With just 5 simple and nutritious ingredients and no baking, these Fruit and Nut Bars taste like store-bought Larabars but for less cost. You can customize the flavors, adjust for allergies, and store them in the fridge or freezer for weeks.

Fruit and nut bars cut on parchment paper.

Fruit and Nut Bars

Larabars have forever been one of my go-to toddler snacks, but since they stopped making the mini ones that were a perfect size for kids (and because they can be expensive), I started making this recipe. And while I don’t exclusively make homemade snacks—we still do buy healthy snacks for kids, including bars—this has been an easy option to have in the mix. I love that I can buy the ingredients and stash the bars in the fridge for filling snacks for weeks.

(When you buy the ingredients, know that they will make at least two batches of these, so keep them in the pantry until you’re ready to make the recipe again. Or you can make these No-Bake Chocolate Balls, which have similar ingredients.)

These fruit and nut bars are a great preschool snack (there’s a nut-free option if needed), a great after school snack, and are also wonderful as a pregnancy snack. My whole family enjoys them!

(You may also like Healthy Breakfast Bars, Peach Crumb Bars, and Date Bars with Blueberries.)

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Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at the ingredients you need to have on hand to make this easy snack idea to share with the kids.

ingredients in fruit and nut bars.
  • Cashews or almonds: You can use either of these as the base of the fruit and nut bars. Either raw or roasted and unsalted work. If you want or need to make them nut-free, use roasted sunflower seeds.
  • Pitted dates: Fresh dates, either the Medjool or Deglet Noir variety, work here to help hold the bars together. They are typically sold in the refrigerated aisle near the produce.
  • Dried fruit: Dried cherries, dried apples, dried apricots, raisins, or prunes all work here as flavor options. Do one flavor or a combination.
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut: A little bit of coconut adds flavor and helps the bars have a little structure.
  • Rolled oats: Old-fashioned oats helps the bars have a little structure so they are easy to slice and pick up to eat.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Below is an overview of this fruit and nut bars recipe so you know what to expect. Scroll to the end of the post for the details on amounts and timing.

how to make fruit and nut bars in grid of four images.
  1. Place the cashews into a medium bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit to soften. Drain. (This helps the nuts soften enough to grind into the batter.)
  2. Add the drained nuts to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Grind into a batter, starting on low and working up to high. (You will likely need to let the machine run for about a minute until the batter starts to hold together like cookie dough.) Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed to help the mixture move thoroughly.
  4. Press into a silicone mold (I use a 1 cup Souper Cube) or an 8×8-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate briefly, then slice into bars.
sliced fruit and nut bars on cutting board.

How to Store

Store Fruit and Nut Bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month, either wrapped individually in plastic wrap or separated with parchment paper. You can also freeze for up to 6 months. These are best if stored in the fridge but hold up fine at room temperature to take them on the go. (I usually pack with an ice pack if we’ll be out for many hours in the heat, though.)

Fruit and nut bars wrapped individually in plastic wrap.

Best Tips for Success

  • When you start the fruit and nut bar mixture in the food processor, it will seem like it’s not going to work. Let the machine keep running, as it can take about a minute before the mixture will start to naturally hold together like cookie dough.
  • Use all coconut or all oatmeal, as you like.
  • Use roasted sunflower seeds instead of the nuts to make these a nut-free snack. You can skip the soaking step, or soak for just 5 minutes.
  • Use one dried fruit or a mix of them.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons cocoa powder to make a chocolate version of the Fruit and Nut Bars.
  • Dice up as a nutritious baby snack.

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Fruit and nut bars cut on parchment paper.

Fruit and Nut Bars (Copycat Larabar)

With just 5 simple and nutritious ingredients and no baking, these Fruit and Nut Bars taste like store-bought Larabars but for less cost. You can customize the flavors and store them in the fridge or freezer for weeks.
5 from 23 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Snack
Calories 150kcal
Servings 16 (Makes about 16 bars)

Ingredients

  • cup cashews or almonds (raw or roasted and unsalted)
  • ½ cup pitted dates (Medjool or Deglet Noir)
  • ½ cup dried cherries (or dried apples, apricots, raisins, or prunes)
  • 3 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
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Instructions

  • Place the cashews into a medium bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes. Drain. (This helps the nuts soften enough to grind into the batter.)
  • Add the drained nuts to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Grind into a batter, starting on low and working up to high. (You will likely need to let the machine run for about a minute until the batter starts to hold together like cookie dough.) Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed to help the mixture move thoroughly.
  • Press into a silicone mold (I use a 1-cup Souper Cube) or an 8×8-inch baking pan. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes, then slice into bars.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and store in a bag or store unwrapped bars in an airtight container.

Notes

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month. Freeze for up to 6 months.
  • These are best if stored in the fridge rather than room temp.
  • When you start the mixture in the food processor, it will seem like it’s not going to work. Let the machine keep running, as it can take about a minute before the mixture will start to naturally hold together like cookie dough.
  • Use all coconut or all oatmeal, as you like.
  • Use roasted sunflower seeds instead of the nuts to make these a nut-free snack. You can skip the soaking step, or soak for just 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar, Calories: 150kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 153mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 180IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published May 2023.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So easy and delicious! I used raw cashews, dried apricots, and a tiny bit of freeze dried strawberries. My 2 year old absolutely loved them.

    I make your recipes for him all the time. Everything has been fantastic. So incredibly helpful for a busy but health-conscious mama. Thank you, Amy!!

  2. 5 stars
    I made these for my 12 month old for our 12h road trip. I needed something easy, mess free and nutritious that I could serve as a snack or breakfast. He absolutely LOVES these. I did dried apricot and strawberries and I loved them too.

    Thank you for this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe!Made it with cashew nuts, dates and dried apricots!Cant wait to try other dried fruit combos!Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    I have made these bars four different times in the past 2 months and my entire family absolutely loves them! I’ve used dried cherries, cranberries, blueberries, and a mix of all three. My kids (ages 5 and 8) devour them and the aren’t known for being “good” eaters. I love them as an afternoon snack working at my desk. I even pack them in my husband’s lunch. A huge WIN all around! THANK YOU!

    1. Dried pitted dates work, though it’s best if they are whole and not the tiny pieces which can be much firmer and harder to blend

  5. 5 stars
    These are so good, and my two year old twins love them! I’ve made this recipe three times in two weeks, they are delicious. I really like them as a snack too.

  6. 5 stars
    These were great! Thank you! My Cliff bar loving boys chowed them down. I tried with both almonds and cashews and the cashews definitely molded more easily and stayed together better, but I liked the almond flavor (personally). Love all your recipes! Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    I tried it by following these directions (no substitutions) and they turned out ok. They were a little on the oily side and had small pools on the top. Maybe it wad from the coconut? I plan to try them again but with dried fruit. Long story short, they were pretty good and we ate them all!

    1. Hi- what did you use if not dried fruit? I’ve not had the issue with oil but thanks for the feedback.

    1. I like using dried cherries, dried apples, or dried apricots with the dates. So each of them makes its own yummy flavor option.

    1. I don’t know that they would be as flavorful without another fruit in the mix but in theory all dates would work. Yes you can use a blender but it will work better if yours came with a stick to help move the mixture around.