No-Bake Granola Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
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Upon flipping through Molly Yeh’s new book, Home is Where the Eggs Are, I found myself immediately drawn to the cookie dough oat bars, which Molly describes as “the new staple bar of your dessert-as-breakfast dreams.”
My children love granola bars — Z-Bars, Clif Bars, Chewy Quaker Oat Bars — and if I’m being honest, I do, too. When we have a box of peanut butter Clif Bars on hand, I have a hard time resisting them. And while there are worse things to snack on, I never feel great buying or eating them.
It was time to give making granola bars from scratch another go. Molly’s bars looked simple enough, a no-bake recipe she noted she could make with Bernie, her daughter, strapped to her in her carrier and “toss in whatever mix-ins were within arm’s reach.”
Encouraged by this note, along with another about the many variations — approximately 435,785,406 — Molly has made over the years, I made them with a few substitutions: chia seeds, melted butter, and chopped dark chocolate for the hemp seeds, coconut oil, and mini chocolate chips, respectively.
They turned out beautifully, tasting, as Molly promised, like cookie dough — seed-flecked, toasted-oat cookie dough. The first batch disappeared quickly, and I have since made many variations, including the original recipe as well as one with almond flour in place of the seeds, when I found myself without any. They all work, so play around! I do think the mini chocolate chips (as opposed to larger ones or a chopped chocolate bar) work best.
Friends, Molly Yeh’s new book, Home is Where the Eggs Are, is so much fun. If you follow Molly on Instagram or watch her Food Network Show, you know she exudes joy. But what this book has reminded me of is that she is such an excellent writer, too, her recipe head notes and chapter openers reflecting the witty and self-effacing, honest and curious, whimsical but approachable Molly Yeh that captivated us from the very beginning.
If you are someone who likes to read cookbooks cover to cover as you would a novel, this will be a great addition to your library. Bonus: All of the baking recipes include gram measurements 🎉🎉🎉
How To Make No-Bake Granola Bars, Step by Step
Gather your ingredients:
Toast the oats for 10 minutes.
Then transfer them to a food processor with cashews, chia or hemp seeds, salt, and brown sugar.
Purée until very fine.
Add melted butter or coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla.
Process until the mixture begins to come together.
Press into a pan. Top with chocolate chips and sea salt. Press again. Then chill for 1 hour.
Remove from the pan.
Then cut into bars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.Print
No-Bake Granola Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 bars
- Diet: Gluten Free
From Molly Yeh’s new book Home is Where the Eggs Are
In the book, Molly notes she has made approximately 435,785,406 variations of these bars, so I think it’s safe to say you can adapt this recipe to what you have on hand. I have tried many variations but the one I love best includes chia seeds, honey, and melted butter, which of course pushes them out of the vegan category. That said, I have made the vegan version with coconut oil and maple syrup, and they are delicious.
- 1 cup (90 grams) rolled or quick-cooking oats
- 1 cup (144 grams) whole raw cashews
- 1/4 cup (32 grams) chia or hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) packed light brown sugar, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons (38 grams) coconut oil or melted butter
- 2 tablespoons (42 grams) honey or maple syrup, plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) semisweet mini chocolate chips
- Flaky sea salt
- Heat the oven to 350ºF. Line a loaf pan with enough parchment to come all the way up on the long sides and allow 1-inch wings. Set aside.
- Spread the oats on a rimmed sheet pan and toast until fragrant and slightly darker, about 10 minutes. Add to a food processor along with the cashews, seeds, brown sugar, and salt and blend until very fine, like the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Add the coconut oil or butter, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla and blend until the mixture is combined and starts to form a dough. It’ll still look crumbly in the food processor, but if you squeeze some in your hand, it should stick together. (If it feels a little too dry, you can add a touch more coconut oil/butter or honey/maple syrup.) Taste it and if you’d like it to be sweeter, blend in up to 1 tablespoon (13 grams) more brown sugar.
- Press the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it out firmly and evenly. I find if I lay one of my plastic bench scrapers atop the dough and press down on it, I can get a nice even layer. Press the chocolate chips firmly into the top and sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt. Transfer to the fridge for at least 30 minutes, then remove and slice into 8 small bars. Return to the fridge. They are hard to resist upon cutting, but I like them even better when they’ve firmed up longer in the fridge. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple of weeks.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Snack
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: oats, cashews, chia, hemp, no-bake
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36 Comments on “No-Bake Granola Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan)”
I am allergic to cashews. Argh…. So many recipes with these tasty nuts in them that I simply can not eat. Curious if peanut butter could be a substitute?? Thank you!!
I think any other nut could work for the cashews! Peanut butter will be great. Let me know how they turn out … I love a peanut butter granola bar 🙂
Tried them with unsweetened peanut butter instead of the cup of cashews and it turned out great. Thumbs up
Great to hear, Shirley! Thanks for writing and sharing 🙂
I wonder what I could substitute for cashews, maybe sunflower seeds? I would like to make these school safe for my kids!
I think sunflower seeds or sunbutter would probably work… I have to admit I haven’t made a nut-free version of these yet.
Would a blender work for preparing these (I don’t have a food processor)?
Do they hold together when not chilled (ie in a kid’s lunchbox for a whole school day)?
Hi Courtney! I think a blender should work just fine. You may need to use a spatula to scrape a bit once you add the wet ingredients. Unfortunately, they really need the chill of the freezer to hold together. Next time I make them, I am going to experiment with freezing them, and seeing how they do once they thaw in terms of texture… stay tuned! My kids’ schools are nut free, so we haven’t tried packing them for lunch yet.
Delicious! Do you think this could be made into baked granola clusters? Any suggestions on how to do that? Thanks!
Hi! I love this idea. I don’t exactly know how to advise… I’m thinking you could simply dump the “dough” from the food processor to a parchment-lined sheet pan, spread it out, and bake at a low-ish heat like 325ºF for 20-30 minutes … or more or less?? Keep an eye on them.
I am of a certain ‘mature’ age where I cannot eat seeds, particularly very small like chia, because they stick in my teeth. Are seeds required or could I substitute something else or just leave out?
I hear you Ann! The chia seeds especially can be a nuisance. A few thoughts: hemp seeds aren’t quite as bad as chia, you could also use ground flax seed. Almond flour is another option. You probably could get away with omitting them, too. Hope you love them with whatever variation you try 🙂 🙂 🙂
Super easy and crazy delicious. Your recipes have never let me down. 😊
So great to hear this, Karla! Thanks so much for writing and thanks for your kind words, too 🙂
Outstanding! (I might have added a few extra chocolate chips on top 😉)
Can’t blame you! I always do, too 🎉🎉🎉🎉
I made these today after seeing the post on Instagram. They were totally delicious— they stuck together pretty fell, tasted filling, and were not too sweet and came together really quickly. A win all around,
Great to hear, Sadie! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes 🙂 🙂 🙂
Loved these! My only issue was they crumbled easily and my chips fell off even after pressing them in, but flavor is wonderful! Do you know the calories per bar?
Hi Deb! I do not know the calories per bar unfortunately. My Fitness Pal dot com has a nutrition calculator.
Regarding the crumbliness, I do find certain combinations lead to a more fragile bar — I have the best luck with chia seeds and butter. Versions I’ve made with coconut oil and almond flour were a little more crumbly.
If I substitute ground flax seeds for the chia is the amount still 1/4 cup? Thank you!
It a very forgiving recipe, so I think you you could get away with using 1/4 cup exactly, but my instinct is to suggest using a little less: a scant 1/4 cup or 3 tablespoons.
These sound great! Do you know the nutritional info on this recipe?
Yum! I just made them and had to resist eating big spoonfuls of it before I put it in the fridge! Need to walk away and let them chill without any further incursions…… 🙂
I hear you! It’s like cookie dough, but eggless, so very welcoming 🙂 Hope the finished bars were just as successful.
Scrumptious! Used butter and maple syrup and hemp instead of chia. Next time I’ll toast the oats two minutes longer (still getting used to my new oven which runs a little cool). I don’t have a food processor so blitzed the dry ingredients in my vitamix and then added the wet ingredients by hand (in a bowl because I find scraping thick things out of the vitamix somewhat irritating). 🙂 Worked out beautifully. I’ve already eaten 2 today. Thanks again!
Great to hear, Cait! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes…very helpful for people who don’t have a food processor. I find scraping wet things — like hummus!! — out of the vitamix extremely irritating as well.
Delicious! We made these as written except for subbing almonds for cashews. They were a hit with everyone in my family and Rob even said “Those are the most delicious bars I’ve ever had.” Thanks for another great recipe.
I echo the comment below about wanting to make them nut free so they can be sent to school. Let me know if anyone finds a good combination.
So great to hear this, Darcy 🙂 🙂 🙂 And so glad Rob approved, too. Ben is also into them. My kids have actually recently taken to sunbutter, so if I make a sunbutter variation that works, I will report back. Hope you and the fam are well. xoxoxo
Really tasty and easy to make. Hard to have just one!
Impossible! Glad to hear someone has the same trouble 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing.
These are my teenage daughters favorite breakfast bar and on the go snack. I add extra chocolate chips, and I want to to try the coconut oil version (I have only done butter so far) but these are the best! Thank you!
Great to hear! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
These are delicious and perfect. So easy to make.
Great to hear, Chelsea! I love this, too 🙂 🙂 🙂
Again! I made these again! Honestly, I prefer other recipes and I think these are fussy, fussier than the title lets on because the oats require toasting and I have to take out my food processor (a kitchen peev because I dont have much counters) – but my kids love them. And they pretty much get the only vote in the house, so if they’re happy I’m happy and that is that. So thank you to you and Molly for this recipe! <3