Pantry Basic: Ultimate No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

no-bake granola bar

 

Note: A Pantry Basic is anything we normally use and have in our pantries that most people buy from the store- and some (like me!) didn’t even know could be made at home! See more pantry basics here.

I’ve hesitated to post a granola bar recipe since there are a million out there. But I think I’ve tried about half of them (half a million? OK, maybe not that many, but it’s sure seemed like it!) in my quest to find one that wasn’t too sweet, used real ingredients, was easy, tasty, and didn’t fall apart. So of course you know I like to share. *smile*

Little did I know, finding a bar that didn’t fall apart ended up being a major consideration. A LOT fell apart.

I mean, if it doesn’t hold together, it’s just granola, isn’t it?

And recipes that just used more sugar to hold them together were immediately chucked (some use up to 1-1/2 cups of sweetener in a 8″ x 8″ pan!). My goal was to make bars that would be better for my family than the sugar and preservative/weird stuff bars I could buy at the store.

So after about a year (see what I mean about it seeming like half a million?) I’ve got two recipes I like and think make great granola bars while keeping to my requirements. Both would be considered “chewy” granola bars- one is a no-bake type and the other is a baked bar (baked bar recipe). I like having both of them since the baked bar is a dense, filling bar using raw oats and the no-baked bar is lighter with puffed rice and homemade granola.

Today I’m sharing the no-bake chewy bar that I made up after all my experimenting with other recipes. I usually make it in two flavors: Cranberry-Almond (my favorite) and Peanut-Butter with chocolate chips or cranberries, but as with all granola bars, the variations can be many.


I think what I like the most about the no-bake bar is that it’s SO easy. Ten minutes (maybe less if you get good at it!) and just a few items to wash. Love it.

Start with a large saucepan, because the bars are going to be mixed right in the saucepan after melting the honey and sugar with the peanut butter (or butter, depending on the variety) and coconut oil.

I find that using only honey is too heavy a flavor and my family doesn’t like it as much as when I add just a bit of sugar. If you’d like to use all honey, 2/3 c. total should be enough because honey is sweeter than sugar.


Add the dry ingredients- granola (yep, you can make that, too!), flax meal, and crispy puffed rice-type cereal. You know, like Rice Crispy cereal. I used a Kashi cereal called “7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs” which was a little too sweet. I’ve ordered some unsweetened crispy rice cereal from Azure Standard just for these bars.

Stir in the add-ins (here it’s cranberry and chopped peanuts), and mix thoroughly.


Scrape evenly into a greased or lined 13″ x 9″ pan. I like to use parchment to be able to pick the bars up for easier cutting- since these aren’t baked, waxed paper should work as well.


Press firmly and evenly into pan. I wet my fingers with water to minimize sticking.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars.

Cut into 18 bars: cut six long rows on the 9″ side, and then 3 on the 13″ side to get long bars like store-bought ones (of course you can make them smaller or bigger as you like).

I package them individually in baggies (that we reuse, of course- just train your kids to “save your baggies!”) and keep them in an open container in the fridge for easy access. They seem to stay fresher when refrigerated (for up to a week). I usually put half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer for longer storage.

I hope you like these as well as we do!

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Ultimate No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar or Sucanat
  • 3 Tb. butter (substitute 1/3 c. peanut- or other nut- butter for nut variation)
  • 2 Tb. coconut oil
  • 3 c. granola
  • 1-1/2 c. crispy rice cereal
  • 3-4 Tb. flax seed meal
  • 1 c. TOTAL add-ins (1/2. c. cranberries + 1/2 c. chopped almonds= Cranberry Almond Bars; 1/2 c. peanuts + 1/3 c. chocolate chips (I think this is better than 1/2 c.) + nut butter variation = P.B. Chocolate Chip Bars; 1/2. c coconut + 1/2 c. chopped apricots= Coconut Apricot Bars.…etc.)
  1. Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with parchment or waxed paper (the pan can be lightly greased as well, but cutting and removing the bars won’t be as easy).
  2. Combine the first four ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine and melt together until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly right in the saucepan.
  4. When everything is mixed well, scrape into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Press the mixture down firmly.
  5. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour before removing from the pan, cutting into bars and placing in baggies or a air tight container.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for longer storage.

Makes 18 long bars

This is linked to the Recipe Swap at Prairie Storybook, Pennywise Platter and Cookin’ Thursday.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Jami! As much as I love baking, it’s nice to have some good no-bake recipes around, too. Can’t wait to try it!

    Erin

    P.S.–The new blog layout looks nice!

  2.  says

    Wow….this ROCKS!!!! There’sa particular brand of organic granola bars that I adore..but not the price :) :) Now I can make my own and share them, if I feel like it :) :) Thanks, Jami ) :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :) :)

  3. says

    Tasty. Still chillin in the frige. I didn’t have rice so I used honey nut o’s. Dried cranberries and apricots this trip.

    Do you have a crunchy bar recipe? My favorite are the crunchy cinnamon bars but they are hard to find.

  4. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Handful- My kids have never been fond of the crunchy bars, so I haven’t made them. I’m thinking you could make the Baked Granola Bar recipe (link in this post), but spread them out thinner (on a cookie sheet?) and cook them a bit longer to get them crisp. Might take a few trial-and-error attempts, but sounds like it would work to me! Let me know if you try it.

  5. Tami says

    These are so yummy! Used your granola recipe to make them. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes!!

  6. says

    Still have not tried the crunchy ones but have made numerous variations of this recipe. Fruit and nut for me; peanutbutter and chocolate for my man. So delicious!!
    Is it possible to make the granola and bar all in one? I have read other recipes that start with oats and have similar ingredients.

  7. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Handful- I tried alot of different no-bake bars and these are the ones that didn’t fall apart like so many of the others. I did try and add some oats one time when I didn’t have enough granola and they didn’t stick together as well. I’m not sure why, but the granola seems to be key.

  8. Davinia says

    Do you know what I can substitute for the flax meal? Would love to make these but DH and little man are very allergic to flax.

    • says

      I only add it to make them healthier, Davinia, so you can leave it out altogether. Oat or wheat bran could be subbed if you want to add a different kind of healthy ingredient, but they’re fine without it – I’ve made them without before when I’ve been out of flax!

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