Good morning from New York! I am perched on a cushy hotel bed, with a window overlooking TriBeCa on my left and a bag of homemade granola bars to my right. I’m here because you all voted for my roasted cauliflower lentil tacos when I asked you to. Thank you so much!
The USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council flew me out here to attend their event. The United Nations designated 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses (think beans, chickpeas and lentils) for their significant health, economic and environmental benefits. We’re going to celebrate tonight with farmers, chefs and magazine editors. Party on, lentils!!!
These granola bars survived the trip intact, so I can vouch for their portability. I got the idea to make a cranberry orange version of my almond chocolate chip granola bars from Lilly, who commented on my cranberry orange granola recipe and asked how to turn the granola into granola bars.
I offered some suggestions but couldn’t get Lilly’s idea out of my head, so here we are. Wholesome, honey-sweetened, cranberry-orange granola bars made with lots of healthy whole grains, nuts and seeds. These no-bake granola bars would also make great “energy bites,” too, if you’d rather roll the dough between your palms to make one-inch balls. If you appreciate cranberry orange muffins and the like, you’ll love these!
Thank you to Lilly for this idea, and for all of you who come over and leave comments with ideas, questions and suggestions. I read each one and try my very best to respond to every single one of them. I’m always bragging on you guys for being so wonderful. Thank you for voting for my tacos, too! I’ll share my New York adventures on Snapchat today (I’m @cookieandkate), if you’d like to follow along.
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Cranberry Orange Granola Bars
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 16 granola bars 1x
- Category: Snack
These wholesome cranberry-orange granola bars are a great healthy snack! They’re made with oats, honey, nuts, dried cranberries and orange zest. This gluten free and easily vegan recipe yields 14 to 16 granola bars.
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- ⅓ cup pepitas
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- 1 ¾ cups quick-cooking oats (or old-fashioned oats, pulsed briefly in a food processor or blender to break them up)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest, preferably organic (from 1 large orange)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt, to taste (decrease if your almond/peanut butter is salted)
- 1 cup creamy unsalted almond butter or peanut butter, packed
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 ½ teaspoons 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.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans and pepitas, stirring often, until they are fragrant and the pepitas are starting to make little popping noises, about 5 minutes. Transfer the toasted pecans and pepitas to a food processor. Add the cranberries and then run the machine for about 10 seconds, until the nuts and cranberries are all broken up. (If you skip the food processor step, your bars will be more difficult to slice through and more likely to crumble at the edges.)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the contents of the food processor with the oats, orange zest, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the almond butter, honey and vanilla extract until well blended.
- 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), covered in a small piece of parchment paper, 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 1” strips, then slice them in half through the middle.
- For portability, you can wrap individual bars in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Bars keep well for a couple of days at room temperature, but I recommend storing individually wrapped bars in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer for best flavor.
Recipe adapted from my healthy chocolate chip granola bars.
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to choose certified gluten-free oats.
Make it nut free: I haven’t tried this, but I think you could replace the almond butter with sunflower seed butter and the pecans with more pepitas and/or sunflower seeds.
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Ahm, your trip to NYC sounds incredible! Congrats :) Enjoy and can’t wait to see pictures. Party on, lentils!
Question – do you really need that much honey? Could you swap out half for, say, a couple of medjool dates? Or reduce it by half?
Hi Susan, the bars need honey’s moisture/sticky factor to stick together. You could probably use less honey and replace it with an equal volume of dates.
That is, date paste/syrup—you would need to process the dates first until they’re smooth.
Kate: Congratulations on winning the trip to NYC!!
I’m definitely going to make these granola bars (I have a huge bag of oats from Costco waiting to be used and this is the perfect recipe).
I love and use many of your recipes. Your honey banana bread is a staple in our house.
All the best,
Sandra, I owe you a very belated thank you for your note! Thank you. I’m so glad you all enjoy my recipes. Hope the bars turned out great for you!
Good luck in NY! This is so healthy and nutritious recipe. Best way to make your own healthy/energy bars.
Can the cranberry orange granola bars be made with stevia?
Hi Daniela, these bars rely on the moisture of the honey or maple syrup to stick together. If you used stevia instead, I think you would need to replace the sweetener volume with more nut butter. I haven’t tried that myself, but I think it might work!
These bars look like a really delicious snack!
Emilie @ Emilie Eats
What a delicious flavor combo! I’ve been loving cranberry this season, so these bars sound great. Plus I’ve got a loooong road trip coming up and we obviously need road trip snacks :)
Hi Kate! Congrats on winning the trip to New York…I have lost count of how many times I have made the cauliflower lentil tacos. I even made them for my entire MEAT EATING extended family this past summer and everyone absolutely loved them. Thanks for all the work you do to bring all of us such lovely, delicious vegetarian recipes.
dixya | food, pleasure, and health
enjoy New York for me please…its always extra gorgeous around this time of the year..and the idea of this granola bar sounds really wonderful. i love how it stays put together (unlike the ones that falls apart)
lisa @ garlicandzest.com
I’ve been on a granola kick lately – so these are coming at just the right time. I know what I’m making this weekend — thank you! Enjoy New York – it’s one of my favorite cities!
Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
Have fun in New York. These look like the perfect treat for my hubby who loves orange and cranberry. Maybe I will treat him!
Hi Kate, I need these in my life and I’ll be making them tomorrow, probably. I was wondering, do you have a cranberry orange muffin recipe?
BTW I’ve been eating your spinach artichoke enchiladas for two days and they are So good. Best red sauce I’ve ever had.
Hi Caryn! So sorry for my slow response. I hope the granola bars turned out great for you. So glad you’ve been enjoying those enchiladas! I love that sauce, too. I don’t have a cranberry orange muffin recipe, at least not yet. I think you could take these lemon muffins, skip the poppy seeds, substitute orange zest for the lemon and add about 1 cup fresh cranberries to the batter. I’ll try to come up with a complete and tested recipe soon!
Chelsea | Whole Bite Blog
These sound like the perfect on the go snack or breakfast for the busy holiday season! Have a wonderful time in New York and congrats on having your tacos selected!
Thank you so much, Chelsea!
These look so good, can’t wait to try. Have fun in NY, my home town, well Brooklyn, then Long Island, but worked 10 years in NYC, so I claim it! LOL. Love your recipes!
Thank you very much, Doreen! I had a great time!
oh, I think I would like to make these into energy bites! They sound so delicious. Have the best time in NY!
Yay ! Homemade Granola Bars are my favorite. Now I can make these ones :-)
rachel @ athletic avocado
i love the combo of cranberry and orange! these are the perfect little snack, thanks for sharing!!!
Wow! That’s so great, congratulations! I love that these are no-bake, how easy is that?!
Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)
These are beautiful!!! Love the orange/cranberry combo too. Can never get enough of it at this time of year.
Enjoy New York! These granola bars look like perfect travel food.
Yay! Congrats on winning, Kate! Homemade granola bars are one of my weaknesses and I feel that you can never have too many recipes for those. Such a festive combo here!
Thank you, Emily!
I was just watching a bit about homemade granola on America’s Test Kitchen and thinking about how good it sounded. This sounds better!
Woop! Thanks, Kelley!
Hey Kate! Is there anyway to make this nut free for people with a nut allergy? Seeds are ok, and coconut. Can you advise for the closest match in texture? TIA! :)
Hi Kate! Sorry for the delay. Check the recipe notes for my best guess. :)
Ummmm, this looks so delicious! I am always looking for granola bar recipes, and this looks delicious! I cannot wait to try them :)
These turned out amazing!! I used Agave instead of honey and toasted the oats in the same pan as the nuts. I will definitely makes these again and again. I took them with me to London (from California) and they held up beautifully! Thanks.
Thank you, Inga! I’m so glad you enjoyed them, all the way from California to London! That’s quite a trip.
I am a flight attendant on a private jet. I make all the food myself (no caterers) and I have made many recipes from your website. Thanks so much for making my life easier!!
Wow, that is awesome! How fun to think about my recipes being eaten in the air. :)
I totally adore the idea of making your own granola bars!!!! This is so creative and you know exactly whats in it! This is a cheap, healthy and delicious way to snack! I love it! xoxo Katie
Wow, these look absolutely delicious! I love how well they cut too. I’ve made homemade bars like this before and they usually fell apart but these look so nice and firm. Can’t wait to try this out – i’m looking for a healthy alternative for my kids’ lunch boxes! This is perfect :)
Thanks, Janelle! I think that pressing the ingredients down firmly helps a lot, as does processing the ingredients so they aren’t too big to slice through.
I made your delicious granola bars but they did crumble on me and I’m wondering if you can suggest what might have caused that. I followed the recipe but did not have the ground flax seed = could that be the cause? I’d like to make them again and look forward to any suggestions you may have. Thank you!
Hi Susan, I’m sorry to hear that they crumbled on you. The recipe doesn’t call for flaxseed so I am not sure which ingredient you are referring to. The keys are to mix the ingredients very well and then really pack them down with the back of a glass in the container. Then use a very sharp knife to cut the bars. If you’d rather, you could roll the mixture into balls.
Hello Kate! thanks for sharing this great recipe (there is so many different things in them!!). I made them with honey. My boyfriend approved them. I had a bite and they are so dense that I didn’t need another one. I have one question though: mine turned sticky, which isn’t as practical as the bought ones. Do you maybe have a trick to make them non-sticky? Thanks in advance. And continue the great job on this blog. This is my first comment and I have already made some of your recipes (I had a revelation by cooking quinoa in coconut milk in one of your thai!).
Hi Marion! I’m glad you enjoyed the granola bars and the coconut quinoa! You’re right, these bars are a little sticky, probably because they’re no-bake and made with honey. I wouldn’t say mine are really sticky, though—if yours are, maybe just add some more oats next time? If you wrap individual bars in plastic wrap, that might solve your problem as far as portability is concerned. Store-bought bars are often made with brown rice syrup instead, and I think you could use that for a more crisp/less sticky end product, but I’m concerned about the arsenic content in brown rice syrup so I don’t use it myself.
Thank you very much for your reply. I’ll try with a little bit more oats next time. Feel free to create new types of bars! :)
I Made these bars last weekend but they turned out way too moist(even straight out of the freezer they were very soft and sticky) and while they tasted really nice they were nothing like a granola bar.
Hi Chrissie, I’m bummed to hear that! You’re the second to report those issues, so I think that somehow your bars had too much moisture in them. I would suggest, next time, adding more oats until you can’t incorporate any more—the “dough” should be pretty stiff. I’ll add a note to the recipe. I’m sorry yours didn’t turn out perfectly!
These are so wonderful! Thanks for the awesome recipe and for your great site-everything I make of yours turns out so delicious!
Thank you, Hannah! :)
Hello Kate! How long does theses granola bars could be conserved? Thanks a lit for your answer :)
Hi Julie, they keep for a couple of months in the freezer, and for a week or so in the fridge.
These bars have gone VIRAL at work. :) We absolutely love them. They are a perfect pre-workout snack. Thank you for this awesome recipe.
So my husband and I made these and thought they were a little sweet so we swapped out the honey for pomegranate molasses and can I tell you they are AMAZING!
I will be using this recipe for years to come!
I love the cranberry and orange! I made these as bites instead of bars by pressing them into a mini muffin tin. Cooking spray (Trader Joes sells coconut oil spray) is a must! I used maple syrup and peanut butter. I also used old fashioned oats and processes them until they were pretty fine. I Love the flavor and texture, but they turned out crumbly and a bit dry. I used less maple syrup than called for because both the cranberries and peanut butter had some sugar. Maybe I will try more nut butter next time? Any other tips for using maple? Thanks for the great recipe! I plan to try some others soon.
Hi Ginger, these bars require enough moisture to stick together, so if you used less maple syrup, that would explain it. Next time, if you don’t want to use the full amount of sugar, try adding more peanut butter.
Are they meant to be crisp because mine token up when I cut them and they were quite soft.
Hi Kate! Love your recipes! I was just wondering if you know an approximate calorie count for one of these bars? I’m taking these on a backpacking trip and trying to decide how many to make and bring with me. For once I’m trying to prepare to have ENOUGH calories for myself so I’m not starving out there :)
Mara, by my math, it’s about 220 calories per bar.
Thanks, Ann Marie! I usually recommend this nutrition calculator for these types of questions.
Hi Kate! Love your recipes! Just wondering if you know an approximate calorie count for one of these bars? I’m planning on taking these backpacking but trying to decide how many to make and bring :)
Wow! I never post comments on blogs but I am newly OBSESSED with your recipes! This was the second recipe I tried in a a matter of days (the first was your pumpkin bread recipe) and both were complete HITS in our family! Thank you for what you do! I am inspired looking at your site and have many of your recipes in the lineup for our menu this week!!
Thank you so much, Sarah! Your comment really brightened my day. Glad you’re enjoying my recipes! :)
Happy accident. Love all your granola so made this but doubled recipe. Probably should not have doubled orange zest! Was unpleasantly orange forward. And sticky like some others hav posted. Last ditch effort fix, I melted dark chocolate chips. Dipped the tops then dipped into unsweetened coconut flakes. Balance in my universe restored!. Will make it correctly next time though!
Hmmm! I’m glad you thought to add chocolate and coconut. That sounds delicious. Sounds like you had an intense orange—maybe halve it next time?
Hi, I’m am a homesteader in the making, learning all the best healthy and traditional ways of cooking. Love your website, but I have one request, since I am learning that all grains (even oats) need to be soaked, sprouted or slowly fermented (traditional methods were smart, yep). These processes break down gluten and harmful phytic acid that destroy digestion.
Your orange cranberry granola and bars look like the best I can find, but we really need to soak the granola first. The Norwegians soaked their granola overnight in orange juice, so I’m looking into this… thought you might want to as well. And maybe you can beat me to make your recipes easier to digest!
I made these last night and they are delicious!! I have never made granola bars before but buy them all the time. One thing I did different is to add 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar to the maple syrup which I heated to dissolve, to make them a little sweeter to give as gifts instead of cookies. I highly recommend this recipe and look forward to trying the one with chocolate chips!
I made these right before Christmas- they turned out delicious, wonderful fresh taste! I still have some in the freezer, I am looking forward to trying more of your granola bar recipes!!
Who did I not see this recipe before?!?! I’ve made your almond chocolate chip granola bars numerous times but, like everything else, after a while you just crave something different. Lucky for me (and everyone else) different was sitting right under my nose. I love the combination of flavors! As per usual, I didn’t have everything on hand so I had to wing it a bit – no pepitas, walnuts instead of pecans because I used all my pecans last week in something (walnuts and cranberries are one of my fave combos anyway :), toasted rolled oats because I just don’t ever remember to buy quick cooking oats. Soooooo yummy!!!! And sooooo easy to make. Thanks Kate!
* Why did I not… ( I intensely dislike autocorrect/predictive text!)
Oh, so happy this worked with what you had on hand, Cat!
There is something about the flavor of cranberries and oranges that I love so much. These are absolutely my favorite go-to bars and I also love making your cranberry orange granola.
Congrats on your new cookbook!
I’m so glad you love them, Anne! It’s such a good sweet and citrusy combination.
Wow these bars are delicious! I am so glad that I finally tried them. Even my picky six year old loved them. I did have to substitute dried cherries for the cranberries because that is all I had at home. I may bump up the oats to 2 cups as well next time. Thank you so much for the recipe :-)
You’re welcome, Karen! So glad everyone enjoyed them.
These were so delicious! Definitely one of my new favorite breakfast go-to’s. Thanks so much!
I always have a supply of these and the pecan granola bars in my freezer. My family loves them (my kids always take a baggie full home when they leave) and they’re the perfect healthy snack when I need something before I can get home to dinner. Delicious!
These are my favorite granola bars to make!! I am so happy I found this page! I have made them several times over the last year. They are PERFECT for traveling in the car, plane, anywhere. They are perfect for mid morning or afternoon snacks! Each batch is different but none have ever been bad!!! Thanks again!! I’m checking out the other posts you have as well!!
I’m happy you found it too, Amanda! Thanks for sharing and for your review.
Hi Kate, can I bake the bars for 15 minutes and when cool put in the refrigerator for 1 hour….what is the reason for not baking.
“Healthy homemade granola bars. This recipe is easily customizable. You can substitute the dried fruit, pecans, and chocolate morsels out for what you like.”
Thanks for your review, Maria!
These are SO good and husband approved! I took a reader’s advice and subbed half of the liquid sweetener for pomegranate molasses, and I loved the result. These and the pecan bars are my favorite snack bars to have around the house. Thanks for having such consistently great, healthy recipes on the blog and cookbook.
You’re welcome and I’m happy you found the comments helpful as well, Mariel.
Oh my gosh, I just made these and they are seriously the best granola bars that I have ever eaten! I added extra orange zest because I love the flavour and I will definitely make these again! I highly recommend that everybody makes these. Thank you so much for your recipe and for taking the time To share with us. I doubled the recipe and will freeze half for another day. Do the same!
Orange zest would be lovely! Thank you, Chelsea.
Hi, sorry but I’m not seeing any nutrition so info for this recipe?
Hi Jen, this is a plug-in on my blog and requires you to allow cookies. Make sure that is enabled and you should be set!
Cookies are enabled but still not seeing it? Are you just able to copy it into a reply for me please?
They turned out just as described in the recipe even though I adapted it to the contents of my larder, I exchanged the pepitas for simply more pecans, some of the almond butter for cashew butter and left out the orange zest. The result is very delicious and sticks together just so. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing, Claudia!
any suggestion if someone who was making this was to accidentally not read the instructions before starting and just dumped the first four ingredients in a bowl? (using quick cook steel cut oats if that helps) could I just dump everything into the food processor or just finish the bars (loved your other two and can’t wait to try this one)
also loved the fact that you can adjust for bigger output; would love to see a toggle between standard US measurements and metric (grams)
PS love your enchiladas sauce–it is our go to every time we make them
Oh no! What did you end up doing, Sarah? I wish I had a great solution between metric and US, but not yet. Maybe someday!
nothing yet….just sitting in a covered bowl from yesterday. my options seem to be to either try to get out most of the cranberries and toast all the rest and then add the cranberries in the food processor or do just finish it and try again next time the right way (or I could do the first sans the toast)
Donna R. Fernandez
Just made this for the first time for the family. It was so good and fresh. Everyone in the family loved it which isn’t always the case with a family of 5. Pretty easy to make . Will definitely keep this dish on the permanent weekly menu.
Charlene A Kimbell
Looks easy peasy. Thanks fr having available
My son shared this website with me as I have been trying to eat little to no sugar and it is now my “go to” source for recipes. I made this granola recipe using steel cut oats as I need to use them up and bars were wonderful! Texture was a bit more dense but very chewy.
Absolutely amazing! Simple and delishous
Hi, the flavour was great but mine never set :(
My sister made these for me when she visited last year. My husband and I have become obsessed! (And neither one of us are fans of pecans or cranberries) now we make them all the time. Thanks for the recipe!
I’m addicted to these. I add a little bit of mini choc chips…wrap them in 2’s and throw them in the freezer. Many days they are my breakfast. I have given them as gifts and folks love them.. Thanks for a keeper recipe (as many of yours are:-))
I am addicted to these!! I add a small amount of mini chocolate chips as well. I make them and freeze them in packs of two’s, great for travel, hikes, on the go or breakfast. Yum!
Hi Kate, Made these bars yesterday but they turned out soft and sticky but they tasted really good. I accidentally used 3 scale thinking it was font size. Lol. But cut recipe in half.