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!
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.
No-Bake Granola Bars Ingredients and Supplies
- Quick cooking oats
- Rice krispies cereal
- Shredded coconut
- Butter or coconut oil
- Honey or agave nectar
- Brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Vanilla extract
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Large mixing bowl
- Medium saucepan
- 9 x 13” pan
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
- Prepare the dry ingredients
Mix together the oats, rice krispies cereal, and coconut.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the chosen mix-ins
Use the ingredients that you like. Toasted nuts, dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, chopped pretzels would all be delicious.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut into individual bars
Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the pan into individual bars.
- 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.
No-Bake Granola Bars FAQs
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.
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.
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!Print
Chewy No Bake Granola Bars
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
- 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
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, cereal, and coconut.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Add 1/3 C of chopped raisins and 1/3 C of chopped pecans to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 minutes
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: American
- 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
Keywords: No bake granola bars
Carole, I must tell you that our family LOVES these granola bars. We are gluten free and dairy free so we can’t buy granola bars. I also like knowing what is in my granola bars. Every batch is different, i just throw in what I have in the cupboard. Sometimes I increase the coconut, add sunflower seeds, add chia, sometimes I use maple syrup instead of honey, they always taste fantastic. I have passed your recipe on to many friends who are now making these every week too. Thank you for the recipe.
Oh yea Sherry!! I am so glad you love them as much as I do 🙂 thanks for coming back and letting me know ❤️Carole
Oh my goodness! We made these last night using coconut oil instead of butter and I was a bit leery about the outcome. These are perfect! They are chewy and just all around amazing!
We added sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and non-dairy chocolate.
Thank you so much for sharing!!!
Yippee!!! So glad you loved them with the coconut oil. I was scared to make them without butter the first time as well 🙂 – Carole
I loved these. I left out the coconut because my family doesn’t like it, and instead used a cup or so of granola. Then drizzled melted chocolate over the top. It was very good!
Great variation Jennifer! Thanks for sharing – Carole
can these be made without rice krispies? if so how can I adapt or modify it? trying to leave it out the processed cereal part.. thanks.
Kim- yes, you could make them with all oats but the result will be denser and drier. Maybe instead of doing a straight substitution, reduce the amount of oats you are subbing in for the cereal by a little bit.
These are spectacular. My go-to recipe. I put little sprinkles in mine along with mini chocolate chips–coloured to match the season we’re in.
Becky- love the seasonal sprinkles idea!
Hey, I just made these and they are cooling in the fridge. They look yummy !! But I don’t think they are going to stay together. I just tried cutting into them because they have been cooling for 30 minutes and they starting crumbling. I’ve read the comments and so I should leave the boiling mixture to boil for an extra minute?
Samantha – I would be very cautious about boiling the mixture for another whole minute. You might end up with rock hard bars 🙂 First, be sure you are pushing down very firmly on them when you put them into the pan. If that doesn’t solve your problem, then try adding 20 seconds to your boiling time. -Carole
What can I replace the 1/4 cup of coconut with? I am allergic!!
Rose – you could just leave it out
Cooling my bars right now! Thanks, they smell delicious and I can’t wait to share them:)
So glad you gave them a try Megan! I make them at least once a week for my kids lunches -Carole
I made these to day and they are so yummy! Just a bit too sweet for my taste ; next time I will use unsweetened coconut.
How can I prevent the chocolate chips to melt?
My suggestion for the chocolate chips is to let the mixture cool longer before you add them. It is the hot sugar mixture that is melting them, but be careful you don’t wait too long or they won’t hold their shape -Carole
Stephanie Shelton says
Im going to be trying these this week…the only thing i can think to make them “better” for my sweet tooth is dipping them in chocolate for a thin layer on the bottom. I am not a fan of coconut but i read some of the comments.and you said you couldnt taste it and it gives it more the chewy texture sooo ill try it…lol im pretty excited 😉 thanks much.
Ooooo Stephanie….I think I might just need to try that idea of dipping the bottoms in chocolate. -Carole
Your recipe has burnt on me twice, help?
That is a bummer Lauren! I would reduce your heat level quite a bit and make sure you start timing from the moment the bubbles are around the sides of the pan. You might need to reduce your cooking time a bit as well.
These are fantastic. My grown son loves them, too. Maple syrup instead of the honey is so good. I would also use a heavy pan, like an Al Clad pan to help prevent the burning.
I made the raisin variety and they were delicious. However, I’m having trouble with parts of them “shattering” when I cut them. They seem to have hardened so much that when I try to cut the bars, the whole recipe begins to crackmore than I want, like glass.
Sarah – it sounds like you cooked them on too high of a temperature or for too long, or maybe even both 🙂 Try reducing your heat quite a bit after it comes to a boil. You want it to continue to bubble gently but if the heat is too high, the syrup becomes a hard candy instead of a soft, chewy syrup. Good luck! -Carole
I’ve made these several times now. The whole family loves them. I omit the coconut (highly allergic) and in one batch I replaced the honey with maple syrup and added extra maple extract, pecans and walnuts covered the tops with thin layer of chocolate for a breakfast bar, hubby loved these. My kids like both with the honey and with the syrup. Next batch we are going to try giving them a yogurt covering.
I really love those personalizations Tina!
I’ve been making these granola bars for about a year now – they are SO much better than the store-bought type. They turn out chewy and sweet every single time. My family loves them and I always end up making a double batch and freezing them after I’ve cut them into bars. I’ve been adding 1/4 cup chia seeds or hemp seeds to add some extra protein, and I’ll often add 2 tbsp of Sunbutter (instead of peanut butter) so that they are school lunch box friendly. Thanks so much for this life-changing recipe! I’m always raving about it to everyone who is looking for a good granola bar recipe!
Thanks so much Melissa! I love your additions as well. These are still a staple for our lunch boxes as well
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve been looking for a no-peanut butter recipe for my kids for school (though they love peanut butter). For pressing granola mixture into pans for bars, we use our meat tenderizer; it’s shaped like a knuckle punch band! It works great!
Thanks for the great variations!
Jenna, I love the idea of the of using a meat tenderizer and I’m glad you found a recipe to work for the lunch boxes!
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I tried another granola bar recipe but it didn’t turn out so well. This was perfect! I only had half of 1/4 cup of honey so i combined it with maple syrup. I also put cheerios,chopped almonds, raisins, and dried cranberries in mine! It came out perf! I’ve started to eat clean and needed a granola bar for my post workouts 🙂 This recipe is PERFECT <3
Awesome Laci! I make these every week for my kiddos
What size saucepan do you use? I used a small one and the ingredients never boiled to the top and I ended up burning my batch waiting for it to bubble to the top 🙁
Bummer Katie! I hope you give it a try again. If you look at the directions again, it doesn’t say to wait until it bubbles get to the top of the pan. It says to start the timing as soon as the bubbles on the surface of the liquid are all around the pan. Good luck
Oh my word these are amazing! Thanks so much, I’ve been looking for a great bar recipe for the kid’s lunchboxes for a while and none have come out as well as these! Do you know if I’d be able to substitute the sugar for sweetener or will that not work as the “glue” for holding them together?
I’m glad you enjoyed them Ashley! Unfortunately, that substitution won’t work.
I tried these with Butter as indicated in the recipe and they turned out very tasty, but fell apart. I tried to make it again, this time with coconut oil as a previous comment suggested it could substitute for butter. Big mistake! The coconut oil and sugar burnt and now my house smells terrible! I will try again with butter and maybe double the recommendation and see if it stays together better. Just a warning though….coconut oil didn’t work for me.
That is a bummer Brandy! Don’t give up on the coconut oil option if you really want the healthier version. Just lower your heat quite a bit. Each stove and pot can result in very different results so you have to keep an eye on the syrup mixture. To get your butter version to not fall apart, let the syrup boil about 30-45 seconds longer and be sure you press the mixture very firmly into the pan. Good luck!
Just made these with my son. He loved being able to pick what mix-ins to go in to the bars. We picked peanut butter chips comma pretzels, and peanut butter. They turned out great! What a fun way to cook with kids and make it your own.
I love that you and your son not only loved the recipe but had so much fun making them together!
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
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.
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.
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 says
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!
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 says
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❤
I’m so glad you loved it Carrie and you made it yours!
These are a weekly recipe now! Your recipe is amazing. Thank you and bless you & your family!
I’m so glad you love them Carrie!
Sarah R. says
My toddlers love these! I made them after searching for breakfast goods that they would actually eat. Thank you!
I’m so happy to hear it Sarah! Thanks for coming back and leaving your review 🙂