Easy no bake and pantry friendly granola bars

Granola Bar Ingredients


Old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats will work here (steel-cut oats will not). Old-fashioned oats lend a more chewy, “rustic” texture. Quick-cooking oats disappear more into the bars. If desired, you can briefly blitz old-fashioned oats in the food processor to achieve the texture of quick-cooking oats.

Mix-ins of your choice

Here’s where we add more flavor! See below for options.

Nut butter

Nut butter helps hold these bars together, and offers protein, healthy fat and fiber.  You could use peanut butter, almond butter, or even pecan butter. For a nut-free option, sunflower butter will work.

Honey or maple syrup

These natural sweeteners also help bind the bars together, and make these bars deliciously sweet (though not too sweet). Or, make date paste from fresh Medjool dates. Dates offer additional fiber, while honey or maple syrup do not. See the recipe notes for details.

Cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract

These add extra flavor to your bars. Technically, you could omit any or all of these, but the bars are more enticing with them. Salt enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients—cut it in half if you’re sensitive to salt.

Mix-In Options

Two cups of mix-ins add flavor, texture and more nutrients. Choose from any combination of the following:

  • Nuts: Pecans, walnuts, almonds, or peanuts would all work well.
  • Seeds: Pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds are good options. You could use up to 1/4 cup flax seeds or chia seeds—these seeds absorb moisture, which is why I suggest limiting the quantity.
  • Chocolate: Mini chocolate chips are cute. If using regular chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate, blitz them for a few seconds in the food processor to break them into smaller pieces. Since chocolate is sweet, limit it to 3/4 cup or less.
  • Coconut: Shredded or flaked coconut will work here. Unsweetened is best, since these are bars are sweet enough as is.
  • Dried fruit: Dried cranberries, cherries, raisins, apricots, etc. Since these are sweet, limit them to 3/4 cup or less. Any fruit larger than a raisin will need to be broken up a bit more—either in the food processor or chopped by hand.

mixed ingredients

Granola Bar Variations

Here are some variations on this granola bar recipe that I’ve come up with over the years. I love them all!

  • All Pecans: You can use use 2 cups pecans as your mix-ins, and you could even make pecan nut butter to match (here’s my recipe for pecan butter). Nut lovers, this would work with walnuts (presumably) or almonds, too.
  • Almond Chocolate Chip: Use sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips, or blitz whole almonds and chocolate chips in the food processor before using.
  • Almond Coconut: Use equal parts almonds and coconut flakes or shredded coconut.
  • Cranberry Orange: Use a combination of dried cranberries, pecans, pepitas and fresh orange zest. Since this variation contains a lot of dried fruit, it’s the sweetest of them all.

how to make granola bars

Granola Bar Tips

These granola bars are quite simple to make, especially if you have a food processor (affiliate link).

Chop up your ingredients, if large.

These bars hold together best when the ingredients are quite small. If using almonds, you’ll want to either start with pre-sliced almonds, or chop them up in the food processor or by hand (same goes for all nuts). It’s easy to throw all of your mix-ins into the food processor and blitz a few times.

Press the mixture down as firmly as evenly as possible.

Air pockets will cause problems. Use a sturdy, flat-bottomed jar to make sure the mixture is pressed down completely. You might then press down with your hands to ensure it’s not trying to sneak up the sides or corners.

Let the mixture rest for one hour or longer before using.

The oats need some time to soak up the moisture in the nut butter and sweetener. Chill the mixture for at least one hour (or as long as a day) before slicing.

Slice and store properly.

Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice these bars. I like to slice them into squares. Another option would be to slice them into bars like this. I think the squares are a little more sturdy. Be sure not to stack the bars on top of each other, or they can stick. You can store them flat, covered, or wrap them individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper.

homemade granola bars recipe

recipe from Cookieandkate.com


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