This healthy granola bar recipe was one of the first hits here at Kitchen Stewardship and remains one of the most popular. It was first published June 2009 and deserves a little revisit today.
Many people are surprised that you can whip up homemade granola bars as easily as a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies. There are endless variations to this recipe, and I can almost guarantee it will become a family favorite!
Scroll down for variations including chocolate, peanut butter, gluten free, dairy free and more! If you see a green or orange $ symbol next to an ingredient, clicking it will show the sales in YOUR community this week on that item (or share an additional recipe from a partner).
- 1 c. butter, softened
- 1 c. honey
- 4½ c. rolled oats
- 1 ½ c. whole wheat or spelt flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Add-ins to equal 2 cups total:
- mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- chopped walnuts
- dried fruit
- sunflower seeds
- other nuts…
- Lightly butter a 9”×13” glass pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, honey, and vanilla. Tip: If your butter isn’t softened, use a rolling pin and roll it between two sheets of wax paper. Or mash it with your hands while in the wrapper. Our secret.
- Add the oats, flour, and baking soda. Beat well until combined. Stir in add-ins by hand. Press mixture hard into pan. (You can use your hands!)
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 15-22 minutes until just golden brown on the edges. You will think they are too soft. They are not. Just remind yourself that there's not even any egg in the recipe, so you can't hurt anybody if you underbake.
- Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing and serving. Store at room temperature or freeze.
The one drawback of this original recipe is that it tends to be a bit crumbly, especially if you overbake the bars even slightly. You can avoid that by melting the butter, honey and vanilla in a saucepan and cooking on low for 5 minutes after the butter melts, then mixing the liquid ingredients into the dry.
See the brown box down below for more variations on flavor and texture.
Originally adapted from a recipe in Faith and Family Magazine.
If unsoaked, uncooked oats get heavy in your gut (or worse), you’ll want to check out the “soaked” version for easier digestion, which is also gluten-free and no-bake. It’s a free downloadable printable page, a demo of the simple navigation of the “Healthy Snacks to Go” eBook, where this recipe is a centerpiece, along with 15 variations on a homemade “Larabar” and some yum-o crispy roasted chickpeas.
Healthy Snacks To Go eBook, 2nd Edition
by Katie Kimball
Over 45 recipes to get you on your way with real food, fast
You can see all KS eBooks HERE.
- Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and skip the chocolate chips – or double up on chocolate!
- Use 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, almond butter or sunbutter in place of 1/2 cup of butter – divine!
- Want crunchy bars? Spread a full batch into a large cookie sheet or a half batch in a 9×13 pan. Press firmly and bake as usual. Cool completely and cut apart, then spread individually on a baking sheet or stone and toast again for ~10-13 minutes in a preheated 325F oven. Watch carefully for browning on the edges. Now, listen closely – do not touch. Got that? Wait until the bars are totally and completely cooled on the pan before removing, and you will have sturdy, crunchy granola bars to die for.
- Bars too crumbly? Follow the directions for a brief re-toast in the bullet point above and you’ll be thrilled with the results – just slightly crunchy on the edges and with triple the stick-together-ness of the original.
- Gluten free: Just sub GF all-purpose flour for the whole wheat and it should work fine, according to a reader. Another used a cup mixed sorghum and brown rice flour plus a teaspoon of xanthan gum.
- Dairy free: Coconut oil works fine in place of butter, especially in the nut butter versions.
- Less sweetener: Honey is expensive and the “unhealthy” ingredient in this recipe. When you heat the honey, you can definitely cut it down by at least 1/3 cup and everything still holds together. I also had success substituting natural applesauce for up to 1/2 cup honey, but the resulting bars weren’t very sweet. The chocolate chips were a necessity.
- Crumbs in the bottom of the storage bag? So yummy over homemade yogurt with fresh fruit!
- What else can you do with these? Do share!
I get at least 20 good-sized bars from this recipe. I figure it might be the equivalent of 3 boxes of Quaker chewy granola bars, so even though butter and honey are on the pricey side, this still works out to be nicely frugal.
Lunch-packing tip: Have the kiddos (or whomever) bring home the plastic baggie each day and just toss a new bar in. Easy way to save packaging and remember to take a bar every day! Check out all my healthy lunch packing tips and green lunch ideas, too!
The homemade granola bars aren’t the only easy, healthy snack bar at KS. Try these recipes for more variety:
Healthy Snacks to Go includes Popeye Bars, Protein Bars, and Homemade “larabars” (above)
Twice a month, no fluff, keep up without filling your inbox – the KS monthly newsletter has exclusive content with great tips like this plus a wrap up of the best of the month. Sign up below and get a free bonus:
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
See my full disclosure statement here.