Homemade Granola Bars

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but there was a time in my life when the majority of my meals came in the form for a bar.  Prepackaged, processed food-like substances pressed into tight bars (usually dipped in some type of synthetic chocolate) were easy to eat on the go, cheap enough to buy in bulk and washed down just fine with a Diet Coke.  Now, much older and only slightly wiser, I’ve abandoned those chemical-laden, artificial-everything bars in favor of real foods, but I find myself longing for the convenience and simplicity of a good bar.  Only this time around, I’m a bit more picky.  I want a bar with ingredients I can pronounce.

baked granola bars

Oats, almond butter, raisins, apricots, walnuts, almonds.  Yup, I can pronounce all of those!  Saying that these granola bars are ridiculously easy to make it an understatement.  They are simple enough that you could mass produce them in your own kitchen.  No joke.  They are free of any processed sugar, endlessly adaptable and perfect little snacks to take on the go.  Say hello to the new generation of bars!

oats and nuts

Homemade granola bars have been making the rounds on the internet and everyone espouses about how simple they are to make.  It really is true.  It boils down to two basic steps: (1) heating the liquid ingredients (the almond or peanut butter, mashed bananas, vanilla, agave nectar or honey) over the stove and (2) stirring said liquid ingredients into the dry mixture (oats, nuts and dried fruit).  It doesn’t get much more basic than that.

batter in bowl

In this batch I sprinkled the oats and nuts with a bit of cinnamon but feel free to substitute your favorite spices.  I’ve seen recipes with ginger, nutmeg and even Asian five spice mix!  Toasting the granola brings out the flavor of the nuts and lets the spices meld, but if you are short on time you could certainly skip that step.  After baking, make sure that you let the batch get very cold before attempting to cut them.  I actually put mine in the freezer for a little while.  This will ensure that you get a nice clean cut on the edges of your bars.

unbaked granola bars in pan

Would you believe that I actually planned an entire hiking trip just as an excuse to make these granola bars?  Yes, it’s true.  For some reason, I couldn’t justify making all these granola bars unless it was tied to a strenuous outdoor activity.  Irrational?  Clearly.  The reality of my brain?  Completely.  I can confidently say that these bars taste just as good when consumed while sitting next to this secluded lake as they do during a crazed afternoon at the office.  No hiking trip required.

lake awosting


Homemade Granola Bars

Yield: 12 bars


2 cups rolled oats (use a gluten-free variety if making gluten-free bars)
3 large (approx 1 1/2 cups) very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond or peanut butter
1 cup nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sesame seeds, etc.)
1/2 cup dried fruit (apricots, raisins, dried blueberries, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt, a sprinkle to taste


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with two pieces of parchment paper, leave an inch overhang on each side as handles to remove the bars once they are cooked.
- Spread oats and nuts on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and salt. Stir to coat. Toast for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the bananas, nut butter, vanilla and agave nectar or honey. Stir for a few minutes until fully combined and warm.
- In a large bowl, combine the toasted oats/nuts with the warm banana mixture. Stir in the dried fruit. If you are using larger pieces of fruit, such as dried apricots, dice them into smaller pieces about the size of raisins so that all fruit is roughly the same size.
- Pour the mixture into prepared pan. Use a spatula to evenly spread and flatten the mixture.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Let cool. Once cool, place pan in refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes to let fully chill. Once chilled, remove bars from pan using the parchment handles. With a sharp knife, cut into 12 bars. Wrap individually and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

  Pin It

12 Responses to “Homemade Granola Bars”

  1. 1

    These look so good and good-for-you too!

  2. 2
    Fallon — July 1, 2011 8:02 am

    Those look AWESOME! I’ve stopped buying the store bought brands and I make my own now. Sadly I attempted to make protein bars yesterday and they are so nasty. Back to the kitchen I go.

  3. 3

    ha I posted granola bars today too. I’ve never tried the “heat over the stove” method…always bake mine. I can’t wait to give this a shot!

  4. 4
    franny — July 1, 2011 6:22 pm

    beautiful photo of the lake and greenery! these bars look quite delish too!

  5. 5
    pannybear — July 1, 2011 6:39 pm

    WOW! These look awesome…….I will actually make a batch really soon!!!!

  6. 6
    Heidi @ Food Doodles — July 5, 2011 4:33 pm

    Yum! Those look awesome. I love the ingredients list. A lot of granola bars aren’t this good for you even when they’re homemade. My son was just asking for granola bars so I may make these later this afternoon. I actually just scrolled through some of your most recent posts and there are so many things I want to try! Awesome!

  7. 7
    Melissa McKenzie — July 18, 2011 9:22 pm

    These granola bars are delicious. They are so quick and easy to make. I definitely recommend them and be making them again soon. Thanks for the great recipe.

  8. 8
    Amber — July 27, 2011 9:29 pm

    These are delicious! I can totally see planning a hiking trip around them :) . I added in some 70% chocolate chunks, just because I don’t think granola bars are really complete without a little chocolate! Thanks for the recipe!

    • kate replied: — July 27th, 2011 9:36 pm

      Amber — Ok, I’m obsessed with the idea of adding in some dark chocolate chunks. I was afraid that since the banana mixture is hot it would turn the chocolate chunks into a giant melted mess. How did yours work?

  9. 9
    Amber — July 28, 2011 9:55 pm

    Kate – That’s true, I was wondering about that too. I added in the chocolate at the very end, right before I put it in the pan. The chocolate melted a little, but the mixture had cooled enough that it wasn’t messy, just soft.

  10. 10
    Carol Larson — August 6, 2011 8:55 pm

    I subscribed to your email. However, how can I print the recipes on your website? I have tried but they will not print. I really would like to copy Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies.

  11. 11
    Beth — September 14, 2011 4:45 am


Leave a Comment