This granola bar recipe is so easy and delicious – simple ingredients and no baking! These wholesome granola bars are naturally sweetened, gluten free (with certified GF oats), and the perfect healthy, hearty snack or quick breakfast.
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* (see below)
- 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.
- Blitz the mix-ins briefly in the food processor or blender (or, you can chop them by hand to very small pieces, like diced). 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 (you can heat thick butters a bit to “soften,” but make sure the nut butter mixture is close to room temperature before you pour it into the dry mixture). Top with ½ cup honey/maple syrup and the vanilla extract. Stir 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 it needs to be thoroughly combined. If the mixture was easy to mix together, that’s a sign that you need to add a bit 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, cashews, etc.), seeds (pepitas, sunflower seeds, or sesame), chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate or chocolate “candies,” shredded coconut and/or dried cranberries, cherries, or apples (try dried pineapple, apricot or mango for something different). Keep in mind that anything larger than your pinky nail will need to be chopped/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, 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. You can try other natural liquid sweeteners too.