix it hard against the bowl.
Use caramel flavor: If you can find it, use a caramel extract or flavoring for a more pecan pie-like flavor. Vanilla works well too, though. As you can see in the video, I ran out of caramel extract so I used maple. Because maple and pecans are great together too!
Line the pan with parchment: This allows for easy removal and cutting, once the bars are chilled. You can simply lift the whole thing out of the pan and cut with a sharp knife.
Press the bars in firmly: Don’t be afraid to use a little force here. You really want to press them in as firmly as you can, so that they stick together well.
See how easy it is to make your own keto protein bars? It really takes almost no time at all and you know EXACTLY what’s in them and just how keto-friendly they are!
Now go grab a copy of Easy Keto Breakfasts because I promise there are more great and easy keto breakfast recipes. It’s in the name, after all!
Pecan Pie Protein Bars
- 1 ½ cups pecans, lightly toasted divided
- 1 cup almond flour
- 6 tablespoon powdered Swerve Sweetener
- ¼ cup grassfed collagen
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon caramel extract or vanilla extract
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, grind 1 ¼ cups of pecan until they resemble coarse crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl. Chop the remaining ¼ cup pecans finely and add to the bowl.
- Whisk in the almond flour, sweetener, collagen, and salt. Stir in the melted butter and extract until the mixture becomes cohesive.
- Press firmly and evenly into the prepared pan and rerigerate at least one hour. Cut into 10 bars.
Ellen Miller says
Would Pecan flour work instead of pecan crumbs?
It’s a lot more dry so I am not sure it will hold together well.
These are wonderful! A perfect snack.
Thanks for this. I’ve been looking for protein bar recipes and this one intrigues me but I am allergic to pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and the like. Not all nuts, just specific ones (sesame too – I know it’s not a nut). An odd collection of allergies. Is this doable with almonds?
Yes, I think it would be. Just really make sure those almonds are well ground and then add more almond flour.
Thank you for the quick response! I’ll let you know how they turn out.
Kathy Cooke says
Delicious! I used vanilla extract and drizzled some sugar-free maple syrup into the mix to give a little caramel flavor. I ran out of almond flour, so just whizzed some almonds in my food processor to make some. Wow! Fit perfectly in the little pan that came with my toaster.
I’m struggling to get in enough protein each day. I literally have no appetite. I saw these and thought they might be the answer!
I looked through the recipe twice and didn’t see (very possible I missed it) how many grams of protein per bar?
Oh goodness! I just found it! 8.8. Sorry!
Made these today, so simple and delicious.
These are awesome! Taste like Mexican wedding cookies/Russian tea cakes with a caramel kick! I subbed boca sweet in for the sweetener. Thank you for this awesome recipe!
Demolition Puppy says
I was wondering if you could use powdered monk fruit in place of the swerve, me and swerve do not get along!
If you mean Lakanto, then it should be fine.
Thank you for making breakfast on the go great with this recipe. I have just ordered your breakfast book now to add to your amazing ultimate baking book.
Thanks so much!
Joleen Mische says
I love this recipe! I make them EVERY weekend for my weekday breakfasts. I didn’t have caramel extract at first, so I substituted CINNAMON, and I actually like it best so far! But I love the earlier comment about adding coconut because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE german choc. frosting. Would be excellent with a chocolate drizzle or choc. chips, although not so healthy as regular recipe. Carolyn, thanks for all the great recipes.
Anita Walters says
Great recipe, thank you! I have made these several times using unflavored whey protein isolate and they were not crumbly at all. I did make sure they were well mixed and pressed tightly in the pan. Tonight I experimented and made them using fine peanut flour, walnuts and just a little more melted butter. They turned out great. Although about a carb more, they add a bit more variety when we need a change. Buying bars will probably become a thing of the past!
When I first tried these, I only had Bulletproofs Chocolate Collagen powder. They tasted great. The second time I made them I added a 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut. Let’s just say that after 18 months of Keto, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. They taste like a slice of German Choc. Cake. I seldom alter recipes and these are probably a few grams more of carbs.
But so, so good and a nice treat ONCE AND A WHILE.
That sounds fabulous!
I would love to make chewy, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with the Bake Believe chocolate chips. It’s nice to have other keto chocolate chips alternatives to try!
I had everything on hand but the collagen. I bit the very expensive bullet and bought it and am so glad I did. I am not a great planner and am very much NOT a morning person. I usually end up going dirty keto and eating a Quest or One bar because I am in a hurry. These are a much better tasting sub and you have made me want to go experiment so I can figure out more flavors.
I am so glad to hear it, Robin. While pre-packaged bars can be great in a pinch, I really feel they shouldn’t be an everyday item.
I wanted to try these out to eat while I was out for the day in 80 deg weather, so I replaced the butter with cocoa butter, which is solid at a much higher temperature. This resulted in a sturdy bar that stayed intact even when warm. So I recommend this as a variation that can take the heat, and maybe also a possible strategy for people trying to omit the collagen.
A few other remarks for people who commented. I personally toast pecans at 275 for 35 minutes with a full cookie sheet tightly packed with nuts. I stir once in the middle. Most sources will recommend a higher temperature, but I find the low temperature is more forgiving than toasting at high heat. Serious Eats suggests toasting small amounts of nuts in the microwave: mix them with a tiny bit of oil and microwave until toasted.
You can make fine pecan flour at home if you grate your nuts in a hand-held rotary grater. I do this for all nuts except almonds, because I can only buy good almond flour. The result is very fine, probably at least as fine as a commercial product. (In my experience commercial nut flours other than almond flour tend to be rather coarse, more nut meal than nut flour.) You might also be able to make pecan flour in a coffee grinder, though it might clump together. I ground other nuts in the coffee grinder but not pecans.
These are great – I am always looking for new snacks, and these are perfect!
These look like a delicious healthy treat!