Best Protein Bars 2023

Two orange-package protein bars next to a yellow box and a selection of fruit.
Credit: Hybrid Storytellers

Two orange-package protein bars next to a yellow box and a selection of fruit.
Credit: Hybrid Storytellers

If you're after the best protein bars around, then you're in the right place. The protein bar market is absolutely massive, and while you can probably find one in every shop you go into, it can also be hard to figure out which ones are really worth your money, let alone taking away precious calories if you're currently on a calorie-controlled diet of any kind. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to eat something that doesn't taste great, or help you meet your goals.

The trouble is that everyone's got different aims, not to mention preferences and diets too, with some of the best protein powders on the market often a go-to choice for many if they're struggling to up their daily protein intake.

That's why we've put together this list though, with the aim to help you select the right protein snacks for your fitness goals and dietary needs. We've rounded up the very best right here, covering a few different categories to help narrow it down more specifically based on what exactly it is you need.

From protein-rich vegan options, like these No Cow Protein Bars, to simply some of the best food options for protein on a budget, we've got you covered. So, without further delay, let's get right on to our list.

Best protein bars

  1. Rise Whey Protein Bars
  2. B.T.R. Bar
  3. think! Protein Bars
  4. Orgain Protein Bars
  5. No Cow Protein Bars
Rise Whey Protein Bars product image of a yellow and green protein bar package featuring a graphic of honeycomb.
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Credit: Rise

1. Rise Whey Protein Bars

Best overall protein bars

Protein: 18g - Fat: 15g - Fibre: 3g - Carbs: 23g - Sugar: 17g - Calories: 270

We kick off with Rise Whey Protein Bars, specifically in the delectable Snicker Doodle flavour. These protein bars stand out for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, they boast a minimalistic ingredient list - five ingredients or less per bar. This is ideal for those who prioritise transparency in their nutrition and aim to minimise additives in their diet.

In terms of nutritional content, each bar in this flavour packs an impressive 18g of protein while keeping the calorie count at a modest 270. This translates to an excellent protein-to-calorie ratio, making it a smart choice for those looking to optimise their protein intake without excess calories. Moreover, these bars are free from soy, gluten, grains, and peanuts, making them a valuable option for individuals with specific intolerances or allergies.

Although they may be slightly pricier than some competitors, the investment is justified by the substantial protein content and the absence of common allergens. Considered in the context of their well-rounded attributes, these bars prove to be a powerful ally in not only meeting your protein goals but also enhancing your strength in the gym.

Read More: Best vegan protein powders

B.T.R. Bars product image of three differently coloured protein bar packages, two bars in red, two in yellow, the other two in blue.
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Credit: B.T.R Nation

2. B.T.R. Bar

Best budget protein bars

Protein: 8g - Fat: 10g - Fibre: 7g - Carbs: 12g - Sugar: 2g - Calories: 150

If you're looking for a budget protein bar that doesn't sacrifice quality, then the B.T.R. Bars have you covered. These come in an array of tasty flavours, each of which is made from plant-based protein with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Instead, they use ingredients like dark chocolate for sweetness.

As a result of this, the calorie count per bar is pretty low as well at just 150. The only downside is the amount of protein per bar is a little bit lower, at around 8 grams. It's not a deal breaker though, and if you're eating a high-protein diet anyway, one of these as a little boost should be all you need, much like how a top multivitamin can give your daily micronutrient intake a little nudge in the right direction.

Read More: Best creatine supplements

think! Protein Bars product image of a cream and orange box with an image of a chocolate-covered peanut protein bar on the front.
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Credit: think!

3. think! Protein Bars

Best soft protein bars

Protein: 20g - Fat: 9g - Fibre: 1g - Carbs: 22g - Sugar: 0g - Calories: 230

One of the biggest problems with a lot of protein bars is that they're an acquired taste. Sure, we might be used to how they are to eat, but if you give most protein bars to someone who's never had one before, the mere act of chewing them is going to be a whole workout in itself. On the one hand, it's free cardio; on the other hand, it's pretty off-putting.

If you don't want to spend your time chewing through something that feels like it's been sat out for a few days, then these think! Protein Bars could well be the answer. They contain 20 grams of protein and 230 calories per bar, which is pretty protein-dense compared to other options out there.

They don't use artificial sweeteners either, but the most important thing is that they're actually pretty easy to eat. They might be too easy to eat, in fact, so don't eat them all at once.

Read More: Best pre-workout supplements

Orgain Protein Bars product image of a white and blue packaged protein bar featuring green and and black branding with a graphic of cookie dough.
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Credit: Orgain

4. Orgain Protein Bars

Best low-calorie protein bars

Protein: 10g - Fat: 5g - Fibre: 1g - Carbs: 19g - Sugar: 6g - Calories: 150

Calories aren't specifically for counting, but if that's something you're doing at the moment, and you're doing it in a healthy way, then it's quite possible that you want a protein bar that doesn't break the calorie bank. They're the worst people to take a loan from, just so you're aware.

Orgain Protein Bars are another vegan option, as they seem to be getting better and better at the moment, and they pack in 10 grams of protein into just 150 calories.

They taste pretty good too, come in a few delicious flavours, and they're gluten-free to boot. This is a bar that you can easily eat with no guilt at all. No guilt, only gains. Feel free to pay us for that as an advertising line...

Read More: Best BCAA supplements

No Cow Protein Bars product image of a white package protein bar on a wood table with a brown protein bar cut in half in front.
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Credit: Now Cow

5. No Cow Protein Bars

Best vegan protein bars

Protein: 21g - Fat: 4g - Fibre: 17g - Carbs: 26g - Sugar: 1g - Calories: 190

While there are a lot of good vegan options not only out there in the wide world, but also on this list, our favourite one for the best vegan protein bars is this No Cow option. These things are pretty incredible, and have a laundry list of keywords on them to make sure you understand that. Seriously, they've got it all.

Aside from managing to cram 21 grams of plant-based protein into each bar, which isn't easy as any vegan or whey-avoiding person will know, they someone only come in at 190 calories.

They've also got a staggering number of flavours on offer, and the sampler pack is an excellent way to either find your ideal protein bar, or just to keep things mixed up a little more to avoid the monotony of a single taste. Definitely worth trying out if you're unsure which protein bars to go for.

Read More: Best EAA supplements

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Buying protein bars can often lead to a ton of questions, especially as there are a lot of common misconceptions surrounding them. No need to panic though as we're here to answer some of the most commonly asked queries.

Can you consume protein bars every day?

Like with all supplements, protein bars are a great way of increasing your daily protein intake, but should never be a replacement for whole foods and meals.

You'd simply miss out on many of the key micronutrients that come with eating whole foods such as chicken, beef, and fish, so wouldn't be beneficial and supportive of a well-balanced diet.

With that being said, if you're looking for something quick, tasty, and easy to eat, perhaps after a tough workout, to just tip you over your daily intake goal, then protein bars are an effective way of doing that.

Generally speaking, eating one bar a day is perfectly fine, but any more than that is pushing it, especially as you have to be careful of the sugar content of some of the bars on the market.

Are protein bars worth it?

Some protein bars out there can be quite expensive and, when you dig a little deeper, you may find they don't actually contain as much protein as you first thought.

So, in answer to the question, yes they are worth it, as long as you find the right protein bars for you and your diet, and use them only to supplement your diet throughout your day.

For example, if you're looking for a decently sized protein-dense snack to help you up your daily intake, then the aforementioned No Cow Protein Bars offer 21g of protein per 190 calories, making them a useful and worthwhile supplement to add to your diet in our opinion.

Do protein bars make you gain muscle?

Consuming protein bars alone will not instantly make you more muscular and, in fact, will probably have an adverse effect on your weight. You need to team eating protein bars, and a high-protein diet in general, with adequate amounts of exercise to ensure you're putting the protein to good use.

For building muscle, this will typically be weightlifting, and protein can help by repairing broken-down muscles worked out in the gym.

Be warned though, protein is just one piece of the puzzle, with a number of other factors like sleep and stress also influencing your training.

Are protein bars suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

Yes, protein bars can be suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. Many protein bars on the market are specifically formulated to be plant-based, using protein sources such as pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, and soy protein. These bars are designed to provide a convenient source of protein for individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets.

However, most protein bars are made from dairy products to some degree, meaning they're not suitable for vegans. Therefore, it's important to read the ingredient list and nutrition label to ensure that they do not contain any animal-derived ingredients such as dairy, eggs, or honey.

It's also worth noting that the availability of vegetarian and vegan protein bars may vary depending on your location and the brands available to you. Always double-check the label and choose bars that align with your dietary preferences and needs.

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