Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

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These gluten-free Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are ultra chewy and loaded with flavor. They’re packed with oats, nut butter, and dark chocolate and they’re made with better-for-you, wholesome ingredients — perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast on a busy morning.

Image of Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, cut into squares and ready to be eaten.

A delicious on-the-go breakfast

We love Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars–they’re our favorite grab-and-go breakfast or snacks. They’ve got great ingredients, and are filling, tender, soft, and ultra chewy. These bars taste like a mash up of soft granola bars and a bowl of oatmeal; you’ll get wholesome-tasting, surprisingly-filling oat-filled bars.

Thanks to the nut butter and plenty of oats, these bars have substantial protein and fiber,  and that helps your body feel fuller for longer.

How to make Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

These bars are one of the easiest recipes ever. They’re made in one bowl and can be whipped together in minutes. 

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the dark chocolate) in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Coarsely chop the dark chocolate (we want some in every bite!) and add to the batter.
  3. Mix the batter and then transfer to a lined 8×8-inch pan.
  4. Bake until lightly browned at the edges and firm in the center.

Process shots-- images of all the ingredients going in a bowl; being mixed together; and being transferred to a pan to bake.

Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars ingredients

  • Old fashioned oats: The oats make up the base of these bars and give them that soft chewiness. Make sure to use old fashioned oats — quick oats are too processed and will make the bars overly dry; steel cut oats won’t soften enough.
  • Oat flour: No need to buy specialty flour. Oat flour can be made with quick or old fashioned oats; read more on this below.
  • Cinnamon: This spice adds a really nice complementary flavor to the oats, but it’s completely optional. If you aren’t a cinnamon fan, leave it out!
  • Salt: Salt helps balance all the flavors in these Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars.
  • Peanut butter: Peanut butter contributes structure and stability (as well as protein) to these bars. 
  • Coconut oil: The coconut oil gives the bars a nice flavor and moistness.
  • Honey: We sweeten these bars primarily with honey, and natural sweeteners are always a great choice.
  • Light brown sugar: We’ve also got a little brown sugar in there; we found the bars needed a little more sweetness, and were too wet with 100% honey, so we added 1/3 cup. 
  • Vanilla extract: This ingredient contributes to a nice subtle flavor.
  • Egg + egg yolk: The egg provides stability to the batter and adds flavor and protein to these bars. The egg yolk adds additional structure and flavor. Use the leftover egg whites in this egg wrap!
  • Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate has antioxidants in it among other benefits. If you aren’t a fan of dark chocolate, you can use milk or semi-sweet chocolate, but it will make the bars a bit less healthy. Alternatively, chopped nuts can be added instead (or in addition).

How to make oat “flour”

If you have quick oats or old fashioned oats, you can have oat flour ready for these Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars in flash.

  1. Place the oats (old fashioned or quick oats) into the bowl of a food processor or a small blender jar.
  2. Pulse the oats until ground into a powder-like consistency that resembles regular flour.
  3. Stir the oats around if needed, to be sure all the oats are finely ground. 
  4. Make sure to measure your oat flour after it’s been turned to flour.

Up-close image of the Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars with one bar tilted up to show the inside.

Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars tips

  • Line the pan with parchment paper and leave an overhang for easy removal.  Sticky batter like this will be nearly impossible to remove without the parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, I recommend thoroughly greasing the pan.
  • Make sure the bars are gluten free. If you are gluten intolerant, make sure to check all the individual products to be sure they are indeed gluten free. Pay particular attention to see that they are processed in a facility that doesn’t have gluten; this will be indicated on the label. While these bars are naturally gluten free, many products aren’t processed in a strictly gluten-free environment.
  • Let the bars cool. You may be tempted to eat one straight out of the oven (and hey — you do you!), but these bars are crumbly and a bit gooey while hot. They thicken up a lot as they cool and become easier to cut and serve.
  • Don’t over-bake. Remove the bars when they are slightly browned on the edges;  the middle and top of the bars may look a bit wet or gooey, but as long as the bars don’t jiggle when slightly shaken in the pan, they’re done. If the bars are over-baked they won’t be very soft or chewy and will also lack in flavor.

Storage

Store Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars in an airtight container at room temperature, and are best enjoyed within 2-3 days of making. Feel free to warm individual bars for 5-10 seconds in the microwave if you like them warm.

To freeze: Wrap individual bars tightly in plastic wrap and then place in an airtight freezer-safe container. Thaw individual bars at room temperature, and if desired, warm through for 5-10 seconds in the microwave.

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Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

4.22 from 14 votes
These gluten-free (See Note 1) Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are ultra chewy and loaded with flavor. They’re packed with oats, nut butter, and dark chocolate, and are made with better-for-you, wholesome ingredients. They're perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast on a busy morning.
Print Recipe

Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

4.22 from 14 votes
These gluten-free (See Note 1) Soft-Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are ultra chewy and loaded with flavor. They’re packed with oats, nut butter, and dark chocolate, and are made with better-for-you, wholesome ingredients. They're perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast on a busy morning.
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Soft Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 bars
Calories 211kcal
Cost $5.64

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (93g) old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup (32g) oat flour (finely ground oats)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (80g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (48g) melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (74g) honey
  • 1/3 cup (63g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large full egg
  • 1 large egg yolk (save the whites for another recipe or discard them)
  • 1/2 cup (85g) dark chocolate chips, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang (These will be nearly impossible to get out otherwise).
  • OAT FLOUR: To make oat flour, place old fashioned or quick oats in a blender and pulse until they resemble flour. Measure after blending to make sure you have the right amount.
  • BARS: Combine the all ingredients except the dark chocolate chips in a large bowl and stir until smooth and well combined. Coarsely chop the dark chocolate chips and add to the batter. Stir to combine. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  • BAKE: Bake for 23-26 minutes or until set at the edges (it will look slightly wet in the center, but as long as it doesn't jiggle it's done. The bars will firm up as they cool; be careful to not over bake).
  • STORAGE: Store these bars in an airtight bag or container at room temperature. These bars are best enjoyed within 2-3 days of making.
  • FREEZE: Wrap individual bars tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight freezer-safe container. Thaw bars at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: These bars are naturally gluten free, but make sure all the products you use aren't processed in an environment with other gluten products. This will be indicated on the label.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 12bars | Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.1g | Protein: 4.1g | Fat: 10.8g | Cholesterol: 23.3mg | Sodium: 41.5mg | Fiber: 1.6g | Sugar: 16.6g

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94 Comments

  1. I was not deprived of peanut butter as a kid…yet I am still addicted. What’s my excuse? I’m ok with none!
    These bars look fab girl! My hubs LOVES the nature valley version so I love that I can make them and know what’s going in his body! Pinned 😀

  2. Love copycat versions of stuff like this!! So fun to try and recreate something you love! Right there with ya eating 2-3 spoonfuls a day…no shame at all. I don’t understand why some people skimp on it and feel bad for eating it! Looking forward to tomorrows post now 😉 Thanks for sharing, Chelsea. Have a wonderful Friday!

  3. These bars look fabulous — so soft and chewy-looking! I’m pretty sure my family would gobble these bars down in minutes if I made them for them. Which I totally plan to do. 😉 pinned.

  4. These look awesome! I bought some storebought oatmeal squares (of a brand that I will not disclose), and they were so bad that I kept them around only as emergency food supplies! These, I’m sure, are far superior, and I’m excited to make some as an easy breakfast-to-go option 🙂

  5. So, I saw these (Nature Valley) in the supermarket and didn’t pick them up because I said “I have to make Chelsea’s recipe” and I don’t want a million unnecessary preservatives. They look divine! This weekend for sure :).

  6. You has me! I really thought you were going to say their was peanut butter. :). I’m equally obsessed, so I wouldn’t complain! These look delicious! Amazing!

  7. Well, I can’t REALLY understand people who don’t like peanut butter…but I can understand cinnamon and brown sugar love because those are my next two favorites! These sound amazing!

  8. So happy I stumbled upon this recipe! I literally eat a Nature Valley Soft Baked Cinnamon Brown Sugar bar every morning! I’m sure yours are even better than those…a must try!

  9. Yum, I love this NV copycat version – I totally eat spoonfuls of PB everyday and could probably eat one of these bars everyday too – they look awesome! Pinning 🙂

  10. I’ve been eating the nature valley bars slathered with almond butter lately (amazing, and I’m sure just as good with peanut butter) and am looking for a healthier alternative that I can doctor up with some nut and flax seed. I think I found a winner! Thanks!

  11. I’m so excited by this find and am about to make them!
    I had a baby New Year’s Day and I pretty much lived off the nv bars for the first few weeks! They were yummy and easy while I was sleep deprived!
    Six months later I still love them and oats are good for breastfeeding so I have a valid excuse to eat them all myself!
    I don’t have parchment paper though….:(

  12. Yum! I just ate a Nature Valley soft baked oatmeal square and thought ..hmm, this is good, but I bet a home made one is better! So I’ll look forward to trying your recipe 🙂

    Monica.

  13. I just saw a commercial and googled this. Me and the kids will make them tomorrow! I dont have parchment paper though. If i made them in paper cupcake liners do you think they would be okay? I also have silicone liners. Would that be better?

    1. 4 stars
      I tried these right after having my son. I baked them in cupcake liners and froze them with the icing on top. I pulled one out in the morning and defrosted for 1 min. I have 2 toddlers and a newborn so these were great for a quick grab breakfast. They were yummy but i am a textural person. So next time i will use quick oats for the whole oats in the recipe and keep the ground oats old fashion. The icing is awesome and worth any additional calories! I plan to pipe it inside the bars next time and putting it on top. I ended up eating the extra with crackers. So yummy. I dont usually like raisins in baked goods but think it would be yummy in this. Thanks for the recipe! Trying to give 5 stars but the site will only let me give 4

      1. Love your ideas (especially raisins yum!) to change this in the future and so glad you liked the glaze! Thanks so much for your comment and review 🙂

  14. These look amazing, but when I was making them I totally left out the cinnamon because it wasn’t on the instructions 🙁

  15. This is awesome! I’ve been looking for peanut butter/nut free snacks like this for my son. He starts kindergarten in a few days, and his school is 100% nut free 🙁 Can’t wait to try these! But I don’t have oat flour….can I simply grind up more oats?!

  16. 4 stars
    Made these tonight! (Found you by googling “soft oatmeal bar”)
    LOVED the flavor of the bar. I think next time I will either put them in a bigger pan (maybe a 9×13) or cook them longer – they were a bit underdone (which I didn’t discover until they were very cool). Also, the icing was VERY gritty. I think next time I’ll just do a powdered sugar/milk glaze. But thanks for the recipe! I’ll tweak it to my liking by adding raisins/craisins/nuts next time. Mmm!

    1. SO glad to hear you liked the flavor!! And sorry to hear they were a bit underdone – ovens cook so differently! One thing you could try is sticking a toothpick in the center next time and if it comes out clean it’s done, if not leave it in for a little longer. But changing pan sizes sounds like a great plan too!! Yes, the icing is definitely very gritty because of all of the brown sugar 🙂 I was trying to mimic the nature valley ones which I think are pretty gritty too 🙂 Love your ideas for adding some different mix-ins – the crasins sound awesome! Thanks again for your comment and review 🙂

  17. can you give us the calorie information compared to the store bought ones?? i am sooooooooooo going to make these because i love the nature valley ones .. just wondering how they compare calorie wise ??? thanks .. can you email the info in case i don’t see it here?? thank you

  18. wow, i just found another site with the nutritional and calorie count of these, why is it so much higher than the nature valley ones.. they are 150 calories, and it says these are 305??? what is the difference and why so much higher in calories???

    1. So weird it looks like it’s been removed. It also appears that was a spam site so I wouldn’t trust what you read. I can get you an accurate nutrition label for this recipe tomorrow as I’m away from my computer today. Thanks!

  19. thank you very much .. i will be watching for it .. i didn’t believe them anyway .. that is quite a difference in calories …

  20. thank you very much … i will be watching for it .. i was very leary of the info on that site, that is why i brought it to your attention .. that was quite a huge difference in calories from the nature valley ones so was very skeptical ..

  21. 4 stars
    Made these the other day, they are delicious, I’m thinking of putting in some add-ins next time (maybe chocolate chips or raisins. My 16 month old even gave me a thumbs up 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. Thanks so much for the comment and so glad to hear you liked these! Love the idea of adding in chocolate chips or raisins!!

  22. 5 stars
    Hey Chelsea! Thanks for this recipe. I love it! I tried to make a higher protein version and I thought I’d share in case anyone else thought about making adjustments.

    I soaked the oats in a cup of milk for about 15 minutes while preparing everything else (I didn’t like the chewiness of the oats, though other people might prefer not to do this).
    I replaced a 1/4 cup of the wheat flour with vanilla soy protein powder.
    I used 1/4 cup + a tablespoon of brown sugar.
    I didn’t add the 1/2 cup of milk (because I’d use a cup in soaking)
    I added a quarter cup of applesauce.

    I also added a half cup each of walnuts and raisins (these reminded me up the raisin walnut clif bars so I thought I’d try it out).

    I am very happy with the end result! It’s cake-ier, more like baked oatmeal and not as sweet but I might actually prefer it! So thanks for the original recipe. It’s delish!

    1. 3 stars
      I just made these and they were a little too dry, even with some sultanas added. I did leave off the glaze (these are for car eating). Next time I’ll use quick oats and add maybe a quarter of a cup of apple sauce or half a stick of melted butter.

      1. Hmm these have never been dry for us, did you omit any of the ingredients or mis-measure? The applesauce or melted butter is a great idea though if needed! 🙂

  23. I love these bars so much! Would you be willing to recreate the nature valley soft bakes blueberry oatmeal squares?

    1. So glad to hear that! Thanks Jessica 🙂 I will start working on a copycat for the blueberry ones as I’ve received quite a few requests for it 🙂

  24. How long do these last when stored? I buy the nature valley for my son but he doesn’t eat them every day so I’m wondering how long these last until they expire

    1. They are best within 2-3 days stored in an airtight container. The rest you can tightly seal and freeze 🙂

    1. I haven’t tried that so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. You will, of course, have more batter and will likely need to cook it longer for it to be cooked all the way through.

  25. 5 stars
    Thank you! I made these tonight for my kiddo who, incidentally, is allergic to peanuts! She had seen the Nature’s Valley ones at the store and was sad that she couldn’t have them. These are great! Also, I subbed a banana for the egg and it worked perfectly!

  26. 5 stars
    Could you copycat the Banana & Dark Chcolate Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares? I loved those ones but simply don’t have the time to try to make a copycat recipe for them.

    1. Hi August! I have my editorial calendar pretty booked and planned with recipes throughout the rest of this year but I’ll definitely put that on the list and see when I can get around to working on a recipe for them 🙂

  27. 5 stars
    Absol love these and cannot wait to make more once I’ve finished them!! They’re a bit too sweet for me so yes I’m just gonna say it: I’ll probz take away the icing and cut down on the sugar a bit. Sorry if I offended anyone by this statement haha. They’re truly amazing though.

  28. 3 stars
    I don’t understand whatall the fuss is about these! It really doesn’t taste like anything other than plain oats! I might try the PB ones next. Dissapointed in these though.

  29. I made these as written, and they were very easy to make and had a fantastic flavour- the icing tastes amazing and the bars are not too sweet, so they pair well with the sweet icing. The consistency of the bars is a little too light/spongy- I think it would help to add some fat to the batter, either oil or melted butter. I might play around with fat ratios in order to keep the flavour the same but ideally to end up with a consistency more similar to that of a soft cookie.

  30. These are delicious!! Any chance you can come up with a copycat recipe for their banana bread & dark chocolate version of these soft baked oatmeal bars? 😉

  31. 5 stars
    Mmm, the smell of peanut butter from the oven while baking! It is beautifully baked – soft and chewy, to perfection! We enjoyed it with a cup of coffee or milk. Thanks for the recipe, I should try others too!

  32. 5 stars
    These bars are FANTASTIC!!! I use powdered peanut butter and changed the brown sugar to Stevia to reduce the calories, but it is still great! THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this recipe. I have tried a few different oat bars, but this one is getting printed out so I don’t loose it.

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