These homemade Granola Bars are perfectly chewy and delicious and so good you’ll never buy store bought granola bars ever again!
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We’ve been doing a TON of meal prep recently and homemade granola bars are on the weekly to-do list! Thomas and I are both mega snack fans and neither of us do well when our blood sugar gets low. That means it’s VERY important that we have some healthy snacks on hand at all times in case things get bleak!
These chewy homemade Granola Bars are the perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. They are also great for a quick breakfast on the go, or to pack in school or work lunches! All the ingredients are super clean so you know these are going to taste great! And there’s room for jazzing these up on your own… here’s the deal!
Homemade Granola Bar Ingredients
- Old Fashion Oats – grab your favorite brand and toast the oats! This is the base of the entire recipe!
- Almonds – gotta get those healthy fats. You could also sub another one of your favorite nuts if you prefer. Walnuts, pecans, cashews… you name it.
- Honey – this helps everything stick together! Agave nectar will also work but I love making homemade granola bars with honey!
- Butter – I use an unsalted butter because I love the depth of flavor it provides. If you want something other than butter, coconut oil is a great substitute
- Brown Sugar – more flavorful that white sugar!!
- Vanilla – you could also use chocolate extract if you prefer. Or leave it out if you don’t have any on hand.
- Chia Seeds – I love adding a little extra oomph into this recipe. If you want to omit the chia, that’s no problem. Or they can also be swapped out for flax or hemp hearts.
- Salt – don’t skimp on it! It elevates all the flavor.
- Dried Fruit – you can use any dried fruit in this recipe! Just make sure you chop it into small pieces if it’s something bigger than a dried cranberry.
- Chocolate Chips – what is a granola bar without some chocolate?!?!
How to make Homemade Granola Bars
Start by preheating your oven to 350º F. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray to prevent the Homemade Granola Bars from sticking.
Next lightly toast your oats and almonds in the oven on a small baking sheet for 10 minutes.
While the oats are toasting, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract seeds, chia and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves, making sure to stir occasionally.
Transfer the lightly toasted oats and almonds into a large mixing bowl and pour the butter mixture over. Add the cranberries and golden raisins and mix well. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes and then stir in the mini chocolate chips.
Transfer the oat mixture to the 9-inch square pan. Using a rubber spatula or clean hands and firmly press the mixture into the pan until the mixture is in a uniform layer. Make sure to press it down tightly so you don’t wind up with loose granola. Scatter a few extra tablespoons of mini chocolate chips over the granola bars and use the same rubber spatula to gently press them into the granola so they stick. Transfer the entire pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.
After the granola has cooled completely, gently lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper as handles and cut it into squares or bars. Serve as needed.
Variations and Substitutions
Honey – agave nectar will also work!
Butter – coconut oil is a great substitute!
Chia Seeds – you can omit the chia or swap it out for flax seeds or hemp hearts.
Dried Fruit – any dried fruit will work in this Homemade granola bars recipe, just make sure you chop it into small pieces if it’s something bigger than a dried cranberry.
Tips and Tricks for Homemade Granola Bars
Now that we’ve got the ingredients out of the way – let’s talk about the process! These are pretty straight forward however there are some key tips to making these extra delish and reminiscint of those store bought bars we all grew up with!
Toast the Oats – this is super important to really get all the flavor from the oats! You want them to just get a little toasty in the oven before mixing in all the other ingredients
Really press the mixture down in the pan. Use a spatula or your clean hands and press the granola bar mixture down once you’ve transferred it into the pan. And feel free to put some weight behind it. That will help ensure the bars don’t fall apart when you’re slicing and serving.
Don’t skimp on the chill time. You know how I always insist we chill blondies and brownies before slicing and serving… same thing goes for granola bars. This step (while tedious) just helps everything firm up and cutting will be cleaner and easier. Once they are chilled and sliced, you can let them come to room temperature before serving so they are chewier.
Storing the bars. I store the granola bars in the fridge at all times (or the freezer if it’s going to take you a while to get through them! Just take them out of the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
How do you get granola bars to stick together?
There are a two tips to getting granola bars to stick together. First really press the mixture down in the pan and second don’t skimp on the chill time. This step (while tedious) just helps everything firm up and cutting will be cleaner and easier.
Do you need to bake granola bars?
No need to bake granola bars. After pressing them down firmly into a square pan, transfer the entire pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. Once they are chilled and sliced, you can let them come to room temperature before serving so they are chewier.
And if you want a step by step video to make life even easier… here you go!
Looking for more amazing breakfast ideas?
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- Chocolate Chip Muffins
Tools used to make this
Homemade Granola Bars
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup dried golden raisins
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra as needed
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Then lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray.
- Combine the oats and roughly chopped almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.
- While the oats are toasting, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract seeds, chia and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves, making sure to stir occasionally. Pour the butter mixture over the toasted oats and almonds and add the cranberries and golden raisins. Mix well. Let cool for 15 minutes then add the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the oat mixture to prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula or clean hands and firmly press the mixture into the pan until the mixture is in a uniform layer. Really press it down so you don't wind up with loose granola. Scatter remaining a few extra tablespoons of mini chocolate chips over the granola bars and use the same rubber spatula to gently press them into the granola so they stick. Transfer the entire pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.
- After the granola has cooled completely, gently lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper as handles and cut it into squares or bars. Serve as needed.
Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking
Any recommendations for making these less sweet? I don’t want to lose the stickiness for forming granola bars.
Hi Gaby! Can I bake these a bit to make them crunchy?
never done that but I would guess that would work!
These granola bars will certainly brighten my day!
Could maple syrup be substituted for the brown sugar?
worth a try!
Is there something I could use to replace nuts? We have a nut allergy in my family.