Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars recipe is easy to make with 7 everyday ingredients, naturally protein-packed and gluten-free, and irresistibly delicious.  No baking required!

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Meet…the healthy, chewy, peanut buttery, amazingly delicious homemade granola bars that we can’t stop making.

Well, mostly that’s because Barclay has been requesting them non-stop lately.

He recently switched from working from home to officing at a cool coworking space here in Barcelona.  Which means that, for the first time in our married life, we’re now packing him a cute lil’ lunch to take to work.  Also — of critical importance for his survival — snacks. I married a man who adores good snack, especially when it’s healthy, and especially when some kind of nut butters are involved.

So over the past few weeks, I’ve switched from making our usual granola to tweaking a new recipe for much-more-portable granola bars.  And Barclay has been a more-than-willing taste tester.  We were going for for a recipe that tasted like a throwback to those classic, chewy, peanut butter and mini chocolate chip granola bars that we used to love as kids.  (Anyone else used to carry those in your lunch box?)  But of course, as adults, we wanted a recipe that was naturally-sweetened, protein-packed, and made with everyday ingredients that we could easily grab in our pantry.  I was also especially interested in a granola bar recipe that was soft and chewy, but didn’t completely fall apart at room temperature, as so many bars tend to do.

Now — over a dozen batches in — I think we’ve officially nailed it. 

Melted Peanut Butter and Honey | Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars Recipe

Homemade Granola Bars Ingredients:

To make these healthy granola bar recipe, you will need:

  • Natural peanut butter: Or natural almond butter, you choose!
  • Honey: To sweeten the bars and help them hold together.
  • Coconut oil: Also to help the bars hold together.
  • Oats: I used old-fashioned oats for this recipe to make the bars nice and chewy.
  • Almonds: I used slivered almonds, which give these bars delicious flavor and crunch.  But feel free to sub in any other chopped nuts that you might prefer.
  • Vanilla extract: For flavor!
  • Sea salt: To bring out all the flavors!
  • Mini semisweet chocolate chips: Or chopped up chocolate bars.  Or, if you’re looking to make these granola bars dairy-free, these chocolate chips!

How To Make Granola Bars

How To Make Granola Bars:

Alright, let’s do this!  To make these homemade granola bars, simply:

  1. Simmer the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil.  Yep, we’re going to heat these three ingredients first, which I’ve found is a key step in helping these bars stick together.  Combine the PB, honey and coconut oil in a saucepan and heat over medium until it comes to a simmer (low bubble), stirring occasionally.  Continue simmering for 1 minute, stirring often so that the bottom of the peanut butter does not burn.  (If you start to see little brown bits on the bottom, turn the heat down.)  Remove then pan from the heat and…
  2. Add in the vanilla and salt.  Stir until combined.
  3. Add in everything else.  Well, if you would like the chocolate chips to hold their shape, I recommend stirring in everything but the chocolate chips.  Then once the granola is combined, pop it in the fridge to cool off for 15 minutes, and then stir in the chocolate chips.  (They will still be just as delicious if they melt a bit.) ;)
  4. Press the granola into a square baking pan.  Line an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  And then press the granola firmly and evenly into the pan.  I use the bottom of a measuring cup to help press it down so that it’s nice and flat.  (You want it firmly packed so that the bars will hold their shape well.)
  5. Refrigerate until chilled.  Then cover the baking pan and pop it in the fridge for an hour or so, until the bars are chilled.
  6. Cut the bars.  Lift up on the parchment paper to transfer the big slab of granola to a cutting board.  Then cut the bars into your desired shape and size.
  7. Serve and enjoy!  The bars will definitely hold their shape better when they are chilled.  But no worries, if you leave them out at room temperature for awhile, they will just be a bit softer.

Healthy Granola Bars Recipe

Possible Variations:

There are all sorts of ways that you can change up this granola bar recipe if you’d like!  A few ideas…

  • Make these nut-free: If you’re allergic to nuts, feel free to use seeds (like pepitas and/or sunflower seeds) instead of the almonds, and seed butter (like sunbutter) instead of the peanut butter.  Or, I also tested a batch with puffed rice instead of nuts, and the bars were delicious.  Or of course, you could tinker around and add a mixture of puffed rice (or puffed quinoa) and some shredded coconut or something, for extra flavor.
  • Add dried fruit: Feel free to add dried fruit (i.e. raisins, dried cranberries, chopped apricots) in place of the chocolate.
  • Add coconut: Just subtract 1/3 cup of the oats and replace them with 1/3 cup shredded coconut, if you’d like.
  • Add chia seeds: Add 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds to the recipe.
  • Add spices: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon for extra flavor.  Or for a Mexican chocolate-y twist, I like to add in a lil’ pinch of cayenne along with cinnamon!
  • Add protein powder: Feel free to add 2-3 tablespoons protein powder to these bars, if you’d like.
  • Add cocoa powder: If you don’t happen to have chocolate chips but would still like the chocolate-y flavor, feel free to stir 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder in along with the oats.  (Skip this if using protein powder.)

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe

More Healthy Granola Recipes:

Healthy Peanut Butter Granola Bars Recipe

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Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars recipe is easy to make with 7 everyday ingredients, naturally protein-packed and gluten-free, and irresistibly delicious.  See notes above for potential ingredient variations.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt*
  • 2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats*
  • 1 cup slivered or chopped almonds
  • optional: 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips, plus extras for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Line an 8 x 8-inch or 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Stir the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil together in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Continue to simmer for 1 minute, stirring often so that the bottom of the mixture does not burn.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the vanilla and salt, and stir until combined.  Add in the oats and almonds, and stir until completely combined.  (Optional step: If you would like the chocolate chips not to melt, I recommend chilling transferring the granola to the refrigerator at this point for about 15 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature.)  Then stir in the chocolate chips until combined.
  4. Press the granola firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  (I use the bottom of a measuring cup to help press it down so that it’s nice and flat.)  Sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top if you would like.  Then cover and refrigerate the granola bars for about an hour or so, or until they are chilled.
  5. Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan and transfer them to a cutting board.  Cut, serve, and enjoy!  Or store in a sealed container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

*If your nut butter is already salted, feel free to reduce or omit the salt in the recipe.

*If making these bars gluten-free, be sure to use certified GF oats.

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Chewy Granola Bars with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips