No-Bake Granola Bars

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These chewy no-bake granola bars are easy to make, filled with protein-packed peanut butter,  and can be endlessly adapted with your favorite sweet, salty or crunchy mix-ins. This is one on-the-go snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth no matter where you are.

granola bars stacked on a wooden tray

It’s summer, and you’re craving a sweet snack, but you don’t want to turn on the oven. Say hello to your new favorite snack: no bake granola bars. You will love these bars because they’re a satisfying treat, can be made with ingredients you already have on-hand, and you can take them with you when you’re on-the-go. 

Making no-bake bars is so easy; in fact, this is a super recipe for kids to help with too. Just soften the peanut butter, pour over the oats, place in a baking pan, and refrigerate. But, that’s not all. These bars are a healthy-ish snack that can also double as a breakfast bar. Add them to school lunches, take them in the car on your next errand run, or enjoy after a workout.  

What is a no-bake granola bar?

No bake granola bars use the same oat and honey base as traditional granola, but use a nut butter, like peanut butter, and a little sticky, sweet honey, to hold the mixture together. The bars are then refrigerated to set them, rather than relying on an oven to heat and harden binding ingredients. 

pouring peanut butter over oats in a glass mixing bowl

How to Make No-Bake Granola Bars

  1. Make the binding mixture. Combine the peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once softened, add the vanilla.
  2. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cereal and oats, then pour the peanut butter mixture over the top and stir. Fold in the mix-ins. 
  3. Set the granola. Press the granola bar mixture into the prepared pan, sprinkle any reserved mix-ins on top, and refrigerate.
  4. Slice and serve. When the granola is set, slice into 16 even bars and serve.
mixing chocolate chips into oat mixture in a glass mixing bowl

Ingredients for No-Bake Granola Bars

  • Creamy Peanut Butter – Peanut butter acts as a binder for the oats and other tasty ingredients, while also adding a nice nutty flavor. Try to avoid natural peanut butter (the kind that has the separated oil) and opt for a conventional brand instead. 
  • Honey – The ultimate natural sweetener. You can use clover honey, wildflower honey, or whichever style of honey is your favorite.
  • Light Brown Sugar – Brown sugar is made with molasses, so the sweetening flavor in the granola has a little more depth than granola made with granulated white sugar.
  • Kosher Salt – A pantry staple to enhance the sweet and crunchy flavors.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – A hint of vanilla in granola is always a good idea.
  • Puffed Rice Cereal – Rice Krispies, or a puffed brown rice cereal, gives these no-bake peanut butter bars a fun, crispy crunch that’s hard to resist. 
  • Old Fashioned Rolled Oats – Old fashioned rolled oats give granola recipes a satisfyingly chewy texture.
  • Mix-ins – Trying different mix-ins is the best part of this peanut butter granola bar recipe. Go wild with dried fruits, stick with mini chocolate chips, or add chopped nuts. Mix and match for tons of fun flavor variations. 
pouring honey into a measuring cup

How to store

To preserve the creamy peanut butter and honey elements of these no-bake granola bars, and to ensure they hold their shape, store the bars in the refrigerator or freezer. Place the bars in an airtight container, and use parchment paper if you want to layer them together.

To freeze

If you freeze the no-bake bars, cut them into individual sizes first, and then freeze. You can store them, separated by parchment paper, together, or wrap individual bars in plastic wrap. Defrost at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.

Tips

  • While it may be tempting to pull the no-bake granola bars from the fridge before the 2 hour refrigeration time, that may result in bars that aren’t quite firmed up enough for easy handling.
  • To achieve an even, flat surface on the bars, use the bottom of a measuring cup to press down on the granola mixture. 

Variations

  • Try a different sweetener – Substitute pure maple syrup for honey for a fall-inspired, vegan-friendly, treat.
  • Use a different nut butter – Cashew butter, almond butter, or pistachio butter will help you achieve tons of different no-bake granola bar flavors.
  • Add a little spice – As you experiment with flavor variations, try incorporating warm spices like cinnamon, or a pumpkin spice blend.

Ideas for mix-ins

  • Chocolate – Mini chocolate chips, espresso baking chips, Reece’s baking cups, or milk chocolate and peanut butter chips.
  • Chopped pretzels – Chopped pretzels add saltiness and crunchiness.
  • Dried fruit – Raisins, cranberries, apricots, or any dried fruit you like.
  • Chopped nuts – Any variety of chopped nuts will work. Try walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, or macadamia nuts. You can also toast the nuts for a deeper flavor.

I also like to add a couple teaspoons of chia seeds, ground flax seeds, or hemp seeds, all of which have so many extra vitamins and minerals.

chocolate chips on a white table

FAQs

Are No Bake Granola Bars Gluten Free?

To make gluten-free no-bake granola bars, you just need one ingredient swap. Because Rice Krispies have gluten, substitute with a gluten-free puffed rice cereal brand like Nature’s Path or Malt-o-Meal Crispy Rice Gluten-Free Cereal. Of course, you will also want to stick with gluten-free mix-ins like nuts or fruit to keep the entire recipe gluten-free.

Are granola bars vegan?

For vegan no-bake granola bars, replace honey with maple syrup. All of the other ingredients are vegan friendly!

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5 from 2 votes

No-Bake Granola Bars Recipe

Make chewy granola bars at home without ever turning on your oven. This easy, no-bake granola bar recipe features honey-sweetened oats, creamy peanut butter, and tasty mix-ins.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 16

Equipment

  • 8×8 baking dish
  • Parchment Paper
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Saucepan

Ingredients 

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal (like Rice Krispies or you can use puffed brown rice cereal)
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup mix-ins, reserve some to sprinkle on top (see below for some of my favorites)

Instructions 

  • Line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat just until the peanut butter is softened and easy to pour, 2 to 3 minutes. Move the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cereal and oats.
  • Pour the peanut butter mixture over the top and gently fold until everything is evenly combined. Fold in the mix-ins (you can set some aside to press into the top of the bars if you’d like.
  • Press the granola bar mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle any reserved mix-ins on top. (You can press the top down with the bottom of a measuring cup to get an even, flat surface.)
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until set.
  • Remove the granola and slice into 16 even bars. These will hold their shape best if stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Notes

Ideas for mix-ins:
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chopped pretzels
  • Dried fruit (raisins or cranberries)
  • Chopped nuts
I also like to add a couple teaspoons of chia seeds and ground flax seeds.
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $4.00
Calories: 151
Keyword: easy snack, family friendly, granola bar, healthyish, make with kids, no bake snack
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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16 Comments

  1. I agree with Jeanette, these just didn’t turn out. I followed the recipe as written and used JIF peanut butter but they just fell apart. Also – if you want the thickness shown in the picture I suggest either doubling the recipe or using a smaller pan. I think these would have been just fine in a smaller pan, but they were just spread too thin to hold together.

    1. Hi Liz – thanks so much for the great feedback. I spent much of yesterday up to my elbows in Rice Krispies to make sure I could get the recipe to work for you the way it did for me. You were right – I did have somewhat inconsistent results when I made the recipe as written, although my bars always did hold together. However, I found that increasing the peanut butter base resulted in bars that were always more stable. You were also right that using a smaller pan resulted in thicker, more substantial bars like those shown in the photo. I’ve updated the recipe completely and emphasized the importance of pressing the bars very firmly into the pan and refrigerating them before serving. Thanks again!

  2. I just made these and they didn’t turn out. ๐Ÿ™ I’m not sure what I did wrong. I followed the recipe exactly as it is written. They taste great but they did not stay in bars. It is more of a crumble….

    1. Oh no, Jeannette! I’m so sorry to hear that. I tested these several times and never had a problem. Did you use natural peanut butter by any chance? Sometimes that doesn’t have the binding qualities that conventional brands have.

  3. So I’m starving, but I’m trying to hold off until my dinner date picks me up in an hour and 45 minutes… I wish I had one of these granola bars to hold me over! They look perfect.

  4. I don’t eat much granola bars but when I do… it’s gotta have some sort of chocolate in it. I bet these homemade ones are fabulous vs the store bought ones. Thanks for sharing Jess!

  5. I was going to make granola for our breakfasts this week, but this recipe looks like it is faster and easier to grab and go!

    1. OK— I just whipped these up using coconut oil and cocao nibs. The “batter” tasted yummy. I am putting them in the fridge to firm up b/c of the coconut oil. I told you I was going to make these! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Awesome, Debra! What a great idea to use coconut oil! Let me know how it goes. (The few times I made these, I ate several servings of the “batter” before they turned into bars too.)

  6. I love peanut butter everything and these bars look like the perfect snack! So delish!
    Have a lovely weekend ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. I get like that sometimes. I stay up too late a few nights in a row and start acting like I’m on holidays. Usually it happens around my Birthday and after Christmas. These look like a rather tasty snack!
    Have a good weekend.

  8. I love making granola bars at home … they are definitely a great snack to have around : ) Have lots of fun at the potluck/pool party this weekend!

  9. These look awesome! I made something similar once and loved the PB and chocolate combination (obviously…). It’s nice and filling, too, so you don’t need a lot. I didn’t use puff cereal and that sounds great to offset some of the richness. I’d love to try this since it’s great for Fall and back to school.

  10. Here in the States there’s a commercial where you find out that a woman has been unwrapping Fiber One granola bars and passing them off as homemade. Are you sure you didn’t do that here?! These look phenomenal!! ๐Ÿ™‚