Gimme Some Oven

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars

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Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.comThis post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds

I’ve got the warm weather buzz right now.

And you’d better believe that I am living up every sunny, spring-y, scrumptious minute of it.

Waking up earlier in the mornings to soak up every last Vitamin-D filled ray? Check.  Working out harder and taking my pup out for walks in said sunshine every day? Bring it on. Planning extra patio coffee dates and happy hours and back deck grill-outs galore? Heck yes. Breaking out the tank tops and flip flops and sundresses? Every day. Filling up my grocery cart with fresher, seasonal, healthier foods to cook with? Yes, yes, deliciously, yes.

I mean, it’s no secret — winter and I have never been on good terms, and most years it feels like a Herculean effort (I wish I were being dramatic) to slog my way to the finish line of Daylight Savings. But oh man, every new year that spring arrives, I appreciate it all the more. And want to soak it up all the more. And want to celebrate it all the more. And want to live up every single freaking second of it all the more.

So! A big part of that, of course, means getting my days off to a good start. Since I’m not naturally a morning person, quick and easy breakfasts tend to be my best shot at eating well first thing in the morning, all the better if they’re pre-made. So lately that has meant a nice cup of pre-prepared cold brew coffee, plus one of my favorite energy-packed treats that I can make in advance — these Cranberry Almond Protein Bars.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars |

While we were living in Austin during the month of February, I got re-hooked on eating my favorite store-bought fruit and nut bars for quick breakfasts. And…then the habit followed me back to Kansas City. I love a good fruit and nut bar. Especially when cranberries and almonds are involved.

But at nearly $2 a pop, I quickly decided that there must be a better homemade alternative. So after researching around online and fiddling with a handful of different recipes, I finally settled on a base fruit and nut bar recipe that worked for me. It’s not exactly like the ones I bought at the store, but after having some friends taste-test them last night, one of them said the magic words I was thinking — “these are even better than the bars at the store.”


Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! |

To make them, I assembled all of my favorite sweet and salty fruit and nut bar base ingredients:

  • almonds (I’m a big fan of the salty Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Sea Salt Almonds)
  • dried cranberries (for a touch of natural sweetness)
  • puffed rice cereal (for that puffy crunch)
  • unsweetened coconut flakes (optional, but I love ’em)
  • an extra protein booster (I went with hemp seeds here, but chia or ground flax seeds would also work)

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! |

Then I whipped up the magic sauce that binds all of these ingredients together, using naturally sweetened (and gluten-free) brown rice syrup, honey and a bit of vanilla. Then — very quickly — poured it over the nut mixture, stirred it all up, and then pressed it into a parchment-lined baking pan to form a bar.

(Note — time is of the essence here. This sauce hardens very quickly, so once it’s ready, you’ve gotta mix and press these babies into the pan as ninja-quickly as possible.)Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! |

Then once the bars sat and cooled to room temperature…Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! |

I chopped them into individual-serving-sized bars.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! |

And I must say, I had to do a double-take. They looked just like my favorite bars I buy at the store! And they tasted even better, especially knowing with 100% assurance exactly how much of each ingredient went into them. Plus, they were easy to customize, came together in less than 30 minutes, and rang in at less than half the cost each of their store-bought counterparts.

I call that win-win-win.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! |

Alright, spring. Let’s do this.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! |

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Cranberry Almond Protein Bars

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 13 reviews
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


These cranberry almond protein bars are full of protein-packed ingredients, easy to make, naturally-gluten free, and absolutely delicious!


  • 2 cups Blue Diamond Almonds (I used Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Sea Salt Almonds*)
  • 2/3 cup puffed rice cereal**
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade


  1. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add almonds, puffed rice cereal, cranberries, coconut, and hemp seeds (if using), and toss to combine.  Set aside.
  3. Stir brown rice syrup, honey and vanilla together in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium-high heat until boiling, stirring occasionally.  Then let the sauce boil for 4-5 minutes, or until it reaches about 260 degrees, stirring occasionally.  (The sauce will bubble up quite a bit, so keep an eye on it.)  Once it’s ready, pour it evenly over the almond mixture and very quickly stir the mixture until it is evenly coated with the sauce.  It hardens quickly, so you’ll need to move fast!
  4. Quickly transfer the mixture to the lined baking dish, and press it firmly into the dish in an even layer.  (I used the bottom of a measuring cup to help press the mixture down into the pan.)  Let the bars cool for 30 minutes or until they reach room temperature.  (You can speed up this process a bit by placing them in the refrigerator if you’d like.)  Then carefully lift up the parchment paper from the baking dish and transfer it (with the bars) to a cutting board.  Cut the bars into your desired shapes and sizes.  Then place in a sealed container and store at room temperature until ready to eat.
  5. The bars will last up to 10 days.  Or if you freeze them, they will last up to 3 months.


*If you are using unsalted almonds, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to the sauce mixture while it is cooking.

**Here is the puffed rice cereal that I used.  (Different than Rice Krispies.)  It’s gluten-free, with no added sugar, and adds a great little “puff” to these bars.

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I’m a big fan of their line of almond snacks, and all opinions are 100% my own as always. Thanks for continuing to support the brands that help make this site possible!Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! |

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105 comments on “Cranberry Almond Protein Bars”

  1. O-M-G!!!! I saw them and thought “wow these look yummy” and then I made them and the first bite I was in heaven! What an amazing snack!! These will be a regular in my kitchen and totally the first recipes I share when I launch my blog! Incredible!

  2. Hi, is there any substitute for brown rice syrup? Thanks

  3. Love these! Taste like Kind bars!!! Need to figure out the calories, etc. as I do Weight Watchers. Yummy ?

  4. These turned out perfect, just the type of energy bar I was looking for. I just made a second batch. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Amazing!!! I made these three times and they are so good. Lots of flavor and crunch. My very picky husband told me to make them exactly the same way every time. He LOVES these too. I do have to perfect the cooking time and temperature yet. First time I must have cooked it too much and made trail mix but was still amazing. Never cooked it higher than 220 degrees because I didn’t want it to harden too much. Seems like 225 is as high as I would cook it. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  6. I tried this tonight but I wasn’t able to get everything coated cuz like u said I had to do it really fast. But nonetheless they look good and taste good too

    • Ana, before I prepare everything, I switch my slow cooker on low, I place the mix in then pour the liquid over ,because the pan of the slow cooker is just warm it prevents the liquid from setting too quickly, thus giving you enough time to cover everything. This method has not let me down once and does affect the delicious taste.
      Kind regards

  7. If I keep these in the freezer, do I remove and put in lunch or should I remove a place a few in the fridge at a time. Has anyone tried the freezer method of storage.

    • These are wonderful! However, i have not found brown rice syrup so i substitute with pure maple syrup. The bars fell apart easily. What are your thoughts? Maybe i didnt cook syrup and honey long enough? Maybe not enough sauce to begin with? The sauce did harden quick during the mix, but when bars cooled, they wouldnt hold together. Your reply is appreciated.


  8. I have made these now on numerous occasions, I can find nothing better ,either another recipe or shop bought
    I have passed them around my golf pals, they still don’t believe I have made them! These bars are so delicious.
    My favourite bar was KIND dark chocolate and sea salt, but these outshine them and are cheaper as you say win win! I substitute the brown rice syrup for maple syrup, the hemp seeds for chia seeds and top with sesame seeds. I throw in hazelnuts as well I find they compliment the almonds and the sea salt goes hand in hand with the sweetness of the syrup. Sheer heaven! Thank you for a great recipe.

    • Hello Mike,
      I see you also substitute brown rice syrup with maple syrup. Using maple syrup, did your bars hold together well? I found mine fell apart easily. I loved the taste of the maple syrup in these bars and would like to try again. Please share me your thoughts with your experiences using maple syrup for these bars.

      Thanks ?

    • Heidi, apologies for the late reply, I omitted in my post that I use one third cup of coconut oil as well, I think this must help with the solidifying of the bars, I have never experienced the bars breaking up. I hope this helps.
      Stay safe.

  9. Is there any substitutes for brown rice syrup?
    Can I use old fashioned rolled oats or old fashioned
    Steel cut oats for this recipe please? To make them more
    of a granola bar. Please let me know by e-mailing me at

  10. What can be used instead of brown rice syrup if it cannot be found?

    • for all those asking about rice syrup substitutes, light corn syrup is the same thing. the way i tried it, nothing else will do. :-)

  11. These are delicious! I stored them in an air tight container and they lasted longer than I thought.

  12. Tasted delicious but used maple syrup and they didn’t want to solidify and just fell apart. I do a lot of multi-day trekking and want something I can take with me as an eat as you go snack. In their current form they won’t do. I tried to follow the recipe as much as I could but did add a few other tasty bits such as orange peel bits, ginger and dark chocolate chips but all in small amounts so don’t think it was this that prevented bars from setting.
    I’ll try again later

  13. I kinda don’t like the idea to boil honey – it’s loosing enzymes that way or even becomes toxic (probably myth)

  14. These are tasty, simple to make but I would really like to see the nutrition info for them. Does anyone have this?

  15. After searching for protein bar recipes I found this one. No more searching! These are so delicious that they are always available to put into my bike bag for long rides.
    I grow hazlenuts and have used them.

  16. Can I leave out the 1/3 cup brown rice syrup, puffed rice cereal ? I don’t want to put them in my granola bars.
    Could I just put more honey in place of the brown rice syrup? Please let me know soon by e-mailing me.