REVIEW: Pure Protein Bars

Flavors Tried: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Peanut Caramel, Chocolate Deluxe, Birthday Cake, Cookies & Cream, Lemon Cake

Nutrition: 200 Calories, 7g Fat, 17g Carbs (1g Fiber, 2g Sugar, 6g Sugar Alcohol), 20g Protein

Price: $16.09 for box of 12 ($1.34 per bar)

Pure Protein bars

Pure Protein bars are one of the oldest protein bars I can remember, and they have certainly stood the test of time.

When I first began my fitness journey in High School (way back in the early 2000s) Pure Protein bars were my go-to protein source.

I distinctly remember not loving them, but they were pretty much the only protein bar option available to me, and I remember them being good enough to eat.

Since then, countless new protein bars have hit the market with innovative styles & flavors, so Pure Protein took a back seat in my journey and I haven’t eaten them since.

In 2023, Pure Protein did a complete rebrand of their bars, so I figured there was no better time to revisit my go-to childhood protein bar and see how it holds up to the current protein bar landscape.

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According to Pure Protein, only their packaging and branding have changed, but their bars remain the same.

My memory has me convinced that these are very average protein bars, so I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised here.

I snagged 6 flavors from my local grocery store, but Pure Protein does offer some other flavors that I have not tried. Still, the macros for most of their bars are going to look very similar.

Roughly 200 calories and 20 grams of protein is the gold standard for protein bars, so I’ve got no complaints there. These aren’t necessarily a keto-friendly option (around 10 grams of net carbs) but it’s still a pretty low-carb option overall.

Let’s see how these stack up after over 10 years of eating other protein bars…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pure Protein Bar

Chocolate peanut butter bar

I’m starting with the chocolate peanut butter Pure Protein bar because that one used to be my go-to.

As a peanut butter lover, I find that peanut butter protein bars are very hit-or-miss. Some bars completely nail the peanut butter flavor, and others somehow completely miss the mark.

Pure Protein manages to fall right in the middle.

The peanut butter flavor is decent, but if you had to put the flavor on a peanut butter scale, it would be more toward peanut butter protein powder than actual peanut butter.

It definitely captures the essence of peanut butter, and the flavor doesn’t offend me the way some peanut butter-flavored bars do.

The real star of the bar is the texture- the interior is soft and chewy, and there are some crispy pieces in there to enhance the experience.

All-in-all, this bar definitely doesn’t blow me away, but I don’t feel like this is a wasted purchase, either.

Chocolate Caramel Peanut Pure Protein Bar

Chocolate peanut caramel

This seems to be Pure Protein’s most popular bar because it is meant to resemble a candy bar.

I recently tried Pure Protein Candy Bar Bites, and they are extremely similar to this bar.

If you’re expecting something that tastes like an actual candy bar, you need to adjust your expectations. This definitely reminds me of the Snickers Hi Protein Bar, but even that is a disappointment when compared to an actual Snickers bar.

The bar is super soft and chewy (in a good way), and the gooey caramel is a great touch, but the overall flavor is simply that of a basic protein bar.

If you place texture above all else, then you’ll be all about this protein bar, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark on tasting like a real candy bar the way Barebells does.

Chocolate Deluxe Pure Protein Bar

Chocolate deluxe bar

It’s wild how one bite of a protein bar can instantly take you back 10 years, but that’s exactly what happened with this chocolate deluxe bar.

This is exactly what I remember.

Looking at this bar, it looks like it would taste like a decadent brownie, but it’s pretty much chocolate protein powder in bar form.

If you’ve ever had chocolate whey protein before, you’ll know exactly what to expect here.

The bar itself is nice and soft, but the flavor is nothing to write home about. It’s certainly decent, but you definitely taste the protein in this one.

Cookies & Cream Pure Protein Bar

Cookies & cream bar

On looks alone, the cookies & cream Pure Protein bar had me really excited.

The thick white chocolate coating paired with the black cocoa interior had me thinking this would taste just like an Oreo protein bar.

Unfortunately, this bar falls short in a few different ways.

First and foremost, this protein bar is not nearly as soft as the other flavors. While not too dense, it’s definitely dry compared to the others.

Secondly, the strong flavor of the bitter chocolate interior completely overpowers this bar, so you end up tasting no cream at all.

Considering the thick white chocolate coating, I definitely anticipated a flavor that resembled Oreo cream filling, but as you eat this bar, you almost exclusively taste the bitter chocolate. While it does resemble the crunchy cookie portion of an Oreo, it also lacks a sweetness that would really help to round it out.

All things considered, this was my least favorite of all the flavors I tried.

Lemon Cake Pure Protein Bar

Lemon cake bar

This lemon cake protein bar is a thing of beauty.

Granted, I’m not a huge fan of lemon-flavored food, but Pure Protein nailed this one.

When you open up the wrapper, you’re immediately hit with a strong citrusy smell that is extremely pleasant. Based on smell alone, I could tell this was going to be a winner.

Then, when I broke the bar open, I was really pleasantly surprised by the layers. The lemon cake interior is topped with what looks to be a layer of icing, then it is all coated in a generous white chocolate coating.

The lemon flavor is very prominent, and if you enjoy lemon-flavored snacks, there’s no reason you wouldn’t love this protein bar.

If I had to be nitpicky, I’d say that there is definitely a slight bitterness to this bar that seems to linger in the aftertaste a bit. But the texture of all the different layers in this bar, combined with the pleasant lemon flavor, make this a winner.

Birthday Cake Pure Protein Bar

Birthday cake bar

Much like the lemon cake bar, the birthday cake bar smells so good. If you’re someone like me who always wants to buy vanilla cake-scented candles, then this bar will soothe your soul.

Before I dive into the flavor, I’d like to file a formal complaint with Pure Protein: Please stop using nonpareil sprinkles. Those little dots fall off the bar and end up going all over the place like the crumbs of a Nature Valley bar. Regular sprinkles work so much better!

That’s not actually a big deal, but I had to get it off my chest.

Back to the important part: this protein bar is pretty much exactly what you’d want it to taste like. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the Quest birthday cake bar, which I happen to like quite a lot.

The texture of this bar is soft and chewy, and the crunch from the coating adds a really nice contrast to the bar. A lot of birthday cake-flavored snacks end up tasting artificial, but that’s not at all the case here.

Out of all the bars I tried, this one was my favorite.

Overall Thoughts: Pure Protein Bars

Pure Protein Bars

Pure Protein bars are pretty much exactly what I remember from 10+ years ago, and that’s really not a bad thing.

Over the years, Pure Protein has expanded its lineup of flavors, so it’s nice to see some of the new flavors floating around out there, but the bars themselves have remained pretty much unchanged.

If you’re new to the world of protein bars, I think Pure Protein is a fantastic option. The flavors won’t blow you away, but there isn’t a strong artificial flavor or aftertaste that a lot of protein bars have, so they’re a safe option.

Plus, they are one of the most affordable options out there. Unlike other protein bars that require you to drop over $30 for a single box of bars, you can grab a variety pack of Pure Protein Bars, which contains 18 bars, for around $20. You’re not going to find a better deal than that!

While I didn’t try every single flavor, here is how I’d rank the flavors I did try:

  1. Birthday Cake
  2. Lemon Cake
  3. Chocolate Peanut Caramel
  4. Chocolate Peanut Butter
  5. Chocolate Deluxe
  6. Cookies & Cream

Since it’s been so long since I tried Pure Protein bars, I just assumed they wouldn’t hold up to the stiff competition of the current protein bar market, but these are still a solid option.

Pure Protein bars won’t change your life, but they likely won’t let you down, either.

Pure Protein Bars
REVIEW: Pure Protein Bars
Pure Protein bars were one of the original protein bars on the market, and they have stood the test of time. They were my introduction to protein bars many years ago, and I think they are perfect for that. The flavor won't blow you away, but they're a safe bet to get your feet wet in the world of protein bars.
Flavor Accuracy
Overall Taste
The Good
Soft & chewy texture
No overpowering artificial flavor or aftertaste
The Bad
Underwhelming flavor compared to other bars
Inconsistencies between flavors
Give 'Em A Try
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