20 Best Vegan Protein Bars in 2021 [TEST RESULTS]
Bars can be a convenient way to help get enough protein as a vegan, but after trying a few pretty gross vegan protein bars, I set out to find the best…
Bars can be a convenient way to help get enough protein as a vegan, but after trying a few pretty gross vegan protein bars, I set out to find the best ones.
I was hoping to find at least one that had a solid amount of protein, was low in sugar, tasted good, and didn’t cost too much.
So I spent about 2 months collecting and testing vegan protein bars that had good reviews or were recommended by other vegans. I did a similar thing to find the best tasting vegan protein powder if you’re interested.
I developed a testing process that was as fair as I could come up with to score each bar so that I could find the best overall bars.
The 20 Vegan Protein Bars I Tested
After spending some time browsing online stores, forums, Reddit, and social media, I had a list of 25 plant based protein bars that I wanted to test.
These bars were supposed to be the best of the best vegan protein bars, and I wanted to put that to the test.
I wasn’t able to find all of them, but I did manage to get most of them. Here’s a list of the bars that I reviewed:
- Clif Builder’s Protein Bar
- Garden of Life Organic Sport
- Go Macro Bar
- Whole Earth & Sea Vegan Greens
- No Cow Bar
- Pegan Protein Bars
- PROBAR Base Bar
- PureFit Nutrition Bars
- Raw Rev Glo
- Rise Bar
- Simply Protein Bars
- Square Organics
- Sunwarrior Sol Good Bar
- The GFB
- Vega 20g Bar
- Vega Protein Snack Bar
- Vega Sport Protein Bar
- Vegan Proteins+
- Zing Bars
How I (Fairly) Tested Each Bar
After buying the bars, I needed a way to test them, ideally with as little bias as possible.
First, I identified the 3 most important parts of a good protein bar and scored them out of 10 (where a higher score is always better):
- Protein content – Based on the percent of calories from protein.
- Taste – Self-explanatory. Will depend on the flavor you try (I mainly tried to stick to peanut butter or chocolate, as they’re pretty common).
- Cost per 10g of protein – All vegan protein bars are fairly expensive, but some more than others. I wanted to find bars that were provided value for their price.
I created a simple formula to calculate both protein content scores and cost scores to remove bias.
The scores are relative to the best in each category, so a 10 means that it’s the best you’ll find for a vegan diet.
Taste is subjective of course, but I tried to be as consistent as possible. If you look at the individual reviews lower down on the page, I describe why I decided on each taste score, and include a picture of each bar so you can get an idea of what it would taste like.
Finally, think of the scores as grades. A 7/10 (or 70%) is like a “B”, it’s about average for each category.
Vegan Protein Bar Comparison Table
The data in the comparison table below is a summary of all my testing.
Note that since palm oil is a controversial ingredient among vegans, I’ve marked every bar that contains palm oil with an asterisk (*) besides its name. It’s worth mentioning that all the bars with palm oil on this list claim to use sustainable palm oil.
|Bar||Protein Score (/10)||Cost Score (/10)||Taste Score (/10)||Overall Score|
|Simply Protein Bars||10||8||9||27|
|Clif Builder's Protein Bar*||7||10||10||27|
|No Cow bars*||10||9||8||27|
|Pegan Protein Bars||10||9||7||26|
|PROBAR Base Bar*||7||8||10||25|
|Vega 20g Protein Bar*||7||7||10||24|
|PureFit Gluten-Free Nutrition Bars||7||9||8||24|
|Vega Sport Protein Bar*||6||7||10||23|
|Sunwarrior Sol Good Protein Bar||7||8||7||22|
|Orgain Organic Bar||7||8||7||22|
|Garden of Life Organic Sport||7||8||6||21|
|Genuine Health Veganproteins+||7||7||7||21|
|The GFB Gluten Free bar||4||6||9||19|
|Raw Rev Glo Protein Bars||6||5||6||17|
|Vega Protein Snack Bar*||5||1||10||16|
|Whole Earth & Sea Vegan Greens Protein Bar||5||6||4||15|
The table above should help you narrow down your options.
I’ve gone over each bar in a bit more detail below (in order from best to worst overall). There’s a link to a detailed review for each at the end of each section.
The 20 Best Vegan Protein Bars
Again, I’ve put an asterisk (*) next to the titles of bars that contain palm products in case you want to avoid those entirely.
1. Simply Bar (27/30)
150 calories | 15g protein | 16g carbs (1g sugar, 7g fiber)
The Simply Bar is tied for the top score overall with 2 other bars, but since it doesn’t contain palm (and the other 2 do), I think it will appeal to more people and deserves to be listed first.
If I had to pick one, I’d say that the Simply Bar is the best vegan protein bar. With a short and simple ingredients list, it’s among the healthiest vegan protein bars as well.
Here’s a quick glimpse at its score breakdown:
- Protein content (10/10) – Exactly 40% of the total calories come from protein (mainly soy protein isolate) and it’s low in sugar. This is a very high protein content for a bar, only a few beat it (42.1% is the highest).
- Taste score (9/10) – Has a very crispy texture, a lot like a rice krispie square (just a lot drier). The only issue I had with it was that the flavor could be a bit stronger, but it’s still very good. It comes in a variety of flavors, and I tested multiple varieties (peanut butter chocolate, maple pecan, lemon coconut).
- Cost (8/10) – The bars are quite cheap, especially if you can find them at Costco. But since they have less protein than others, the cost per 10 grams isn’t perfect.
Depending on where you buy them, you may be able to find the variety pack so that you can try out multiple flavors. Otherwise, my favorite was peanut butter chocolate of the ones I tested.
2. Clif Builder’s Protein Bar (27/30)*
270 calories | 20g protein | 29g carbs (21g sugar, 2g fiber)
I didn’t order the other 2 top bars in any particular order. Clif Builder’s bars are easy to find in store, has palm oil, and is soy protein based.
Most Clif bars are vegan, including these protein bars. Just be careful that you don’t buy Clif’s whey protein bars by accident.
Here’s a breakdown of its scores:
- Protein content (7/10) – Of the 270 calories, just under 30% come from protein, which is about average for the bars I reviewed.
- Taste score (10/10) – This protein bar was easy to rate, it tastes like a candy bar.
- Cost (10/10) – Not only are the bars on the cheap end individually, but they also contain a lot of protein, so they are actually the cheapest overall bar per 10g of protein.
Of the top 3, it’s the best tasting bar, but has the lowest protein content. This is due to the high sugar content (contains beet syrup, organic brown rice syrup, and organic cane syrup, which makes it okay as a post-workout bar, but I don’t know if I’d want to eat it otherwise.
3. No Cow Bars (27/30)*
210 calories | 21g protein | 26g carbs (1g sugar, 19g fiber)
The third “first place” protein bar also has palm oil, but is a lot “healthier” than the Clif bars (above).
There’s a ton of fiber, and minimal sugar, so minimal net carbs. Instead, they contain a mix of sugar alcohols (erythritol) and artificial sweeteners (stevia).
No Cow Bars are also soy-free, with a mix of brown rice and pea protein isolate.
Here’s why it scored so well:
- Protein content (10/10) – With 40% of its calories from protein, No Cow bars have a relatively high protein content and get a perfect protein content score.
- Taste score (8/10) – The flavor is great, but it’s one of the chalkiest bars I tried. It’s still very good overall, but didn’t deserve a perfect score in my opinion.
- Cost (9/10) – The bars are reasonably priced, and with a high amount of protein per bar, they are one of the most cost-effective bars to buy.
It’s sold in a ton of different flavors beyond the standard peanut butter chocolate. There’s cookies ‘n cream, birthday cake, and vanilla caramel, and many more, so you can always mix things up.
4. Pegan Bars (26/30)
190 calories | 20g protein | 27g carbs (1g sugar, 26g fiber)
The Pegan bar is a soy free bar that’s only a point behind the top 3. As the name suggests, it’s both a paleo and vegan bar, the protein comes mainly from sacha inchi (a type of mountain peanut).
It’s not only relatively high in protein, it has a ton of fiber (26 grams of fiber per bar!) and is low in sugar (with no added sugar).
Let’s break down its scores:
- Protein content (10/10) – With 42.1% of its total calories coming from protein, the Pegan bar has the highest protein content of any bar I reviewed. For weight loss, that would technically make it the best.
- Taste score (7/10) – The flavor is decent, but a little off. It’s also fairly dry. Still pretty good overall, just not exactly enjoyable.
- Cost – The individual bars aren’t exactly cheap, but when you look at it on a per gram of protein basis, the Pegan bars give a lot of value for your dollar.
5. PROBAR Base Bar (25/30)*
290 calories | 20g protein | 32g carbs (15g sugar, 4g fiber)
The PROBAR Base protein bar is a certified vegan, gluten-free, mostly organic, soy protein based bar. Note that it contains palm ingredients.
While I gave multiple bars perfect taste scores, I’d probably say that this is the best tasting vegan protein bar overall.
Here’s how it scored:
- Protein content (7/10) – It’s protein content is average, with 27.6% of calories coming from protein.
- Taste score (10/10) – If someone told you this was a regular candy bar (think along the line of Snickers), you’d probably think they were telling the truth.
- Cost (8/10) – The bars themselves are relatively expensive, but like the other top bars, the cost per gram of protein is quite good.
6. PureFit Nutrition Bars (24/30)
230 calories | 18g protein | 25g carbs (17g sugar, 1g fiber)
While I didn’t specifically look for it, I don’t think most of these protein bars are kosher certified, but these are. They are also gluten and wheat free. Most of the protein comes from soy.
There’s a lot of sugar per bar though, with multiple forms of sugar and syrups (e.g. brown rice syrup, beet syrup, and more) in the ingredients list.
PureFit bars are solid overall, scoring decently in each category:
- Protein content (7/10) – Just over 31% of calories come from protein, which is about average for all bars. There’s quite a bit of added sugar, which hurts the score.
- Taste score (8/10) – The peanut butter flavor is quite good, and there’s a nice bit of crunch. The only issue I had with this bar was that there’s a bit of a chalky paste after each bite that gets stuck on the top of your mouth (like a mix of peanut butter and protein powder).
- Cost (9/10) – These bars are one of the cheaper ones per bar, and still score well when you look at them on a per gram of protein basis. A good option if budget is a big concern.
7. Vega 20g Protein Bar (24/30)*
290 calories | 20g protein | 27g carbs (18g sugar, 4g fiber)
Of the 3 Vega bars I tested, this was the best overall. Note that all 3 have palm oil ingredients in them. This bar has a mix of pea and brown rice protein, and a considerable amount of added sugar.
Here’s how it scored:
- Protein content (7/10) – With just under 28% of calories coming from protein, Vega’s 20g bar is right around average.
- Taste score (10/10) – As you would hope for a bar with 18 grams of sugar, it tastes really good, just like a dark chocolate candy bar. You can probably tell just from the picture above.
- Cost – The individual bars are very expensive, but if you look at the cost on a per gram of protein basis, it’s more reasonable, and about average.
8. Vega Sport Protein Bar (23/30)*
300 calories | 20g protein | 26g carbs (14g sugar, 3g fiber)
The Vega Sport bar is very similar to the Vega 20g bar, but distinct product lines so I included them as separate bars in my testing.
Again, it has a mixture of brown rice and pea protein, but a bit less sugar (and slightly more calories overall).
It scored almost the same in each category:
- Protein content (6/10) – With a slightly lower protein content (26.7%) than the 20g bar, it scores one point lower.
- Taste score (10/10) – It doesn’t look quite as appetizing as the 20g bar to me, but it tastes almost the same. The Vega Sport bar tastes a lot like a chocolate bar.
- Cost (7/10) – Again, the bar itself is expensive, but since the scoring takes into account the quantity of protein per bar, it does alright.
9. Sunwarrior Sol Good Protein Bar (22/30)
228 calories | 17g protein | 26g carbs (3g sugar, 17g fiber)
This is the best overall certified organic vegan protein bar (well, tied with the next two). They have a lot of fiber and are low sugar, using artificial sweeteners instead (stevia).
Its protein comes from a combination of brown rice, pea, and quinoa protein to give a nicely balanced amino acid profile.
Here’s how it scored:
- Protein content (7/10) – With 29.8% of its calories coming from protein, it’s pretty average when it comes to protein content.
- Taste score (7/10) – Everything about this bar’s taste was okay, but not great. It was a bit chalky, and dry, not not terribly so. It’s flavor was also fine, but nothing special. It’s easy to eat, but not really enjoyable.
- Cost (8/10) – The cost per bar is pretty good, and looking on a per gram of protein basis doesn’t really change the cost compared to other bars. It’s pretty good value for your money.
10. Square Organics Bar (22/30)
230 calories | 13g protein | 21g carbs (12g sugar, 3g fiber)
Square Organics scored just as well as the Sunwarrior bar, but it has some big differences. As the name suggests, it uses all organic ingredients.
Overall, it’s the best tasting organic plant based protein bar I think you’ll find (most organic protein bars aren’t great). They basically taste like candy bars with a dark chocolate coating.
Its protein mainly comes from brown rice protein, but some also comes from peanuts (depending on flavor).
Let’s take a look at how it scored in each category:
- Protein content (5/10) – In terms of macros, this is a pretty poor bar. Just 22.6% of calories come from protein, and there’s a decent amount of added sugar. This makes it less for athletes, and better for you if you just want a casual bar occasionally.
- Taste score (10/10) – We’re in candy bar territory once again. I tested the peanut butter flavor, and it didn’t taste much different than those vegan peanut butter cups you can buy.
- Cost (8/10) – The bars themselves are on the cheap side for vegan bars, and even without too much protein, they still score well in this category.
11. Orgain Organic Protein Bar (22/30)
140 calories | 10g protein | 17g carbs (3g sugar, 6g fiber)
Orgain’s bar is also tied for the best organic bar. It has a mixture of brown rice and pea protein.
It’s very low in calories and a good low carb vegan protein bar. It’s one of the few to be sweetened with a sugar alcohol (erythritol), but be aware that not everyone likes the taste of sugar alcohols.
Here are the highlights:
- Protein content (7/10) – Has a pretty standard 28.6% protein content, not bad or good.
- Taste score (7/10) – Very okay bar, not hard to eat, but not really “good” either. It’s quite doughy with a bit of crunch, with a weak flavor, and some chalkiness.
- Cost (8/10) – These are the cheapest vegan protein bars I tested (on a per bar basis, not per gram of protein), but these bars are very small. It still scores well when you factor in the amount of protein in each bar, but not perfect.
12. Genuine Health Veganproteins+ (21/30)
200 calories | 14g protein | 26g carbs (10g sugar, 8g fiber)
This is the definition of an average plant based protein bar; it scored 7/10 in all categories.
The one interesting aspect of it is that it contains fermented pea protein (and 6 other fully fermented vegan ingredients).
It’s the only one I found that has fermented protein, which is intended to help digestion. I didn’t have any digestion issues with any of the bars I tried, but if you feel like you might, this could be a good one to try.
Let’s quickly go through the individual scores:
- Protein content (7/10) – 28% of calories came from protein, which as we’ve seen, is pretty typical for bars.
- Taste score (7/10) – Had a nice texture similar to gingerbread cookies with a hard exterior and soft inside. Otherwise, it’s a bit chalky and the flavor is weak.
- Cost (7/10) – Whether you look at cost per bar or cost per 10 grams of protein, the bar is average either way. It’s not the best value for your money, but it’s far from the worst.
13. Garden of Life Organic Sport (21/30)
280 calories | 20g protein | 36g carbs (8g sugar, 9g fiber)
Here’s another average organic plant protein bar. I’ve tried Garden of Life’s protein powder as well, and I thought the bar was better than the powder at the very least.
It’s main source of protein is pea protein, and depending on the flavor there’s a bit that comes from nuts.
Here’s how it scored:
- Protein content (7/10) – Like many other bars on this list, right around 30% (28.6%) of calories are from protein.
- Taste score (6/10) – I had to hesitate between bites for this bar. It’s not bad, but it’s fairly far from enjoyable. The flavor is weak, it’s fairly chalky, and there’s a bit of an aftertaste.
- Cost (8/10) – The cost per individual bar is quite high, however, with 20 grams of protein per bar, the cost per gram of protein is a bit cheaper than average.
14. The GFB Gluten Free Bar (19/30)
240 calories | 10 protein | 31g carbs (15g sugar, 4g fiber)
This bar has really nice packaging, but obviously it doesn’t compare so well to other popular bars.
It does have a nice simple and short ingredient list. The protein mainly comes from brown rice and pea protein. While the bar is not organic as a whole, many ingredients are organic.
Oh yeah, the Gluten Free Protein Bars are also gluten free (never would have seen that coming). Here’s how I broke them down:
- Protein content (4/10) – Only 16.7% of calories are from protein. There’s 1.5 times more sugar than protein.
- Taste score (9/10) – I tried a few flavors and they actually tasted quite good if you don’t mind a very firm texture. The flavor and sweetness are both good (I hope so with 15g of sugar), and the texture is solid. The only reason it didn’t get a perfect score was that there’s a bit of an aftertaste (not terrible though).
- Cost (6/10) – The bars themselves are on the cheap side, which is why it still scores okay here despite having only 10 grams of protein per bar. Good for a casual bar, but not for anyone with any fitness goals.
15. Zing Bars (18/30)
210 calories | 10g protein | 22g carbs (9g sugar, 8g fiber)
For a casual bar, Zing bars actually aren’t too bad. They contain a combination of rice and pea protein.
Here’s how they stacked up:
- Protein content (5/10) – Just 19% of calories are from protein, significantly below average.
- Taste score (8/10) – The texture was nice, only a bit of chalkiness. The flavor was also good (but not great), with a good level of sweetness.
- Cost (5/10) – If you look at the cost per bar, they’re on the cheaper side of vegan bars, but when you factor in the low amount of protein, they don’t get you the most protein per dollar.
16. Rise Bars (18/30)
260 calories | 15g protein | 23g carbs (12g sugar, 1g fiber)
Rise bars are another organic plant protein bar option. They were highly rated, which is why I included them on this list, but I wasn’t such a huge fan.
This score might be a bit harsh since I was only able to find the lemon flavor, which is a pretty weird flavor for a bar. The other 2 flavors might taste better.
Finally, the best part of this bar is its incredibly simple ingredient list. It’s short enough that I’ll just include it here:
Organic cashews, organic coconut nectar, pea protein, and organic lemon extract
Because this protein bar contain full nuts (instead of protein isolate extracts), a lot more calories come from fat (even if they are healthy fats).
Here’s how the scores came out:
- Protein content (5/10) – Only 23.1% of the total calories are from protein, making it below average here.
- Taste score (5/10) – The texture is okay, it’s doughy and a bit chalky. The flavor isn’t particularly good.
- Cost (8/10) – It’s a bit cheaper than average.
17. Raw Rev Glo Protein Bars (17/30)
180 calories | 11g protein | 19g carbs (3g sugar, 13g fiber)
Compared to protein powders I’ve tested in the past, where many were down right nasty, even low ranked plant based protein bars taste decent.
There aren’t many raw vegan protein bars, so even though this one didn’t score amazing, it’s an okay option if you’re on a raw vegan diet.
The Raw Rev Glo bar didn’t score great in any single category, but didn’t score terribly either:
- Protein content (6/10) – 24.4% of calories from protein isn’t great, but not too far below average.
- Taste score (6/10) – The flavor was weak and very plain, and there was a bit of chalkiness and aftertaste.
- Cost (5/10) – With only 11 grams of protein per bar, it’s one of the more expensive bars per gram of protein.
18. Vega Protein Snack Bar (16/30)*
180 calories | 10g protein | 21g carbs (11g sugar, 4g fiber)
This is the third and final Vega bar I tested. It also has palm like the others.
It’s meant more as a casual meal replacement bar, and not for athletes who need to hit certain macros or protein targets. It’s main protein source is brown rice protein.
Here’s how the testing went:
- Protein content (5/10) – This is fairly low compared to the other bars, with only 22.2% of calories coming from protein.
- Taste score (10/10) – Like the other Vega bars, it tasted like candy bar, I couldn’t find any flaws with it.
- Cost – The bar itself is expensive, and when you look at the price on a per gram of protein basis, it’s the most expensive bar I tested.
19. Whole Earth & Sea Vegan Greens Bar (15/30)
275 calories | 15g protein | 37g carbs (22g sugar, 9g fiber)
Despite having 22 grams of added sugar, it still tastes bad. I really don’t know how that’s possible.
The main protein is brown rice protein, and the bar differentiates itself by having a mix of greens (wheat juice grass powder, broccoli powder) in the ingredients. But when you look at the nutritional facts, you’re not getting many vitamins or minerals.
Here’s why it scored the way it did:
- Protein content (5/10) – With 21.8% of calories from protein, it’s worse than most. It has more sugar than protein.
- Taste score (4/10) – As I said, the flavor is just bad. Aside from the dark chocolate coating, the inside texture is quite mushy and isn’t great (maybe if you froze it, it would be okay).
- Cost (6/10) – The bars are on the expensive side, and even though they have a decent amount of protein, they’re still more expensive than most per bar.
20. GoMacro Bar (12/30)
270 calories | 10g protein | 34g carbs (13g sugar, 3g fiber)
The final protein bar on my list is another bar with all organic ingredients. The main protein source is brown rice protein.
Again, it somehow has more sugar than protein, but manages not to taste good. Here’s how it broke down:
- Protein content (4/10) – Just 14.8% of calories come from protein, the worst of any plant based protein bars that I reviewed.
- Taste score (5/10) – The flavor of this protein bar is just not good. It is edible, and it’s not going to be the biggest struggle in the world, but it’s far from enjoyable.
- Cost (3/10) – Combine the fact that these bars are fairly expensive and they don’t have much protein per bar, and it’s clear why they are one of the most expensive bars per gram of protein.
If you’re still reading at this point, maybe none of the bars I reviewed quite fit your particular vegan diet. In that case, consider making your own. You can make substitutions like almond butter for peanut butter in case of further dietary restrictions.
Here are the best recipes for homemade vegan protein bars that I’ve found, which use ingredients like nuts, chia seeds, and organic pumpkin seed protein.
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