Homemade Granola Bars

These homemade granola bars are SO much better than any kind you'd buy at the store. They're easy to make, and they're chewy, nutty, and delicious.

Granola bars

A few weeks ago, I started craving the granola bars I ate as a kid. They had a chewy texture, a sweet, oat-y flavor, and pockets of mini chocolate chips. These days, I don’t keep packaged snacks around the house, but I always have old fashioned oats, nuts, and seeds in my pantry. I might not have had the exact granola bars I was craving on hand, but I could make homemade granola bars that’d be even better!

Fast forward to now, and I’ve made this granola bar recipe more times than I can count. It’s a breeze to make, and the bars are fantastic. They’re chewy, sweet, nutty, and studded with just the right amount of chocolate chips. Filled with wholesome ingredients like oats, pepitas, and nut butter, they’re healthy enough to pass for breakfast, but they’re also a perfect afternoon snack.

Granola bar recipe ingredients

Granola Bar Recipe Ingredients

You only need 7 basic ingredients to make this homemade granola bar recipe:

  • Natural peanut or cashew butter – It helps bind the bars together, and it adds protein, healthy fats, and irresistible nutty flavor.
  • Whole rolled oats – They give these bars a perfect chewy texture. If you’re gluten-free, make sure that you use certified gluten-free oats.
  • Honey – Along with the nut butter, it helps all these ingredients stick together! I love its warm amber flavor in this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract – It amps up the bars’ warm flavor.
  • Sea salt – To make all the rich, sweet, and nutty flavors in this recipe pop!
  • Pepitas, crushed peanuts, or cashews – They add healthy fats, protein, and crunch.
  • Mini chocolate chips – Who doesn’t love nut butter and chocolate?! Be sure to use mini chocolate chips here, as regular chocolate chips are too big to make cohesive bars. If you don’t have mini chocolate chips, finely chopped dark chocolate will work in their place.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Peanut butter and honey in a mixing bowl

How to Make Granola Bars

You won’t believe how easy it is to make this homemade granola bar recipe! Here’s what you need to do:

Stirring wet ingredients

First, stir together the wet ingredients – the cashew or peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract, and salt.

Peanut butter mixture in a bowl

Mix until the honey is fully incorporated. It will smell amazing!

Adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients

Second, fold in the dry ingredients – the oats, chocolate chips, and pepitas. The mixture might seem dry at first, but keep stirring! Everything will be fully incorporated in no time.

Homemade granola bars mixture How to make granola bars

Next, press the bars into a parchment-lined baking pan. Scoop the mixture onto the bottom of the pan, and cover it with another sheet of parchment paper. Firmly press the mixture to the sides of the pan with your hands. Then, use the back of a measuring cup to smooth and flatten the tops of the bars.

Finally, chill! Transfer the pan to the fridge, and allow the mixture to chill for one hour before you slice and eat the bars. That’s it!

Homemade granola bars in a baking pan

Granola Bar Recipe Tips

  • Use runny nut butter. Look for natural cashew or peanut butter with a smooth consistency to make this recipe, not the dry, stiff stuff that you might find at the bottom of a jar. If your nut butter is too dry or thick, it won’t bind the oats, chocolate chips, and nuts or seeds into cohesive bars. Use creamy nut butter, not crunchy.
  • Don’t cut the chilling time short. It’s tempting to slice and eat these bars as soon as you press the oat mixture into the pan, but in order for them to be chewy and cohesive, they really need to chill. Pop the pan in the fridge for at least one hour before slicing and eating the bars.
  • Store them in the fridge or freezer. Once you slice the bars, cover the pan and store it in the fridge, or transfer the bars to an airtight container. I recommend storing them with a sheet of parchment paper between layers so that the bars don’t stick together. They’ll keep for up to a week in the fridge, but you can also freeze them for up to 2 months. I like to eat these granola bars straight out of the fridge, but if they’re frozen, let them thaw at room temperature for 20 minutes before you eat.

granola bars sliced

Homemade Granola Bars Variations

  • Change up the mix-ins! I love the combination of mini chocolate chips and pepitas in these bars, but they’re delicious with other mix-ins too. Shredded unsweetened coconut, chopped dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and dried currants are a few of my favorites. Feel free to use what you like, but make sure that you chop any dried fruits or nuts to a small size. You should also maintain the ratios I use in the original recipe. If the mix-ins are too large, or if you add too many, the bars won’t hold together.
  • Make them vegan. To make these granola bars vegan, substitute brown rice syrup for the honey. If you can’t find brown rice syrup, you can use maple syrup here. It’s not sticky enough to bind this mixture into cohesive bars, but it makes delicious energy balls! If you use maple, roll the oat mixture into 16 balls before you chill it. They make a perfect bite-sized snack!

granola bar recipe

More Favorite Oat-y Treats

If you love this chocolate chip granola bar recipe, try one of these oat-y treats next:

Then, check out this post for 47 more healthy snack ideas!

Homemade Granola Bars

rate this recipe:
4.85 from 118 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Chilling time: 1 hr
Serves 8
These homemade granola bars are a quick and delicious, and naturally gluten-free! If you want to change the mix-ins, see the post above for my tips on how to do it. These are on the sweet side, if you're looking for a less-sweet treat, try these Energy Balls.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup very smooth creamy natural peanut butter or cashew butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Heaping 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • cups whole rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips*
  • 3 tablespoons pepitas or crushed peanuts or cashews

Instructions

  • Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and salt, until smooth.
  • Add the oats, chocolate chips and the pepitas (or nuts). The mixture might seem dry at first, but keep stirring and it'll come together. Stir to combine and press firmly into the pan. Use a second piece of parchment paper and the back of a measuring cup to help flatten the mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour, then slice into bars.
  • Store bars in the fridge.

Notes

*Note: regular sized chocolate chips make these bars less cohesive - if you can't find mini chocolate chips, chop chocolate so that it's mini-sized.
To make these vegan, use brown rice syrup instead of honey. Maple syrup is not sticky enough to make these bars cohesive, but it will work if you roll the mixture into energy balls instead of making bars. To make these gluten free, just make sure your oats are certified gluten free.
Try our homemade peanut butter in this recipe!

124 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Chrystal
    08.24.2022

    3 stars
    Good, but very honey forward. It’s the overwhelming flavor of the bar. I use ‘bar’ loosely. They are very soft and flimsy.
    They will get eaten! Just not what I was going for.

  2. Caroline
    08.21.2022

    Love these.

    Any idea about the calorie count? I read in another bar that toasting the oats made them outstanding. Might try that next time.

    • Rachel Newham
      09.05.2022

      I was wondering what the macros are. I need to figure it out so we can use them for our long cycling rides.

      • meg
        09.17.2022

        Type the recipe into a calorie counting website/app that has a recipe builder to get the nutritional info/macros..

  3. Heather
    08.04.2022

    5 stars
    These are amazing!! I made with brown rice syrup to make them vegan. I can imagine mixing this up with almond butter, cranberries, and pecans for variety! I’ll be making these again soon! Yum!

    • Camille
      09.28.2022

      5 stars
      I make these regularly for my family. So. Good. They rarely last the week! The mini chips do make a difference but I’ve had success just running a knife through regular chips too. Be sure to take time to press them well. I cut the parchment long, fold it over the top and use it to help press the mixture into the pan.

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        10.02.2022

        I’m so glad you’ve loved them!

  4. Kels
    07.25.2022

    Okay wow delicious. I adjusted the recipe a bit. I used about 2 cups of oats, grinded them down a bit in the blender and used 1 cup of crispy rice cereal as well. This created the most awesome bar that sticks together so well. Will be continuously making these weekly!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.28.2022

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  5. Tiffany
    07.19.2022

    5 stars
    Love the recipe better frozen not quite like a granola bar but reminded me of frozen cookie dough and oh my gosh so glad to have a healthier alternative!

  6. Katie
    07.13.2022

    3 stars
    Good flavour, but like some other reviewers, I found these also not firm enough. Put them in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes after realizing they would still flop over the day after I made them and refridgerated them.

    • Sam
      08.14.2022

      How was this? And did cooking before refrigerating help?

  7. Jennifer Rickard
    07.07.2022

    5 stars
    So easy & my kids devour them!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.07.2022

      I’m so happy they loved them!

  8. Kimberly Angelloz
    06.28.2022

    Made these several times. They are
    so good!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.29.2022

      I’m so happy to hear!

  9. Lisa
    06.20.2022

    Hi! Would these work with almond or sun butter? We have a peanut allergy, and I think cashew allergy too! Thank you! They look delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.22.2022

      Yep, that should be fine!

  10. Liz Starmer
    06.12.2022

    5 stars
    These are my son’s and husband’s favourite cereal bar. The tray is finished within a matter of days! Thank you for posting this recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.18.2022

      I’m so glad they’ve been loving them!

  11. Deborah
    06.01.2022

    I made the granola bars exactly the way you said and left them in fridge for 2 hours but when I went to cut they would fall apart.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2022

      Hi Deborah, I would pop them in the freezer for a little bit to firm up more.

  12. Meyanna Fairbank
    05.23.2022

    4 stars
    These taste really good, however they are very soft which isn’t super convenient for taking on the go for kids. They are also very sweet. I would probably cut the honey in half the next time. I used all natural peanut butter. It has no added sugar so I figured that amount of honey would be ok, I won’t use that much again. The flavor is great though and the ingredients are simple and clean, which I love.

    • G
      07.10.2022

      4 stars
      These were too sweet for us, as well – delicious, but definitely in the cookie realm rather than the healthy snack I was looking for. I’ll try again with half the honey.

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        07.12.2022

        They’re definitely a sweet treat, I’m not sure if they’ll hold together well with less honey.

  13. Laura W.
    05.14.2022

    4 stars
    I added almond butter to the sauce pan to add protein. I used less butter. I had to 1.5 ish the liquid portion as the first time I tried this (w/o nut butter), it crumbled apart. May add less oats next time. Definitely tastes better with Oates & nuts toasted a bit.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.15.2022

      Hi Laura, I wonder if you’re commenting on this recipe – there’s no sauce pan (they come together in a bowl) and there’s also no butter. And/or if you changed the ratio of nut butter that would probably cause these to fall apart.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.