Homemade Granola Bars are one of my best healthy snacks for kids. They’re super easy to make, require minimal added sweeteners, have a texture that even babies and younger toddlers can chew, and store SO well. And you can make them allergy-friendly as needed too!
Healthy Homemade Granola Bars
My homemade granola bars for kids are loaded with nutritious ingredients and minimal sweeteners, so they’re a great snack for kids. Plus, they are soft enough for little eaters to safely eat at breakfast or snack time but they hold together well. I made these regularly when my middle child was one—she loved nibbling them!
TIP: This recipe is super streamlined for busy parents. And also tastes great so everyone in the family can enjoy them.
Peanut Butter Granola Bar Recipe
There’s a subtle peanut butter flavor in this healthy bar recipe, though you can trade in almond butter or sunflower seed butter if you prefer. The nut or seed butter adds healthy fats, which help this bar satisfy those little bellies longer.
Ingredients in Homemade Granola Bars
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Rolled oats
- Shredded unsweetened coconut
- Flour (you can use gluten-free flour if needed)
- Chia seeds
- Nut or seed butter
These have a texture that’s similar to Ella’s Nibbly Bars, which are a classic toddler snack, but are much more affordable—and I love that they’re such a good source of balanced energy from whole grains and healthy fats.
What makes the granola bars stick together?
The combination of the honey and nut or seed butter helps these healthy bars hold their shape.
How to Make Homemade Granola Bars Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the easy process involved in making this granola bar recipe.
- Gather your ingredients. (photo 1)
- Add to a food processor. Grind until the mixture starts to hold together. You’ll see it pull together and you can also check it by squeezing a bit between your fingers. Add a little more water if it’s not sticky enough to press and hold together. (photo 2)
- Pour the batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, press flat, and score pieces with a knife.
- Bake! Let cool! Eat!
TIP: Scoring the batter before you bake it make it very easy to break them into squares once baked.
Can I make these without chia seeds?
Sure! See the variation at the bottom that calls for omitting them and slightly increasing the nut butter. This keeps a good amount of healthy fats to ensure that the bars hold together and that the kids get a nicely balanced snack.
Gluten-Free Granola Bars
These bars are naturally egg-free and dairy-free. They’re also easy to make gluten-free by choosing gluten-free oats and a gluten-free flour blend. I love that I can make a batch of these for a fraction of the price of packaged ones—and that I know exactly what’s inside them.
How long do these healthy granola bars last?
I store our homemade granola bars in the fridge (because I like them cold) in an airtight container and serve them up until we run out.
- In the fridge in an airtight container, they’ll stay fresh for about two weeks.
- At room temperature in an airtight container, they’ll last about 1 week.
- In the freezer, you can place cooled bars in a sealed zip top freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
Can I freeze granola bars?
Yes, this granola bar recipe freezes really well. Simply let them cool and place into a zip top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature, or directly in a lunchbox.
What makes this granola bar “healthy”?
This healthy granola bar gets its nutrition from the complex carbohydrates in the oats, the healthy fats and fiber from the chia seeds, fats and protein from nut butter, and minimal added sugars. I love knowing exactly what’s in these bars and providing a healthy snack that’s great any time of the day.
Can I make this recipe into Chocolate Chip Granola Bars?
If you’re feeling fancy, you can press chocolate chips into the top before you bake them, or even add 1/4 cup cut up raisins or dried cherries to the batter before rolling it out. It’s a pretty versatile batter!
Can I add fruit or veggie to this recipe?
I’m so happy that a reader suggested this because it works so well to use a fruit or veggie puree instead of water in the original recipe! I’ve tried making Applesauce Granola Bars, Banana Granola Bars, and Pumpkin Granola Bars. Here’s a list of produce that I think would work well: Mashed banana or banana puree, pumpkin puree, applesauce, butternut squash puree, and sweet potato puree. See the notes in the recipe for specifics.
Tips for Making the Best Homemade Granola Bars
- For kids under one, you can substitute brown rice syrup for the honey. You can also try using applesauce.
- To make these without coconut, omit and use additional oats.
- To make these without chia seeds, omit and increase the nut butter to 1/4 cup.
- To make this without a food processor, use quick or instant oats and stir everything together. (Or grind the oats and coconut in a blender, then stir the ingredients together in a bowl)
- Add chocolate chips to this recipe by pressing a few into the top of the rolled out batter just before baking.
- Use room temperature honey and nut or seed butter to make the batter come together easily, or warm them briefly.
- Wet your fingers or use a piece of parchment to press the batter down if it’s sticking to your hands.
I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe so please comment below to share!Print
We like to have these granola bars as a snack or toddler breakfast with milk or a smoothie—and they’re an excellent lunch box component too. Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Warm the honey and peanut butter for about 15 seconds if not stored at room temperature.
- Place the oats and coconut into the bowl of a food processor and blitz to grind into a coarse texture (like quick oats).
- Add the remaining ingredients, including the peanut butter and honey, and blend well.
- Add 1/4 cup water and blend until batter comes together like thick cookie dough. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides once or twice to get things fully incorporated. You should be able to press the batter together between your fingers and have it stick together. If it doesn’t, add a bit more water.
- Place batter onto the center of the prepared baking sheet and use your hands to press thin, about 1/4-1/2-inch thick and about 8×8-inches big. I measure roughly using an 8×8-inch baking pan. (You can also roll out the dough—just cover it with a piece of parchment paper first to make sure it’s easy to do.) Use a knife to lightly score lines for squares in whatever size you like.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool completely on the pan.
- Break into squares and serve.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge or a week at room temperature. To freeze, place cooled bars in a sealed zip top freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
*For kids under one, you can substitute brown rice syrup for the honey. You can also try using applesauce.
To make these with a fruit or a veggie, omit the water in Step 4. Add 1/4 cup mashed recipe banana or banana puree, pumpkin puree, applesauce, butternut squash puree, OR sweet potato puree. Proceed with the recipe as directed, though know you may need to bake up to an additional 10 minutes. Look for the edges to start turning golden brown. It just seems to take a little longer when you add a puree.
To make these without coconut, omit and use additional oats.
To make these without chia seeds, omit and increase the nut butter to 1/4 cup. Or use ground flaxseeds.
Add chocolate chips to this recipe by pressing a few into the top of the rolled out batter just before baking.
Use room temperature honey and nut or seed butter to make the batter come together easily, or warm them briefly.
Wet your fingers or use a piece of parchment to press the batter down if it’s sticking to your hands.