Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Recipes (2024)

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Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Recipes (1)

Homemade Granola Bars

“Mykids will neverthrow tantrumsin public.”
“Mydaughter will always wear matching outfits.”
“Mychild will never eat processed junk food or suck down juice.”

You know all those lofty claimswe make before havingkids? Like a good friend of ours says, “I was the perfect parent until I had kids.” Too true.I am the mom whorips intothe box of fruit snacks in the middle of Target, who lets my daughtermix polka dots with plaids, who allows my son topee under the car in parking lot emergencies. I’m so sorry.

And don’t even get me started on those boxes of granola bars that are so easy to grab. Nutritious? No. Fast? Easy? Yes and yes. Oh, and they also helpwith those publicmeltdowns that were never supposed to happen.

Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Recipes (2)

Threeyearsago, I bought a bunch of juice on a great sale with coupons. The added bonus? Forevery four jugs of juice you bought, youreceivedone free box of granola bars! I normally don’t buy those super-sweet sawdusty rectangles, but free? Why not.

The following week, whenhunting around for an afternoon snack, Ipulled out one of those granola bars. As I ate it, I thought, “Why am I eating this? I don’t like it. It doesn’t taste good, and I will be hungry again in approximately 8 minutes.” I was eating it because it was free and fast. Those two things only get you so far, though. It was not filling or satisfying or… good.

Granola bars were officially added to my growing list of “Things I Will No Longer Buy in a Box.” To fill their place, I decided it was time to make my own. Shocking, I know. I have tried several different recipes, but finally settled ona variation of a recipe I ripped out of a magazine what feels like YEARS ago.

Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Recipes (3)

Thesebars areslightly sweet, super dense, and chock-full of good things. With a glass of milk, one square makes a filling, protein-packed snack I feel good about eating and feeding my family. We haven’t bought a box of granola bars in three years, and I haven’t missedthem one bit.

Making granola bars is very similar to making homemadegranola. Once you find the right ratio of fillers (dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.) to binders (honey, syrup, peanut butter, etc.), you can mix and match flavor combinations to your heart’s content. (You can also make our no-bake energy bites or homemade larabars for no-bake options.)

Try dried apricots, chopped almonds, dark chocolate, and shredded coconut. Or chopped cashews, mini chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. Or maybe dried mango, flaxseed meal, and coconut. Or…

Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Recipes (4)

Thick & Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars


Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week or frozen for 3 months.

4 1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 c. all-purpose flour*
1/4-1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. brown rice syrup or corn syrup
1/3 c. honey
2 t. vanilla extract
2 c. chocolate chips, dried fruit, seeds, and/or chopped nuts (check the bulk section at your local grocery store for inspiration!)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cut a rectangle of parchment paper to line the pan bottom of the pan, leaving several inches hanging over each side to create a sling. Grease the parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl,combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter, water, peanut butter, brown rice (or corn) syrup, honey, and vanilla extract. Add to the dry ingredientsand mix until well incorporated.
  4. Add 2 cups of chocolate chips, dried fruit, seeds, and/or chopped nuts.
  5. Press the mixture evenly into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes beforelifting thebars out of the pan with the parchment paper sling.
  6. Lay on a cutting boardand then cut into 12 equal pieces.

*You could easily make this recipe free of gluten! Swap out the flour 1:1 for a good gluten-free flour option and make sure your oats are certified gluten-free.


Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Recipes (5)

If you’ve been on the hunt for a good allergy-friendly chocolate chip that actually tastes good, Enjoy Life is an excellent brand! Free of dairy, soy and gluten and no additional garbage preservatives.

Looking for more great uses for oats?

Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Recipes (8)Follow Frugal Living NW on Pinterest!

Fantastic range of boards from best recipes and tips for frugal living to gardening and budgeting help.

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Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Recipes (2024)


What do you use to bind granola bars together? ›

While there are several different sticky ingredients that you can use, we've found that the binding agent that works the best is honey! When added to your homemade granola bars, honey acts as glue that sticks all the pieces together.

What are the ingredients in a chewy granola bar? ›


What ingredient makes granola stick together? ›

Add an egg white.

The whites act as a kind of glue that binds the ingredients together. To ensure that the egg whites coat all the ingredients, I beat them with a whisk until foamy and increased in volume, which makes it much easier to fold into the granola.

Why is my granola chewy not crunchy? ›

Baking time: Increase the baking time for your granola. The longer you bake it, the drier and crunchier it will become. Keep a close eye on it to avoid burning, and stir it occasionally during baking to ensure even toasting.

What is the best binding agent for granola bars? ›

Honey. Sweetens the granola bars and helps bind the dry ingredients together.

What is the best glue for granola bars? ›

Honey and brown sugar help make a glue for the bars.

The honey and brown sugar really helps with keeping the bars together. Chocolate chips added to the mixture help, too. We add some to the granola mixture while it is still warm.

What is the difference between granola and granola bar? ›

It seems like the ingredients are similar, but for bars you'd use more sugar, and also lay out the oats in a thicker layer without stirring.

How do you soften granola bars? ›

General Mills told Bloomer that eaters could try warming the bars up in the microwave to soften them first (but take them out of the package first). This seems to work, according to one test video, but it turned out the tester preferred the taste of the crunchy, crumbly version to the less messy one.

What happened to Quaker chewy granola bars? ›

The recall affects certain varieties of Quaker cereals, such as Oatmeal Squares, Chewy granola bars, Cap'n Crunch products and more. The Quaker Oats Company issued a recall in late 2023 and has added more products to its recall list in 2024 due to a risk of contamination with salmonella.

How do I get my homemade granola bars to stick together? ›

Honey – Along with the nut butter, it helps all these ingredients stick together! I love its warm amber flavor in this recipe. Vanilla extract – It amps up the bars' warm flavor.

Should you soak oats before making granola bars? ›

Fill the bowl up with water to completely cover the mixture – enough that you can stir to combine. This soaking process will help the oats and seeds digest better. After the oat/seed mixture has soaked 8-12 hours, add the rest of the ingredients and combine.

Why does my homemade granola not stick together? ›

Make sure that whichever granola recipe you use, it calls for some liquid, typically oil of some kind (I recommend olive oil for a subtle earthy, floral flavor, or melted unrefined coconut oil for subtly coconutty flavor). The liquid will help the chia seeds to gel, ensuring the granola sticks together.

Does homemade granola harden as it cools? ›

NOTE: The granola will clump and harden while cooling - not during baking. Allow to cool before stirring in the raisins, cranberries, or craisins. If stored in an airtight container, your granola could last for 2 weeks.

How do you make granola taste better? ›

Use yogurt and cream cheese as your base, then add fruit like kiwi, banana, orange and frozen berries. A bit of honey and cinnamon rounds out the flavors and excites the taste buds! If you're in a hurry, you can also try this Maple Sea Salt Granola Parfait, which calls for just two ingredients!

Why is my homemade granola dry? ›

You need fat. If you're not using some type of fat to make granola, you're going to have a pile of dry oats. We use olive oil at Marge, and it gives the granola a toasty quality I really love.

How do you tamp granola? ›

Get as clumpy as you like.

First, press the granola into an even layer before you put it in the oven. Then, stir it only once halfway through cooking. For really good clumps, press down on the finished granola before it cools and avoid jostling it on the pan until cooled completely.

How do you package homemade granola for gifts? ›

If you want to give the granola as a little side gift, then use smaller jars. But if you want it to be the main attraction, get a nice sized one. Create a label and attach it with tape or twine. You can really make it personal by adding their name to the label or add some sweet message for them.

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