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Refined Sugar-Free Recipe: No-Bake “Donut Holes”

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2024-05-28

Do you love a sweet snack but hate the added sugar? I have good news for you! These refined sugar-free, no-bake donut holes are the perfect solution for you to satisfy your cravings while you reduce your dependency on the processed stuff. They're made with nutrient-dense ingredients like almonds, pecans, and dates, and they're super easy to make. 


Benefits of ditching refined sugar

The overconsumption of refined sugar has been associated with health challenges from diabetes and heart disease to dental problems and increased inflammation. While some may tolerate an occasional sugary treat, those looking to keep adverse effects at bay can satisfy their sweet tooth with unrefined alternatives like coconut sugar and dates.

Dates as a healthier alternative

Enter the date! We love using dates as a healthy alternative in desserts for both their taste and their nutrition.

Some key benefits dates offer:

  • Nutrient-density: dates contain key vitamins, like B6 and niacin; minerals, such as magnesium and potassium; and antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenolic compounds

  • Fiber: dates contain insoluble fiber which helps to support blood sugar balance, satiety, and even elimination

  • Flavor: dates add a caramel-like flavor to recipes, some say it reminds them of the taste of honey or molasses 

A surprising (and spicy) ingredient – ginger!

Ginger has been savored and revered for centuries as a culinary and medicinal gem. It’s used to expel a cold, induce sweating, and therefore help release toxins from the body. It’s great for digestion, coughs, and nausea–even during pregnancy. In food it stimulates the salivary glands and taste buds. And it’s a potent anti-inflammatory, even helping with arthritic pain.

Refined Sugar-Free, No-Bake “Donut Holes”

Nutrient-dense donut holes like these are a great snack or dessert. They're also a great way to get your daily dose of healthy fats and fiber. So next time you're craving something sweet, reach for these refined sugar-free, no-bake donut holes instead. You won't be disappointed!

Yields one dozen donut holes


  • 1⁄2 cup raw almonds

  • 1⁄4 cup raw pecans

  • 2 tablespoon raw coconut/palm sugar (optional, but rounds out flavor)

  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger, roughly chopped

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • pinch sea salt

  • 12 dates, pitted

  • fine coconut flakes (optional)


1. Place almonds, pecans, coconut sugar (if using), ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.

2. Add dates and process until ingredients stick together like dough. Don’t over-process. Feel free to taste the mixture to make sure it’s to your liking. You can always add more sugar or spices!

3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough-like mixture into hand and form into a ball. A mini ice cream scoop works well for this if you have one.

4. Roll in coconut flakes, if desired. Chill in fridge on wax-lined sheet for at least one hour.

Additional tips for preparation:

  1. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender. Just be sure to blend on low speed so that the nuts don't get too pulverized.

  2. You can use any type of sweetener you like in this recipe. We prefer coconut sugar for its caramel flavor, but you can also use maple syrup, honey, or even stevia.

  3. No coconut flakes? No problem. Substitute with shredded coconut or even chopped nuts.

  4. These donut holes can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.


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