Five ingredients, a bowl, and five minutes are all you need to get a batch of these easy and healthy granola bars ready for the oven. They’re gluten-free, soft-baked, studded with chocolate chips, and perfect for on-the-go healthy snacking. You’ll never need or want to buy a store-bought granola bar again!
This recipe was originally published by The Real Food Dietitians in 2017; Updated July 15, 2022.
Skip the grocery store and make healthy granola bars right in the comfort of your own kitchen!
Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be 100% in control of what’s going into the granola bars. Many of the store-bought granola bars come with a lengthy list of ingredients, are made with refined sugars, and include an array of pesky preservatives (so they’re able to hang out on the shelves for a longer duration of time).
These 5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Granola Bars are simple to make, made with only real food ingredients, and are refined sugar-free. Best of all, you know exactly what goes into them! Peanut buttery flavor, chocolatey goodness, subtly sweet, and soft baked! You can’t beat that.
Peanut Butter Granola Bars Ingredients
Here are the five ingredients to gather so you can make these chewy granola bars today:
- Rolled Oats – use simple, old-fashioned rolled oats
- Natural Peanut Butter – we like the drippy kind of peanut butter made with only peanuts and maybe a little salt, but use what you have on hand. Feel free to sub any kind of nut butter or seed butter, such as almond butter, cashew butter, or sesame seed butter
- Maple Syrup – could also substitute honey or brown rice syrup
- Chocolate Chips – because chocolate and peanut butter is a pair that can’t be beaten; use milk or dark chocolate
- Eggs – egg-free version noted below and in the recipe card
BONUS add-ins – get creative with what you have on hand, or let your kids be chefs for the day and choose their favorite add-ins! You’ll find a full list of our favorite substitutions and mix-ins for these Healthy Granola Bars below!
How to Make Granola Bars | How to make Healthy granola Bars
This is one of our favorite healthy granola bar recipes because of how easy it is to throw together! Bonus: there’s no need to dirty your food processor or blender — everything is mixed together in one bowl for easy clean-up!
- Toss together all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined.
- Transfer the dough to a 9×9 pan. Pro tip: for easy removal line the pan with parchment. Press the dough firmly into the pan.
- Bake the granola bars for 14 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool completely, and then cut into bars or squares. Enjoy the great taste!
Scroll down for the printable recipe card, including ingredient amounts, complete directions, and full nutrition analysis (which includes calories, carbs, grams of fiber, grams of protein, minerals, and more).
Special equipment needed? No way! This recipe doesn’t even require a small saucepan. You simply need a bowl, a spoon, and a 9-inch square baking dish.
Homemade Granola Bars: Recipe Substitutions and Cooking Tips
The goal is to make this homemade granola bars recipe work for YOU and your family’s needs! As always, if you try out this recipe (with or without substitutions!) we’d love to hear how it goes!
- Gluten-Free – Rolled oats are naturally gluten-free, however, they may come in contact with gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, or rye thus becoming contaminated with gluten. Make sure to use certified gluten-free oats if your gluten-free granola bars are intended for someone with celiac disease
- Nut-Free – Swap out the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter, tahini, or pumpkin seed butter
- Dairy-Free – Use dairy-free mini chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life brand
- Egg-Free and Vegan – Substitute 2 “flax eggs”. To make enough flax egg mixture for this recipe, mix 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (or flaxseed meal) with 5 tablespoons water. Let set for 5-10 minutes before adding to the recipe
- High-Protein Granola Bars – Feel free to add in your favorite protein powder! Simply substitute 1/2 cup of protein powder for 1/2 cup of oats. See our posts on our top recommended Whey Protein Powders and Plant-Based Protein Powders. You could also mix in unflavored collagen peptides for a protein addition that will give your hair, skin, and nails a health boost.
Our Go-To for Healthy Ingredients
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Healthy Granola Bar Variations:
We made this gluten-free granola bars recipe pretty lean with only a few ingredients, but by all means, feel free to customize the bars and make them your own by adding a few extra ingredients. Simply take a quick scan of what’s floating around in your pantry and get creative with what you have on hand.
Some of our favorite additions include:
- Dried Fruit (try dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, or raisins)
- Chopped Dates
- Coconut Flakes
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Chopped candy bar
- Sprinkle of sea salt
- Dash of almond or vanilla extract
- Nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
- Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, etc.)
How to Store Homemade Granola Bars
We almost always include some sort of energy bite or bar recipe when we’re prepping meals for the week. They’re easy, on-the-go fuel that the whole family will eat!
To make them ahead, simply prepare the recipe as written. Once your gluten-free granola bars have been cooled and cut, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days. But our guess is they won’t last that long!
Peanut Butter Granola Bars are freezer-friendly, too!
We also like to stock our freezers with homemade granola bars and bites so that we always have something on backup during those weeks when a meal prep doesn’t happen.
To freeze homemade granola bars:
- Prepare the recipe as directed
- Once the bars have been cooled and cut, transfer them to an airtight, freezer-friendly container or bag, separating each layer with parchment paper.
- Label freezer bag with the date, and store for up to 3 months in the freezer.
- When ready to enjoy, let thaw on the counter or pop in the microwave for a minute or two until warm.
Are Granola Bars Healthy?
You might be surprised to learn that not all granola bars are healthy options. When you inspect the ingredients in many store-bought granola bars (and some homemade granola bars), it actually resembles more of a candy bar than a healthy snack bar. These quick and easy granola bars are loaded with nutrition powerhouse ingredients, making them a perfect healthy snack or on-the-go breakfast. Note: if you are eating these for a quick and healthy breakfast bar, pair one of these peanut butter granola bars with a hard-cooked egg, yogurt, or handful of nuts or seeds so you’ll get enough protein and calories to start your day right and power through.
Nutrition in Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars
When you keep this Healthy Granola Bars on hand, you’ll always have a good-for-you option within reach. Here are some stand-out ingredients in this healthy snack bar recipe:
- oats: the oats contain a great soluble fiber known as beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce LDL and total cholesterol, keep your gut microbiome healthy, and help balance blood sugar
- peanut butter: a great choice that supplies healthy monounsaturated fat, B vitamins, magnesium, and protein
- eggs: this healthy powerhouse ingredient gives you high-quality protein, healthy fats, iron, and two eye-health ingredients, lutein and zeaxanthin
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (use verified gluten-free, if needed)
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (tip: use a nut butter with a drizzly consistency to avoid bar becoming dry, substitute nut or seed butter for a peanut-free version)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup (you can substitute honey)
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- 2 whole eggs (or use flax egg for vegan-friendly*)
- Optional add ins: pinch or two of salt (omit if peanut butter is salted), walnuts, pecans, almond, chia seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or dried fruit
- Preheat oven to 350℉. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Line a 9×9 inch baking dish or pan with parchment paper.Transfer mixture to the prepared dish or pan. Very firmly press the mixture into pan in an even layer. If desired, sprinkle additional chocolate chips over top, pressing them into the mixture.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until center is baked through and edges are just starting to brown. Start checking at 14 minutes as all ovens are different. Remove from the oven and place pan on a cooling rack.
- Let the bars cool completely (this is important) before cutting into 16 squares or 12-14 bars with a sharp knife
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Tips to make this recipe:
- Line the pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
- Use a natural peanut butter with a drizzly consistency. If the peanut butter is more solid at room temperate, heat it slightly to achieve a thinner consistency.
- Press the granola bar mixture firmly into the pan.
- Bake until the edges are just start to turn brown and the center is slightly firm to touch.
- Allow the bars to cool COMPLETELY before cutting into bars. This is important!
- Use a sharp, non-serrated knife to cut the bars. Do not drag the knife when cutting, rather press the knife into the bars.
- Cut the bars into squares.
- Use honey instead of maple syrup as honey is stickier.
*Flax egg: To make enough to replace the 2 eggs in this recipe, mix 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (or flaxseed meal) with 5 tablespoons water. Let set for 5-10 minutes before adding to recipe.
**For a boost of protein, add 1/2 cup of your unflavored, vanilla, or chocolate protein powder and reduce oats by a 1/2 cup.
- Serving Size: 1 square
- Calories: 200
- Fat: 9 g
- (Sat Fat: 2 g)
- Sodium: 64 mg
- Carbohydrate: 25 g
- (Fiber: 3 g
- Sugar: 9 g)
- Protein: 6 g
- Cholesterol: 17 mg
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!