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May 08, 2022
You're here for an honest Built Bar review, and that's what we intend on providing you. For this review post, two of us from the SET FOR SET team tried each bar from a Built Bar 12 count mixed box, including regular and Puffs.
We came to some compromises on taste and texture where we had slight disagreements. Of course, the taste is subjective, and we all have our own preferences, so we’ve tried to marry our favorites with the most flavorful bars that others will enjoy.
Below is a list of all the Built Bar flavors that we tasted:
Let's get into the no holds barred Built Bar review!
Built Bar was founded in 2018 in Mapleton, Utah. The founders set out with one goal – to make the best-tasting protein bar. Ambitious, yes, but the taste is the deal breaker for most when it comes to protein bars, regardless of the protein content.
But Built Bar has very much begun to achieve its goal of a great-tasting protein bar, along with creating one of the healthier options. Built is now one of the fastest-growing protein-bar brands, and they have over 50 flavors to choose from over a variety of products including Built Boost and Built Broth.
This dedication to flavor and healthfulness has led to a truly remarkable brand and what we think is a pretty good-tasting bar. It seems to us that Built has tried to create a bar that resembles a candy bar rather than a full-on meal replacement bar. This is a unique approach, and you’ll see how a little later on.
**This post contains affiliate links where we may receive a small commission on purchases you make at no additional cost to you. This IS NOT a sponsored post and we only recommend products that we thoroughly enjoy.**
Here are our taste test results from our straightforward Built Bar review of the mixed 12-pack.
A quick note – these bars come in two varieties, regular and marshmallow-infused bars. The standard bar consists of an outer chocolate layer with flavored filling. The filling is a bit chewy, which was unexpected. The Puffs version has a marshmallow-like filling, which is lighter, airier, and less chewy than the regular filling. More on how these compare below.
We loved this Built Bar flavor, one of our favorites, double chocolate combined a chocolatey outside with a not-so-chewy chocolate filling. There were heavy hints of cocoa, which pulled this bar together.
We found that chocolate flavored bars usually tend to be hit or miss – either the dark chocolate is too bitter, or the milk chocolate is too sweet. This protein bar almost resembled a German chocolate cake in candy bar form.
Built nailed this, and we think the cocoa is the key. We also believe that protein powders tend to mix better with chocolate flavors, which is possibly why this works so well. It's really as good as a chocolate dessert.
We really liked the Mint Brownie; in fact, it was our third favorite protein bar from Built. We think mint can be overdone and often is. We're not huge mint fans, so we expected this to taste artificial.
But in this case, Built did a great job of using authentic mint flavor. Mint also tends to go well with dark chocolate, so this was a good combination. We'll say this came through like a subtle peppermint patty and less like a brownie. But we prefer it that way. Maybe you will too.
Another classic flavor, done well. The Built Coconut reminds us of a Mounds bar – milk chocolate filled with shredded coconut. Although the Built version is a little lighter on the coconut, and the filling is less shredded and more of their chewy center.
This flavor wasn’t as chewy as some others – it could be the fact that coconut has a lot of fat, which doesn’t blend well with starches or gelatin. In any case, this was a classic flavor done well, and the chocolate coating, which Built Bar describes as "perfectly tempered exotic chocolate", made it that much better.
You can’t go wrong with the chocolate and peanut butter bar combination, and Built proves us right. Peanut Butter Brownie is a crowd favorite in almost all forms. This bar has more peanut butter than chocolate, but the peanut butter isn’t overdone, which is good for eaters who could stand to have less.
The filling wasn’t nearly as chewy as we’ve come to expect, which is a good thing. Overall, Peanut Butter Brownie was one of our favorite flavors. If you love peanut butter flavor then you can expect the Peanut Butter Brownie bar to satisfy your taste.
Built nailed the coconut flavor. The Puffs version of the coconut flavor was well done. But, again, Built didn’t overdo the coconut, and it mixed so well with the chocolate coating.
The Puff filling was light and airy with a not too chewy marshmallow texture. Overall, this was a great combination, and that’s coming from people who aren’t die-hard coco-NUTs!
The coconut almond bar is similar to the coconut but with a touch of almonds. So it’s closer to Almond Joy. Some people love coconut, but not us. We like coconut enough when combined with chocolate and almonds, like in a candy bar or granola bar, but we don’t seek it out. So this was a pleasant surprise for us.
The filling was just a bit too chewy. Again, we're not sure if this is distinct to some ingredients, but there were a few flavors with a filling that was just too chewy and gummy and for us, Coconut Almond was one of them. But if you're a sucker for Almond Joys then the soft chewy texture might not be an issue for you.
We have high standards when it comes to this flavor. It’s one of our favorite flavors of ice cream, and we love the cream sandwich cookies, especially with milk. But, sadly, this bar didn’t bring us that fuzzy feeling.
Cookies N' Cream isn’t just a flavor to recreate; it’s a meal, an experience. We think where these bars fell short is too much sugar that overpowered the cream flavor (which is mostly fat) and a lack of cocoa to lend to that cookie flavor. More successful versions of this bar would include cookie pieces and actual cream, but that comes at the price of more calories.
The Churro Puff didn’t quite do it for us. We're not big fans of any snack that replicates the churro flavor. In our experience, these bars rely too heavily on cinnamon and brown sugar, even though those are the essential ingredients in a churro. But a churro is more than that – a churro is a freshly baked, slightly chewy pastry.
We think Built did a good job balancing the cinnamon and sugar, though. They didn’t overdo the cinnamon, and the flavor was definitely reminiscent of a churro.
We’ll also say the Puffs filling redeemed this flavor; had it been the regular chewy filling, we think we'd have liked it less. Overall, we just found this flavor a bit bland. But kudos for going after a reasonably unique flavor.
We love Banana Cream Pie, but it’s the pie that gets us and not the banana flavor by itself. This flavor was okay, but we just don’t want this flavor in a bar unless it’s got bits of pie crust or similar real-food bits. But that’s our sense of entitlement coming through.
If you like Banana Cream Pie, this may be a hit for you. They hit the creamy banana taste well, but we think it generally tasted too synthetic. A Banana Cream Pie tastes excellent because you have cream, banana chunks, and pie; it’s the sum of its parts, and when you remove some parts, it loses its luster.
Disclaimer: We're not huge fans of fruit-flavored bars unless they have dried fruits and such, so more like a granola bar. That said, this bar wasn’t terrible, and it reminded us of raspberry jelly.
We love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which made this an alright flavor. But we just think it’s always hard to replicate any fruit flavor – they usually come out tasting artificial, like syrup.
This bar definitely had a more natural, raspberry jelly-like taste, but it was still a bit too sweet for us. The filling was a bit too chewy for us also.
Despite the clever name that resembles our favorite summer-time flavor of ice cream, this bar just didn’t do it for us. Instead, it tasted like chocolate-covered cherry cordials. We like those but can only handle one before their sweetness gets to us. Same thing here – this bar was just too sweet.
The nice thing about this flavor is that it contains actual dried cherries so that you will get a true cherry taste, but that just isn’t for us.
We saved the best for last with the Salted Caramel. Built knocked it out of the park with this flavor as the sweetness and saltiness are a match made in heaven. The smoothness and creaminess of the caramel made this one an instant hit.
If you're a fan of most things salted caramel then this one surely won't disappoint you. The only issue we can find with this flavor is that it may prove difficult in eating only one at a time!
Below we looked at a few factors that played a part in our overall Built Bar review. After all, when shopping for protein bars there's more to consider than just the flavor.
You can find Built Bars in some retailers as well as online. Single bars retail for ~$2.77, and 12 packs (single flavor or mixed) go for $29.99.
This is average compared to other protein bars but may be on the high end for some. In any case, the price is reasonable considering the great flavors and quality ingredients.
Below is a table that compares the price of Built Bars to similar bars.
|PRODUCT||SINGLE BAR||12 PACK AMAZON|
|GATORADE PROTEIN BAR||$1.74-$2.49||$18.00|
|PURE PROTEIN BAR||$1.24||$13.49-$21.79|
Here we discuss the nutrition facts and ingredients of Built Bars.
Built Bars are more nutritionally well-rounded than most typical protein bars: they’re low calorie (~130 calories per bar), low in sugar and fat, high in protein (~17g per bar), and boast limited ingredients.
Built Bars also have a pretty high fiber content, about 6 grams per bar. This is about 20% of our daily value and much higher than most other popular protein bars. Due to the 6g fiber, the net carbs are lower than most protein bars.
In terms of nutrition, protein is always in demand, but the fiber is one of those underrated nutrients that is just as important. That’s just our two cents, but these bars tick all the nutrition boxes.
Here is how Built Bars stack up against some more popular protein bars.
The figure below compares a handful of critical nutritional factors like total calories, sugar, fiber, and others.
|GATORADE PROTEIN BAR||350||80||21||25||<1|
|PURE PROTEIN BAR||200||50||20||2||2|
Built Bars are among a handful of bars with a limited ingredient list. This is all around a great accomplishment, especially when trying to mix nutrition with taste. Of course, this comes at a cost, and the cost here is using sugar alcohols to replace actual sugars. Not a wrong choice, but if you know sugar alcohols, you know they don’t digest well.
Most sugar alcohols are highly water soluble, so they may give you an upset stomach or other gastric discomforts, especially at high amounts. Fortunately, Built Bars aren’t heavy on sugar alcohols. We had 4 bars in the course of a couple of hours, and let’s just say no one was running to the bathroom.
Below is a screen grab of the ingredients list from a Built Double Chocolate bar. The ingredients listed are found in most of the bars, except for a few flavorings.
As you can tell, the ingredients are pretty standard. The only ingredients we feel are worth noting are erythritol and gelatin. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, which adds sweetness, but can also cause stomach discomfort.
Gelatin is an emulsifier that creates a jelly, chewy filling. There’s nothing nutritionally relevant about this, but it makes bars really chewy, which may be weird at first for some.
Overall, we would score Built Bars with a solid 4.5/5 for taste, nutrition, and ingredients. There aren’t many bars that can compare in all three areas.
We think these bars are perfect pre- and post-workout snacks, but we wouldn’t recommend them as a meal replacement, and we doubt Built would either. There's no such thing as the perfect protein bar but these are close to it.
Here are a few key points from our review:
Taste: Overall, these bars tasted great. The flavors were true to the labels and what we think that the natural flavor should actually taste like, except for a few, which are typically hard to recreate, like Banana Crème Pie. They aren’t too sweet, which is good because we think many bars use sweetness to mask other less desirable flavor characteristics.
Ingredients: Built Bars are nice because they have minimal ingredients. They have the standard proteins and corn starch but go easy on the emulsifiers and stabilizers. They’re not quite as simple as an RX Bar, but Built has done an excellent job of making a good-tasting bar with as few ingredients as possible, ESPECIALLY SUGAR.
Gluten Free: We aren't gluten intolerant, nor do we see gluten as the world’s prime evil, but gluten can be a nightmare for some. Most of the Built Bar line is gluten-free, so these bars may be an option for you if you have gluten sensitivity. Also, that’s another ingredient off of the list.
Puffs vs. Normal: Built Bars come in a ‘Puffs’ variety – a marshmallow-infused version of their more simple flavors, like coconut. The puffy filling is more dense and chewy than an actual marshmallow, but it does the job and tastes good too.
Size: These bars are great as a pre- or post-workout snack. They’re small, low in calories, but high in protein. They are not a suitable meal replacement. Some may see that as a bad thing, but you really should not be eating bars in place of whole meals.
Chewiness: All the bars had a very chewy center – too chewy, in fact, for our liking. We think this has to do with ingredients like gelatin and cornstarch. These ingredients are usually added to increase stability and thickness (meaning chewiness). Unfortunately, this makes the inside of the bar very chewy – think Swedish Fish. This was probably the least desirable characteristic of these bars. The filling would get stuck in our teeth. That’s fine if we're eating a gummy bear, but not something we expect when eating something called “Chocolate Brownie.”
Flavor Selection: While Built has created a few dozen flavors, they’re all dessert or snack flavors, which gets a little redundant and washed out since that’s what all the other bar makers are doing. That’s not to say the flavors aren’t good, but we suppose we’ve gotten used to the more basic variety, so we're a hard sell.
After all these bars, we must say we really like what Built has to offer. We like being able to choose between the regular and Puffs varieties. We enjoyed the simple ingredients list, the high fiber content, and the budget-friendly price. We hope that this mixed box Built Bar review can help you make a decision if you're in the market for protein bars. However, at the end of the day what's delicious to you is a personal preference so try them for yourself.
We're looking forward to trying more Built flavors!
BUILT BAR FAQ:
Now that we got the Built Bar review out of the way, let's get into some common questions people have about Built.
Are Built Bars Healthy?
Yes, Built Bars are one of the best protein bars on the market. Built Bars are low in sugar and calories and high in fiber and protein. You'd be hard-pressed to find many comparable healthy options that taste great.
Are Built Bars Heart Healthy?
Yes, Built Bars are a heart-healthy protein bar option. Built Bars have low sugar content and high fiber content. This combined with the fact they use a limited amount of ingredients makes them a great choice for health-minded individuals and fitness enthusiasts alike.
Do Built Bars Cause Bloating?
Built Bars can cause bloating for some people. We didn't experience any stomach issues but some people have a hard time digesting protein powders and Built Bars are made with whey protein isolate. Those with lactose intolerances or other gastrointestinal issues should be cautious when consuming protein bars such as Built. Or you can check out the 12 Best Lactose-Free Protein Powders.
Where Are Built Bars Made?
As we mentioned above, Built Bar was founded in Utah and has never left. The company still manufactures all its products in American Fork, Utah, and employs over 300 hundred people.
Are Built Bars Good For Weight Watchers?
If you're in the Weight Watchers program and on the lookout for low-carb protein bars that taste good then you should give these a try. With the current flavors and Built Bar ingredients, each one will be 3 WW points. So when you're craving a candy bar grab one of these next time but don't eat the whole box in one sitting.
Does Built Have A Loyalty Program?
Yes, you're in luck! Not only is Built Bars cost relatively low compared to other protein bars they also have a "Built Bucks" program. You can earn these "Built Bucks" by buying the products where $1 spent equals 1 point. Other ways to earn these points are by sharing on social media, following them, or writing reviews.
Where Can I Buy Built Bars?
If you do buy Built Bars let us know what your favorite flavor was down below.
More Protein Resources:
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December 08, 2023
December 07, 2023
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