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.
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
- combine peanut butter, honey, and maple syrup; warm in the microwave and then stir until smooth
- add in the vanilla extract and salt
- in a separate bowl combine the cocoa krispies (or plain rice krispies) and old fashioned oats
- stir together
- add the peanut butter mixture on top of the cereal and oat mixture
- gently stir being careful to not crush the cereal
- stir until completely combined; make sure there aren’t dry spots of oats and cereal throughout the bowl
- press mixture firmly into a lined pan (I recommend a 9×9 pan)
- combine peanut butter chips and coconut oil in a bowl; melt in the microwave
- combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a bowl; melt in the microwave
- pour the melted chocolate over the bars
- spread to smooth into one even layer
- drizzle melted peanut butter chips in stripes across the chocolate layer
- use a butterknife to swirl the stripes of melted peanut butter chips
- let cereal bars stand at room temperature to harden
- cut into bars and enjoy!
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).
More snack recipes:
- Chocolate Energy Bites with oats and peanut butter
- Almond Granola with coconut oil
- Protein Breakfast Cookies cinnamon roll flavored
- Yogurt Bowl with 8 recipe variations
- Trail Mix with 5 recipe variations
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
- 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
- 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
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.
Note 1: I buy the Nestle peanut butter + chocolate baking chips bag and separate the chips.