What is the go-to breakfast in your home? Eggs and toast? Biscuits and gravy? Yogurt parfait’s? When I have the time to sit down and eat, I’m a cereal girl. However, sometimes I have to grab something to eat on the go. For a quick breakfast on the fly, I want a granola bar! While there are a large variety of granola bar options you can buy from a grocery store, I believe that pretty much everything is better homemade. These homemade granola bars are no exception. They’re no-bake, so they won’t heat up your kitchen. You can cut them to the size you want, instead of being stuck with tiny bars out of a box. These bars are also easily altered to make them gluten free, nut free, or completely organic!
My homemade granola bars make a good snack too. The filling ingredients, like oats and peanut butter, will help keep you satisfied for longer than snacks like potato chips or crackers. If you need them individually wrapped, it’s simple to cut them to size and wrap them in a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper. I’ve made these bars, or the variations of that I list below, for many different occasions. I sent them to school for a class snack when my daughter was in preschool. I’ve made them for church bake sales. I have even made them for my husband to take on a work trip and share with his coworkers. They have always been a hit!
Now that you have read all my hype about these homemade granola bars, you’re probably saying to me, “Jennifer, how do we make them!?” Here’s the printable recipe you’re looking for!
Homemade No-Bake Granola Bars
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Honey
- 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 3 Cups Quick cooking Oats
- 2 Cups Crisp Rice Cereal
- 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1/2 Cup Almond Slices or Slivers
Line a 9x13 cake pan with parchment paper, or with foil that's lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, rice cereal, cranberries and almonds. Set aside.
In a large sauce pan melt the butter, brown sugar, honey and peanut butter over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture starts to lightly boil and bubble.
While it's bubbling, stir constantly and cook for another 2 minutes. Then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour the hot mixture into the oat mixture and stir to evenly coat. Then pour into the prepared cake pan. While wearing oiled cooking gloves, or another sheet of parchment paper over the top, press the mixture into one solid piece that fills the entire pan.
Place the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to cool. You want them to be well set so they do not fall apart while you cut them. Once cool, use the ends of the parchment paper to remove the block from the pan. Then cut the block into bars using a sharp knife.
To store them, keep the bars in the refrigerator. I suggest keeping them in an airtight container, with layers of bars separated by parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking together. They will stay good for a week this way!
I typically cut the block into 16 bars, but you can cut them larger or smaller depending on your preferences. Larger ones may be more filling as a breakfast, while cutting them a bit smaller may be preferred for a snack sized bar.
Now, I know some people don’t like the cranberries or the almonds. My husband isn’t a fan of any type of nuts. So I’m going to include a few different ways I’ve come up with to make these homemade granola bars appeal to every palate.
Homemade Smore’s No-bake Granola Bars: Replace the cranberries and almonds with an equal amount of crushed gram crackers. Then press mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows into the top of the bars before chilling.
Extra Nutty Homemade Granola Bars: Replace the creamy peanut butter with crunchy peanut butter. Replace the cranberries with chopped pecans.
Chunky Monkey Bars: Replace the creamy peanut butter with crunchy peanut butter. Replace the cranberries with chopped dried bananas.
Sweet & Salty Cinnamon Raisin Bars: Add 2 tsp. cinnamon into the butter mixture. Replace the cranberries with raisins. Replace the almonds with chopped pretzels.
Fruity No-bake Bars: Replace almonds with chopped dried apricots, dried blueberries, or other dried fruit you prefer.
Another way to enjoy these bars is to add a topping, like a caramel or honey drizzle. You could even dip the entire bar in chocolate! If you choose to dip the bars, chill them on wax paper until the chocolate hardens. To make them nut free, simply omit or replace the almonds, and use a sunflower butter or something similar instead of the peanut butter.
Is this the kind of grab-and-go breakfast or snack you’ve been looking for? Do you have another idea of how to alter it for your tastes? Share with me in the comments!