An easy, homemade granola bar recipe that fills your craving of chocolate, and makes a ton! It’s the perfect snack to tuck into school lunches, or grab for on the go snacks. These chewy granola bars are nut free and allergy friendly packed with good stuff like honey, oats, coconut oil, hemp seeds and flax seeds. There’s also a gluten free and vegan option to include all!
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If you’re new here, you might not know that my son, at one years old, only had ten safe foods thanks to a rare allergic condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Thankfully, ever since then he’s been constantly gaining foods back into his diet.
One food that I have PRAYED he’d get back was oats. Seriously, for years I’ve longed for the day we could have oats back in our diet. Oats are such a fabulous grain–they’re filling, delicious and even have some protein in and of themselves.
This August he finally outgrew his oat allergy and so we’ve been celebrating by eating every type of oat recipe you can imagine! I’ll slowly be adding more oat recipes to my site as we find things we love. One we love is this gluten free oat muffin recipe that is made with bananas, chocolate chips and can even be made in the blender!
A quintessential oat recipe is granola bars. So, of course a granola bar recipe was top of our list to try. But, not just ANY granola bar recipe. I wanted a granola bar recipe that was chewy, no bake and of course had chocolate. And, I’m not just talking having a few gratuitous sprinklings of chocolate chips. I wanted double chocolate. I wanted everything coated in cocoa WITH chocolate chips. Because of our allergies it needed to be a nut free granola bar as well, but as you’ll see below, this recipe is very adaptable.
How do you make granola bars no bake?
Because we love to eat granola bars year round, I don’t want to have to heat up my kitchen, or even wait for my oven to preheat. The way you can get around baking granola bars is by is melting all of the wet ingredients together on the stove top. This not only dissolves the sugar, but helps form a cohesive coating that will help the granola stick together without having to bake it.
How do you make easy gluten free granola bars?
Granola bars are in and of themselves quite a simple recipe, especially if you make them no bake like below.
- Simply stir together the dry ingredients
- Melt the liquid ingredients on the stove top
- Then stir everything together.
- Pour the mixture into a greased cookie sheet, cool and then cut and enjoy!
If you’re needing them to be gluten-free chewy granola bars, then simply swap out your oats for certified gluten free oats and make sure your rice cereal is gluten free (like Malt-o-Meal).
Is this a healthy granola bar recipe?
I think so. It uses minimum processed sugar and mostly relies on honey for the sweetener. Add to the fact you have peanut butter or seed butter for protein, hemp seeds for essential fatty acids, ground flax seeds for antioxidants, and oats for fiber, it ticks many of the boxes for a better-for-you-snack. If you want less processed sugar, you can play around with the amount adjusting the brown sugar and honey ratios to your taste preference. Overall, I don’t feel bad when me or my kids chow down on these chewy granola bars because I know exactly what went into them and with things like hemp seeds and flax seeds that we don’t eat often, I know it’s adding variety to our diet.
Is this a vegan granola bar recipe?
Yes! With these easy steps:
- Swap the honey for the same amount of maple syrup
- Make sure you use vegan/dairy free chocolate chips
Boom! Now these granola bars will be vegan granola bars!
Can I interchange peanut butter for a seed butter in this granola bar recipe?
Yes. In fact, we only use SunButter in our granola bars due to peanut and tree nut allergies. A benefit to making these a nut free granola bar is that if you’re sending them in school lunches, you won’t have to worry if any of their friends have nut allergies or if your school is a nut free school. I can find SunButter at Wal-Mart, Smith’s, and Amazon, so it’s quite easy to find. I like to use the natural so that it’s not quite as thick and easier to stir.
If you can do Almond, that would also be delicious. Since this recipe is somewhat forgiving, if you find your specific nut or seed butter to be runnier or thicker than the traditional peanut butter, you can try adding a little more or less to make sure your coating is thick yet stirrable.
Are rice krispies gluten free?
No, Kellogg’s brand rice krispies are not gluten free because they have malt which contains gluten. I still call them “rice krispies” in the recipe for those that don’t need it to be gluten free, and because that is the general term by which people know this type of cereal by. I purchase the Malt-O-Meal Crispy Rice which is gluten free. It’s also perfect in my allergy-friendly rice krispies!
Can this granola bar recipe be allergy friendly and top 8 free too?
Yes! These chewy granola bars will be allergy friendly if you use these ingredient substitutions:
- certified gluten free oats
- a gluten free version of rice krispies (like Malt-O-Meal)
- allergy-friendly chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life)
These easy swaps will help your your granola bars be safe for those who suffer from food allergies like our family!
What type of oats are best for granola bar recipes?
There are usually two main types of oats: quick oats and old fashioned rolled oats. I find that old fashioned rolled oats are bigger, have a better mouth feel and are sturdier, so I use those in my granola bar recipe. If you need this recipe to be a gluten free granola bar, be sure to use certified gluten free oats. If I’m just blending oats to make my own oat flour, like in these Gluten & Dairy Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, then I’ll use either type of oats since they’re just being ground down in my blender.
Are oats naturally gluten free?
This is a tricky question, because technically…yes. But, a lot of oats are processed where wheat is processed. For those that need strict avoidance, where they cannot even come into contact with wheat or gluten, like Celiac Disease, or a wheat allergy, you need to have certified gluten free oats to ensure that the company has strict cross contamination and cleaning protocols to keep the oats gluten free. Use whatever works for your diet.
Are chocolate chips dairy free?
Regular, run-of-the-mill chocolate chips that you’ll find at regular grocers are not dairy free, and therefore also not vegan. To find dairy-free chocolate chips, you have to buy a specialty brand. We love Enjoy Life. They are starting to become more available, like at Wal-Mart, but if not there’s always Amazon.
How do you store homemade granola bars?
Thankfully, this recipe stays quite chewy even if left out, so sometimes for the first day I make them, I’ll just keep the entire pan lightly covered with wax paper or plastic wrap. Then, after we’ve eaten a few, I’ll portion out each individual bar into a plastic baggie, or wrap each one individually with plastic wrap. That way they’re portable and ready to be dropped into school lunches or grabbed on the way out. I’ve never frozen these, as we gobble them up too quickly, but I would think if you needed to, you could freeze individually wrapped bars, and then allow them to thaw at room temperature if you wanted to make them really far ahead of time.
What ingredients do you need for these allergy friendly granola bars?
- Brown sugar
- Honey (or maple syrup for a vegan version)
- Coconut oil
- SunButter/Peanut Butter/or your favorite nut butter
- Crispy rice cereal (gluten free if needed)
- Oats (gluten free if needed)
- Ground flax seeds
- Hemp hearts
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Chocolate chips, vegan if needed
If You’re looking for some more homemade healthy snacks, try these:
- Nut free trail mix
- Allergy friendly snacks (a list of all store bought items!)
- Vegan muffins (can be gluten free too!)
- Gluten free school lunch ideas (plus free of other allergens!)
- 4 cups rice krispie cereal (for gluten free version use Malt-O-Meal brand)
- 2 and 2/3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use gluten free if needed)
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 and 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup for vegan version)
- 1 cup SunButter/peanut butter/nut butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Chocolate chips to taste (vegan chocolate chips if needed)
- Grease a cookie sheet pan (also known as a half sheet pan, 18x13 inches) with a non-stick spray (we use canola).
- In a large bowl, combine the rice krispies, oats, flax seeds, and hemp hearts and stir to combine and then set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the coconut oil, honey, SunButter, brown sugar, cocoa and salt. Frequently stir until everything is melted and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture will be thick. Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the melted mixture over the dry cereal mixture and stir immediately. Keep stirring until everything is covered and evenly distributed.
- Pour the combined mixture onto the greased cookie sheet. With greased hands, gently push the mixture until it's flat and even along the entirety of the pan.
- Next, take your desired amount of chocolate chips and spread it on the top of the granola bars.
- Measure out enough wax paper to cover the entire 13x9. Place that on top of the granola bars and then with another 13x9 or other large, flat pan, press down. This will embed the chocolate chips into the mixture.
- Allow the contents to completely cool at room temperature.
- Once cool, I make three cuts across the width and 9 cuts across the length to make 27 even bars.
- To store, either keep the wax paper or plastic wrap on the top of the entire pan, or separate into individual bars and either wrap them in plastic wrap or drop them into sealable plastic baggies. Bars keep up to one week.
See all of the questions above for FAQs--it is most likely answered in the post!
Adapted from the fabulous Clean Monday Meals' Granola Bars
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 27 bars Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 106mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 9gSugar: 9gProtein: 15g
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Hi! I’m Megan, a mom to four kids, two with multiple food allergies & one with EOE. I’m a published cookbook author that constantly tweaks recipes to make them allergy friendly–it’s an addiction. I share every recipe & tip with you, to help you eat like you did before food allergies & dietary restrictions. You can still be awesome, even with food allergies!