Homemade Granola Bars

These Homemade Granola Bars are perfect for lunch boxes and after school snacks.

Boxes of granola bars are so easy to purchase.  They’re right there in that snack aisle, packaged so nicely.  And there’s usually a brand or two on sale for a great price.  I admit to buying them all.  But every time my son reaches for one of those processed bars in our pantry, I feel a little twinge of guilt creeping across my shoulders.  I’m Recipe Girl, darn-it… I should be making that kind of stuff homemade!  I’m going to make a pact with myself right here and now that I will do my best to provide more healthy, unprocessed snacks for my family.

These granola bars are easy to make gluten free, they are dairy free too, and they also happen to be vegan.

Homemade Granola Bars with wrappers

How to Make Homemade Granola Bars:

You’ll be making these granola bars in the food processor- it’s so easy!  The recipe begins with something I never thought I’d eat in 5,842 years: Prunes. The prunes are softened in hot water and then pureed in the processor. They act as the binding for the rest of the ingredients. I bravely tasted a prune all.by.itself, and I LIKED IT. Who knew? Crazy that at my ripe old age, I just figured out that prunes aren’t all that bad.

Homemade Granola Bars

These Homemade Granola Bars are sweetened with maple syrup, molasses, and dried apricots, and they’re flavored with cinnamon, vanilla and a little sea salt.

Homemade Granola Bars in wrappers

There are nuts in this granola bar, but you get to choose which kind- walnut, pecan, or almond. And there are sunflower seeds too. All of these ingredients are mixed together with oats and baked for a short time.

My favorite version of this recipe is a Maple- Pecan Granola Bar. They’re a chewy sort of granola bar, rather than hard and crunchy. And the best part is… my kiddo likes them! No guilt on my part when he reaches for one of these to snack on. Completely healthy and homemade granola bars- yay!

The Pure Kitchen Cookbook

This recipe comes from a cookbook called The Pure Kitchen by Hallie Klecker.

The Pure Kitchen offers a unique but easy approach to fortifying your diet with whole, natural, pure foods. Included are 100 recipes free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Included in the book are tips on how to transition to a whole foods diet, a guide to stocking the pure kitchen, lessons in label-reading and tips for menu planning and picky eaters. Recipes I’m looking forward to trying in this cookbook: Herb & Heirloom Tomato Frittata, Flourless Banana- Nut Breakfast Cookies, Greek Chicken Meatballs with Creamy Tahini Sauce, Cumin- Scented Potato- Leek Soup, Shredded Balsamic- Beet & Kale Salad, Honey- Mustard Salmon w/ Lemon Herb Quinoa, Baked Chicken Thighs with Balsamic- Cherry Pan Sauce, and Lemon Bars with Oatmeal- Coconut Crust. There are lots of delicious-sounding dishes in this book, and I’m not even gluten free or  dairy free!

If you are always on the lookout for good after school snacks, you might enjoy my Frito Snack Mix or my S’Mores Granola Bars.  Pumpkin Pie Power Bars are super filling and delicious too.

Homemade Granola Bars

These Homemade Granola Bars are chewy and full of nuts and fruit.

Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill time 30 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Servings 12 bars
Calories 206 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds (or a combination)
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In a heat-safe bowl, cover the prunes with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes. Drain and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the syrup, molasses, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Process to form a thick paste, about 20 seconds (stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula). Add 2 cups of the oats and pulse 8 to 10 times, until the oats are coarsely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup oats, apricots, nuts and sunflower seeds.
  3. Using slightly dampened hands, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Cool the dish for 15 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to the freezer and chill until completely cooled (about 30 minutes). Cut into 10 or 12 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

  • *If you are preparing this recipe as gluten-free, just be sure to use brands of syrup, molasses, vanilla and oats that are known to be GF.
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Granola Bars
Amount Per Serving (1 bar)
Calories 206 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Potassium 327mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 33g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 15g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 6.2%
Vitamin C 0.2%
Calcium 4.2%
Iron 8.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Comments

  • David Coulson-Lowes wrote:

    So many granola recipes use lots of sugar rich binding ingredients, which makes using the fruit (prunes), a brilliant way to keep these bars what they should be – healthy!

  • Laura wrote:

    i just made these yesterday and added fresh cranberries–amazing!! they added a perfect zing. thanks for this recipe, i have been trying to find a healthy, chewy granola bar for ages.

  • Julie wrote:

    I just put mine in the oven! Peanut Butter and Jelly with raisins lol

  • Lori wrote:

    I just made these today! my boyfriend loves them and says they are better than his sisters lol………i added some crasins to them……..going to make a big batch…..thanks! your recipe rocks!

  • Alison wrote:

    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this. I’ve used prunes in a few things now…and I’m ashamed to admit that I kind of like them. lol! BTW, I love how you styled the photos. =)

  • Kristi Rimkus wrote:

    They pack so much sugar and preservatives in granola bars these days, you’re smart to make your own!

  • Jeff Tatem wrote:

    I love to make my own sushi and it is soooo much cheaper! For $10-$20 you can make about $100 worth of sushi and mix it up however you like (Bar-B-Q chicken, grilled steak and roasted pepper, or traditional tuna or salmon) it is a great activity for couples, make some sushi together, grab a bottle of wine and a good movie and you have an unforgettable date night. In the recipe above, would figs or raisins be a good substitute for prunes?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I would think you could sub raisins- not sure about figs… do they absorb water like raisins and prunes?

  • Christine Pagan wrote:

    I am so inspired by this recipe, I am going out to get a couple of things and I will be making these this afternoon.

  • Karen wrote:

    I have been making granola bars for a long time-they are so much better than the store bought versions. These sound yummy, will add these to the list of “to do’s” Thanks for the recipe!

  • Vanessa wrote:

    These look delish! I’ve tried so many times to make granola bars, but they never come out right. However, I plan to keep trying until I get them right.

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious wrote:

    Yum! Gorgeous bars, Lori. I’ve made several granola bar recipes but I haven’t used one that requires a food processor yet. Can’t wait to give this a try!

  • Katie wrote:

    What a great give away! I would love to do baking at home starting with dinner roles.

  • Susan wrote:

    These sound wonderful. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks for this gluten-free recipe!

  • Misty wrote:

    My husband just asked me to make granola bars today! I will try this recipe. I make a lot from scratch due to food allergies and we are all healthier because of it.

  • Gwen wrote:

    WOW! I have been looking for a yummy homemade chewy granola bar recipe!! Thank you!

  • Andi T. wrote:

    I make my own granola all the time. It’s so easy and I like being able to pick my own flavors…

  • Rachelle wrote:

    Homemade granola is so yum!!!! I love the idea of using prunes as a binding agent!