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:
4.83 from 23 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!

24 comments

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  1. Charla
    05.18.2020

    Beautiful pictures and this recipe looks perfect! I have a question, can you substitute almond butter for the peanut butter? I dont see it mentioned as a substitute. Thank you for the inspiring, thoughtful and nutritious recipe’s.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.18.2020

      Hi Charla, I haven’t tried it, but if it’s smooth enough (on the runny side), I think it should work. Peanut butter and cashew butter are both a bit more smooth, and I tested both, which is why I listed those two. Let me know if you give it a go!

  2. Morressa McAllister
    05.18.2020

    5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this I’g doing it now!!!!

  3. Julie
    05.18.2020

    These look delicious! We’ve got a nut allergy in our family – do you think sunbutter would work?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.18.2020

      Hi Julie, I think it would, just as long as it’s well stirred and smooth (not chunky).

  4. Liza
    05.18.2020

    Hello Jeanine
    Do you have another healthy recipe like this that incorporates some protein (powder)?
    How lovely it would be to not have to spend $3 on one packaged protein bar in the stores.
    Kind regards,
    Liza

  5. Erin
    05.19.2020

    These look delicious! Could I substitute agave for the honey/rice syrup, or would that also not be sticky enough?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.19.2020

      Hi Erin, they won’t be sticky enough – they might be able to roll into balls though.

  6. Prescilla
    05.19.2020

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for the recipe! These are delicious! I subbed the pb for almond butter and added some chia seeds. So good and so quick to put together.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.20.2020

      Hi Prescilla, I’m so glad you loved them!

  7. Jeanine Donofrio
    05.27.2020

    I’d try them with the chocolate chips – they help cut the oat-y-ness.

  8. XPL
    06.04.2020

    5 stars
    Once again another tasty recipe from your site!
    These are so easy to whip up and addictive they are dangerous! I made them without the pumpkin seeds as I didn’t have any.
    Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.05.2020

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  9. Laura
    06.21.2020

    5 stars
    These are so good! I was wondering if you thought it’d be possible to dehydrate them at the end, to make them more shelf stable?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.12.2020

      I’m so glad you loved them! I don’t have experience with a dehydrator, so I’m not sure.

  10. Georgia
    06.30.2020

    will these keep their shape out of the fridge? I would love to take these to work for lunch but worried they may go soft and lose their shape if not kept cold?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.12.2020

      Hi Georgia, they definitely get softer out of the fridge. I’d freeze them, then take them to work and they’ll probably hold up better that way.

  11. Amy
    07.19.2020

    4 stars
    Made these, following the recipe exactly, except with the addition of a little cinnamon. They turned out well are delicious, but VERY sweet – more of a cookie or treat than a healthy snack.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.23.2020

      they’re definitely a treat, thank you for your feedback.

  12. Elna@YoNature
    07.23.2020

    I stopped buying granola bars, I make them myself now. Thanks for the inspiration. Cheers, Elna

  13. Christina
    07.26.2020

    5 stars
    Haven’t had these yet, but making them was an absolute BREEZE! I made sure to get fresh PB from a grind it yourself location (I’m sure the grind it yourself almond butter would have been great too). Made it very easy to get these together. I do coat my measuring cup for the honey with coconut oil spray so it just slides right out.

  14. Sara
    07.28.2020

    2 stars
    I love peanut butter, but these were too peanut buttery (and bit too sweet) for my liking. Looks delicious though. 3 out of my 6 kids liked it. The others had the same comment as mine.

  15. Synthia
    07.31.2020

    5 stars
    It looks amazing and yummy ❤. I will surely try it for my kids!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
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.