No Bake Granola Bars
Chewy No Bake Granola Bars are here to save the day! Made with oats, peanut butter, and the mix-ins of your choice, they’re a healthy on-the-go breakfast or snack for growing kids, busy adults, and anyone (ahem, yours truly) who knows that hanger danger is real.
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Homemade no bake granola bars, you are my snacktime savior and hurried morning hero.
I think it’s time I shared your superpowers with the rest of the world.
In a world where we are all rushing to work, looking for healthy lunchbox and snack ideas, and desperately searching for a satisfying road trip snack that doesn’t leave florescent orange powder on your fingers, no bake granola bars are here to save the day (with these Quinoa Breakfast Bars as their trusty sidekick).
5 Star Review
“OH MY GOSH!!!! These were seriously the best snack bars I’ve ever eaten. I just ate my 3rd bar for the day, and I need to seriously work on my self-control!”— Sharice —
I first brought a batch of these easy homemade chewy granola bars on a ski trip years ago and they were an instant hit for several reasons.
- No bake granola bars are part wholesome snack/part dessert (similar to these Healthy No Bake Cookies).
- They’re a breeze to make. Just mix, press, and chill. No baking required!
- They’re perfectly portable (as are these Healthy Pumpkin Bars). Wrap each bar individually and tuck them into your purse, workbag, lunchbox, or coat pocket (for quick, easy access).
My favorite part about no bake granola bars, however, is their endless versatility (just like my go-to base recipe for Energy Balls).
With all of the mix-in options, you’ll never get bored with this recipe, I promise.
How to Make No Bake Granola Bars
No bake granola bars are the healthy snack recipe you need when you want a sweet treat that’s also packed with healthy, wholesome, good-for-you ingredients.
- Quick Oats or Rolled Oats. Provide body, texture, and the right amount of chew to these easy homemade granola bars. (This Crock Pot Granola is my favorite way to enjoy oat-filled granola in a non-bar form.)
For a more tender bar, use quick oats. For a bar with a little more chew, make no bake granola bars with old-fashioned rolled oats, which are heartier. For a finer texture, you can blitz rolled oats in the food processor a few times to break them down further (this essentially turns them into quick oats).
- Ground Flaxseed. Adds protein and, when combined with the wet ingredients, becomes a glue-like binding agent that helps hold the bars together.
- Wheat Germ. A superfood boost that adds folate, fiber, vitamin E, and other key nutrients to these no bake granola bars (as well as this Healthy Granola).
You can substitute the wheat germ for additional oats. Or for a fun texture twist, make the no bake granola bars with Rice Krispies in place of the wheat germ.
- Nut Butter. For ease, I typically make these no bake granola bars with peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or (for a nut-free version) sunflower butter all work well.
The brand and style of nut butter you choose will impact the consistency of the granola bars since some nut butters are thicker (or thinner) than others.
If your mixture seems too wet or too dry, adjust amounts of nut butter or oats accordingly until the right consistency is reached.
- Honey. Sweetens the granola bars and helps bind the dry ingredients together.
To make the no bake granola bars vegan, swap maple syrup for the honey. It is a great way to subtly change up the flavor of these no bake bars without losing sweetness too.
- Vanilla. Enhances, deepens, and marries the flavors of the various granola bar ingredients together.
- Cinnamon. For a little earthy spice and aroma that tastes fantastic with the nutty oats and maple syrup. (Or swap cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice and replicate the magic of these No Bake Pumpkin Energy Balls).
No Bake Granola Bar Mix-In Ideas
If you’re wondering what mix-ins go with homemade granola bars, the answer is anything you love!
Here are a few options to consider along with my all-time favorite ingredient combination. Use up to 1 1/4 cups total.
- Dried fruit, like cranberries, raisins, cherries, or apricots. Chop if larger than a dime.
- Mini chocolate chips.
- Toasted coconut.
- Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds.
- Slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, pecans, or pistachios.
My Favorite Combo. 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 chopped dried cherries or raisins, 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, 1/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds, and either 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or other nuts.
- In a saucepan, warm the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla together until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
The mixture should be very thick and sticky (not thin or liquidy) and should easily hold together when pressed.
- If it seems too loose, add more oats till the desired consistency is reached.
- If it’s too dry, drizzle in a bit more honey or maple syrup until the mixture clumps easily.
- Press the mixture firmly and evenly into a parchment-lined pan. Refrigerate until set. Remove the bars from the pan, slice, and serve. ENJOY!
- To Store. Keep bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks. Be sure to separate with layers of parchment paper or wax paper or they will stick together. You can also keep the bars, wrapped individually, at room temperature for a few days, though their texture will soften.
- To Freeze. Individually wrap and freeze for several months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
I highly recommend storing these bars wrapped individually in plastic to prevent them from sticking together. Plus, it makes them the perfect grab-and-go breakfast or snack.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Parchment Paper. Keeps the bars from sticking.
- 8×8 Baking Pan. The perfect size for shaping these no-bake granola breakfast bars.
- Food Processor. Ideal for chopping larger granola bar mix-in ingredients.
The Best Mixing Bowl Set
These quality Duralex glass mixing bowls are stackable to save cabinet space, and very durable and dishwasher-safe.
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.
No bake granola bars, you’re the hero we need (and deserve!).
Frequently Asked Questions
Unlike no bake granola bars with dates (see these Vegan Protein Bars), this recipe uses maple syrup (or honey) and nut butter as the primary binding agents for the bars. This recipe was tested to get the ratios of the dry and sticky ingredients just right to ensure these no bake homemade granola bars hold their shape once chilled.
Yes. The recipe, as it is written, is gluten free. However, I always recommend checking your labels, especially the oats, to ensure they were processed in a gluten free certified facility if you are particularly sensitive to gluten.
Granola bars (especially these Healthy Granola Bars) are loaded with tons of healthy ingredients. If there’s one weakness they have, however, is their sugar content. If you’re looking to reduce the sugar content of this recipe, I would not suggest reducing any of the base ingredients (e.g. honey or maple syrup), as the bars will not hold together. Rather, I would select low-sugar mix-ins like nuts, seeds, or unsweetened coconut flakes and skip any chocolate or dried fruit with added sugars.
No Bake Granola Bars
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter
- 1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups quick oats or rolled oats* (do not use instant oatmeal)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup wheat germ or additional 2 tablespoons oats
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or try 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups mix-ins of choice** dried cranberries or raisins, roughly chopped toasted nuts, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or wax paper so that two sides overhang like handles.
In a small saucepan, heat the peanut butter and honey, whisking until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Let cool for several minutes (especially if you are using chocolate chips, which will melt if the mixture is too warm).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oats, flaxseed, wheat germ, cinnamon, and salt. Roughly chop any mix-ins that are larger than a chickpea (you can also roughly chop them in a food processor), then stir into the oat mixture.
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients. With a wooden spoon or very sturdy spatula, stir to combine. The mixture will be very thick and a little tough to stir, but keep working patiently and you will get there. Once combined, the mixture should feel somewhat sticky, but not liquidy and should easily hold together when pressed. If it seems too sticky (this can vary based on your nut butter), add more oats. If it’s dry, drizzle in a bit more honey.
Press the mixture into the pan very firmly so that the bars stick together (to help, use the back of a large measuring cup or just got at it with your fingers). Refrigerate the no bake granola bars for 1 hour, to allow the bars to set.
- Using the paper “handles,” lift the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board (if they are sticking to the pan at the edges, use a knife to loosen). Slice into bars of desired size (I do 1 row of 4 and 1 row of 3 for 12 bars total).
TO STORE: Keep bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks. Be sure to separate with layers of parchment paper or wax paper or they will stick together. You can also keep the bars, wrapped individually, at room temperature for a few days, though their texture will soften.
TO FREEZE: Individually wrap and freeze for several months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
*INGREDIENT NOTE: We prefer these bars with quick oats, as they are a little more tender (rolled oats are thicker and have more “chew.”) For a finer texture, you can blitz rolled oats in the food processor a few times to break them down further.
**MY FAVORITE MIX-IN COMBO: 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 chopped dried cherries or raisins, 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, 1/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds, and either 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or additional nuts.
READ: No Bake Granola Bars