Homemade Granola Bars

by Kristen on June 11, 2009 · 47 comments

in Cheaper than store-bought, DIY, Grocery Savings, Recipes, Snacks

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A couple of years ago I found this recipe on All Recipes, and I made these bars regularly. For some reason, though, I kind of got out of the habit. I dusted the recipe off lately, though, and my family is very pleased.

Some granola bar recipes employ a method similar to the one used to make Rice Krispie bars, where you make a syrup, pour it over oatmeal and some other ingredients, press the mixture into a pan, and let it cool. This is not such a recipe…instead, this is more similar to the way you make muffins or cookies. You mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, combine them, spread them into a pan, and bake them. The resulting granola bars are dense and somewhat chewy, which is how we like them.

It’s possible that you could buy packaged granola bars for less than what these would cost, but I really prefer to make my own for several reasons.

First, by making my own, I have complete control over what I put into them. There’s no high fructose corn syrup in these, no fillers, and no preservatives. I can pronounce every single ingredient. If I want to use whole wheat flour, instead of white flour, I can.

Another advantage to this control is that if you have a large enough budget to buy organic ingredients, you can easily make an organic version, and from what I’ve seen, organic homemade granola bars are a lot cheaper than organic purchased granola bars.

Secondly, these require a lot less packaging than commercial bars do. Almost every ingredient they require is available in a recyclable container, and once the bars are baked, I store them in reusable containers. I even use a little glass container when I pack a few in my husband’s lunch.

Purchased granola bars come in a recyclable box, but the packaging each bar is wrapped in is not recyclable, at least in my area. So, homemade granola bars are a more earth friendly option for us.

Homemade Granola Bars

Four notes:

  • These freeze nicely, so sometimes I bake two batches, one chocolate chip and one cinnamon-raisin, and freeze some of them.
  • The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar, which is overkill in my estimation, especially with the 1/2 cup of honey. I’ve used as little as 1/4 cup and have still come away with family pleasing results. I’ll probably try it without any brown sugar at all next time.
  • Whole wheat flour can be substituted for the white flour. I don’t usually do that when I’m making a chocolate chip version, but it works nicely with the raisin type. A 50/50 mix of white and wheat is a good option too.
  • If you want to make a chocolate version, leave out the cinnamon, and substitute chocolate chips for the raisins. Mini chips work really well, but in my area they’re more expensive then regular chips, so I use the normal size.

Ingredients

    2 cups quick cooking oats
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar(as mentioned, I use 1/4 cup instead)
    3/4 cup raisins
    1/2 cup wheat germ(I usually leave this out, because I don’t usually have it around!)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup chopped English walnuts(I don’t usually put these in)

    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup honey
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1) Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, raisins, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl, making sure to beat the brown sugar lumps into submission.

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Of if you’re making chocolate chip bars, you’ll leave the raisins and cinnamon out, and use chocolate chips.

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2) Combine egg, oil, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl.

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When I’m mixing something like this, I love to use my hand beaters. They cost only a few dollars, require no electricity to operate, and they do a bang-up job of mixing liquid ingredients for muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and of course, granola bars.

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See? Less than a minute, and I’m done.

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3) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients,

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mix it all up, and dump it into a greased 9×13 inch pan. Using a greased spatula, or a wet spoon, spread it into an even layer.

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You will seriously start to think that there is not enough to go around, but if you keep patiently spreading, it will all work out.

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4) Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool pan on a wire rack, and when it’s all cooled off, you can cut it into whatever size bars you like. Since I’m not very good at this, mine are usually of varying shapes and sizes.

Enjoy!

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Leave a Comment

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kiwi Chick June 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Oh yay! This looks like the recipe I have been after for ages. Dense and chewy is what I want. Every other recipe I have tried has resulted in crunchy, brittle, dry bars. Thanks!

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2 EngineerMom June 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Your timing is perfect! I’ve been considering making my own chocolate chip granola bars because I keep buying the Quaker ones they sell at work (50 cents per bar!) for a little pick-me-up in the afternoon. These would be so much better!

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3 Kalee June 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for sharing! These look fantastic and will be something I can make to keep on hand. They’ll do for something sweet for us without being too sweet.

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4 Kath June 11, 2009 at 5:30 pm

What a simple recipe! I have all these ingredients on hand so I think I’ll give these a try the next day or so. My oldest son and I love granola bars but I hate to buy them prepackaged as you mentioned because of all the extra stuff they add. Can’t wait to try these!

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5 WilliamB June 11, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I keep granola bars at work for a relatively-healthy snack that won’t go bad. I’d like to try these, but how long can I make them last? I have a file cabinet drawer and a cube fridge with what passes for an in-fridge freezer.

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6 One Frugal Girl June 11, 2009 at 9:58 pm

These look amazingly scrumptious! I must admit that I usually just buy granola bars off the shelf, but with this easy recipe I am definitely tempted to make them myself. Just for kicks do you have any idea how much it costs you to make them?

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7 Kristen June 12, 2009 at 6:48 am

William, I’ve kept them out on the counter for at least a week with no problems. Honey is a good preservative, so that may be why they stay fresh for a while.

If that’s not long enough for you, could you make a batch, freeze them, and then bring a few with you to work every couple of days?

One Frugal Girl, I figured it out a few years ago with the price of organic ingredients, but I haven’t calculated it recently. I really should, and I promise I will post the results if I get around to the calculations.

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8 Christine @ becomingp31 June 12, 2009 at 11:13 am

Thanks for the recipe! I love making things like this for the kids lunches! They would be good with peanuts and peanut butter chips too, or chocolate chips with almonds – can you tell I love to bake and fiddle with recipes??? I think I will back up a batch (or two) this afternoon!

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9 Cate June 12, 2009 at 1:05 pm

These look delicious! I have a recipe for granola bars that’s more crunchy, and while it’s a very good recipe, it’s nice to see one for chewier bars…I’ll definitely have to try this soon!

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10 Maggie C June 12, 2009 at 1:09 pm

THANK YOU! I have another recipe (which is WAY too much work) that is actually on my to do list for Saturday but I am going to try these instead – look much easier. Thanks again!

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11 sarah June 12, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I love that you modify the recipes to what you have on hand at home! I do that too! Thanks for the great recipe. I think I’ll make the granola bars this weekend.

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12 Laila June 13, 2009 at 4:58 am

Looks absolutely delicious .. Laila ..http://lailablogs.com/

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13 Desirae June 13, 2009 at 9:46 am

Oh yum! I’m so excited about this recipe (and already have thought of different ideas for ingredients- dried cranberries and cherries anyone?) esp since the boys start school this fall…. I know. It’s killing me.
Thanks for sharing Kristen!

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14 Tanya June 13, 2009 at 2:00 pm

I have these in the oven right now. Like Cate I have been making crunchy granola bars and I am excited to make this recipe. I used chocolate chips and I had slivered almonds in the freezer. I can’t wait till the timer goes off! Thanks for the recipe.

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15 Bethany June 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm

YUM!!!! I’m eating one right this second. They are sooo good. I made one batch of cinnamon/raisin and one with swirl chips (peanut butter and chocoate). They are sooo good. Much better than the store bought ones. Plus, these you can make whatever flavors you want. YUM!!!

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16 Cindy June 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm

oh my goodness the choc chips ones are gooood! i just made a batch and i kept checking on them cause they smelled oh so good while baking in the oven. My kids and I go through a box of store-bought granola bars every three days or so, these are so much better (and healthier for sure) Thanks!!

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17 sarah June 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I made these last night and they were yummy! I didn’t add raisins or chocolate chips, but I did add almonds. Thanks again for the great recipe!

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18 Judy September 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm

a little late to the game … but with school snacks started and needed. I was just wondering if I could find coupons for such bars … but now … way cool! not needed. I will just make them!!! can’t wait to do the project tomorrow.

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19 Rachel February 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Yay! Thanks! I’ve been looking for some quick things to bring to school with me for lunch – I don’t always have breaks between classes to run to a microwave to warm up leftovers, but four or five hours without any snacks at all gets me hungry and distracted.

This will definitely be put to good use. :)

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20 Andrea March 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Made these and they taste yummy but look more like a cookie bar then a granola texture – any ideas what I did wrong? I didn’t stray from your recipe at all.

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21 Kristen March 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Yep, they’re sort of a chewy cookie-like texture. There are granola bar recipes out there that are more like what you’re thinking of…usually they involve melting fat/sugar together, pouring it over the dry ingredients, and pressing the ingredients into a pan (sort of like how you made Rice Krispy bars). I haven’t found a recipe of that sort that I love yet, but when I do, I’ll share it!

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22 Leanne March 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

These look fantastic! I’m going to try adding some flax seed in place of the wheat germ. I add it to a lot of things, including muffins and pancakes.

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23 MsSunshineGal March 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm

This recipe is so easy to make, I was amazed at how quickly I put them together. I made a double batch (one cinn. raisin and one choc. chip), this will be a great snack to eat at work when I need something sweet and so much cheaper than buying them at the store. I only had to but the oats and honey to put this together, since I already had everything else at home.

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24 Barbe March 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I made these yesterday and they are delicious! I can’t find my old recipe, but this is a keeper!

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25 Krystal May 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Do you think I can used old fashioned oats? That’s all I have on hand and I need to make these for hubby.

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26 LC January 27, 2013 at 11:18 am

That’s what I used and they came out great. I used 1/2 c brown sugar based on the recommendation to cut from the 3/4 and even my picky kids who like sweet snacks were happy.

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27 TANYA July 14, 2010 at 11:36 am

These look yummy. Will have to try them out. I like the chewy softer texture too. Sounds soo simple to make too. Thanks for sharing this and all the others you do. It is very helpful to know that you don’t have to rely on someone else making you good food. I am very much a fan of your blog. Great job.

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28 NM November 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I’ve made these several times and am very pleased! They make a great afterschool snack and make the house smell wonderful. Thanks for the recommendation and the pictures… they are really helpful.

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29 Nora Muse February 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Love the website a friend told me about it. Can’t wait to read more into it. Also can’t wait to make the granola bars my family love the Quaker oats one’s so they should love these.

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30 danielle May 22, 2011 at 11:21 am

thank you so much these were great!! for my science project now i think i’m gonna make granola bars mroe often

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31 Monica November 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm

How many dose this recipe make I want to do this with my kindergarten class do you think this would be ok

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32 Kristen November 17, 2011 at 8:22 pm

That depends how big you cut them…it makes a 9×13 pan full, though. :)

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33 Celina May 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I made 4 batches of these granola bars in my 9×13 pan and I got about 60 granola bars out of them. I cut them about the size or a hair smaller than the in store brand granola bars and I can get about 15 bars out of each pan. Hope this helps!

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34 Becky January 9, 2012 at 11:36 am

I just made these bars this weekend. They are so good. I used chocolate chips and substituted coconut oil for the veg oil. Very good flavor. Thanks!

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35 Kris C. January 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm

My five-year-old just helped me make these the other day – a huge hit in our house! I will now be making these regularly instead of buying granola bars for lunch snacks – hooray! My husband loved them, too, and I have already raved about the recipe to my friends.

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36 Diane April 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I have tried a few recipes but most come out too soft to even hold. My older son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, soy flour and soy protein so pretty much anything on the shelves as far as granola bars go is out of the question. I only found one store brand product when I lived in NJ that he was able to eat but here in upstate NY there’s nothing. Thanks for sharing this recipe. He’s actually been asking me to make some this week. If I have time tonight, I’m going to give it a shot. I think I have most of the ingredients… except honey. But that’s easy enough to pick up here (not to mention, during the summer/fall my brother has his own hives and an abundance of honey he happily shares with us.) :)

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37 Diane May 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm

These were super simple to make and they taste amazing!!! My son has been asking me to make granola bars lately and then I saw your post. Convenient timing. :) He loves granola bars but can’t eat 99% of the ones off the shelves because he has peanut, soy and tree nut allergies. He LOVES these and after making a batch Tuesday, I already have to make another. I love your site and the home made recipes you have on here. My son’s allergies got so bad at one point that I had to learn how to make my own Oreos. He ended up liking mine more than the store kind. His sensitivities change – go through ups and downs – so I haven’t made them in a while, but the granola bars are a definite keeper!!! Thanks!!!

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38 Celina May 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm

These are the best granola bars! My son and my husband are in love with them! I have made them for my husband so he can take them to work, and I have made them for my son’s school lunches! I made two batches of each kind above and froze them! Can’t wait to try making maybe some cranberry, strawberry, or blueberry granola bars! My local store has a bulk section with these dry goods so I can not wait to try them! YUM! Thanks for a wonderful recipe and God Bless!

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39 Ania January 3, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I have to say these where a hit with my household! Better then store bought n less packaging as well! The aroma filled our house nicely on a cold winters day! can’t wait to try other variations including with superseeds! also very economical n nutritious! Happy New Year 13′

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40 Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl April 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

I was looking for a Quaker esque granola recipe as they are getting more and more expensive in stores. Thanks for sharing!

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41 LC April 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I love these. Making them is just as addictive as eating them. Only issue I’ve had is that when I add the wheat germ, it’s a little too dry.

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42 Joanne November 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I just made these, added almond flavour.. they are amazing. They are still cooling and then I will be adding them to the homemade treats in the freezer for kids lunches. Thanks so much.

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43 Megan February 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I love these! I made the cinn raisin ones and used 1/4 c brown sugar and 1/4 c coconut sugar. They were perfectly sweet and all of my kids and friends loved them! Thank you!!

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