Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars

(4 votes)
178 Comments
8 minutes
December 19, 2022
Carole JonesJump to Recipe

No-Bake Granola Bars are always a big hit with my kids as an after-school snack or in their school lunchbox! These homemade granola bars are so much better than the ones in the box and they are much healthier as well!  Each granola bar turns out soft and chewy every time and the recipe includes five different flavor options so you can make them exactly how you want. Go grab the ingredients from your pantry and let’s get cooking!

Chewy No Bake Granola Bars

As a momma to six kiddos, I realize summertime is a delicate balancing act that can easily come crashing down around you if you lack any of the following necessities:

  • Food…..and mountains of it! — Not only are you feeding your own family but also the endless supply of friends and neighbors who know you keep mountains of food at your house.
  • Entertainment — This comes in so many different forms depending on a child’s age and interests, but it all boils down to one critical point:  if your kids get bored, they come and find YOU!!!
  • Work — Everyone is home 24/7 which means everything is a mess 24/7, unless everyone steps up to do their part to survive.
  • Time — Some days may only be 15 minutes, while others will be a whole afternoon, but those moments of time you spend together as a family matter. They are what your kids will remember when they reminisce about their summers at home.

Why I Love No-Bake Granola Bars

Last week, as I battled to keep up with Necessity #1, my kids were begging me to whip up their favorite Chewy Granola Bars. However, it was hot outside and there was no way I was turning on the oven. You see, I live in a beautiful 120-year-old home here in Minnesota but it loses a bit of its “charm” every summer due to the lack of central air. We have window units but they are so hideously loud and ugly that we wait as long as possible to install them.


Because my home lacks A/C,  my recipe brain began churning and I played with my original granola bars recipe to create a no-bake version. It was a great success!  And as a result, those monstrous window A/C units get to stay in the attic for a few more weeks.

The kids and I had so much fun creating all the different variations of this no-bake granola bars recipe. I made one double batch of the base and we used these five different mix-ins to create all our favorite flavors. Actually, I created SIX varieties, because my oldest son only likes plain granola bars. Have fun with this base recipe and mix in all the great stuff your family loves!  I’m sure you can come up with amazing variations for these no-bake granola bars that will make mine seems as boring as my son’s plain ones.

What Are No-Bake Granola Bars?

No-bake granola bars are a type of snack or dessert that is made by combining oats, rice krispies, and other ingredients with a binding syrup that is cooked on the stovetop. The mixture is then pressed into a pan and allowed it to set in the refrigerator or freezer. No-bake granola bars do not require baking, so they are a quick and easy snack to make. They can be personalized by adding nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, or other mix-ins. No-bake granola bars can be a healthy and convenient snack for the whole family.

Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars

No-Bake Granola Bars Ingredients and Supplies

How to Make No-Bake Granola Bars

If you can mix a few ingredients together and bring a mixture to a boil on the stove, you can make these homemade granola bars. Simple is the name of the game with this recipe.

Time needed: 15 minutes

How to Make No-Bake Granola Bars

  1. Prepare the dry ingredients

    Mix together the oats, rice krispies cereal, and coconut. 

  2. Make the syrup

    Combine the butter, honey or agave, and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for 90 seconds. Add the vanilla extract.

  3. Combine the syrup with the dry ingredients

    Be sure the dry ingredients get completely coated in the syrup and work quickly while the mixture is still warm.

  4. Add the chosen mix-ins

    Use the ingredients that you like. Toasted nuts, dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, chopped pretzels would all be delicious.

  5. Press the mixture into a greased pan

    This needs to be done very firmly or the bars might fall apart. Go over them multiple times, pressing down all over.

  6. Cool the bars

    Placing them in the refrigerator until the granola bars are set up and makes sure they are firm before cutting them into individual bars.

  7. Cut into individual bars

    Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the pan into individual bars.

  8. Store them in the pantry or refrigerator

    Wrap them individually in plastic wrap, or store them together in an airtight container. They are safe to keep in the pantry, but I like to keep them in the fridge to make them last longer.

chewy no bake granola bars
Chewy No Bake Granola Bars

No-Bake Granola Bars FAQs

What helps granola bars stick together?

There are three secrets to making homemade granola bars stick together. First is the syrup used as the binder. It has to be cooked to the right temperature or the ingredients will only fall apart. Second, the bars have to be pressed together firmly when they go into the pan. Don’t be shy. Press down all over the pan multiple times and smash it down. And lastly, the granola bars need to cool completely before cutting them into individual bars. That syrup has to be cool to hold all the ingredients together.

Are granola bars actually good for you?

Yes, they certainly can be! Their main ingredient are whole grain oats, and if you add some toasted nuts and dried fruit, they are a wonderful healthy snack. Now, that is not to say that all granola bars are good for you. When you start adding chocolate and other candy-type ingredients, they can quickly become more of a candy bar instead of a granola bar.

Can I make no-bake granola bars with coconut oil instead of butter?

Yes, I often make that substitution but do not use a straight 1:1 ratio. The recipe calls for ¼ cup of butter. If you are going to use coconut oil, reduce that amount to 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon. If you use the full ¼ cup of coconut oil, the no-bake granola bars will turn out too oily. 

Can I use agave nectar instead of honey?

Not only can you use agave nectar for the honey, I actually prefer this recipe made with agave. The honey is delicious, but it has a strong flavor that can overpower the other ingredients so that is why I like using agave nectar instead. It is a straight 1:1 substitution for this recipe. 

homemade granola bar syrup

Why do I have to use quick oats instead of rolled oats?

It is mainly because any time I made this recipe with old-fashioned rolled oats, the bars fell apart too easily. The smaller size of quick oats makes for stronger, more stable no-bake granola bars. If all you have are old-fashioned oats, just pulse them a few times in the food processor and you are good to go!

How to store no-bake granola bars

After the bars are cooled and cut into individual servings, store them in a quality airtight container, or wrap them individually in plastic wrap. They are perfectly safe to keep in the pantry but I do like to store them in the refrigerator so they last longer. I’ve also stored them successfully in the freezer but be sure to wrap them individually if you choose this storage option.

Healthy No-Bake Granola Bars Recipe Variation

When I first published this recipe back in 2013, I received so many requests to revamp the recipe to make it a bit healthier using coconut oil and agave nectar in place of the butter and honey. It took me a few test batches to get the recipe down but here are the changes to make for the healthy no-bake granola bars varation:

  • Use coconut oil and reduce the amount down to 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon. 
  • Use agave nectar in place of the honey with a straight 1:1 substitution.
  • Reducing the boiling time of the syrup to 90 seconds. If you go longer than that, it will get too hard. 
  • Skip the chocolate chips or mini M&M’s and instead go for toasted nuts and dried fruits as the mix-ins.

Looking For More No-Bake Recipes?

If these no-bake granola bars were just what you were looking for, be sure to check out these other delicious recipes. Go grab them now before you forget!

Craving more than no-bake recipes? Subscribe to My Kitchen Escapades to get new recipes delivered straight to your inbox! You can also stay in touch on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest,  and YouTube for all the latest updates!

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chewy no bake granola bars

Chewy No Bake Granola Bars

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.8 from 4 reviews

This recipe for chewy no bake granola bars is the best!  Easy and perfect for school lunch.  Pick your favorite mix ins.

  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 15 bars 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats (or pulse whole oats in a food processor a bit)
  • 1 C rice crispy cereal
  • 1/4 C shredded coconut
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1/4 C honey or agave
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, cereal, and coconut.
  2. Set a small saucepan over medium-high heat and melt the butter.  Add the honey, brown sugar, and salt.  Stir together then leave it alone as it comes to a boil.  Once the boil has reached all the way around the edges of the pan, begin timing.  Allow this mixture to boil for 2 minutes and 15 seconds.  During this time, you may need to turn the heat down a bit so it doesn’t overflow, but be sure it keeps boiling.  If you have a candy thermometer, you want to bring the mixture to 235 degrees.
  3. Add the vanilla then pour the mixture over the oats, using a rubber spatula to get all the sugar mixture out of the pan.  Mix the ingredients together until the oats are completely coated.
  4. Add in your desired mix-in then press very firmly into a lightly greased 9×13″ pan.  If you like your bars thicker, you can use a smaller pan or double the recipe and use the same 9×13 pan.  If you do not press firmly enough, the bars will fall apart when you eat them.  Place them in the fridge for 20 minutes then cut them to size.

Notes

Healthier Recipe Variation

Eliminate the butter and use 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Substitute agave nectar for the honey. When boiling this mixture, reduce the time to 90 seconds.

Chocolate Chip
Add 1/2 C of mini chocolate chips to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it cool just a bit or you will end up with melted chips.  Sprinkle on a few extra chips over the top after they are pressed into the pan.

White Chocolate Cranberry
Add 1/3 C of white chocolate chips and 1/3 C of Craisins to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it to cool just a bit first or you will end up with melted chips.

Candy Bar
Add 1/3 C of Heath bar pieces, 1/3 C of mini M&M’s and 1/3 C of chopped pretzels to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.

Peanut Butter
Add 2 Tb of peanut butter to the finished sugar mixture before pouring it over the oats.  Once mixed with the oats, add 1/2 C peanut butter chips before pressing them into the pan.

Raisin Nut
Add 1/3 C of chopped raisins and 1/3 C of chopped pecans to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.

  • Author: Carole Jones
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 192
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 80 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 8 mg

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

178 comments

Kim
6 years ago

how do you store yours? I find when i take the chocolate chip ones out of the frig, the chocolate begins to soften and get sticky.. Thanks for any advice. Kim

Carole
6 years ago

Hi Kim! I keep mine in an airtight container and haven’t had trouble with them sticking. Maybe next time add 30 seconds to your boil time of the sugar mixture and see if that helps.

JenP
5 years ago

It’s a great recipe, but could be improved by giving instructions to make it using a candy thermometer. That would give much more consistent results, especially as stoves vary and altitude makes a difference.
Essentially, all chewy granola bars are a cousin of rice krispie treats, and rice krispie treats are made from marshmallows, and the key to marshmallows is cooking a sugar syrup to the soft-ball stage. (Melting store-bought marshmallows is just a short-cut or a workaround, as the cooking to a precise temperature part was already done at the factory.)So, for chewy granola bars, you want to cook sugar syrup to the soft-ball stage. That’s a very precise measurement, and it won’t reliably work hen you give instructions in terms of time at the simmer or time at a certain flame height or what-not. Put the instructions in terms of a candy thermometer, and you won’t get all the omments complaining that the bars came out too hard likenut ttle, or that they never set up and stayed gooey.

Carole
5 years ago

Thanks Jen for your feedback! I agree that a specific temperature would be perfect, but I also know my audience and know that most of them will not have a candy thermometer in their kitchen equipment. I try to write my recipes in a way that works for everyone. For anyone who does have a candy thermometer, soft ball stage is at 235 degrees.

Golden Dina
4 years ago

One important note: it is very important to press these into the baking dish very well- as much as you can. I used my Lodge Cast-Iron Grill Press to make sure it was sufficiently pressed, but you can also just use your hands. Just cover the top of the granola bars with parchment paper and press away! A no-bake, easy chewy granola bar recipe that comes out perfect every time with coconut oil and no refined sugar! Add any nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and spices you want. A perfect back to school snack!

Carole
4 years ago

Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your review! yes, they definitely need to be pressed well as the recipe states. Glad you enjoyed them.

CARRIE Coleman
3 years ago

This was the best-quickest and by far the tastiest!! Thank you for sharing! I tweaked my recipe-subbed honey nut cheerios for krispies, subbed sunflower kernels for coconut, added 2 Tbsp of flax seed and used the agave option. A-MAZE-ING!! Thank you again-recipe for life❤

Carole
3 years ago

I’m so glad you loved it Carrie and you made it yours!

Carrie
3 years ago

These are a weekly recipe now! Your recipe is amazing. Thank you and bless you & your family!

Carole
3 years ago

I’m so glad you love them Carrie!

Sarah R.
2 years ago

My toddlers love these! I made them after searching for breakfast goods that they would actually eat. Thank you!

Carole
2 years ago

I’m so happy to hear it Sarah! Thanks for coming back and leaving your review 🙂

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