Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars

Best Ever Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars

Guest post from Brigette Shevy

These are a perfect lunchbox treat! They are so fast and simple to whip up, and they freeze perfectly. That’s assuming, of course, that they actually last long enough to make it to your freezer. Our family of five can go through an entire pan of these in… um, such a short amount of time that I’m not quite ready to admit it in public.

When I do manage to save a few of these away for my husband’s lunches, I cut them into bars and wrap them individually. I store them in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and pop them in lunches straight from the freezer (they thaw quickly).

Gram for gram, these are significantly cheaper (and better for you!) than most packaged granola bars. And seriously, you could probably make these in less time than it would take you to drive to the store and buy a box of granola bars!

What are your favorite simple snacks?

Brigette is a full-time wife and mother who is blessed with three amazing bundles of energy (ages 5, 3 and 1). She enjoys music, experimenting in the kitchen, homeschooling her children, finding great deals, long-distance running, and anything chocolate.

Want more make-it-from-scratch ideas? I highly recommend Easy Homemade by Mandi Ehman. This ebook contains more than 60 recipes for homemade kitchen staples and it’s beautifully laid out, well-illustrated, and packed with great ideas and recipes.

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh, my gosh! I feel like this recipe is going to be life changing. My kids love these for hikes and quick snacks on the way to our many activities, but the commercial ones have so much sugar, and are expensive when you consider how quickly they get eaten up.

    I can’t wait to make these!

    The only ingredient I don’t have on hand is the peanut butter. I was disappointed not to spot more sales on it at back to school time. If anyone knows of a good pb deal, I’d love to hear it!

    • Kimber says

      You’re right, I haven’t seen many great PB sales either. But a few months ago, I emailed our favorite peanut butter company and complimented their products. They mailed me a $1 off coupon. Might be worth a try. Good luck!

    • Kathy says

      I have been finding some peanut butter deals but not lots. I usually just make it one of those things I buy at Sam’s Club. I like the bigger containers ( they last longer) and it is well priced. I do have to say that I have not priced it for awhile since I buy them 6-8 jars at a time. I know lots of groceries have gone up, so might not be as good a price.

      • Rebecca R. says

        I used to buy my peanut butter at Aldi here in upstate NY for about 1.69 for an 18 oz. jar, but it jumped recently to 2.29! We have 9 children and go through a lot of PB! I had compared prices with Sam’s prior, but Aldi has always had a cheaper unit price until this last price hike. I just checked it at Sam’s … I think it was $9.67 for 96 oz. of Peter Pan brand, making it less per pound than Aldi!

  2. Jen says

    What a great recipe!

    I love that these are easily adaptable for food allergies. In our case, we’d just substitute Sunbutter for the peanut butter in this recipe and omit any other allergens. That’s the most frustrating thing about buying granola bars at the store: you never know for SURE that a peanut hasn’t slipped by in processing.

    You could also make these gluten-free and dairy-free by using specifically designated gluten-free and dairy free cereals and chocolate chips! Dried cranberries would be great in these too!

    Thanks for the recipe! Printing it now!

    • Julie says

      I need to do without the peanut butter but would love to try these. What is Sunbutter? Thanks a bunch!

      • Amber says

        @Julie, I’ve never bought Sunbutter, but from reading Crystal’s previous posts, I think that I figured out it is a “Sunflower” butter, probably made from sunflower seeds. I would love to give it a try, but have never seen it at the store!

  3. Emily says

    Yum! These look delicious & easy! Being pregnant I always try to bring food along and I think these will be perfect. Good thing I’m heading to Trader Joes this week, I can buy a box of rice krispies :)

  4. Rebecca says

    We loved peanut butter and chocolate chip granola bars, but b/c of my husbands tree nut allergy we have to avoid a lot of products with peanut butter since a lot of companies use the same facilities for peanuts (which he’s fine with) and tree nuts. I made some real quick just before my husband got home. We couldn’t wait until they cooled to try them, so we tasted them warm. :) They’re fabulous. I don’t think they’ll last long. I’ll definitely be making these again. Thanks a bunch.

    • Rebecca says

      IF any do make it to the freezer, it will be to help the pan last a little longer.

      I used the last of the Rice Krispies and the last of the honey, and almost all my oats…that’s probably a good thing though: I won’t be able to make more until I find a sale on those things. :)

  5. says

    We make our own granola bars too and they are so good. The next time I make granola bars I will give this recipe a try. I like that this recipe is no bake so I can make them in the summer without heating up the house. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Rena says

    If you don’t like buying peanut butter, remember that you can make your own with peanuts, a little oil, and sea salt. Put in a blender/food processor and voila! Peanut butter!

  7. Heather says

    I am so makin these tomorrow. My 1st grader loves to take a bar for snack time and I am tired of buying them. Can you use homemade rice puff cereal or this? We are trying to make all our food from stratch.

      • Heather says

        My husband found it by searcging you tube. It is really good. After experimenting with a few different ways we found if you cook the rice first and then dehydrate it for a few hours it works real well. After that you just take and dip it in some hot oil for a few seconds and it puffs right up. My son was eating it off the tray as we let it cool.

          • Heather says

            I am not sure. We just played around with it a few times. If you are having rice one night for dinner put aside a cup and try it. I will be trying it with brown long grain rice next. We used white rice this time.

  8. Candy says

    YUM! I have been looking for a good easy Granola bar recipe and I actually have everything on hand for once! We have tonz of oatmeal, rice crispies and PB on hand. Great way to use some of that up, and maybe get my oldest (7) to eat something for breakfast.

  9. keiva says

    So I ran out and bought the necessary honey and brown sugar at the local (rake you over) gas station. I just had to try these! We added hersheys cinnamon chips(which I found 16oz for .50 each), ocean spray dried cranberries, Giradelli chocolate chips, and used crunchy PB. These were very yummy… BUT they didnt set! What happened? What do I have to do to fix this in the future? I can’t take these anywhere bc they fall apart everywhere!

    • Brigette says

      Hmmm…. Did you let the wet mixture come to a complete boil? I don’t know where you live but is it somewhere that could be influenced by altitude or humidity? After pressing the mixture in the pan, you could try chilling it for a couple of hours before cutting it and see if that helps any.

      • Paula says

        I’ve made these before – never tried them with crunchy peanut butter – maybe that was it? Also , when I make them I add the chocolate chips/ or mini m&m’s, I add them to the bottom of the pan first and then press in the mixture. Thanks for sharing this Brigette – I almost forgot about them.

    • Becky says

      Did you keep the same ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients? Sounds like you added a lot of things, and I wonder whether perhaps there were too many add-ins for the amount of actual “granola bar” foundation.

  10. says

    I’ll be trying these soon, substituting brown rice syrup for honey and almond butter for peanut butter. The photos make the bars look delicious!

  11. Meredith M says

    Any ideas what I could use to replace the honey? We’re not fans of honey, but we do like granola bars!

  12. marcy says

    I make these, but I press the mix into mini muffin pans. They are the perfect size for little hands. It also probably makes them last a little longer, but not by much!

  13. Mo says

    It’s like someone is in my head! This post is so timely for me. I just made chewy granola bars, homemade protein bars and (what my family had dubbed) power balls (basically granola bars in ball form) on Friday and was thinking, as I was cleaning up, that I could make them taste more like store-bought if I added some rice krispies or puffed rice. I was going to hunt down a possible recipe when this post popped into my in-box :) Thanks so much, I can’t wait to give these a try!!

    • Anna says

      This sounds like me! I made protein bars last week, and now I’m making these. My mom always made granola bars with 7 cups of granola (her homade), 1 cup corn syrup, and 1 cup peanut butter. I’m not a fan of corn syrup, though.

  14. Karen says

    Can I mix this with a kitchen aid mixer? I’m kind of a health nut, and my kitchen aid collects dust because it seems like most all the recipes I see are for baking goodies that I don’t eat. I don’t know what to use my kitchen aid for.

  15. says

    We make granola bar bites, inspired by Money Saving Mom’s energy bites. I made them more like granola bars by adding rice crispies, like this granola bar recipe. And I omit the coconut. I always like to turn things into “balls” as my melon baller does all the work. ;) The nice thing about the energy bites with rice crispies is there is no added sugar and no stove top work. But I’m still gonna have to give these a whirl too because you can never have enough options…especially when my dairy-allergy son can have no store bought granola bar. And I concur, sunbutter is the way to go when you have to avoid peanut! We used it for years!

    Enjoy Life dairy-free choc chips are great for these kinds of treats b/c the chips are mini.

    http://milkallergymom.blogspot.com/2012/06/dairy-free-granola-bites.html

  16. Caroline says

    Just finished making these! It’s going to be hard to wait until they’re cool to eat them! It took less time to make them than it would have taken to drive to the store and back, plus they’re way healthier! I see these becoming a staple at our house but I think I’ll always be making them fresh because I don’t anticipate any being left for the freezer!

    • Brigette says

      I sometimes stick them them in the freezer for a few minutes to help them cool faster so we can eat them sooner! :)

  17. Stephanie says

    My question is what can you use besides honey. I have an allergy to honey and would like to make these but I am not sure what else to use?

  18. Jessica says

    I made these last night, substituting nutella for peanut butter. They turned out a little sweeter than I’d prefer so next time I might stick with the peanut butter.

    When I cut the bars, there was a lot of breaking. They set up okay but it was the cutting process. I’m wondering if using a pizza cutter would take care of that problem?

    • Brigette says

      I’ve never used nutella in these before, but I would think you would have to reduce the sugar since nutella is quite a bit sweeter than peanut butter. You could try cutting them before they are completely cool – a pizza cutter would probably work great. These always stay nice and chewy for me, so I’m wondering if the nutella is the issue.

  19. Elizabeth says

    I just made these tonight–wow, they’re amazing! Everyone in my family loved them so I don’t think they’ll last long! I didn’t use wheat germ just used oatmeal and they turned out perfectly. Thank you so much for sharing, Brigette! I give this recipe 5 stars.

  20. LYN says

    Ok, I’m not normally a great cook so forgive me for this question…what is wheat germ? Is there something I can use to substitute for it? I have everything else on hand but that :)

    • Brigette says

      Here’s an article that talks about wheat germ: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/why-you-need-wheat-germ. You can’t taste it in these bars, so it’s an easy way to get in some nutritious stuff without realizing it. :) You can find it in almost any grocery store in the flour section. It’s definitely not necessary for this recipe, though. If you don’t have it, just use extra quick oats instead.

  21. Heather C says

    I’ve read through all the comments before asking this question. :) I made them today and they are holding up okay, but not as well as I’d like. I *may* have cut them a bit skinny (I was not thinking well before I divided into 24 :)) but I am wondering if the type of peanut butter makes a difference in the consistency. I used natural, ie, only salt added peanut butter. What kind did you use, Brigette? I’m wondering if I should add some oil next time (my kids could use the extra fat!). I did bring the ingredients to a boil and did not alter the recipe in a significant way. I used regular rolled oats, rice krispies, honey, brown sugar, 1/2 cup cashews for the add-ins (my daughter wanted these and there was breakage where the cashews were but I expected that), and the peanut butter. I did leave out the wheat germ and used extra oats. Does the wheat germ help bind it? Do quick oats hold together better than regular (I buy rolled oats by the 50lb bag so I was not inclined to go out and buy quick!)? Thanks for your help. The bars were a big hit, btw, I am just trying to figure out how to make sure they travel well.

    • Brigette says

      Good question! Now that you ask, I don’t think I’ve ever made these with oil-free peanut butter. I’ve used several different kinds, but the only “healthy” kind I use in cooking is Earth Balance, which does have oil in it (I generally use the cheaper brands like Jif for cooking, and brands like Arrowhead Mills for pb and j sandwiches :)). You could definitely try adding a little oil and see what happens. It sounds logical. :) I usually make these with quick oats and wheat germ, but I have used regular oats and didn’t notice much of a difference…although I probably used wheat germ too. If you don’t want to use/buy wheat germ, you could try blending 1/4 c. Rolled oats in your blender for a few seconds to approximate a “wheat germ consistency,” use that in place of the wheat germ, and see if that makes a difference. I haven’t ever used cashews, so I’m not much help there. Another thought: maybe try reducing the oats by a couple of tablespoons and see if that helps any?

      • Heather C says

        Thank you, knowing what kinds of peanut butter you use helps! I’ll definitely try some sort of oil next time. I thought about putting the oats through the blender and I’ll try that. We’ll probably use ground cashews next time, too, now that my daughter saw how the whole ones faired. :) The current batch will probably be gone soon. My husband enjoyed them, too, and my daughters are talking about sending some to their oldest brother. :)

  22. Katy says

    Delicious tasting bar but they are a bit “dry”. Seems like there was not enough wet goo to hold the dry ingredients together, the bars are falling apart too easily. Would it be best to cut the dry ingredients by a bit or increase the wet ingredients?

    • Brigette says

      A couple of others have mentioned the same thing, although they are turning out great for the majority of us (myself included, obviously! :)) I have NO idea why. It’s probably easiest to reduce the dry ingredients by 1/4 to 1/2 cup. If you try this and it works well for you/fixes the problem, let me know. I can make a note in the original recipe. Thanks!

        • Katy says

          Just made these again this morning. Worked much better this time. I cut the oats by 1/2 cup (used 1 1/4 C). I think I also let the “goo” get to a better boil this time. It was looking kind of foamy during the 1 minute of boiling.
          I used generic creamy peanut butter, nothing special.
          Thanks for the help.

  23. Heidi says

    I made these last night and they were AMAZING! Everyone gobbled them up! Can’t wait to try different add-ins!
    Thanks for posting and sharing!

  24. Amy says

    I made these today and they were good but like others they did not set. They were falling apart. I tried putting them in the fridge for awhile and that didnt work either. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Brigette says

      Were they crumbly? Or too gooey and never hardened up? The mixture does need to come to a complete boil, and you do have to press them down (firmly) into the pan before they cool. They seem to work best for the people who use less mix-ins and a peanut butter that contains oil. I am sorry they didn’t work for you.

  25. Tracy says

    Thanks for the recipe. Made these for my Bunco group and everyone requested the recipe. My family ate the rest and they were gone the next day. Definitely will be making these weekly! I used crunchy pb for more texture.

  26. Allison M. says

    AMAZING! I used graham crackers for the extra dry ingredient and mini marshmallows for the mix-in to make them s’mores-esque. VERY good! Mine didn’t last to freeze either ;)

    • Brigette says

      I’ve always wanted to try adding mini marshmallows, but have never actually done it. Now I will definitely HAVE to try it. That combo sounds fabulous! :)

  27. Susan in St. Louis says

    Thanks so much, Brigette! I love all of your recipes; they’re a great addition to the already wonderful store of posts on MSM! :)

  28. Patty says

    I made these granola bars yesterday. For the dried fruit I used some Craisins I had around. Too bad the kids were gone for the day…because 1/2 the pan is gone and I have no one to blame but myself. ; ) Mmmm they are soooo good! Thank you for another great recipe!

  29. Amber says

    I made these bars also, and they were fantastic!!! My favorite homemade granola bar by far! However, mine also didn’t set up well, and I used quick oats and normal peanut butter. I think the problem with mine was not letting the honey/sugar mixture boil long enough. I made them the day after the original post from the printed recipe, and didn’t realize I should have let the mixture boil for at least one minute. I thought about it afterwards, and it’s almost like making candy – it needs that time to boil probably to reach a soft ball stage so that it can set. Anyone else having trouble, make sure to boil the mixture for at least a minute as Brigette recommends! Great recipe!

    • Vicky says

      This is the best granola bar recipe I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot. :) I made one change! Since I didn’t have a rice crispie cereal I substituted with a rice square cereal I did have. I did crush it up in small pieces first.

      • Jamie says

        I also didn’t have rice crispies and used rice squares, but mine didn’t set well and crumbled apart. I melted some peanut butter and mixed it all together again. Pressed it in a smaller pan and this seemed to help a little bit better the second time.

  30. Cha says

    Would it alter the granola bars very much if the PB was omitted completely? Two of my kids have nut allergies and unfortunately I’m the only one who likes the SunButter : /

    • Brigette says

      I’m guessing you don’t want to leave it out completely. I know someone mentioned using half coconut oil and half peanut butter. Maybe you could try doing half coc oil(butter would also probably work) and half Sunbutter (???). By that point, your kids might not notice the Sunbutter. Sorry I’m not more help!

      • Cha says

        That’s a good point, Brigette. Thank you.

        I’m guessing if I didn’t tell them they had SunButter in them they probably would not really know the difference.

  31. Jessica says

    These look great!! Can I leave the honey out, or is there something I can substitute for it?? We still have toddlers in my house and while I feel like they’d be a hit, haven’t done honey yet and I’d like to keep it that way for a little longer. Thanks!