These Homemade Granola Bars are vegan, gluten-free, kid-friendly and so easy to make with simple pantry staples! Bake them for Crunchy Granola Bars or enjoy them chewy as a no-bake option. Add your favorite dried fruits, nuts, or even chocolate, you’ll have delicious oat bars for breakfast or any time when you need a quick healthy muesli snack!
My Favorite Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
Sometimes you really just need a snack that gives you some power to manage the day. So it’s very useful to have a simple granola bar recipe on hand that’s perfect to make ahead and store in the fridge to enjoy in those situations.
Unlike most store-bought granola bars, my homemade bars are gluten-free, vegan, and made with wholesome ingredients. They are rich in nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats, and are naturally sweetened. Plus they are incredibly delicious and even kids love them so they are the perfect snack for the whole family!
What I also love about this simple crunchy and chewy granola bar recipe is that it can be adapted based on your favorite dried fruits, nuts, seeds, or even chocolate. So you can basically add whatever you like or have on hand!
Healthy Granola Bars with Simple Ingredients
The 6 basic ingredients you’ll need for these bars are:
- Oats (regular or gluten-free)
- Nuts and seeds (of your choice)
- Dried fruit (of cour choice)
- Coconut oil (or vegan butter or just apple sauce or banana)
- Nut butter (optional for more flavor)
- Maple syrup (or agave or rice syrup)
I add almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, dried cranberries, and goji berries but feel free to use your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Whether hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pepitas, or hemp seeds – anything will do!
Regarding dried fruit, I prefer tart, slightly sweet and sour berries in these granola bars because they are rich in vitamin C and balance out the sweet flavor of the maple syrup. However, you can most likely also use cherries, raisins, figs, apricots, dates, plums, etc. Just make sure to chop them finely with a sharp knife before mixing with the rest.
I’ve also added a bit of vanilla extract and cinnamon for flavor but that’s just optional.
Tips for making the best granola bars
Coconut oil or vegan butter is solid when chilled and helps keep the bars together. I’ve already tested this recipe with just applesauce and banana instead of oil which worked, too. However, I personally found the coconut oil version much better. If you try this recipe with peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter, let me know how it turned out because I haven’t tested it yet.
Use sticky syrup! Be sure to use a thick and sticky syrup like agave, maple, or rice syrup because it helps to keep the bars together. If you’re not vegan you can probably also use honey but I do not recommend using any other sweetener.
Press firmly! It’s really important to press the granola mixture into the pan very firmly! The harder and longer you press, the less chance you’ll end up with granola instead of granola bars.
Bake or no-bake! I recommend baking these granola bars for the delicious roasting flavor and extra crunch but you can also enjoy them as a chewy no-bake snack. Simply refrigerate the granola mixture a few hours until it’s completely set. Then lift out of the baking pan and slice into bars. Also, be sure to keep them in the fridge as they will soften at room temperature.
Chill! Whether you bake your granola bars or not, be sure to chill the granola mixture for at least 2 hours. This hardens everything and makes it easier to cut the gluten-free granola mixture into bars.
How to make Granola Bars
Check out this step-by-step guide first, and then find the full recipe with exact measurements at the bottom of this post!
Step 1: Make the granola mixture
Start to add the oats, almonds, and walnuts (or other nuts/seeds) into the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped, then transfer the mixture into a large bowl.
Next, chop the dried goji berries and cranberries (or other fruits) with a sharp knife. Heat the coconut oil and maple syrup in a saucepan and simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir in the nut butter (if using), salt, and vanilla extract.
Add the chopped fruits, chia seeds, and cinnamon to the oat nut mixture. Pour in the oil syrup mixture and mix everything well together.
Step 2: Press the granola mixture into the pan
Transfer the granola mixture into an 8×8-inch (20×20-cm) square baking dish with parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper on top and press firmly into an even layer, using the bottom of another square baking dish or measuring cup or bowl. The firmer you press, the better the bars will stick together!
Step 3: Bake, then chill and cut!
Bake the granola bars for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven until crunchy (or refrigerate until set for a chewy no-bake option). Once done baking, allow to cool to room temperature. Then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. Finally, lift the granola block out of the baking pan using the parchment overhang and slice into bars using a sharp knife.
How to store and freeze
The baked granola bars keep at room temperature for about 1 week. Just make sure they are tightly covered or sealed in a container. For longer storage, wrap them in parchment paper, then place in an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. So you can remove them individually whenever you need a chewy homemade granola bar!
These simple homemade granola bars are:
- Quick and easy to make
- So delicious!
More Breakfast, Dessert, or Snack recipes to try:
- Coconut Balls (Vegan Raffaelo)
- Mini Apple Pies
- Homemade Chocolate Granola
- Peanut Caramel Chocolate Bars
- Apple Hand Pies
- Easy Vegan Waffles
- Vegan Chocolate Banana Pancakes
If you try these crunchy and chewy Homemade Granola Bars, please leave me a comment and rating on how you liked this vegan recipe! And if you take a photo of your healthy oat fruit bars and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Have fun!
Homemade Granola Bars (Vegan + Gluten-free)
You do not have a fitting cake pan at hand right now? Try my new Cake Pan Conversion Calculator!
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp oats gluten-free as needed
- 1 cup almonds *see notes for options
- 1 cup walnuts *see notes for options
- ½ cup dried goji berries or other dried fruit, *see notes
- ½ cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit, *see notes
- 2 tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds
- ¼ tsp cinnamon optional
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil *see notes for an applesauce option
- 1-2 tbsp nut butter optional, add only if you bake the bars!
- ⅓ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract optional
- *Note: See step-by-step photos above!
- Preheat the oven to 338°F/170°C (fan 302°F/150°C). Line an 8x8-inch (20x20-cm) baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides.
- Add the oats, almonds, and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped, then transfer the mixture into a large bowl.
- Chop the dried goji berries and cranberries with a sharp knife. Then add to the oat nut mixture along with the chia seeds, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Heat the coconut oil and maple syrup in a saucepan and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the nut butter (if using), salt, and vanilla extract to combine. Then pour it over the dry ingredients and mix everything well together. (If it's a bit too dry, you can add 1 or 2 tbsp of hot water).
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Place a piece of parchment paper on top and press firmly into an even layer, using the bottom of another square baking dish (see photo above) or measuring cup or bowl. The firmer you press, the better the bars will stick together!
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven (or refrigerate until set for a no-bake option). If the top gets too brown during baking, cover loosely with a piece of parchment paper.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. Then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. Then lift out of the baking pan using the parchment overhang and slice into bars using a sharp knife. (You can also cut the bars before chilling if that's easier for you. Just keep in mind that they get harder as they cool).
- Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Nuts: You can also use other nuts, such as hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, or whatever you have on hand.
- Nut-free: Use sunflower seeds or pepitas or hulled hemp seeds.
- Dried fruit: I prefer tart and sour berries as they are rich in vitamin c and balance out the sweetness of the syrup. However, feel free to use your favorite dried fruits, such as cherries, raisins, figs, apricots, dates, plums, etc. Just make sure to chop them finely with a sharp knife.
- Coconut oil: You can substitute the coconut oil with vegan butter or with ½ cup (125 g) unsweetened apple sauce or 1 large mashed banana. Then bake and allow to cool as instructed. (But I find the coconut oil version better).
- Please read my blog post for further information and tips on making the perfect granola bars!
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