Have you ever walked into the protein bar section of the grocery store and been totally overwhelmed? Which one has the best taste? The most protein? The best ingredients?
Sometimes it feels like a new brand of protein bars is popping up every day—which is why we set out to find the BEST protein bar with the ultimate protein bar taste test!
Of course, we couldn’t possibly review every protein bar on the market. But we got LOTS of ideas by polling our Instagram following. Then we narrowed it down to the 10 most popular bars, bought a wide variety of flavors from each brand, and kicked off the taste test!
Obviously, this taste test is subjective. Everyone likes different things, and not everyone will agree on which one is best.
With that being said, our main goal with this product review is to find the best-tasting protein bar. The best-tasting bar might not have the most protein or the cleanest ingredients, but that’s our measuring stick!
I’m definitely not promoting these bars as a meal replacement or a way to lose weight. I really just set out to find a tasty, filling snack option for those busy days when I need to eat something as I’m running out the door. I know that I certainly get a little hangry if I go a long time without eating, so I feel like a good protein bar is essential for busy mom life!
I’m also not going to claim any of these are made with the cleanest or most wholesome ingredients. Those feel like subjective terms, and ingredient lists can be hard to decipher! But I personally don’t want a bar that tastes artificial.
If you’re looking for gluten-free options, most of these bars fit the bill. There are a couple of plant-based options too, which I will note in the review below. (Most of the other bars are made with whey, so they’re not vegan.)
All right, now you know our methodology, so let’s dive in!
These are one of the only protein bars I eat on a regular basis, and they were also one of the most popular picks of my Instagram followers. So I knew we had to include them in this taste test. These are refrigerated bars that taste like a homemade protein ball. They’re made with simple, natural ingredients — no weird protein powders. I really LOVE these, and after testing many others, they stand up to the competition!
This is another refrigerated bar made from simple, natural ingredients like honey, oats, and nut butter. They taste very similar to the G2G bar—just a little less dense in texture. I love that these taste like pure, real ingredients! If you’re looking for an all-natural bar, this is a great option. Costco is the cheapest place to get them!
These were definitely one of the tastiest bars we tried! They have a candy bar-like texture, with a nice chew and crunch on top. There was no grittiness or weird texture. The Caramel Cashew flavor was one of our favorites, and all of the other flavors were great too. However, we did not love the plant-based flavor … it wasn’t a terrible flavor, but not worth eating, in my opinion, unless you can’t have dairy.
These plant-based bars are decent, but very mild and somewhat forgettable. I wouldn’t necessarily look forward to eating one, but they’re not bad. They also offer one of the only nut-free bars (made with sunflower seeds). The Coconut Almond Butter Chocolate Chip flavor was our favorite!
This was another very popular recommendation from Instagram. FitCrunch bars are VERY sweet and totally satisfy the craving for a candy bar. But if I wanted a meal or healthy snack on the go, I’d probably opt for a different bar.
If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably heard a lot about Built bars. I had never tried them before this taste test, but saw posts about them almost every day! These have a very unique texture…kind of like a Charleston Chew, and very candy bar-like. (They’re kind of hard to eat because they’re so chewy!) We liked most of the flavors okay, but the mint flavor gets a thumbs down from us. It tasted very artificial and chemically. The Peanut Butter flavor wasn’t very peanut buttery, and the Salted Caramel flavor tasted more like butterscotch.
Built bars come in original flavors, Built granola bars, and Built Puffs. The Built Puffs have a marshmallow texture and are a great alternative to a candy bar. We liked the Built Puffs Brownie Batter best!
A lot of people recommended these as an inexpensive protein bar. At a dollar per bar, they’re definitely one of the cheapest options! These come in a 2-pack with Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The texture was very gritty, dry, and sandy. Honestly, the Chocolate Brownie one tasted a little like dog food to me. Needless to say, we were not big fans!
Aloha Bars aren’t available in stores, but since lots of people recommended them, I went for it and bought the variety pack online. These are a decent plant-based option, and we liked the mint flavor MUCH better than the Built Bars. Some flavors had a slightly weird aftertaste and playdough texture—like the cookie dough flavor. We thought the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip or Chocolate Mint flavors were the best.
If artificial ingredients bother you, RX Bars are a great option. They’re known for their simple, straightforward ingredients, labeled right on the front of the package. Some of them are very chewy and have strong flavors. Chocolate Sea Salt is our favorite flavor!
If you like trail mix, Kind bars are a good option. They’re very nutty and crunchy. (Watch your teeth on these ones!) They’re basically just trail mix in nut form, so they don’t have quite as much protein as the other bars on the list. But we thought the texture and flavor were good!
After the protein bar taste test, I’m happy to say the G2G bar still reigns as my favorite bar! It’s simple, natural, has a great texture, and tastes just like a homemade protein ball. Perfect bars are an equally delicious option with a slightly lighter texture. And if you’re looking for a more traditional protein bar, Barebells are our top choice!
Here’s a recap of the winners:
Any of these bars would make a great on-the-go snack. I’ll definitely be reaching for these on busy days when I need something filling to tie me over, or when I want something healthier to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Next time you make your way to the protein bar aisle, you’ll know which ones to reach for. Happy snacking!
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