Meet my favorite granola bar recipe. These granola bars are delicious and easy to make with 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 pack 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 big hit with all ages.
As you’ll see, the recipe is versatile, so you can easily incorporate your favorite flavors, like nuts, chocolate and dried fruit. You’ll find my go-to flavorings in the recipe below if you want 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
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 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.
Watch How to Make Granola Bars
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.
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.
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.
Please let me know how your granola bars turn out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Looking for more healthy snacks? Try my favorite granola recipe, sweet and spicy roasted nuts, stovetop popcorn, or view a wide variety of snacks here.
Easy No-Bake Granola Bars
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes (plus 1-hour chill time)
- Yield: 16 bars 1x
- Category: Snack
- Method: No-bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
This granola bar recipe is so easy and delicious! These wholesome granola bars are naturally sweetened, gluten free, and the perfect healthy snack. Recipe yields 16 bars.
1 ¾ cups old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt (if using regular table salt, scale back a bit)
2 cups mix-ins* (nuts, seeds, chocolate, shredded coconut or dried fruit)
1 cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter
½ cup honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 9-inch square baker with two strips of criss-crossed parchment paper, cut to fit neatly against the base and up the sides. The parchment paper will make it easy for you to slice the bars later.
- Place the oats in a large mixing bowl**. Add the cinnamon and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Now we’ll blitz the mix-ins briefly in the food processor or blender (or, you can chop them by hand). Add any large nuts (like almonds or pecans) first and blitz for a few seconds. Then add the rest and run the machine for a few more seconds, until the ingredients are all broken up into pieces smaller than your pinky nail. Pour the mix-ins into the bowl of oats.
In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, measure out the nut butter. Top with ½ cup honey and the vanilla extract. Stir until well blended. If you must, you can gently warm the liquid mixture on the stovetop or in the microwave, but make sure it’s close to room temperature before you pour it into the dry mixture (this is especially important if using chocolate, since it will melt).
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a big spoon to mix them together until the two are evenly combined and no dry oats remain. This takes some arm muscles, but you can do it! If the mixture was easy to mix together, that’s a sign that you need to add some more oats—sprinkle in more oats until you can’t incorporate any more.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared square baker. Use your spoon to arrange the mixture fairly evenly in the baker, then use the bottom of a flat, round surface (like a short, sturdy drinking glass) to pack the mixture down as firmly and evenly as possible.
Cover the baker and refrigerate for at least one hour, or preferably overnight. (The oats need time to soak up some of the moisture so they aren’t sticky.) When you’re ready to slice, lift the bars out of the baker by grabbing both pieces of parchment paper on opposite corners. Use a sharp knife to slice the bars into 4 even columns and 4 even rows.
Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap or parchment paper (if you store them all together, they will stick to one another). Bars keep well for several days at room temperature, a couple of weeks in the fridge, or several months in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer for best flavor.
*Mix-in options: Any combination of nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.), seeds (pepitas or sunflower seeds), chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate, shredded coconut and/or dried cranberries or cherries. For the bars shown here, I used 1 cup pecan halves, ½ cup pepitas, ¼ cup shredded coconut and ¼ cup roughly chopped dark chocolate. Keep in mind that anything larger than your pinky nail will need to be broken into smaller pieces. If you don’t have a food processor, chop them by hand.
**Granola bar texture: If you’re using old-fashioned oats and would prefer a more smooth, less chewy texture (shown in my photos), blitz your oats in a food processor for 3 to 5 seconds to break them up. Then, add them to the bowl.
Change it up: These bars can be sweetened (mostly) with Medjool dates, if you’d like to increase the fiber content. Soak 12 dates in piping hot water for 10 minutes, then tear them in half and remove their pits. Place them in a food processor with 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey and blend until completely smooth.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
Make it nut free: Do not use nuts (pepitas and sunflower seeds are good options) and replace the nut butter with sunflower butter.
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey.
This is my first time subscribing to a food site. I made the turmeric spiced whole roasted cauliflower yesterday. It was fabulous! Can’t wait to try out these no-bake granola bars. Thank you for posting these wonderful healthy recipes.
I’m glad you are enjoying so many of my recipes! Thanks for sharing, Elaine.
These are awesome!! I have tried several recipes and the bars always crumble. These were firm and held together well and so very tasty! Going to make again! :)
Great to hear, Antonella!
This was my 3rd granola bar recipe. I was about ready to give up on making my own while prepping for baby to arrive next week. The first I tried were way too sweet and crumbled to bits. The second recipe was a bit bland and dry. But these are delicious! Sweet enough to be a treat, but not too sweet. I like the texture a lot, even straight from the freezer. I used flax, walnuts, pepitas, cranberries and a few chocolate chips. Thank you!!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Congratulations, Lexy.
These are awesome. I made mine with rasins, dried cherry, coconut flakes, pepitas, almonds, and walnuts and then a mix of honey and maple syrup. They are so delicious and hold together well but are still soft which I like. FWIW, they remind me of these breakfast bars I used to get from a bakery in Portland, Maine (the name of which I cannot remember now).
That does sound delicious, Lydia! Thank you for your review.
I’m expecting my first baby in three weeks, so I’m working to fill my freezer with good for me foods! I knew this would be one of the recipes I went with. Perfect amount of sweetness for a treat without being too much. I have so many ideas about different mix in matches for the future.
I did change the form, by rolling into balls instead of making into bars, simply bc I like the idea of having these as little one bite snacks.
Congratulations! This is a great recipe to keep on hand. Thank you for your review, Chelsa.
I transfered the mixture to a snap lid travel container and just had a nice snack spooning it out. I’ll take it to lunch like that.
I am very happy thank you for sharing this great no bake healthy item!
I used sunflower seeds, coconut and cherry as my mixer. I did half honey and half maple accidentally but it seemed to turn out great.
This recipe is SO forgiving. And SO fast! Exactly what a busy person needs!
These are amazing! Great recipe. I lightly toasted the oats for roughly 5 min at 400. Added extra 1.5tsp cinnamon. For the sweetener equal parts honey, maple syrup and coconut oil mixed with almond butter. I was skeptical the salt would be enough but I’m glad I followed the recipe here. Next I’d like to just make with blended dates/figs for the sweetener. Awesome base for playing with. I don’t usually like bars but I did enjoy a few bites of the batter- mostly these are for my kiddo who really likes them! I will say they are quite sweet especially if you add any dry fruit in the mix so go easy if you like things subtle :)
Thank you for sharing, Laura! I’m glad to hear it.
This was a major hit with my three year old. I added some cardamom and turmeric for an Indian flavor and turned out great! Thanks
You’re welcome, Preeti!
I made these last night using organic maple syrup, chopped medjool dates, pepitas, organic peanut butter and finely chopped pecans…absolutely delicious!! I’ll be making this again and will have fun with different add-ins. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
You’re welcome, Debbie! I appreciate you sharing your review.
These bars are so good. They’re the perfect, filling snack that leaves you feeling good about yourself too. If you add sweet mix-ins I would use a bit less honey but that just might be my taste! I cut them up after refrigerating and froze r them with parchment in between each bar. SO GOOD!
Thank you for sharing, Juliana! I appreciate you taking the time to review.
These turned out delicious! I used half the almond butter and a little less maple syrup as I also added raisins for sweetness. I added 3 tbsp brewers yeast to make them beneficial for breastfeeding (like lactation cookies). They’re delicious straight from the freezer – just need to restrain myself from eating too many, they’re too good. Will be making these again. Thank you!
I’m glad you loved them! Thank you for your review.
Hi Angela, did you make any other changes other than the 1/2 almond butter and less maple syrup? Was thinking of the same in order to bring the calories down a bit. Did it hold up well?
Tabitha l VanHorn
My nephew is deployed in a very hot place in the dessert. Do you think this will be ok and hold up to the heat and shipping. He wants breakfast bars and these look so yummy.
I haven’t tried to ship it so I can’t say for sure. I do know it freezes well. So maybe try dry ice to ship? I’m not sure sorry!
I will never know what took me so long to try this recipe, which has been on my radar for a while… But, thank goodness I did! Thank you Kate, for another solid winner! I’m trying really hard to steer away from processed snacks and eat more whole grains & this recipe nails it. Even better, these are absolutely delicious!!!
Great to hear, Lisa! Thank you for your review.
These are great! Two comments: 1, be sure to chop even mini chips. The roundness of them makes them fall out easily. 2, if you’ve got one, use your stand mixer with the paddle to mix. I will be making these often!
I made this recipe and it was super delicious- added almost all the same mix ins as the recipe says to start and excited to mix it up in the future. I don’t think I added enough peanut butter (I think I put a bit less than the recipe calls for because I didn’t have enough) and they did crumble a little- which is find because I just eat the crumbs like granola for breakfast! Will be adding more nut butter so I don’t make the same mistake next time!
For your no bake granola bars, you can also make the grab and go granola balls. My kids love them in this form! If they are in bars they tend to sit, but by making into balls, they get eating up like cookies.
Thank you for sharing, Kari!
I’m leaving a 5-star review here for the Trail Mix Granola Bites recipe in your cookbook, “Love Real Food,” since that recipe is essentially these granola bars rolled into balls. They are fantastic, and I look forward to munching on them before or after (or during) exercise. Yum! Thank you!
This recipe is soooo good!! I formed into balls instead of bars and stored them in freezer. Eat them right from freezer!
Julie Smout smout
Can I use quinoa oats for a gluten free option ?
Hi, If you use certified gluten free oats it will be gluten free. Quinoa isn’t a good substitute. I hope you try it! Let me know what you think.
Made these wonderful little bars last nite. I do hope my grandchildren will lay of the after school junk and eat these. Cross your fingers. Had 1 before the gym. Wonderful lots of energy. Thanks a 5 in my book.
That’s great, Lynn! Thank you for your review.
Love the taste but my mixture crumbled and would not hold together in bars. Can you help with some suggestions
Hi Judy, I’m sorry to hear that. Did you process in a food processor? Did you add the nut butter and sweetener? Be sure to give enough pressure when you press it down.
Yes, I did process in a food processor. On reflection I think I cut back on amount of peanut butter and honey. Have subsequently added more and rolled into balls. All worked well
I have used other recipes and this one is terrific as usual. Love this recipe and all that I have tried on this blog. I am never disappointed with the recipes. Love that you can add or substitute what you want.
These came out GREAT – whole family loves them, including my toddler. So easy and love that they don’t crumble and you can make a ton of variations. We also made your lentil soup yesterday too – another favorite recipe. You literally never disappoint; thanks for all the awesome recipes! Oh and we make your GF oat waffles every weekend too – seriously the BEST. :)))
Thank you, Sandra! I appreciate your review. I’m excited they were a hit.
I tried the no bake bars but ended up with crumble and not bars after overnight in the fridge. The mix was delicious as granola though. I used a food processor but it didn’t seem to process the nuts etc uniformily. I sit best to do the nuts by hand? I need some more tips. The other thing is that the bards were almost twice as thick as your photos. I pressed the mix with a glass bottom.
Hi Ray, I’m sorry to hear that. I appreciate your feedback.
Great Recipe. Been experimenting a long time.
I covered mine with the parchment and left it on the counter for an hour then baked for 20 min at 350 to draw out some moisture (no chocolate). Used 1 cup add-ins: walnuts, roasted peanuts and dried GOJI berries.
Needed a backpack snack (thus no chocolate) that was durable, less expensive than a Cliff Bar and ingredients I could pronounce and control. Can’t wait to play with some
Good job Kate
Made these as a snack before I had some family visit. Everyone loved them! 3 people have already asked for the recipe. Also toddler approved. Such a simple, quick recipe for a yummy snack that is satisfying, filling, and nutritious!
Love to hear that, Paige! I appreciate your review.
These are great, my whole family loved them! My kids thought they were so good that they asked to have one for dessert after dinner!
I love to hear that, Katie! Thank you for your review.
These bars have been a lifesaver! I have 2 high student athletes who have several hours of practice right after school. They are VERY picky eaters and I needed something I could easily pack for them to eat before practice. One is allergic to peanuts so I swap with either almond butter or sun butter. They BOTH love them (that’s close to a miracle in my house!). Thanks so much. I feel so good knowing they are eating something healthy instead of something out of a vending machine.
You’re welcome, Annmarie! I’m glad you loved it.
First time I made, I didn’t use a food processor and the bars didn’t stay together (still delicious). Last 4 times used the food processor for the “mix ins” and works great (also I make a little extra in and use a 9 x 13 dish). Use this recipe to clean out backpacking food bits and ends.
I’m glad you decided to make it again, Kacie! I appreciate your comment and review.
Can you mix this together in a mixer on low? I not able to mix by hand.
You could try it!
Wow, that was awesome. These foods are great for traveling. Travel and enjoy especially with ghasedak24 travel tours!
Best granola bar recipe I’ve found (& I’ve been making granola bars for 45 years!). I added some more protein with some vanilla whey protein powder & a 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour for bulk, crushed peanuts, peanut butter, coconut, golden raisins & mini chocolate chips to complete the 2 cups of add-ins. Iwarmed the liquid ing. to make it easier to mix and the proportions were JUST PERFECT! Not too sticky or crumbly. Thanks!
Love these no bake granola bars! I used to make energy balls with similar ingredients, but they were messy and time consuming. These are my new go-to energy squares!
After many failed attempts to make no bake granola bars.., this one is just fabulous. I added ginger and a few dates too. Wonderful texture!
OMG… These are a new snack time staple! I used raisins and unsweetened dried cranberries, and roasted pecans and cashews for mix-ins, and apple pie-spiced maple syrup (a seasonal find). They’re ridiculously good. Thank you so much!
Hooray! That’s great to hear, Emily. I appreciate your review.
Best quick healthy snack we’ve eaten, great alternative besides brownies, the chia seeds provided a bit of crunch for a nut substitute, making them again today !
Hooray, A! I’m delighted you enjoy these bars.
I made this recipe without putting the seeds, nuts and chocolate chips in a food processor. I cut them by hand. Which you mentioned was possible in your recipe. Big mistake. Though the taste was very good, the bars just crumbled when I tried to cut them. I left them in the refrig for 3 hours. Next time I make them, I will surely use the food processor. Thanks.
Thank you for sharing, Karen! I appreciate you sharing your experience.
Today is the start of ski season. My kids are active all day in 20 degree weather and burn through a lot of snacks. All I had on hand for today were store-bought protein bars and cookies. I can not wait to send the kids off with these bars next week! It should make for an easier day on the mountain.
This granola bar recipe is the BEST I’ve found! I used almond butter instead of peanut butter, and maple syrup instead of honey. Soooo delicious!!
Great to hear, Kari! I appreciate your review.
Sooooo good!! I did a quarter cup of honey and a quarter cup of maple syrup. Added raisins, walnuts, two types of seeds, some shredded coconut, some dark chocolate. Thanks, Kate!
You’re welcome, Rebecca! Thank you for your review.
My daughter and I looovvee these bars. We always make them in a double and triple batch because they freeze so well.
I was wondering how I might incorporate a salted caramel flavour to the recipe? It’s a request from my 15 year old. She has also gone of nut butters, would it taste ok with plain butter?
Thanks in advance!
I love that you freeze these! That sounds like an interesting combination. I’m not sure without trying it. Sorry!
Thanks for this great recipe. It’s now my go-to for granola bars.
I use large flake oats processed for about 10-12 seconds and a combination of roasted seeds and nuts, usually 1/2 C each of sunflower, pepitas and almonds then 1/4 C roasted hazelnuts and a 1/4 C hemp hearts. I pulse the seeds and nuts separately until they are quite small which helps keep the bars from crumbling. I use natural peanut butter and maple syrup. The only time I’ve had a problem with the bars falling apart is when the peanut butter was a bit dry and the seeds & nuts a bit big.
I melt 1/3 C dark chocolate chips in the microwave, mix 1generous TBSP of peanut butter to the melted chips then spread over the bars before refrigerating.
That’s great to hear, Shelly. I appreciate your review!
Thank you so much… I love these bars. I now make them once a week. I do melt the peanut butter and honey a little just to make it easier for my old arms to mix, and I use chopped walnuts. I also use less honey. I cut in bars and put each in a ziplock snack bag (which I keep in a quart zip lock bag and reuse a time or 2) in a container in the fridge. Great for grab and go or a road trip. Sometimes I melt chocolate and spread on top, but not too often because then I can’t stop eating them.
Thank you for sharing, Dianne!