Food

Easy No-Bake Granola Bars

Meet my favorite granola bar recipe. These granola bars are delicious and easy to create using basic pantry ingredients. You don’t even have to bake them! These granola bars can pass as a quick breakfast, and they make a perfect snack. I love to carry these bars for road trips and flights, and I love hearing from moms who make these granola bars regularly for their kids. They’re a tremendous hit with all ages.

As you’ll see, the recipe is customizable, so you can simply combine your favorite flavors, including almonds, chocolate and dried fruit. You’ll find my go-to flavorings in the recipe below if you wish to follow my lead.

These granola bars have spared me from some hangry moments lately. They’re satisfying, just sweet enough, and stick with me for a few hours. Granola bars to the rescue!

Granola Bar Ingredients

Oats \sOld-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats will work here (steel-cut oats will not) (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 provides protein, good fats, and fiber while also assisting in the cohesiveness of these bars. You could make use of pecan, almond, or peanut butter. Sunflower butter is a nut-free substitute that works well.

Maple syrup or honey

The bars are held together by these natural sweeteners, which also give them their delicious sweetness (though not too sweet). Alternately, use fresh Medjool dates to make date paste. Dates provide an additional source of fiber, unlike honey or maple syrup. Details can be found in the recipe notes.

Adding vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon

Your bars get a flavor boost from these. Although you could theoretically omit any or all of these, the bars look more alluring with them. Cut the salt in half if you have a salt sensitivity because it enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients.

WATCH GRANOLA BAR MAKING INSTRUCTIONS

Mix-In Choices

Two cups of mix-ins increase the flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Any combination of the following is acceptable:

Pecans, walnuts, almonds, or peanuts are all suitable options for nuts.
Pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds are both suitable choices for seeds. You could use up to 1/4 cup of flax or chia seeds; however, since these seeds absorb water, I advise against using too many.
Chocolate: Cute little mini chocolate chips. When using regular chocolate chips or chocolate that has been roughly chopped, pulse them briefly in the food processor to break them up into smaller pieces. Considering how sweet chocolate is, stick to no more than 3/4 cup.
Coconut: Either flaked or shredded coconut will do. The best option is unsweetened because these bars already have enough sweetness.
Fruit that has been dried: dried apricots, cranberries, cherries, raisins, etc. Considering how sweet they are, stick to no more than 3/4 cup. Any fruit larger than a raisin will require a little more chopping by hand or in the food processor.

Variations on Granola Bars

Here are a few modifications I’ve made to this granola bar recipe over the years. I adore each of them.

All Pecans: You can add 2 cups of pecans to your recipe as an addition, and you can even make pecan butter to go with them (see my pecan butter recipe below). For those who enjoy nuts, this should also work with walnuts or almonds.
Almond chocolate chip: You can either use mini chocolate chips and sliced almonds, or you can pulse whole almonds and chocolate chips in a food processor first.
Almond Coconut: Combine coconut flakes or shredded coconut with an equal amount of almonds.
Dried cranberries, pecans, pepitas, and fresh orange zest can all be combined to make Cranberry Orange. This variation is the sweetest of all because it includes a lot of dried fruit.

Tips for Granola Bars

Making these granola bars is very easy, particularly if you have a food processor (affiliate link).

If your ingredients are big, chop them up.

The ingredients should be relatively small for these bars to hold together. If using almonds, you should either begin with pre-sliced almonds, use a food processor or chop them by hand (same goes for all nuts). Throwing all of your mix-ins into the food processor and giving it a few pulses is simple.

Put as much pressure and even pressure as you can on the mixture.
Air bubbles will be problematic. To ensure that the mixture is fully compressed, use a robust, flat-bottomed jar. After that, you might apply pressure with your hands to make sure it isn’t attempting to squeak up the edges or corners.

Before using, give the mixture an hour or more to rest.
The nut butter and sweetener’s moisture must have time to permeate the oats. Before slicing, chill the mixture for at least an hour and up to a day.

Properly slice and store.

Slice these bars with a well-balanced chef’s knife. I enjoy cutting them into squares. Alternatively, you might cut them into bars similar to this. The squares, in my opinion, are a little more robust. The bars may stick if you stack them on top of one another. They can be kept flat, covered, or individually wrapped in parchment paper or plastic wrap.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 12 teaspoon of sea salt, fine (if using regular table salt, scale back a bit)
  • 2 cups of add-ons (nuts, seeds, chocolate, shredded coconut or dried fruit)
  • 1 cup creamy almond or peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup or honey
  • Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Two crisscrossed parchment paper strips, cut to fit perfectly against the base and up the sides of a 9-inch square baker, should line it. You’ll find it simple to slice the bars afterwards thanks to the parchment paper.
  2. Oats should be put in a sizable mixing dish. Stir in the salt and cinnamon after adding them. Place aside.
  3. We will now quickly process or blend the add-ins in a food processor or blender (or, you can chop them by hand). Any large nuts (such almonds or pecans) should be added last. Blitz for a brief period of time. Once all the ingredients are broken down into pieces smaller than your pinky nail, add the remaining ingredients and let the machine run for a few more seconds. Fill the oats bowl with the mix-ins.
  4. The nut butter should be measured out into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add a half-cup of honey and the vanilla extract on top. Stir thoroughly to combine. If necessary, slightly reheat the liquid combination in the microwave or on the stovetop, but make sure it is nearly at room temperature before adding it to the dry mixture (this is especially important if using chocolate, since it will melt).

Also read: Gluten-Free Banana Bread (Made with Almond Flour)

  1. The liquid ingredients should be added to the dry ones. Mix them up thoroughly with a large spoon until no dry oats are visible. Although it requires some arm strength, you can do it! If combining the ingredients was simple, you should add additional oats. Sprinkle in more oats until you run out of room to add more.
  2. Place the ingredients in the square baker that has been prepared. Use a spoon to distribute the mixture in the baker pretty evenly, and then compress it down as tightly and uniformly as you can using the bottom of a flat, round object (such as a small, robust drinking glass).
  3. For best results, leave the baker in the refrigerator overnight or at least for one hour. To avoid being sticky, the oats require time to absorb some of the moisture. When you’re ready to slice, grasp both parchment paper pieces by their opposing corners and remove the bars out of the baker. Cut the bars into 4 even columns and 4 even rows using a sharp knife.
  4. Wrap each bar individually in parchment paper or plastic wrap (if you store them all together, they will stick to one another). For the finest flavor, bars can be stored for a few days at room temperature, a few weeks in the refrigerator, or for several months in a freezer-safe bag.

 NOTES

Almonds, pecans, walnuts, and other kinds of nuts; seeds, such as pepitas or sunflower seeds; chocolate chips or chocolate that has been roughly chopped; shredded coconut; and/or dried cranberries or cherries. With respect to these bars, I used 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup pecan halves, 1/2 cup pepitas, and 1/4 cup dark chocolate that had been roughly chopped. Remember that you will need to cut anything larger than your pinky nail into tiny pieces. Chop them by hand if you don’t have a food processor.

**GRANOLA BAR TEXTURE: To achieve the smoother, less chewy texture (seen in my images), pulse your old-fashioned oats in a food processor for 3 to 5 seconds. Add them to the bowl after that.

CHANGE IT UP: If you want to up the fiber content of these bars, you can sweeten them (mainly) using Medjool dates. 12 dates should be cut in half and their pits removed after being soaked in extremely hot water for 10 minutes. They should be processed in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup until fully smooth.

ADD CERTIFIED GLUTAMINE-FREE OATS TO MAKE IT GLUTAMINE-FREE.

RENDER IT NUT FREE: Omit the nuts in favor of pepitas or sunflower seeds, and swap the nut butter for sunflower butter.

Use maple syrup in place of the honey to make it vegan.