Homemade Granola Bars

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These easy Homemade Granola Bars are made with oats, nuts, honey, and a little bit of chocolate for good measure!

These chewy granola bar copycats are so much better than store-bought! They’re fresh and flavorful, sticky and chewy, and loaded with tasty, filling ingredients.

For naturally sweetened bars (with dates), check out this granola bars recipe. For a chocolate-loaded version, try these chocolate granola bars next!

Image of Homemade Granola Bars, cut and ready to eat.

Homemade Granola Bars

My kids inhale granola bars. We bring them everywhere — to the park, to the doctor’s, to the store….they can count on me always having a few in my purse or in the car ready to hand out.

Since we go through them so quickly, I’ve started making my own. I love knowing exactly what’s in them and honestly, I think they taste way better — and  the kids agree!

This recipe is basically a copycat version of a standard Chewy granola bar. They are indeed chewy, chocolate-y, and packed with good-for-you grains and other nutritious ingredients. 

They are also very simple to make. I typically whip up a batch every Monday morning (and again on Thursday, because like I said, my kids inhale them), and from start to finish it never takes more than 20-25 minutes. While there is some baking required, it’s only to toast the nuts and oats. Toasting these ingredients results in an irresistible roasted flavor that completely elevates the taste of these homemade gems.

Close-up image of the oats and nuts, ready to toast in the oven.

How to make granola bars from scratch

  1. Start by toasting the oats and nuts. Any nuts can be used in these bars; our favorites are cashews and almonds. Toasting them improves the overall flavor of the bars and keeps them from getting overly soft when the wet ingredients are added in.
  2. Prepare the syrup mixture. While the oats toast, add butter, honey, and brown sugar to a small pan and heat until smooth. 
  3. Combine mixtures. Once the nuts and oats are toasted and syrup is smooth, combine everything in a large bowl, along with toasted coconut flakes, salt, and vanilla extract.
  4. Finish the bars. Add the chocolate chips at the end, since they melt down a bit from residual heat, but that also help hold the bars together. Compress the bars firmly in the pan and chill until set up.

A commonly asked question is why granola bars fall apart; I have a few tips!

Why do my granola bars fall apart?

Homemade granola bars will fall apart for a few different reasons:

  1. There is not enough syrup mixture. Make sure to measure the honey to the top of the measuring cup and scoop every bit of it into the saucepan. Don’t reduce the brown sugar or butter amounts either; every bit of the syrup is needed to ensure the bars stay together.
  2. They aren’t compressed firmly into the pan. Press the granola mixture hard and firmly into the pan; use the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup to get leverage in pressing them down.
  3. The bars haven’t been chilled long enough. While hot or even warm, the bars will crumble into granola instead of a bar. Make sure the bars spend enough time in the fridge until they are completely firm.

Process shots of making Homemade Granola Bars: melt honey, butter, brown sugar and salt; heat and stir until smooth; combine oats, nuts and coconut; pour syrup mixture in; combine and mix in chocolate chips; press into pan; add chocolate chips on top.

Homemade Granola Bar variations

  • Nuts: Pretty much any coarsely chopped nuts will work in these bars. You can use a single variety of nuts, the two nuts as indicated in the recipe, or even use a combination of three types of nuts (as long as quantities remain consistent — 1/2 cup total of nuts in these bars).
    • If you aren’t a fan of cashews and almonds try one of these other ideas: pistachios, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, or hazelnuts
  • Chocolate chips: For healthier bars, dark chocolate chips can be used instead of the semi-sweet chocolate chips listed in the recipe. You can also replace the chocolate chips with a different mix in such as chopped dried cranberries, raisins, or extra coconut. Note that the chocolate does help to hold these together a bit better.
  • Butter: You can replace the butter with 1/4 cup coconut oil (measured in the hardened state). While this substitution works, the bars are slightly more prone to falling apart and do need to be stored in the fridge.
  • Add some spices: For a fall-flavored bar, try adding in some pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice; even some cinnamon would be nice! I’d recommend 1/2 to 1 full teaspoon.
  • Love salted chocolate treats? Add a small sprinkle of sea salt flakes to the top of individual bars. If adding salt on top, I’d recommend leaving it out of the base.

Recipe tips

  • Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal. These bars are near impossible to get out nicely in an unlined pan. Aluminum foil will also work in a pinch.
  • Coarsely chop the nuts. If the pieces of cashews and/or almonds are too large, they will cause these Homemade Granola Bars to fall apart easier; plus, a full almond or cashew can be overwhelming in a bite.
  • Adjust the salt. If you use salted nuts in the recipe, you may want to decrease the amount of added salt.
  • Use old-fashioned oats. Quick oats and steel-cut oats will both create the wrong texture and won’t work properly in these bars — it will end up more like granola than a granola bar.

Overhead shot of Homemade Granola Bars, with a hand reaching to take one.

Homemade Granola Bar storage

I wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and then keep the wrapped bars in a larger container or zipper top plastic bag in the fridge — perfect for on the go! We do prefer these bars straight out of the fridge!

These bars will stay fresh for a week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftover bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. More info on freezing bars here.

More healthy snacks

QUICK TIP

Take your time pressing this homemade granola bar mixture into the pan; the harder and firmer you press down, the less the bars will fall apart.

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Homemade Granola Bars

5 from 5 votes
These easy Homemade Granola Bars are made with oats, nuts, honey, and a little bit of chocolate for good measure!
Print Recipe

Homemade Granola Bars

5 from 5 votes
These easy Homemade Granola Bars are made with oats, nuts, honey, and a little bit of chocolate for good measure!
Course Breakfast, Snack, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegetarian
Keyword homemade granola bars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 12 bars
Calories 212kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (238g) old fashioned oats (do not use quick or steel oats)
  • 1/4 cup (34g) whole cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (34g) whole almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (111g) honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (67g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (See Note 1)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (28g) toasted coconut flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup (82g) miniature chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat liner. Line a separate 8x8 inch pan (thicker bars) or 9x9 inch pan (thinner bars) with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal.
  • TOAST OATS AND NUTS: Add the oats to the sheet pan. Coarsely chop the cashews and almonds and add to the pan. Bake for 2-3 minutes, stir around, and bake for another 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove and allow to slightly cool.
  • SYRUP MIXTURE: Meanwhile, cut the butter into small cubes. Add the honey, butter, brown sugar, and salt to a mediu- sized saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is completely smooth and sugar is fully dissolved. Remove immediately from the heat (do not simmer or boil mixture).
  • BARS: In a large bowl, combine the toasted oat and nut mixture with the coconut flakes. Pour the syrup mixture over the bars and add in the vanilla extract. Stir well, until all the oats and nuts are coated in the syrup mixture. Let cool for a few minutes and then add in 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips. They will get a little melty and that's intentional to hold the bars together well.
  • CHILL: Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and use a silicone spatula to compress the bars. Take your time and press them very firmly (this is important to avoid crumbling later on). Once the mixture is evenly pressed down, add the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips and press those gently to adhere to the top of the bars. Cover the pan and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 3 before cutting into bars.
  • CUT BARS: Using the parchment paper overhang, pull the bars out of the pan and use a sharp knife to cut into 12 evenly sized bars.
  • STORAGE: Store the bars in an airtight container. Refrigerate for firmer bars and leave at room temperature for softer bars (we love these bars straight out of the fridge!). Granola bars are best enjoyed within 7 days. Freeze leftover bars for up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: If you use salted nuts in this recipe, you may want to decrease the amount of added salt.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 12bars | Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.6g | Protein: 3.5g | Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 10.2mg | Sodium: 2.6mg | Fiber: 2.7g | Sugar: 19.1g

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I am almost in tears wishing I could eat the ingredients in these bars because they look out of this WORLD!!!

  2. 5 stars
    I LOVE the flavor and consistency of these bars! They are SO yummy and you wouldn’t think they are healthier 🙂 Is it normal for bars to come out sticky after being in fridge? They taste amazing, but are pretty sticky and messy when eaten. Thanks Chelsea!

    1. Yay!! What a great thing to hear; I’m so happy these were a hit and thank you for the comment Ashley!

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