Traditional Quest Bar Reviews
Excluding Oreos, candy, cupcakes, beer, Twinkies, potato chips, and ice cream, I’m pretty healthy! Don’t let this blog fool you – I spend a great deal of time and energy in the gym. I regularly stock protein bars at home and at work to ensure I have quick access to protein on lifting days. I also have an overflowing closet of junk food that I review so that people will like me on Instagram (@JunkBanter).
I’ve received several requests for Quest Bars. If you’ve never heard of them, Quest Nutritionmarkets these bars as “cheat meals without the cheating.” They boast that their use of cutting-edge ingredients with clean nutritional profiles will make you feel like you’re eating something unhealthy. Well, who better to judge whether or not something tastes unhealthy than the people responsible for this? On that note, let’s eat every single damn Quest Bar ever created.
In lieu of a standard review of every Quest Bar, I’m going to rank all 23 Quest varieties ever released from my most favorite to least.
Note: All bars reviewed below feature Quest’s new recipe that uses soluble corn fiber instead of the former isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs) as the prebiotic fiber source. Quest Nutrition maintains that the change, among other purported benefits, keep the Quest Bars at peak freshness longer. This change has been met with mixed, more-often-negative reviews from consumers in my wildly nonscientific research. You can read more about the change on Quest’s blog.
1) Mint Chocolate Chunk: These Quest Bars use peppermint oil to add a minty, cooling sensation to every chocolatey bite. Even though they contain radioactive green chunks that look like leprechaun shit, these remind me of Thin Mints or York Peppermint Patties. They also contain chocolate cookie chunks because America is the greatest nation in the world.
2) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: These bars contain real chocolate bits instead of cocoa butter or cocoa powder that other bars use. They’re plenty sweet, kind of buttery, and just a little salty like a chocolate chip cookie. They have a dense yet chewy texture that remind me of eating raw cookie dough straight out of the refrigerator. Not that I’ve ever done that. (Editor’s Note: I’m quite famous for doing that).
3) White Chocolate Raspberry: By far the sexiest Quest bar, the dried raspberries add a tart sweetness and unique chewy texture that make these bars one of the more indulgent flavors. These remind me of eating fresh berries with whipped cream. I recommend eating everything with whipped cream.
4) S’mores: One of the newest offerings, S’mores is also one of the most unique. The base does taste a good deal like graham, perhaps drawing from the cinnamon used in this recipe. It also contains chunks of unsweetened chocolate and cocoa butter to infuse plenty of chocolatey goodness and added texture. I don’t really get any marshmallow flavoring, but I’m ok with this because of my well-documented disdain for marshmallows. If marshmallows are your thing, just broil these and slather on your own marshmallow fluff because who gives a shit?
5) Double Chocolate Chunk: Look, are you really surprised everything with chocolate is dominating these rankings? This bar has cocoa, cocoa butter, and unsweetened chocolate. The Quest chocolate trifecta. Chocolate flavorings always mask the chalky taste of whey protein the best, so it’s no surprise this flavor is one of the better ones. It has a rich cocoa flavor and a big chunks of chocolate. As an added bonus, this is one of the all-natural flavors that use only Stevia and no artificial sucralose as the sweetening agent. This is the base bar that gave birth to Mint Chocolate Chunk, but I would take a Thin Mint over a Double Chocolate Chip cookie every time.
6) Mocha Chocolate Chip: Everything I just said about the Double Chocolate Chunk bar, just dip it in coffee. That’s what the Mocha Chocolate Chip Quest Bar tastes like. The base tastes strongly of chocolate-flavored coffee. It contains tons of highly sweet chocolate chunks, and the slightly bitter coffee flavor helps soften any excessive sweetness from the sweetening agents. It just tastes more natural… unlike your gains.
7) Cookies and Cream: These Quest Bars suffer most from the change to soluble corn fiber and the new ingredients. They once tasted exactly like Oreos and were my #2, but the new recipe doesn’t deliver the same sweetness they once had. It’s possible I’m eating from a bad batch or am just an unqualified jackass, but the new Cookies and Cream makes me long for the return of sweet, sweet IMOs despite having absolutely no idea what IMOs are.
8) Blueberry Muffin: It’s all about muffin chunks for this bar, though they’re definitely not real muffin chunks. The Blueberry Muffin Quest Bar was released as part of a fan-vote through the Quest Labs testing community. This bar has a huge floury graham characteristic with notes of sweet and tart blueberry. Though I’ve never had a Graham Muffin in my storied career as a fatass, the Blueberry Muffin Quest Bar made me want to. Muffins are one of my favorite fruits, and we all need more fruit in our diets.
9) Lemon Cream Pie: Hands down the most underrated Quest Bar out there. You do have to like lemons because there is a kick-ass lemon sourness to every bite. It contains enough stevia to sweeten it to a point that evokes “lemon cream pie.” I feel like nobody gives this bar a chance, and that makes me sad. Sad enough to eat 19 Quest Bars and review them for the entire world (my Mom and that one guy from Armenia that really likes this blog).
10) Pumpkin Pie: This flavor is a limited edition and you know how much that turns me on. Pumpkin Pie is the first ever coated Quest Bar, wearing a warm jacket of graham cracker crumbles and pumpkin orange icing. We reviewed this bar solo and found it to taste like smooth vanilla and subtle cinnamon spice. I was hoping for more pumpkin spice from this bar, but then again I hope for more pumpkin spice in everything I eat. It’s still quite tasty, so just eat it with whipped cream or cram it into an actual pumpkin pie.
11) Cinnamon Bun: Of all the Quest Bars on the market, this one tastes the most like its name. By far the stickiest Quest Bar, the flavor is a cinnamon explosion. There’s a rich butteriness to this bar, even though there is no butter of any sort used. It also smells divine, because the scent of fresh-baked cinnamon buns is one of the most powerful forces on Earth. This bar would make Poppin’ Fresh proud.
12) Oatmeal Chocolate Chip: Oatmeal is generally boring as hell, but chocolate can fix anything. This bar manages to take one of the worst words in the English language (chunk) and make it a great thing by pairing it with one of the best words in the English language (porn). There is some serious #ChunkPorn in this bar, and the chocolate chunks are highly appreciated. There’s a crazy amount of cinnamon in this bar which will please many, but it was a bit too aggressive for me. Chocolate though.
13) Chocolate Brownie: These bars are darker than night with a deep cocoa flavoring. They taste saltier than some of the other chocolate flavors, which is necessary to try and capture the essence of a brownie. Because these bars are a health product, they don’t contain enough sweetness to be a fair representation of an actual brownie. If brownies are your thing, just bake some real brownies and fit them into your macros. Nobody is keeping track anyway.
14) Coconut Cashew This is one of my personal favorites, so I’ve inexplicably ranked it 11th. It’s one of the most unique as it uses both dried coconut and real cashews that aren’t featured in any other bar. The coconut adds so much natural sweetness that this bar still manages to taste sweeter than most despite not using sucralose. They’re no Toasted Coconut Oreos, but they’re a real treat. I know coconut is polarizing, so I stuck it here in the middle to maintain some credibility (is anybody reading this?)
15) Vanilla Almond Crunch: Does anyone even know this bar exists? I see people eating Quest Bars all the time, and it’s never this one. I know I’ve got it ranked all the way down here, but this bar is quite good. Bold vanilla flavor with crunchy bits of almond. The type of person who eats Quest Bars also probably drinks Vanilla Almond milk so this bar should be more popular than it is. What holds this bar back is its severe lack of chocolate or pumpkin. I love this bar, but I never buy it either.
16) Rocky Road: The Rocky Road Bar is Quest’s first attempt at an ice cream flavor, but it misses the mark. Ice cream is supposed to be sweet, and this bar is too bitter to satisfy your craving for that bowl of ice cream you haven’t allowed yourself in the last two and a half years. The fresh almonds are the highlight of this bar, but where the hell are my marshmallows? The Rocky Road flavor combination was crafted during the Great Depression to lift spirits. This one left me a bit depressed. Stick to the protein fluff.
17) Peanut Butter Supreme: I have a personal issue with this bar. It’s more or less fine, but the image shows what appears to be a chocolate peanut butter pie with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and a metric ton of peanuts on top of it. This just tasted like roasted peanuts. The ingredient list contains both peanuts and almonds. It does NOT contain “delicious slice of chocolate peanut butter pie.” Let’s relax before we call ourselves “Supreme.” For this reason, Peanut Butter Supreme is the most pretentious asshole on the market.
18) Banana Nut Muffin: This bar doesn’t get its due, not even from me. While it tastes quite good, it’s at a severe disadvantage on shelves merely because banana is the lead flavor. It combines bananas with walnuts and cinnamon to taste like a fresh banana nut muffin or banana bread. Could be a little sweeter. Donkey Kong would absolutely eat this if Mario didn’t kill him.
19) Chocolate Peanut Butter: I like this bar upon first bite, but it suffers from an odd aftertaste. A Reese’s peanut butter cup this Quest Bar is not. Because it contains only 2g of sugar and no sucralose, the mostly unsweetened cocoa combines with mostly unsweetened peanut butter flavor to land in a somewhat bitter place. Some sucralose probably would have fixed this, or about 30g of actual table sugar. This bar still has chocolate in it, so I’m going to keep eating it until I look like The Rock.
20) Apple Pie: Now that we’re finally done with chocolate, let’s talk about some of the other bars. This bar is a nice fall flavor. It tastes like a cinnamon-spiced apple more than it does an apple pie. It kind of reminds me of eating applesauce as a small child. I got made fun of as a kid. Moving on…
21) Strawberry Cheesecake: This bar uses dried strawberries to deliver a well-executed strawberry flavor. I’m less impressed with how they went about capturing “cheesecake.” There is a general creaminess here that, when combined with the softer texture of this Quest Bar, makes you at least think about cheesecake. I think about cheesecake quite a bit, and this bar doesn’t suppress that craving.
22) Peanut Butter & Jelly: This bar smells like a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, which is a promising start. The flavor is roasted peanuts with a fruity tartness that could pass as either raspberry or strawberry. The fruit flavor tastes slightly fake, probably a direct result of the sucralose. The ingredient lists only gives me the mysterious “natural flavor,” which doesn’t help me identify the fruit. I’m not sure why they didn’t use dried fruit like in other bars. To see how authentic this PB&J flavor was, I ate it between two slices of white bread. It was terrible, so I ranked it all the way down here.
23) Mixed Berry Bliss: These bars contain dried blueberries and dried strawberries. Ok, NOW I know why PB&J didn’t use real dried fruit. These bars are funky. They simply aren’t sweet enough to stand out amongst all the other desserty flavor varieties. Is this what real food tastes like? I feel like this bar is the healthiest, which is why I’ve ranked it dead last on this list.
And that’s it, folks… a review of every Quest Bar ever created. I’m going to go lift (take a nap) because I just consumed over 450 grams of protein.
Odds You Agree With My Rankings Rating: 0 out of 10
How Much Money This Review Costed Rating: $47.51 + Shipping out of 10
Quest Bars Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10
If you would like to order Quest Bars online, you can do so at the following Amazon.com link! http://amzn.to/1RNhaxQ
Quest Beyond Cereal Bars
*Updated 14 November 2016: The review that follows was prepared when these bars were introduced as “Quest Protein Crunch Bars,” available to members of Quest Labs. Three of the bars have now been released with the name “ Quest Beyond Cereal Protein Bars.” The official release only includes three flavors: Cinnamon Bun, Chocolate, and Waffle. The review has been updated with the final nutrition information, and pictures have been updated.
After remaining somewhat quiet since launching the Pumpkin Pie Quest Bar that tasted nothing like pumpkin, Quest is back with a bang! The company recently announced approximately 50,000 new products simultaneously, all out of nowhere. We have three more flavors of traditional Quest Bars: Blueberry Muffin, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and Rocky Road. We have brand new keto products for people on an ironic diet where you eat nothing but fat in order to lose it. We also have new recipes to their protein chips because the old ones weren’t that good. And finally, we have the most intriguing item yet: Quest Protein Crunch Bars!
So what the hell are Quest Protein Crunch Bars? Hard to say. The packaging describes them as “cereal-flavored protein bars.” But none of these are flavored like Lucky Charms or Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch, so I don’t understand. Are they cereal bars with added protein, then? Nope. They’re currently being advertised as “uncereal” bars. WTF? Quest President and Co-Founder Tom Bilyeu explains:
“Quest Protein Crunch Bars – it’s our take on the cereal bar, but we’re not allowed to call it cereal, because by definition cereal is made from grains, and we’ve actually done something that’s never been done before, which is we made a ‘cereal’ out of milk protein and whey protein isolate.”
Got it? Didn’t think so, but it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that one of these bars is flavored like waffles. At press time, Quest Protein Crunch Bars are only available to members of Quest Labs – a top-secret, super-exclusive testing community. To obtain access, you must complete a series of obstacles such as entering your e-mail address and that’s it. (Sign up for Quest Labs here)
Each Quest Protein Crunch Bar is between 100 and 110 calories. They all have 12g of protein, so the protein-to-calorie ratio is excellent. They pack a higher carb punch than normal Quest Bars, sitting at 18-19g, or 3-4g net, for roughly half the calories of the traditional bar. One thing that may alarm you on the label is the high sugar content. Hold on, though. These bars are sweetened with allulose, a probably-made-up sugar that only contributes 5% of the calories that traditional sugar delivers per gram. Apparently, allulose is absorbed but not metabolized by the body, but still needs to be identified as sugar on the label. I can confirm none of this, but can confirm that I’m about to consume 52g of this magical ingredient in one sitting.
Editor’s Note: The three Beyond Cereal Protein Bars that reached production are ranked first. The two Protein Crunch bars that didn’t follow.
The Quest Protein Crunch Bars are ranked in order of my preference below:
1) Cinnamon Quest Protein Crunch Bar: If this were a cereal, it would be Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Everything about this bar screams “Cinnamon Toast Crunch.” That’s no exaggeration. Actually, this product already exists without the protein: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Bars. These are those. They chew crispy and dense like those bars, and they taste exactly like those bars. Just a blast of cinnamon and graham flavor. Tempted to dunk in milk. The sweetness is up there but kept in check by the masterful use of cinnamon spice. They forgot to put drizzle on this bar for some reason, but it tastes so good that I don’t care. You’ll be eating it with your eyes closed in satisfaction anyway. Much like Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the best cereal, Cinnamon is the best Quest Protein Crunch Bar.
Nutrition: 110 cals, 12g protein, 17g carbs, 4.5g fat, 7g fiber, 8g sugar.
2) Chocolate Quest Protein Crunch Bar: If this were a cereal, it would be the extinct Oreo-O’s. That’s extremely high praise, if you were never #blessed enough to try Oreo-O’s. The flavor is more in the cookies n’ creme arena than it is just chocolate, and the white drizzle will remind you of that. You know how an Oreo wafer has that bitter element to it? So does the Chocolate Quest Protein Crunch Bar, and this isn’t a knock against it. Any time you can draw a comparison to anything Oreo, you’re doing a damn good job. You might prefer a little more sweetness from this bar, but not me. This is the closest thing I’ve had to Oreo-O’s since 2007.
Nutrition: 110 cals, 12g protein, 17g carbs, 4.5g fat, 7g fiber, 9g sugar.
3) Waffle Quest Protein Crunch Bar: If this were a cereal, it would be Waffle Crisp by default. These bars taste like Eggo waffles that were buttered with a pretty heavy hand and then finished off with maple syrup. The crispy not-rice has a good chew that emulates biting into a toasted waffle. I got butter first (a lot of it) before it transitioned to maple syrup. Maybe like… the sugar-free kind, though, because there’s something artificial about the Waffle Quest Protein Crunch Bar that I don’t love. Quest struck a good balance between the butter and syrup flavors, but the combination is a little aggressive for me. When I was done with the Waffle Quest Protein Crunch, a weird aftertaste settled in and stuck around for a bit. That’s the primary reason this one slipped down the charts for me. Some people are going to love this one, but it’s a flavor I would prefer to enjoy only on occasion and not on the reg.
Nutrition: 110 cals, 12g protein, 17g carbs, 4.5g fat, 6g fiber, 8g sugar.
Strawberry Quest Protein Crunch Bar: If this were a cereal, it would be Cap’n Crunch Berries. Emphasis on berries. It’s really a shame that this flavor didn’t make the final cut. Trust me, I was surprised AF that I liked strawberries over waffles. But just hear me out first. Nothing about the Strawberry bar tasted artificial, and it was incredibly refreshing. It tasted like dried strawberries which makes sense because dried strawberries are high on the ingredient list, right behind butter. Yes, butter. Behind the strawberry, the not-cereal bar had a similar flavor to many popular corn/oat cereals but the sweetness felt a lot more natural. I know it was fruit and “#YOLO waffles” or whatever, but here’s hoping the Strawberry Quest Protein Crunch Bar returns. I almost ranked this one second, which is a big deal for someone whose favorite fruit is a cupcake.
Nutrition: 100 cals, 12g protein, 19g carbs, 4g fat, 6g fiber, 11g sugar.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Quest Protein Crunch Bar: If this were a cereal, it would not be Reese’s Puffs, unfortunately. It would be more like Peanut Butter & Chocolate Puffins. It’s appropriate that the peanut butter preceded chocolate in the title because the lead flavor was indeed very peanutty. The flavors were pretty muted though. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Quest Protein Crunch Bar was the least sweet of the bunch, and the chocolate played a very minor supporting role. The flavor of peanuts was authentic for what it’s worth. I’m not really sad to see this one go, but a few minor tweaks could have made it more exciting. It also packed more calories than every other bar when first launched. While this may seem like nothing to you, I am extremely close to my overall life limit on calories and I will exhaust soon because of it.
Nutrition: 110 Cals, 12g protein, 18g carbs, 5g fat, 6 fiber, 10g sugar.
In summary, I have no idea what cereal is anymore. But I do know that I was very impressed with the Quest Protein Crunch Bars. For an approximately 100 calorie bar, you get a solid amount of protein on a bar that’s larger and more filling than most granola bars competing in this calorie range. The texture is unlike any other protein bar currently out there, and is very similar to Rice Krispie treats. While the jury’s still out on what allulose is, the Quest Protein Crunch Bars are a sweet treat that provide more energy via more carbohydrates than standard protein bars. If you’re concerned that the carbs outweigh the protein by about 3:2, , you may want to look elsewhere. But for me, the Quest Protein Crunch Bars make a suitable stash for the gym bag or the office snack drawer when you need a boost with a low-calorie price tag.
My Understanding of Cereal Before Rating: 9 out of 10
My Understanding of Cereal Now Rating: 2 out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Quest Hero Bars
Heroism: it can be many things to many people.
To some, heroism is a firefighter rescuing the family cat from a burning home after saving all the humans. To me, heroism is a firefighter rescuing the family size box of Fruity Pebbles from a burning home before saving anyone.
To you? Heroism is me telling you what I think of some new protein bars before you have to spend, like, $2.79 to try one yourself.
New Quest Hero Bars! This isn’t the first, second, or even 27th time I’ve bailed your asses out before. Here’s a review I once did of 28 f*cking Quest Bars. Two of the flavors don’t even exist anymore, but if they ever come back… I’ve preemptively come to your rescue.
I’m like the Abraham Lincoln of protein bars.
So what’s so heroic about the new Quest Hero Bars? Beats me, and apparently beats the people at Quest too. There’s really no unique description for this product launch. They basically just covered their Beyond Cereal Bars with chocolate protein coatings and then stuffed them with filling. If that’s all it takes to be a hero, then Quest is, at best, the Enrique Iglesias of protein bars.
The Quest Hero Bars launch in three flavors: Blueberry Cobbler, Vanilla Caramel, and Chocolate Caramel Pecan. Their nutritional profiles appear below:
|Blueberry Cobbler||170||17g||30g (4g net)||7g||13g|
|Vanilla Caramel||170||16g||29g (4g net)||9g||12g|
|Chocolate Caramel Pecan||200||16g||29g (4g net)||9g||12g|
The other thing worth nothing is that these bars use that heroic new sugar called “allulose,” a super rare sugar that passes through the body without making you fat. It has almost zero calories, is found in nature, and Quest definitely made it up.
Blueberry Cobbler Quest Hero Bar
The description from Quest: a white chocolate flavored protein coating, deliciously sweet and gooey blueberry flavored filling, and the satisfying chewiness of a Beyond Cereal Bar at its core.
Okay, so it didn’t take long for me to realize just how lazy the new Quest Hero Bars were. Tucked inside the Blueberry Cobbler Quest Hero Bar is something damn-near-close-if-not-identical to the Cinnamon Quest Beyond Cereal Bar. I would estimate that 80% of the flavor relies on it. The cinnamon flavor greeted me first – not a terrible thing considering the Cinnamon Beyond Cereal Bar was my favorite.
The blueberry filling doesn’t add much to the Blueberry Cobbler Quest Hero Bar, though. For shame. What’s there is kind of tasty (tart & sweet), but the layer is so thin that it doesn’t impact the profile enough. This doesn’t have nearly as much blueberry flavor as the Blueberry Muffin Quest Bar. The “white chocolate” protein coating adds a nondescript sweetness that mellows the cinnamon flavor more than it does boost the overall flavor.
Stick with the Blueberry Cobbler OhYeah! ONE bar.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Vanilla Caramel Quest Hero Bar
The description from Quest: a sweet vanilla flavored protein coating, gooey caramel filling, almonds, and a Beyond Cereal Bar core.
The Vanilla Caramel Quest Hero Bar also relies heavily on the cereal bar tucked inside it, and this one reminds me most of the Waffle Beyond Cereal Bar. I tasted a familiar fake butteriness from the waffle version in this one. I didn’t get as much maple though, because this time the vanilla coating and caramel filling make a stronger contribution to the final flavor. There’s also some almonds in the mix, but they play a much lesser role. Think of this as a hybrid between the Waffle Beyond Cereal and the Vanilla Almond Quest Bar.
My complaints remain consistent – the caramel layer is super thin and it’s nowhere near as stretchy or gooey as the package implies. I also tasted the allulose-sucralose combo more here than in the other bars, especially after I was done chewing. Can’t see myself buying this one again.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Quest Hero Bar
The description from Quest: a protein chocolate coating, packed with pecans, swimming in a gooey caramel flavored filling, all around a Beyond Cereal Bar Core.
Relax, Quest – nothing is swimming in anything here, but the Chocolate Caramel Pecan Quest Hero Bar is easily the victor today. Again the Chocolate Beyond Cereal Bar contributes most to the flavor, but here it mingles much better with the new components. The outside chocolate coating sweetens the cocoa-based cereal bar, the caramel flavored gel (or whatever it is) is more pronounced against the chocolate, and the bits of pecan add a nuttiness I could actually detect. The combo works.
But even without major faults, the Chocolate Caramel Pecan Quest Hero Bar didn’t blow me away. I’ve been spoiled by some damn good chocolate protein bars.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Welp, heroism is dead, folks. The New Quest Hero Bars are simply Beyond Cereal Bars with a filling too thin to make substantial impact and a coating that lags behind the competition. Laziness is alive and well.
Quest Hero Bars might impress more if they debuted instead of Beyond Cereal Bars. But launching this much later, it’s clear they rely too heavily on their predecessors. The extra components put them in a wrestling ring with so many director competitors, and the Quest Hero Bars get squashed. They’re less sweet than brands like Combat Crunch and FIT Crunch, and I’m not sure I really love the cereal bar texture in this configuration.
In summary, at least Quest’s version of a “Hero” is better than Nickelback’s.
“Hero” by Nickelback: 3 out of 10
“Hero” by Enrique Iglesias: 4 out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10
Related Protein Reading
- REVIEW: Oh Yeah! ONE Bars (All of Them)
- REVIEW: MusclePharm Combat Crunch Bars (All of Them)
- REVIEW: Chef Robert Irvine Fit Elite Bars
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