Homemade Granola Bars – the Winning Recipe

posted by Andrea | 08/1/2011

I’ve been on a mission to find the “perfect” homemade granola bar recipe for the last several months — and you better believe I’ve tried my fair-share of recipes!

And while all of the recipes tasted delicious, I was never really satisfied until last week when I tried yet another new granola bar recipe…

My idea of perfect granola bars:

  • not too sweet — but still sweet enough
  • easy to make with simple ingredients I always have on hand
  • makes at least a 9×13″ pan
  • they stick together very well and can easily be cut into bars
  • ability to customize based on individual taste

I know that sounds picky, but guess what — I found a recipe that meets my rigorous standards! {thanks to Elizabeth — a loyal reader and Facebook fan!}

I just know you’re going to love it too!

Ingredients:

{print this recipe}

  • 1/2 c. honey or corn syrup {I used 1/4 c. of each}
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 2 c. Rice Krispy cereal
  • 1/4 c. ground flax seed
  • 1 or 2 T. wheat germ {optional — and I did not add this}
  • 1 c. total of your favorite mix-ins {I used chocolate chips, but you could also mix and match dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.}

 

Directions:

In a small sauce pan, mix honey {or corn syrup} and brown sugar.

Cook over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved – stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and quickly stir in peanut butter.

Mix the oats, cereal, flax seed, and optional wheat germ in a large bowl.

Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients — mix well.

Stir in chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, and any other “mix-ins”

 

Press mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan that has been greased or lined with wax paper. {I find it works best when I put another piece of wax paper on top of the bars and press down with a measuring cup.}

 

Let cool and “firm up” —  kind of like Rice Krispy Bars

Cut into bars and store in an air-tight container. I cut mine into 24 bars that were about 1″ x 4″ {8 rows by 3 rows}. I used a pastry cutter/scraper because it cuts really straight lines — but a long knife would work just fine too.

And since I used chocolate chips, I figured it would be best to store our granola bars in the refrigerator so they don’t melt!

This recipe is seriously THE best granola bar recipe that I’ve tried so far. Probably good enough that I’ll stop looking and just file this one away as my official granola bar recipe!

Thanks Elizabeth for the AWESOME recipe — I’ll be making many more granola bars in the years to come!!!

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!

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89 comments

  1. Krystina

    04/24/2012

    Just made these, they are cooling in the fridge. I doubled the recipe and instead of using a 9 X 13 cake pan I used a medium sized jelly roll pan. Lined with wax paper, topped with wax paper and rolled a rolling pin over the top. I can just take out the wax paper and cut with a regular knife. Yum!

    [Reply]

  2. patty

    04/24/2012

    I made these and couldn’t get them to firm up and hold together … but they are super-yummy. I think I didn’t get the whole thing mixed soon enough so the corn syrup, honey, pb mixture started to cool before I got all the fixins mixed in. Still worth the very easy effort … and I will try to do things faster next time so I get better “bars” instead of yummy chunks! Thanks for sharing this!!

    [Reply]

  3. Lindsey

    05/10/2012

    Hi I waas wondering if you have tried freezing these yet? For how long can they be in the Freezer for??? Has anyone tried putting in mini m&m’s?

    Thanks
    Lindsey

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yup, I freeze them ALL the time and they turn out great. And I’d definitely give the M&M’s a try… I’m pretty sure they would work!

    [Reply]

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    05/17/2012

    [...] and cutting back on wheat and sugar, so these were perfect(they’re grain free).  I also made these granola bars from Simple Organized Living which I think are amazing.  Tonight I am going to try Butternut [...]

  6. Melissa

    06/05/2012

    Is there any way to make these without the peanut butter so they would then be school friendly.

    [Reply]

    schoe Reply:

    I use sunflower seed butter in place of peanut butter- you can’t tell the difference and I have to put in a note to teachers explaining that it is sunflower seed and not peanut butter. They’re that similar.

    [Reply]

  7. TKDmom

    06/07/2012

    I have packets of plain instant oatmeal laying around that my kids will NOT eat. Do you think I could use them in this recipe?

    [Reply]

  8. Nicole

    09/05/2012

    this may sound silly, but i am a novice at “from sratch” baking. (my family is impressed with my baking when i add things to store bought mix, we are so not used to real baking.) here are some questions i can’t seem to find the answer to on google:

    what does the corn syrup do? if i use honey instead will something bad happen? i like the taste of honey, but every granola bar recipe i tried had honey in it and they never kept their shape. will corn syrup help with that?

    also if i want to use wheat germ and exclude flax seed, should i bump up the wheat germ in the recipe to account for excluding the ground flax seed?

    thanks guys.

    [Reply]

  9. Hallie

    10/06/2012

    Just a tip if you use chocolate chips – freeze your chocolate chips before mixing into the hot granola and you will avoid the chocolate goo and have bars that look more like the ones you buy. The freezing will keep the chocolate chips intact while being mixed into the hot granola and makes it much less messy! :-)

    [Reply]

  10. Heather

    10/31/2012

    Looks like a great recipe! I have a child with wheat sensitivity, so instead of wheat germ, I’ll add a couple scoops of protein powder. You can get it in most grocery stores these days. It adds some more nutrition to the bars, and it doesn’t really change the flavor. I use the vanilla kind. :-)

    [Reply]

  11. Soli

    11/11/2012

    We make these all the time now and our 4 kids eat them nearly everyday in their school lunches. To make them more healthy we use quick oats, organic brown rice cereal (looks like rice crispies but theyre brown), real natural peanut butter (only ingredient is peanuts), organic honey, organic turbinado sugar, organic unsweetened shredded coconut, raw chopped almonds, and dark chocolate chips. They are so good and for my family of 6 I always double the recipe. We keep them in a large Tupperware container in the fridge and they stay great. Definitely refrigerate them after you put them in the pan and before cutting. They stay together great. Thanks for this awesome recipe!

    [Reply]

  12. On The Roads Again! | Ali on the Run

    02/19/2013

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  13. Candace

    03/18/2013

    Just a bit of advice- don’t substitute molasses in as a sweetener unless you really, really like the flavor of it! I think it is ok, but not my favorite. I added 1/4 cup and it overwhelmed the flavor of everything else in the bars! Without the molasses, these are great and easy!

    [Reply]

  14. mary

    04/07/2013

    If I use ground flax seed don’t I have to keep them in the refrigerator?
    Therefore I cannot put them in the lunch bag for school.

    [Reply]

    Krista Reply:

    I’ve made these probably six times and have always left out the flax seed and wheat germ. This last time I tried throwing in a 1/4 cup of steel cut oats just for the fun of it. They came out great! If you are worried about the flax seed and want to send them in kids’ lunches, just leave it out. They work great without it.

    [Reply]

  15. Minuit54

    05/08/2013

    I’d also been looking for a granola bar recipe, and I’d also been looking for one that could be made with common ingredients already in the pantry. You’re talking my language! Thanks for the information, and best of luck with your business.

    [Reply]

  16. Lisa

    05/29/2013

    Delicious!!! What do I do if I want to omit the peanut butter. Hubby doesn’t like pb in his? TIA

    [Reply]

    Kahlia Reply:

    My go-to is almond butter because 2 of my little ones have peanut allergies. I’ve also used sunbutter (ground sun flower seeds). I’m sure you could use any nut butter you like. Cashews might be nice!

    This recipe is my absolute favorite! It lends itself to so many substitutions and always comes out awesome! My family of 5 loves it!

    [Reply]

  17. Kristine

    08/08/2013

    These are the best granola bars I ever made. I substitute sunbutter for peanut butter and did 1/2 chocolate chips and 1/2 shredded coconut. Kids devoured them. Thanks for the recipe!

    [Reply]

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