Cereal Bars

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These cereal bars are sweet, crunchy, and filling! They’re packed with oats, cereal, peanut butter, and natural sweeteners then topped with melted chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Use leftover oats and peanut butter in this peanut butter granola recipe or these peanut butter overnight oats.

Image of two of the cereal balls stacked on top of each other ready to be eaten

Cereal bars without corn syrup

Most cereal bars are loaded with corn syrup and brown sugar, which is fine in moderation, but I wanted to create some cereal bars that were slightly healthier. While these bars are definitely still a treat, they’re naturally sweetened and they don’t need any corn syrup!

They’re sweet, crunchy, nutty, and chocolate-y. In my opinion, there aren’t too many combos as quintessential as peanut butter and chocolate

How to make cereal bars

The descriptions below correlate with the photo collages in this post

  1. combine peanut butter, honey, and maple syrup; warm in the microwave and then stir until smooth
  2. add in the vanilla extract and salt
  3. in a separate bowl combine the cocoa krispies (or plain rice krispies) and old fashioned oats
  4. stir together
  5. add the peanut butter mixture on top of the cereal and oat mixture
  6. gently stir being careful to not crush the cereal
  7. stir until completely combined; make sure there aren’t dry spots of oats and cereal throughout the bowl
  8. press mixture firmly into a lined pan (I recommend a 9×9 pan)
  9. combine peanut butter chips and coconut oil in a bowl; melt in the microwave
  10. combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a bowl; melt in the microwave
  11. pour the melted chocolate over the bars
  12. spread to smooth into one even layer
  13. drizzle melted peanut butter chips in stripes across the chocolate layer
  14. use a butterknife to swirl the stripes of melted peanut butter chips
  15. let cereal bars stand at room temperature to harden
  16. cut into bars and enjoy!

Process shots-- images of the ingredients being mixed together and poured over the cereal and put into a pan

Cereal bars recipe tips

  • Number 1 tip: press the mixture firmly in the pan: these bars have a tendency to crumble or break if they aren’t packed into the pan. Put some muscle into it and pack the mixture in evenly.
  • If the mixture is feeling too dry: add an additional tablespoon of honey or maple syrup or peanut butter.
  • Make sure the peanut butter and honey mixture evenly coats all of the dry ingredients. It’s easy to miss some of the dry ingredients when mixing, but you’ll end up with dry pockets of cereal in the bars.
  • Use a 9×9 pan: I’ve made these bars many times in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan and final consensus is that we like the 9×9 pan best; they’re slightly less thick and easier to eat.
  • Use the chocolate chip and peanut butter chip combo: instead of having to buy separate chocolate chips and peanut butter chips, Nestle sells a combo of the two which are easy to separate and use in these cereal bars. (Not sponsored).

Images of the chocolate peanut butter topping being made and poured on top of the bars

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Cereal Bars

5 from 6 votes
These cereal bars are sweet, crunchy, and filling! They're packed with oats, cereal, peanut butter, and natural sweeteners then topped with chocolate and peanut butter
Print Recipe

Cereal Bars

5 from 6 votes
These cereal bars are sweet, crunchy, and filling! They're packed with oats, cereal, peanut butter, and natural sweeteners then topped with chocolate and peanut butter
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword cereal bars
Prep Time 25 minutes
Setting Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 12 -16 bars
Calories 222kcal
Cost $4.29

Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (276g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (96g) honey
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons (123g) Cocoa Krispies (or use Rice Kripsies, but bars are less chocolate-y)
  • 2 cups (212g) old fashioned oats

Topping

  • 3/4 cup (127g) milk chocolate chips (See Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup (90g) peanut butter chips*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil separated, or vegetable oil

Instructions

  • PREP: Line an 9x9 baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  • WET INGREDIENTS: In a microwave-safe bowl combine the 1 cup + 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir until smooth. Stir in the 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, combine the 2 and 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons Cocoa Krispies and 2 cups old-fashioned oats. Stir.
  • COMBINE: pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well combined. If the mixture is still dry, add a bit more honey and/or peanut butter, 1 tablespoon at at time.
  • TRANSFER TO PAN: transfer the mixture to the prepared 9x9 pan. It will seem like a lot, but it compresses down. Press the mixture firmly and compress as much as you can in the pan; this is integral to the bars staying together. Press with the back of a flat 1 cup measuring cup if needed until well compressed. Place in the fridge while preparing the chocolate topping.
  • CHOCOLATE TOPPING: Microwave 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon coconut oil for 30 seconds. Stir until melted (Return the chocolate to the microwave for 10-15 second bursts if it isn't completely melted.)
  • PEANUT BUTTER TOPPINGS: In another bowl, microwave the 1/2 cup peanut butter chips with remaining 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil for 10-15 seconds (Stir, return to the microwave for 10-15 second bursts until melted and smooth).
  • TOPPING: Using a spatula or the back of a large spoon, spread the melted chocolate over the bars evenly. (A thin layer of chocolate should cover it all). Then drizzle the melted peanut butter chips in horizontal lines across the top of the chocolate. Using a butterknife, drag the lines from top to bottom vertically to create the peanut butter swirl seen in the bars.
  • STORAGE: let bars harden completely at room temperature and then cut into bars. Serve. Store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature. Best eaten within 3-4 days.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: I buy the Nestle peanut butter + chocolate baking chips bag and separate the chips.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 222kcal

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Nutrition facts in cereal bars

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32 Comments

  1. These may be my fav recipe of yours. No bake, and peanut butter cup? Say no more.
    P.s I LOVE the word hangry and totally get mad when I haven’t seen my hubs in awhile (which happens alot since he works graveyards!) Pinned!

  2. I’m a pretty big snacker too, Chelsea. So these look pretty darn good to me! Recently I’ve been looking for more post-gym snacks because that’s when I get REAL hangry. πŸ˜‰ I have a little canvas print in my cubicle at work with the definition of hangry on it, so it’s most definitely a real word. πŸ™‚ These would be such a fun afternoon or breakfast treat!

  3. You and Drew are so cute! And I love hearing how attached you are to him b/c I am the exact same way with Anthony! These bars look incredible – would definitly cure any hanger in my life (which happens often…)

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, these bars are gorgeous Chelsea! I love love love the pretty swirl and these would definitely make me hangry too πŸ˜‰ I was sold already with the no bake but chocolate and peanut butter? Sign me up πŸ™‚ Pinning πŸ™‚

  5. 5 stars
    awwww your hubby and you sound like so much fun!! I think we should double (I mean it! πŸ˜› You can also bring the baby. We adore babies! That sounded weird. We’re not weird I swear! Well…we’re weird but not like WEEEEIRD…ok…anywayyyyy)

    LOVE these cereal bars-I would want this for breakfast and for so many snacks! I def. think the choc and pb are necessary, but that’s me πŸ˜›

    1. Haha I totally agree!! A double would be SO fun! And we’d obviously have to get your autograph πŸ™‚

  6. How do.you store them cause they look amazing and would love to make them for back to school. Do they need to be in the frig

    1. You can store them in the fridge or out on the counter – just make sure they are in an airtight container or sealed ziplock bag.

  7. Chelsea, This looks scrumptious! Since subscribing to your blog, I think I have pinned almost every one of your recipes! You have such a gift for picking them, and your photos are gorgeous!

  8. sleangry is SO real to me, love it!!! these cereal bars look sooo sinful and incredible Chels, love!

  9. I thought these looked good until it mentioned honey…was going to possibly make for my sister until I read that πŸ™ she’s severely allergic

  10. This are just totally insanely delicious looking! YUM YUM YUM.
    Such an inspiring site you have.

    And sleangry is TOTALLY a thing. I will be using that now! x

  11. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing!! I’m a huge snacker and get hangry all the time haha. And as someone who doesn’t like to/doesn’t know how to cook, this is absolutely perfect. Thank you for this deliciousness!!

  12. 5 stars
    These bars are delicious! My only problem was when I cut them into bars they didn’t cut as nicely as yours. I don’t know how yours looked so perfect. What is your secret?

    Thanks.

    1. So happy to hear you liked these Wendy! I appreciate the comment πŸ™‚ Honestly, I just use an extremely sharp knife, I wish I had more tricks than that, but that’s it! Sometimes I’ll run my knife under hot water and dry it off and then cut, but usually just for ice cream treats πŸ™‚

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