With only a handful of ingredients and 5 minutes of prep, you can easily make soft and chewy homemade granola bars. This simple no-bake recipe is made with wholesome ingredients, yet tastes better than any store-bought granola bar on the market.
My recipe for homemade granola bars is the BEST granola bar recipe ever. PERIOD. Not only are these granola bars super simple to make, but they are also naturally sweetened, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free, making them a healthy snack option--that both big and small kids enjoy!
Soft and chewy granola bars are always a snack that kids love.
Most store-bought brands are loaded with sugar and often preservatives. And if they are made with quality ingredients, they are often really over-priced.
But you can easily make your own healthy granola bars. It only takes minutes of hands-on work and there are no special ingredients required.
In fact, I bet you already have the ingredients you need on hand to whip up a batch right now.
Ingredients for Granola Bars
- Dates: Be sure to use whole pitted dates. Not the chopped dates, as they are coated in sugar.
- Oats: Quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats both work for this recipe. Just be sure to use gluten-free oats for a Gluten-Free Granola Bar, if needed.
- Coconut Oil: The coconut oil will give these bars a similar taste to store-bought and help the granola bars stay together.
- Maple Syrup: Feel free to substitute maple syrup with honey if you are not looking for a Vegan Granola Bar.
- Nut Butter: Peanut butter, almond butter, or even soy butter or sunflower seed butter all work for this recipe.
- Optional Add-Ins: If desired, you can add mini chocolate chips, toffee bits, dried fruit, cinnamon, chopped nuts, etc into your granola bars to change up the flavor and/or add texture.
How to Make Granola Bars
Making homemade granola bars is about the easiest recipe ever. It is as simple as throwing a few ingredients into a food processor, a few zaps, and you are just DONE! Easy-peasy.
Step One: Soak Dates
If your dates have been sitting in your pantry for a long period of time, they may be a bit dried out and will need to be soaked in hot water for a few minutes, as soft dates are easier for your food processor to break down.
Step Two: Process Granola Bars
It is best to use a food processor to make quick work of preparing the granola bars. The sharp blades with quickly break down the softened dates and easily combine them with the remaining ingredients.
- Once the dates have soaked, drain off the soaking liquid and place them into a food processor fitted with an s-blade. Process the dates until nearly fully broken down and a thick paste forms.
- To the date mixture, add nut butter, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and salt and process until creamy.
- Add in oats and pulse until combined. You don't want to fully break down the oats, just combine them evenly into the granola bar mixture.
- At this time if using add-ins, stir them into the granola bar mixture.
Step Three: Form Granola Bars
These are soft and chewy granola bars, meaning the mixture is a bit sticky to work with. For best results, line your pan with parchment paper and use moistened fingers or parchment paper to press the granola mixture into the prepared pan. This will prevent sticky fingers and make quick work of the process.
- Line an 8x8 or 7x11 pan with parchment or wax paper.
- Add the oat mixture to the pan and use either moistened hands or parchment paper spread out as evenly as possible.
- Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to solidify.
Storing Granola Bars
Because these granola bars are made without preservatives, they will only keep a week and are best refrigerated.
Once the bars have been set up, slice them into individual bars, wrap each bar in a piece of wax or parchment paper, and place them into an air-tight container or bag. Store in the fridge for up to 7 days.
More Healthy Snack Recipes
- Homemade Larabars--If you are looking for a grain-free granola bar recipe, or just love larabars, this DIY version will save you money just like these granola bars.
- Homemade Gogurts--Simple, wholesome, and FUN! This copycat recipe is one recipe kids love.
- PB Oat Bars--Made with only 3 ingredients, these no-bake snack bars taste like dessert, yet are naturally sweetened and packed with whole grains.
- Instant Pot Yogurt--Control the level of sugar and additives with this 2-ingredient homemade yogurt.
- Easy Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups--Just like these granola bars, homemade fruit roll-ups are much better for you and are surprisingly easy to make at home.
These granola bars make a great treat for kids to enjoy at any time! I hope that you give them a try for your own family and be sure to leave a comment below.
Homemade Granola Bars
- 1 cup pitted dates
- ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter or sunflower butter or almond butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp sea salt omit if you are using salted peanut butter
- 2 cups oats quick cooking or old fashioned
- ½ cup optional add ins chopped nut, raisins, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, sesame seeds, chia seeds, etc
- Start by being sure your dates are relatively soft. If they are not, soak in hot water for 5 to 30 minutes. Drain off liquid, reserving if needed.
- Line an 8x8 or 7x3 pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Process dates in a food processor fitted with an s blade until a thick paste forms. Add in honey/maple syrup, coconut oil, nut butter, vanilla, and salt. Pulse until combined and creamy.
- Add in oats and pulse until just combines and all the oats are moistened well, adding up to 2 tablespoons of the reserved soaking liquid from dates if needed.
- Stir in any mix-ins into the batter you desire.
- Place mixture into prepared pan. Using mositened hands or a piece of wax paper, spread out mixture as evenly as possible.
- Place in fridge or freezer for 15 minutes until set up. Then slice into bars.
- Store these bars wrapped individually in wax paper and stored in the fridge.
- Be sure to use gluten free oats if you need these bars to be gluten free.
- Homemade granola bars will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- If you do not have coconut oil, use extra nut butter instead or melted butter.
- Raisins can be used in place of dates in a bind, but the bars will not stick together as well.
This post was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2020 with new pictures.
Can we substitute the dates with anything else?
Hi Noura! The dates are hard to replace in this recipe. You can use soaked and drained raisins, but keep in mind the texture may not be the same and the bars may not form as easily.