KS Healthy Granola Bar Recipe {Classic}

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Homemade granola bars are easier than you'd imagine with this healthy granola bar recipe - chewy granola bars just like a box but without refined sugar or all the junk!

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).

4.8 from 8 reviews
KS Healthy Granola Bar Recipe
 
Simple, healthy granola bars, no refined sugar, and tons of variations to fit your family's tastes.
Author:
Recipe type: snacks
Serves: 20 bars
Ingredients
  • 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
  • coconut
  • other nuts…
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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!)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Notes
Stickier, Chewier Granola Bars:
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.

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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.

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Transformations:

  • 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!

Homemade granola bars are easier than you'd imagine with this healthy granola bar recipe - chewy granola bars just like a box but without refined sugar or all the junk!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!

More Bars!

The homemade granola bars aren’t the only easy, healthy snack bar at KS. Try these recipes for more variety:

almond power bars

Almond Power Bars

quinoa oat protein bars

Quinoa Oat Protein Bars

grain free snack bars

Grain-free Quinoa Bars

No-Bake Granola Bars

small power bars - more (10)

Healthy Snacks to Go includes Popeye Bars, Protein Bars, and Homemade “larabars” (above)

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40 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Linda says

    It’s funny that you are posting this recipe today. I have a copy (the original I guess) that I just put in the oven. I keep thinking the oats should be soaked and dried first, but I just don’t feel like going to all that trouble. It looks like you don’t bother with that either. I wish I could get sprouted oats so I didn’t have to worry about it.

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Linda,
      Yes, this was back before I soaked anything. Now I tend to default to other bars, but the soaked-and-dried version is the free download “no bake” bars. :) Katie

  2. Stephanie M says

    The double cooking technique works wonders! I made a couple batches to get us through a 2 week road trip and they really held together.

    PS- The Almond Power Bars are my favorite dessert of all times!

  3. Haley says

    I made the chewy granola bars yesterday with our 4 year old son. We made a double batch and did half coconut chocolate chip and half cinnamon raisin. They are the best granola bars I’ve ever tasted. Everyone in the family likes them and they really do hold together.

    I’m really glad I “hid” some of them in the freezer for next week! They’ve been a big hit in our home.

  4. Jennifer says

    Oh my word!! I’ve been making these for about a year now. My husband (we were only dating then) and his two daughters were going to Haiti on a missions trip w their church. I wanted to surprise them with something homemade when everyone else was pulling out store bought poptarts and granola bars for breakfast they had these delish and healthy granola bars!!! Eveyone was envious and asked where hey got em. I am still making them with weekly requests for more. I believe the granola bars were the deciding factor when he proposed. LOL Thank you for such a great easy snack!! Has anyone tried solidified coconut oil in place of the butter? Has anyone tried solidified coconut oil for the butter?

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Jennifer,
      I love your story! That totally made my day. And yes, coconut oil will work just great. :) Katie

  5. Harmony says

    Just got back reviews on my 2nd batch from a class of kindergarteners and they loved them and wanted more, YAY! The first batch I made with 1/2 butter1/2 PB and coconut, chocolatechips, and chopped walnuts as add ins, I was in love. This time I used the 1/4c cocoa powder and had a hard time blending so I added some applesauce and it did the trick. Next time I think I will reduce the flour by 1/4c instead. Thanks so much for the resounding success at snack time!

  6. Sharon says

    Hi Katie,
    I love these! Have you ever tried freezing them? My due date is coming up and I’m trying to stock up our freezer with good whole foods for after delivery :)

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Sharon,
      I hope I’m not too late! 😉 Your comment got buried somehow…but yes, they’ll freeze excellently, and also, they last a really, really long time out of the freezer anyway. Blessings on your new baby!!

      :) Katie

  7. Courtney says

    I’m just about to make my first batch and was so grateful for all the healthy tips on lowering sugar and fat. How much of the add-ins should I plan on? Thanks

  8. Stephanie says

    Ok, so I’ve just made mini chocolate chips with walnuts and dried cranberries and I’ll let you know how hey turn out in a little bit. I also added just a sprinkle of salt to help highlight the sweetness of the fruit.

    Here are some of my combo ideas (some may need fridge storage):
    – shredded coconut and mini chocolate chips
    – peanut butter with dried apple chunks
    – I like salty/sweet so I think homemade potato chips crumbled up with mini chocolate chips sounds good as an occasional treat
    – dried apricots with pecans
    – raisins with some cinnamon added in
    – peanut butter with mini chocolate chips
    – bacon crumbles with maple syrup instead of honey
    – homemade marshmellows, graham cracker crumbles, and mini chocolate chips
    – maple syrup and ground flax seed

  9. Stephanie says

    These were very good! The only thing I’d change is to cut the honey back a bit because I used a full cup and these were quite sweet. They were quite tasty and the kids loved them.

  10. Santhy says

    I used jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) instead of honey, ragi flour (finger millet) for part of the flour, added some mashed bananas and omitted the baking soda. I don’t like oatmeal raisin cookies, but these were really good. You think the bananas will bring down it’s shelf life?

  11. Maggie says

    I followed the directions, including heating the honey mixture first, but these did not come out as bars at all. That being said, the granola I ended up with is delicious!

    • says

      Maggie,
      I’m glad you liked the granola! 😉 So you baked them and everything? Very odd…people make these bars constantly, so I know there’s not an error in the recipe (usually I would assume I had left something out when I typed it). I wonder what happened?

  12. Maggie says

    I did bake them, but they just fell apart. But the result is great on yogurt! I will try again and add more of the sticky ingredients and see what happens. Thanks!

  13. Charity says

    I just made these. I wanted the bars to stick together good as were using them for a road trip snack so I cooked the honey mixture, using 1/2 butter, 1/2 peanut butter. What I didn’t do is add my mix ins AFTER I mixed the wet & dry together. Unfortunateltly, my mix in was mini chocolate chips & they melted away in the mixing. I know they will taste great but I would like the look of the chips in the bar. So, my question is, will the bars stick together okay if I twice bake for the crunchy version (without cooking honey)? Or maybe my question is how do you keep the little chip from melting?
    Thanks for the yummy recipe!

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