A Healthy Granola Bar Recipe that’s easy to make and tastes incredible. Crunchy Baked Granola Bars are THE back pocket recipe EVERYONE needs…made with wholesome pantry ingredients and perfect for a grab and go breakfast or afternoon snack.
This post was updated from the original posted on September 14, 2015. This post may contain affiliate links. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
Yes…you NEED these Crunchy Baked Granola Bars in your life. I know how hard it is to compete with quick and easy (drive-thru anyone?) when you’re looking for healthy and affordable. BUT, the struggle is optional. I’ve got an easy, delicious kid tested and mother approved recipe for you!
Oats and honey granola bars don’t just come in packages….you can make them yourself with this simple recipe.
Sugar free granola bars are the answer to your hectic, hungry mornings. They’re easy to make, meal prep and freezer friendly and made with wholesome ingredients.
Let’s be real, life is EASIER when you have a “grab and go” option at your fingertips for breakfast, post or pre workout, lunch boxes or after school snacks. But who said you can’t have a healthy granola bar…that’s also quick and easy and ready as a grab and go option?
Looking for something that’s equally satisfying nutritionally and in the taste department? These are it! These homemade breakfast bars can be made in advance, travel well, taste incredible and are perfect any time of day!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- ROLLED OATS: A whole grain with soluble fiber. They help with blood sugar control and also with helping you to feel full and satisfied. I use sprouted oats for an easy to digest source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I like to use Thrive Market Organic Oats or One Degree Organic Sprouted Oats. Whatever brand you use, be sure they are non-GMO and glyphosate free. This recipe would be better for you If you’d prefer a grain-free energy bar.
- SEEDS: Seeds are extremely nutritious, a good source of fiber, vitamins and healthy fats. I used pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Whatever you like/have is great. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds would also be good additions to this recipe.
- NUTS: Yay for some tasty plant based protein, fiber and fats…no need to add any oil to this recipe! I chose walnuts to get the omega 3s as well. Pecans, almonds, filberts, hazelnuts would all work too. For nut allergies, load up on more seeds…use some larger and some smaller varieties.
- HONEY: I like the taste and texture of honey plus the beneficial antioxidants, antibacterial and antifungal properties. For a true vegan granola bar, substitute the honey for date syrup or maple syrup.
- GROUND FLAX: In addition to the fiber and omega 3s, ground flax acts as a binder to hold these snack bars together.
- NUT BUTTER: Make sure it’s creamy and drippy….otherwise use what you like. Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter…or use sunbutter if you have nut allergies.
- CHOCOLATE CHIPS: I used dark chocolate chips from Thrive market. You could also chop a bar of high quality dark chocolate. This pumpkin bread is also good without the chocolate chips.
Why you’ll love these Granola Bars
- Make ahead…they store beautifully room temp for a week or stash them in your freezer for 3 months.
- Grab and Go….yes, these won’t fall apart and travel beautifully.
- CRUNCHY…crisp and tasty. The texture is JUST RIGHT. Check this no bake recipe out if you prefer a soft and chewy granola bar.
- No added sugar….homemade granola bars means YOU get to decide and control the ingredients.
- Easy recipe uses pantry staples.
- Gluten-free granola bars are delicious.
- Budget friendly: much more affordable than store bought bars (tastier too).
How to make Baked Granola Bars
STEP ONE: Toast the oats, nuts and seeds. Spread them on a large rimmed baking tray in a single layer. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
STEP TWO: Prepare the batter.
- Let toasted oats/nuts cool and then pour into a bowl.
- Add the dried fruit, ground flax, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips to the bowl.
- Mix. If the oats/seeds aren’t cool, the chocolate chips will melt when mixed together.
- In a small bowl, stir the honey into the nut butter until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour nut butter mixture onto the oat mixture.
- Mix well. It may feel like there isn’t enough sticky nut butter to go around, but stick with it (see what I did there?), it is the perfect amount. Use a heavy wooden spoon or metal spatula…the batter will be thick and sticky.
STEP THREE: This step is super easy…and also SUPER IMPORTANT. Spread the batter evenly into a 9×13 baking pan. that’s lined with parchment. Use another sheet of parchment to cover the batter and then press down FIRMLY. The more you can compact the bars into the pan, the more they will hold together. I use an empty measuring cup to push down and get a uniform flatness.
STEP FOUR: Turn the oven temperature down to 325 and bake for 25 minutes, until golden. Let the bars cool a bit in the pan so the chocolate chips aren’t so melty. Place the parchment back onto the top of the bars and push down again. Let cool in the pan. Remove by holding onto the edges of the parchment paper and placing onto a cutting board.
STEP FIVE: Start by cutting vertically into long strips and then cut across horizontally to whatever size you prefer.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Let the toasted oats cool before adding the chocolate chips or they will melt and you will have chocolate granola bars….not a bad thing…but just know that’s what will happen. You can always add more chocolate chips.
- If you don’t press down the batter and compact it before baking, they will fall apart. See the photo above? I couldn’t cut them into bars without them crumbling. The silver lining? Hubby thought it was the BEST GRANOLA ever. Yes….if yours fall apart, scoop the crumbs into a jar and use as granola…no shame, no waste!
- Experiment with different nuts, seeds or dried fruit. I love the dried figs in there…super sweet and added great texture, but I had to cut them into small pieces before using.
- Store in the freezer, wrapped and ready to grab and go.
- These are the PERFECT snack if you pick up from school and head straight to afternoon sports.
- Wrapped in unbleached parchment and tied with a bow, these make awesome holiday gifts.
- Use DRIPPY nut or seed butter. Store unopened nut butter upside down in your pantry. When you open for the first time, take the time to THOROUGHLY mix before using.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- SERVE: Granola bars taste best at room temperature. They can be taken straight from the freezer to the lunch box and will be perfect when it’s time to enjoy.
- PREP AHEAD: Yes! Individually wrap and store in the fridge for a month or freezer for 3 months for an easy grab and go breakfast or healthy snack.
- STORE: Granola Bars can be stored in tightly a sealed container at room temperature for a week.
- FREEZE: Completely cool granola bars. Freeze for up to 3 months in tightly sealed containers or freezer safe zip top bags.
Oats and honey granola bars for the healthy snack or breakfast win. Change things up and use different nuts, seeds or dried fruit. For a truly vegan granola bar, substitute maple syrup for the honey. It will be a bit less sticky and still taste delicious.
Healthy Granola Bars FAQs
Depends on the ingredients. Homemade healthy granola bars are made from whole grains that provide fiber, plus nuts and seeds that provide plant based protein and healthy fats. Commercial granola bars often contain high amounts of sugar, carbs and calories and are therefore not a healthy choice for breakfast or snacks.
Yes. Granola bars are most often made with simple pantry ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds, nut butter and honey. Crunchy granola bars are easy to mix together and bake. Some recipes for soft chewy granola bars are no bake and even easier to make.
Honey works as both a binder and a sweetener in sugar free granola bars. For a true vegan bar, substitute date syrup. Maple syrup isn’t sticky enough to hold them together.
More healthy grab and go options:
- Morning Glory Muffins
- Spiced Nuts
- Apple Muffins
- Zucchini Bread
- Grain-free Pumpkin Muffins
- Oatmeal Muffins with Jam
- Gluten-free Biscotti
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- No bake breakfast bars
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin
Crunchy Granola Bars
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup assorted nuts*
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried fruit*
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup peanut butter*
- ½ cup honey*
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Place oats nuts and seeds on baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.
- Prepare 9×13 glass dish by lining with unbleached parchment paper.
- Mix peanut butter and honey until well incorporated and set aside.
- When toasted nuts and oats have cooled enough to handle, pour into a medium sized mixing bowl. IF OATS AND NUTS HAVEN’T COOLED, THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS WILL MELT WHEN YOU MIX THEM IN. Add in dried fruit, chocolate chips, ground flax, cinnamon and salt in large bowl and mix together.
- Pour nut butter mixture over oats/nuts and stir until well incorporated. Batter will be VERY sticky. You may think there isn’t enough of the nut butter paste, but keep mixing and you’ll see it is exactly the right amount.
- Spread batter into prepared pan. Use another piece of parchment paper to cover the mixture and then use your hands to press down until it’s evenly distributed all the way to the edges. Use the bottom of a bowl or measuring cup to firmly press down. This is super important. You want the mixture to be as compacted as possible before baking so it won’t fall apart when you try to cut it.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until golden.
- Allow to cool COMPLETELY in the pan. Lift parchment edges to transfer to a cutting board.
- Cut into bars and store in covered container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.