Cashew Butter Protein Balls

One step towards having balanced hormones is to stabilize your sugar levels. Sugar cravings, crushes, feeling jittery, moody and anxious when hungry, waking in the middle of the night are signs of unbalanced sugar levels. I teach more about rebalancing your hormones in this free online workshopHow to Use Food to Rebalance Your Hormones.

I developed this recipe to show you how to snack at night and help you stabilize your sugar levels.

Sugar Crashes And Sleep

Reaching for sugar-filled carbs like chocolate and sweet biscuits late at night won’t do your sleep any favors. Sweet snacks cause a sugar crash. Later when you’re in bed, that dip in your blood glucose may lead you to wake at 2 or 3am, disrupting your sleep quality for the rest of the night.

The Sleep Power of Protein

Protein snacks create a chemical chain reaction to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Here’s why:

  1. Protein increases tryptophan – this is a key ingredient for sleep.
  2. Tryptophan increases serotonin – also called the ‘happiness hormone’.
  3. Serotonin increases melatonin – the ‘sleep hormone’.

So if you want to prime your brain and body for a better night’s sleep, these high-protein Cashew Butter Protein Balls are the perfect choice. As well as being chewy and flavorsome, they feature a healthy mix of sleep-friendly ingredients including:

Cashew Nuts

Originally from Brazil, these crescent-shaped nuts have a slightly sweet flavor. They are high in iron, B-vitamins, and zinc. Most importantly, they’re rich in magnesium, a natural relaxant that nourishes your nervous system.

Nuts contain phytic acid, which can bind to minerals like iron and zinc, making you absorb less. So before cooking, I always soak them overnight in salt and water. This triggers the germination or sprouting process, reducing the phytic acid and making the nuts gentler on the digestive system.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is high in antioxidants and medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs). They boost the body’s immune defense against viruses and bacteria. MCFAs are also small enough to enter the mitochondria (powerhouse) of your cells. There, they help your body effectively complete it’s energy cycle, promoting better fat-burning.


In ancient cultures this fragrant spice was valued more highly than gold. In our modern world, studies suggest that it can stabilize blood sugars, helping your body release less insulin.


These tart, crimson berries are popular in Scandinavia and the US. They are high in fiber, vitamin C and other antioxidants. Compounds found in cranberries also help to fight bacterial infections and may help protect against everything from gum disease to cancer.

Ready to get in the kitchen? These protein balls are so simple that from start to finish, they take only 30 minutes to make. Just a couple will satisfy late-night hunger pangs. You can also pop them into brown-bagged lunches or enjoy as a snack between meals.


Get more delicious healing recipes and learn how to rebalance your hormones with food in my book, Cooking for Hormone Balance.



Cashew Butter Protein Balls
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, plus extra if necessary
  • ⅓ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup chopped dried cranberries (or cherries)
How To Make
  1. Place the cashews in a large bowl and cover them with hot water. Let the cashews soak in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain the cashews thoroughly.
  2. Place the soaked cashews in the bowl of your high-speed blender and process for a few minutes until you get a very thick paste. You will need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides of your blender every once in a while. Add in the melted coconut oil and process a bit more until you get a thick but smooth cashew butter. If needed, add a bit more coconut oil until you get the texture required.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cashew butter, almond flour, unsweetened shredded coconut, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract and water and mix until you get a homogeneous mixture, much like the texture of cookie dough.
  4. Gently fold in the dried cranberries until they are evenly distributed between the dough.
  5. Scoop one tablespoon of dough and roll it into a small ball between your palms. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. You should be able to get 12 protein balls.
  6. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.

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Join the discussion 30 Comments

  • Amy says:

    I’m confused. You say that these cashew balls are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, so it won’t lead to a sugar crash and poor sleep. But when I look at the nutrition facts (courtesy of the recipe analyzer), the “just a couple” of balls (2) said to “satisfy late-night hunger pangs” and help me to sleep contain 4 g protein and 15 g carbohydrates, 8 g of which is in the form of sugars. That’s only 0.5% of my daily protein needs but 41% of my recommended daily sugar intake!

    • Deanna says:

      Hi Amy, yes this has healthy fat, some protein and not too much sugar. So, it is still a good option (compared to others) for having a satiating treat before bed. It invites sleep and can help in healing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Kamie says:

    Did you use sweetened or unsweetened dried cranberries? 1/2 cup sweetened craisins adds 58 gm sugar to the whole recipe. 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberries adds only 5 gm sugar to the recipe. Recipe should probably specify.

    • Deanna says:

      Hi Kamie, Magdalena encourages keeping sugar very low. So unsweetened cranberries for this recipe 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    Hi, this recipe looks great! I usually take magnesium before bed, would the oxalates in the almond flour in this recipe bind to the magnesium, thus canceling it out? Should I use coconut flour instead? Thanks for all of your wonderful advice

    • Deanna says:

      Hi Michelle, trying it with coconut flour is a great idea! Please let us know how it turns out when you make it 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Just keep in mind that some people, like me, find coconut very stimulating and if they eat it too late in the day, it actually interferes with sleep.

  • Sandy says:

    What’s the alternative? I am allergic to tree nuts and coconut.

  • […] encouraging them to choose snacks that are higher in fats. Try making these fat and protein-rich Cashew Butter Protein Balls and have a couple before […]

  • Shannon says:

    I tried this recipe tonight and they taste amazing! However, I had to move the nut butter part of the recipe over to my Cuisinart because the nuts were not forming nut butter even after adding extra oil. So my first batch is super yummy, but slightly oily. Perhaps the nut butter would work with more nuts…I’ve pureed cashews dozens of times in my Blendtec, but the smaller quantity just spun to the walls of the blender and stuck there. 🙁 Other than that, great recipe!

    • Deanna says:

      Hi Shannon, Thank you for sharing your experience and review. If you make a double batch (maybe for a friend with hormonal balance issues or the holidays?) You can see if your theory works and share the results!

  • Jillian Malouf says:

    Do these follow a paleo diet?

  • Tiffany says:

    Is flour blanched or unblanched new to this so need specifics please.

  • Andrea says:

    can I eat these everyday? lol!

  • Andrea says:

    Can I use dates instead?

    • Julie McGinnis says:

      Hi Andrea,
      we can’t guarantee it would work the same but let us know how it goes?

  • Maggie Calmels says:

    I make them with coconut flour, it came out perfect, I made it with
    almond flour the same and delicious, thanks

  • Laura says:

    Allergic to cashews and almonds. So I will try to sub coconut flour or tiger nut flour.. what nut can I substitute? Do all nuts help with serotonin production? I can have pecans and walnuts..and may I also ask what brand of cranberries do you use.. can’t find any that don’t have added sugar and sulphites?

  • Laura Wheelock says:

    Where do you find unsweetened dried cranberries or cherries? I’ve only sound ones with sugar added.

    • Angela Sidlo says:

      Hi Laura,
      You can find them on Amazon or Let us know how you like the recipe when you make them. 🙂
      Angela – HB team

  • Gina says:

    Hi! Is this good for people who fighting with fibroids ?
    Thank you

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