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10 Best Tasting Protein Bars Tested & Compared

last updated Jan 12, 2019
Protein is an essential macronutrient that allows our muscles to heal and builds up our overall health. Protein bars are a convenient and quick source of protein that you can take with you on the go—whether you’re running, hiking, or partaking in other sports.

Protein bars allow you to ensure you are providing your body with the appropriate amount of protein your body needs on a daily basis—and for runners, this is particularly important! With all of the options available, we have taken the time to find the best tasting protein bars available—so you can pack in the protein without having to sacrifice taste!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
Quest Nutrition Apple Pie
94.4/100 our score
Ease of Use
95
Effectiveness
93
Product Purity
93
Side Effects
96
Value
95
Quest Nutrition Apple Pie
Why is it better?

Good alternative to the typical flavors

Really genuine apple pie flavor.

Decent calorie-to-protein ratio

Good texture

Soy-free and gluten-free

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Quest Nutrition Apple Pie
Test Winner: Quest Nutrition Apple Pie
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
12
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1775
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Brian Price:

In this update to our buying guide we added a new product from world-famous chef Robert Irvine: the FITCRUNCH Chocolate Peanut Butter. This one has quickly become really popular and highly reviewed because of its great taste and texture.

Sorting Options
Ease of Use Effectiveness Product Purity Side Effects Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Ease of Use
95 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Product Purity
93 %
Side Effects
96 %
Value
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
$23.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Ease of Use
95 %
Effectiveness
85 %
Product Purity
97 %
Side Effects
97 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
$13.73
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Ease of Use
95 %
Effectiveness
95 %
Product Purity
88 %
Side Effects
90 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.2
Ease of Use
89 %
Effectiveness
95 %
Product Purity
92 %
Side Effects
90 %
Value
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
$29.34
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Ease of Use
95 %
Effectiveness
95 %
Product Purity
80 %
Side Effects
90 %
Value
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Ease of Use
91 %
Effectiveness
85 %
Product Purity
85 %
Side Effects
88 %
Value
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
$17.49
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Ease of Use
90 %
Effectiveness
86 %
Product Purity
80 %
Side Effects
85 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
$33.30
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
Ease of Use
82 %
Effectiveness
90 %
Product Purity
93 %
Side Effects
85 %
Value
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
$26.24
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Ease of Use
85 %
Effectiveness
84 %
Product Purity
90 %
Side Effects
85 %
Value
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
$24.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Ease of Use
83 %
Effectiveness
82 %
Product Purity
80 %
Side Effects
85 %
Value
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.06.19)
Amazon Link
$22.29
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Quest Nutrition Apple Pie Quest Nutrition Apple Pie
  • Larabar Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
  • Clif Chocolate Mint Builder Clif Chocolate Mint Builder
  • Grenade Carb Killa Caramel Chaos Grenade Carb Killa Caramel Chaos
  • FITCRUNCH Chocolate Peanut Butter FITCRUNCH Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Quest Nutrition Pumpkin pie Quest Nutrition Pumpkin pie
  • Oh Yeah! Peanut Butter Crunch Oh Yeah! Peanut Butter Crunch
  • PureFit Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip PureFit Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
  • Detour Simple Chocolate Chip Caramel Detour Simple Chocolate Chip Caramel
  • Optimum Nutrition Birthday Cake Optimum Nutrition Birthday Cake
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Tasting Protein Bars

1. Quest Nutrition Apple Pie

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Quest Nutrition Apple Pie
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
95
Effectiveness
93
Product Purity
93
Side Effects
96
Value
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$23.99
Pros:

Good alternative to the typical flavors

Really genuine apple pie flavor.

Decent calorie-to-protein ratio

Good texture

Soy-free and gluten-free

Cons:

Artificially sweetened

This bar is somewhat unique, with an unusual apple pie flavor that's a nice change from the usual. They have a great taste and aren’t your typical chocolate-based affair. These have 20g of protein and they contain real apples!

Read more

Flavor

If you like apple pie, you’ll like these! They genuinely taste just like apple pie and are a great alternative if you’re looking for something a little different. Many people claim that these are one of the tastiest bars on the market, with some people even comparing their flavor to that of McDonald’s apple pies. They have a nice subtle hint of cinnamon and a chewy texture.

Nutrition

These are whey-based and sweetened with artificial sweeteners. They have many natural ingredients and the protein content is about what you’d expect. They have a pretty low-calorie count of 190 calories per bar and are gluten-free and soy-free.

Cost and Value

The brand is slightly pricey, but only marginally so. However, they are still regarded as one of the best protein bars.

2. Larabar Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Larabar Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
95
Effectiveness
85
Product Purity
97
Side Effects
97
Value
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.73
Pros:

Gluten-free

Non-GMO

Vegan

Tastes great

Cons:

Too sweet for some

This Gluten-free coconut option is one of the tastiest on our list. This brand is known for their great taste and are highly popular among all runners and athletes.

Read more

Taste

If you don't like coconut then you won't like this one. However, if you're looking for something to quench your sweet tooth then this is a perfect one.

Texture

Although it has pieces of nuts on taste, it is generally smooth and soft. However, some flavors have the gummy texture because of the additions but still rich in flavor.

Cost and Value

These protein bars are highly affordable and taste great. They are also highly nutritious and guarantee great results.

3. Clif Chocolate Mint Builder

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Clif Chocolate Mint Builder
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
95
Effectiveness
95
Product Purity
88
Side Effects
90
Value
90
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

Fairly low-cost

Mostly natural ingredients

Unusual flavor, perfect if you’re seeking something different

No artificial sweeteners

No GMO ingredients

Loads of added vitamins and minerals

Cons:

A little high in sugar

Soy-based, which some people don’t like

This is one of the ever-popular Clif Bars. These are probably the best-tasting of the whole Clif bunch, with a somewhat unusual mint chocolate flavor. They have 20g of protein per bar, non-GMO ingredients, have loads of added vitamins and minerals and are soy-based.

Read more

Taste

Really delicious! These are sweet and creamy with a nice refreshing mint kick to complement the creaminess of the filling and the sweetness of the chocolate. It’s not too sweet, so you can easily grab one for breakfast or as a snack. The texture is pretty good too, with no graininess and a nice creaminess which is often missing from protein bars.

Nutrition

20g of protein and 270 calories per bar, 21g of sugar and absolutely packed with added vitamins and minerals. If you’re looking for something fairly natural, this is a decent option with the added nutrition and the lack of artificial sweeteners. Yeah, there is quite a lot of sugar in this, but it’s nowhere near as bad as some others on the market.

Cost and Value

These protein bars come in at a pretty decent price! Moreover, there are no GMO ingredients used to make the product.

4. Grenade Carb Killa Caramel Chaos

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.2
Grenade Carb Killa Caramel Chaos
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
89
Effectiveness
95
Product Purity
92
Side Effects
90
Value
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.34
Pros:

Calorie-to-protein ratio is great

Great flavors

Texture-wise, perhaps the closest to a real candy bar

Low carbs

Cons:

Artificially sweetened

Some unnatural ingredients

A little pricey

This has 23g of protein from mainly milk-based sources. It has a triple-layered caramel flavor and a nice crunchy texture. This is sweetened mainly from artificial sources and has only 1g of carbs.

Read more

Taste

With three layers of tasty caramel, crunchy crispies and a chocolate coating, this is certainly a yummy one. It’s somewhat similar to a Snickers, and the caramel is really rich, which complements the crunch and savory flavor of the nuts. There’s also a little bit of a cookie dough vibe going on with these, both in taste and texture.

Nutrition

23g of protein with 210 calories is pretty impressive, and the low carb approach may appeal to some. That said, it’s of note that this is artificially sweetened. There are some unnatural ingredients here, but not as many as with some other protein bars.

Cost and Value

This brand is quite pricey, but it gives you a high-quality product that is guaranteed to increase your performance.

5. FITCRUNCH Chocolate Peanut Butter

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
FITCRUNCH Chocolate Peanut Butter
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
95
Effectiveness
95
Product Purity
80
Side Effects
90
Value
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Chef designed

24 grams of whey protein

Includes a free package of protein powder when you order in bulk

Cons:

May melt if delivered on a hot day

Some thought they were too sweet

These bars are designed by world-famous chef Robert Irvine from the TV show Restaurant Impossible. Since they're designed by a chef you know that they taste good, and not only that but they pack a hefty 24 grams of carbs into each bar with just 6 grams of sugar and 130 calories so they won't slow you down or give you a sugar crash.

Read more

Ease of Use and Effectiveness

Over and over again reviewers remarked on how good these taste and how great the texture is. They are billed as being the world's first six layer protein bar and people love how the different textures all meld together for a great eating experience and are really easy to consume. With 24 grams of whey protein in each bar these do a great job of helping you start to recover after a long run or intense workout.

Product Purity and Side Effects

These do have a few ingredients that aren't that natural and as a side note, several people recommended not ordering in the summertime because they may melt. We didn't find any reports of serious side effects other than the melting mentioned above but that's not the bar's fault.

Value

These are about an average price for a high-quality protein bar.

6. Quest Nutrition Pumpkin pie

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Quest Nutrition Pumpkin pie
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
91
Effectiveness
85
Product Purity
85
Side Effects
88
Value
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$17.49
Pros:

Lovely genuine pumpkin pie taste

Decent amount of protein

Soy-free and gluten-free

Averagely priced

Cons:

These are artificially sweetened

The texture isn’t as good as some others here, with some chalkiness

These have 21g of protein and only 1g of sugar. Again, the taste here is great, and it’s a unique flavor that will remind you of so many good things; like pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving.

Read more

Taste

Absolutely great flavor, these legitimately just taste like pumpkin pie, so it’s a great way to have that homely treat with a guilt-free protein fix! They might be a little too chalky for some, as the texture isn’t as good as some others, but they are overall a nice bar.

Nutrition

These are made with artificial sweeteners, which might be a concern for some. They are gluten-free and soy-free and contain real pumpkin along with some other natural ingredients. They are very low in sugar and the protein content is around average for a protein bar.

Cost and Value

These are around an average price for a quality protein bar. They’re not too sweet and offer a reasonably nuanced flavor.

7. Oh Yeah! Peanut Butter Crunch

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Oh Yeah! Peanut Butter Crunch
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
90
Effectiveness
86
Product Purity
80
Side Effects
85
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$33.30
Pros:

Really comparable in terms of taste and texture to candy bars

Maybe the best texture of the bunch

Fortified with vitamins and minerals

Highly affordable

Cons:

The lowest protein content on this list

Some unnatural ingredients

This one has the lowest protein content on the list with 13g and 190 calories per bar, but it’s still a yummy addition! It is fairly low-carb and the protein comes from a combination of whey and soy. It’s gluten-free and fortified with lots of vitamins and minerals.

Read more

Taste

Another delicious one, and another peanut-based bar. You may have noticed that lots of these are nut-based, but these often are the tastiest of the bunch. These are pretty comparable to a Payday or a Snickers, with actual chunks of peanut and cookie and a rich caramel flavor. The texture is a nice combination of softness inside with the crunch of the cookie and peanut pieces.

Nutrition

Although they have only 13g of protein, the calories are pretty low, so you could feasibly have a couple of these if you’re feeling hungry and really craving plenty of protein. They are, unfortunately packed with quite a few non-natural ingredients.

Cost and Value

Very slightly cheaper than your average bar but highly worth every penny.

8. PureFit Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
PureFit Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
82
Effectiveness
90
Product Purity
93
Side Effects
85
Value
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$26.24
Pros:

Great flavor

Not too sweet

Vegan-friendly and gluten-free

One of the best on the market for an additive-free snack with sensible and healthy ingredients

Cons:

Not as much protein as some others on the list, though 18g is still pretty good

These are soy-based, which some people don’t like

These ones are a particularly tasty peanut butter chocolate chip flavor containing soy-only protein, which makes them perfect if you happen to be vegan or lactose intolerant. They have quite a unique texture, almost like cookie dough, but still with the nice density which is so common in protein bars. They have a protein content of 18g per bar.

Read more

Taste

These have a lovely flavor! Like most of the best protein bars on the market, they replicate a candy bar flavor, which makes them not only healthy but also a delicious, guilt-free snack. Many users have commented that they actually prefer these to standard candy bars, which is a great compliment. The peanut butter flavor is really nicely balanced out with the chocolate chip flavor, and there’s not too much sweetness, so they’re not cloying. When they say they taste like peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough, they really do!

Nutrition

These don’t have as much protein as some others on this list, but otherwise, nutritionally they are fantastic. They are vegan-friendly with no whey content and are gluten-free and non-GMO. They have no artificial sweeteners and omit a whole load of the additives and extras that you might find in other protein bars.

Cost and Value

They are a little pricey, but not outrageously so because these protein bars are affordable to most.

9. Detour Simple Chocolate Chip Caramel

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Detour Simple Chocolate Chip Caramel
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
85
Effectiveness
84
Product Purity
90
Side Effects
85
Value
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.99
Pros:

Non-GMO

Affordable

10 grams of protein

Gluten Free

Cons:

Still not sweet enough for those who like their protein bars really sweet

This is the best affordable protein bar out there. They are made of real, non-GMO ingredients that provide you with the macronutrients you need.

Read more

Taste

This one is sweet but not overpowering. It isn't bland and will definitely give you your sugar fix.

Nutrition

One of these bars gives you 10 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and only 2 grams of sugar. They are gluten-free, Non-GMO, and only 110 calories.

Cost and Value

These are a bit more affordable than other options on our list. However, do not believe that they have a poor value because, on the contrary, they are highly nutritious.

10. Optimum Nutrition Birthday Cake

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Optimum Nutrition Birthday Cake
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
83
Effectiveness
82
Product Purity
80
Side Effects
85
Value
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$22.29
Pros:

Unique taste and texture

Each pack has three mini cakes, which can make for a smaller snack if you so wish

Low sugar

Highly affordable

Cons:

Artificially sweetened

A slightly milder flavor than some other protein bars

These have the unique flavor of birthday cake and a different texture than most bars, with a whipped center. Each bar has 20g of protein and contains three mini bites from a whey-based source.

Read more

Taste

These have a great flavor and rank here mainly for their unusual taste and texture. They don’t taste exactly like birthday cake but they bear a good similarity and the texture is nice, with something between the typical density of a protein bar and the whipped texture of a mallow cake. The flavor is a little milder than some other protein bars, but it’s still a lovely snack.

Nutrition

Per bar, you have 240 cals, 20g of protein and 5g of sugar, which means that some of this is artificially-sweetened. There are quite a few artificial things packed into these, including artificial colors.

Cost and Value

These protein bars run about average for protein bars. Moreover, you will still get a great-tasting. highly nutritious protein bar.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Ease of Use

Typically we eat protein bars as a convenience food when we're in a rush between workouts and home life, or after a run to help us start to recover. Because of this we felt it was important to look at how easy or difficult each product is to consume. As you probably know by now a lot of protein bars can have a texture that makes them difficult to chew and/or swallow, and if the flavor isn't good you may have to force yourself to eat it. That's actually the whole point of this buying guide, to bring you the best tasting protein bars, and included in that is them having easy to open packaging, a texture that makes them easy to chew and swallow, and a taste that's enjoyable because it's no fun to have to force yourself to eat something just because you need the nutrition. Eating should be enjoyable and fun, which is why we considered this as one of the most important criteria while making our list.

Effectiveness

There's no point in buying something, going to the trouble of bringing it with you to the gym or on a run, eating it, and then not having it have the desired effects. Everybody is different and reacts differently to nutrition, but there are some things we all have in common and the need for protein is one of them. By analyzing the ingredients and protein to carb ratios for each product, as well as reading over reviews from thousands of people from all different walks of life who have eaten these bars we were able to score each one on how effective they are at replacing your protein stores so you can start to quickly recover from your run, workout, or just having a busy schedule.

Product Purity

As runners and athletes, we tend to be pretty conscious of what we put in our bodies. Because of this, we did our best to only put products on our list that are at least relatively healthy. The fact of the matter however is that this buying guide is all about protein bars that taste good, and in order to make what is usually a fairly unenjoyable product taste good and have an enjoyable texture sometimes the makers of these protein bars have to resort to adding refined sugar, palm oil, and other ingredients that aren't all that healthy. And that's ok. Since we run and workout our systems process all that stuff and get rid of it quicker than the average person, so it's not in our bodies for as long. Still, it's nice when you can find a product that tastes great and doesn't have a lot, or any, unnatural, unhealthy ingredients in it. So we looked at the ingredients for each product on the list and scored it according to how pure and healthy the ingredients were.

Side Effects

Everyone's body reacts differently to different ingredients, but since we consider literally thousands of reviews from real people for each buying guide we write it's usually pretty easy for us to spot when a product is consistently causing people to have unwanted side effects. Sometimes it's an isolated incident, for example someone may complain that a protein bar or powder made them feel nauseous, but after looking into it we find out that person also didn't have a healthy diet in general or wasn't using the product as intended or directed while all the other reviewers felt great after they consumed it. In these cases, we chalk it up to, well, some people you know? In other cases, however, there will be several reviews that mention the same undesirable side effect over and over and in that case we know that it's probably the product that's at fault. We looked at the reviews for each product on our list and if there were consistent side effects it caused, that didn't seem to be because of the person not using the product as directed, we reflected that in the score we gave the product in its individual review.

Value

It can be hard for an individual to determine value for someone else because what's important to one person might not be important to another, but we looked at the overall cost of each product, how much it weighs, the nutrition it offers the user, and whether or not it's available for purchase in bulk and based our value score on these factors. Most protein bars are somewhat similar in cost, but even so it's important that you're getting the best deal for your money and if you're on a budget or are otherwise cost-conscious (and who isn't these days?) we wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to determine which of the best tasting protein bars on our list are going to offer you the most bang for your buck.

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Keep in mind

The right amount of protein will help our muscles recover faster, as well as help us perform better. Keep in mind that you should always consume protein within 30 minutes of your workout.

Dont Forget

When it comes to protein, it's also important to make sure you are spreading your protein intake throughout the day and ensuring you are also taking in the right amount of carbohydrates and fats throughout the day

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

Minerals and Vitamins

Here we looked at what additional vitamins or minerals a bar contains, how they interact with your protein consumption, what their benefits are, and whether or not they are useful.

Carbohydrates

What types of carbohydrates are in the bar and in what amounts? Carbohydrates give energy so after a tough run, it must feel nice to be given a boost of energy. We wanted to know how effective and useful the inclusion of any carbohydrates will be and if this had any impact on the cost of the bar or the amount of protein?

Non-GMO

We always try to provide you with the best products that means looking at our products closely. While we know many runners and athletes don’t take this into consideration, we do strive to provide organic food products that are Non-GMO.

Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar content is important because some products have way too much. Here you need to consider how sweet you prefer your products as well as your personalized daily nutrients. As far as artificial sweeteners we know that many people try to steer clear from them–I personally steer clear of them myself. There are many side effects linked to their consumption and real sugar has been shown to be better for our bodies (in moderation of course!)

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What is protein?

a:

Protein is a necessary macro-nutrient our bodies need to function. Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein–these amino acids consist of oxygen, sulfur, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen.

q: Why is protein important for runners?

a:

Protein feeds our skin, blood, muscles, cartilage and encourages our body to create the chemicals and nutrients our bodies need. f you don’t consume the right amount of protein you risk getting ill and not performing to the best of your ability.

q: Will protein help our muscles recover quickly even if we run often?

a:

Absolutely! If you consume the right amount of protein on a daily basis then it will absolutely aid in recovery.

q: Do children need to consume protein?

a:

Absolutely, they need a minimum of 5 ounces of protein a day.

q: Can sugar or carbohydrates take the place of protein?

a:

Absolutely not. Carbs are different macronutrients and are meant to provide energy. While they are important, they do not take the place of protein.

Sources

  1. bbcgoodfood.com, Best sources of protein, Health forum
  2. Quora.com, What would happen if you didn't eat any protein at all?, Health forum
  3. Competitor.com, Protein Intake And Performance For Runners, Fitness publication
  4. Livestrong.com, Are Protein Shakes Good for You After Running?, Fitness publication
  5. Wellwisdom.com, Protein After Running?, Health & Fitness publication