Simply the best peanut butter granola bars. A classic lunch box treat made from natural, whole food ingredients and no refined sugar.
Is there a snack food that floods you with memories of your childhood lunches? For me, it’s peanut butter granola bars.
When I was growing up, my mom didn’t allow sugary snacks, chips, or any other junk food in the house during the week. Sundays were designated “dessert” night when we would either pick up a treat from the grocery store bakery or bake something together. In school lunches, we were allowed very few kinds of processed snacks. Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Leather, and Fruit Roll-ups (are you seeing a trend here?) made regular appearances. But none were as prevalent as Quaker’s granola bars. I had two favourites: the classic chewy chocolate chip with the itsy-bitsy chips and the chocolate dipped peanut butter granola bars.
As anyone who’s gone through third grade will know, the chocolate dipped bars are one of the playground’s highest currencies; only the kids packing Dunkaroos could beat you to the best trades. Even then, if you had the combo of peanut butter and chocolate? You basically owned the recess snack game.
I was quite stingy with my peanut butter granola bars though – there wasn’t often a trade that could entice me. I would happily pass on wagon wheels and fruit gushers for the mouth-watering sensation of chewy peanut butter laced oats wrapped in a sweet milk chocolate coating. Those granola bars are probably the source of my peanut butter/chocolate addiction, but I’m not complaining!
Now when I bite into one of these homemade peanut butter granola bars, I’m reminded of elementary school recesses and finding folded up silver wrappers in my jacket pocket at the end of the day.
How to make homemade peanut butter granola bars
Thankfully, I can still enjoy the nostalgia of those Quaker Dips granola bars with this homemade recipe. Store-bought granola bars are often full of sugars and hydrogenated oils, and the ones that aren’t usually just taste like dates. (Sorry, but it’s true.)
These granola bars are incredibly easy to make and take absolutely no time, so they’re perfect for a Sunday meal prep session. Make a pan of these and you and the kids will have granola bars for the entire week.
There are only five steps to this easy peanut butter granola bars recipe:
- One: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Two: Melt the wet ingredients together over
heat and whisk to emulsify. a medium-low
- Three: Coat the dry ingredients thoroughly with the wet ingredients and pour into a pan.
- Four: Bake the bars for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Five: Drizzle with melted chocolate and top with a pinch of finishing salt, if desired.
This recipe uses unpasteurised honey as the sweetner, but you could likely use agave nectar if you want to give these bars a vegan twist. I haven’t tested it with agave nectar, though, so don’t quote me on it! If you give it a go, let me know how they turn out in the comments.
These peanut butter granola bars can also be made gluten-free – just make sure to check the packaging of your rolled oats and brown rice crisp cereal to be absolutely sure they weren’t contaminated.
I hope you love these peanut butter granola bars and that they give you a hit of childhood nostalgia. Let me know in the comments what lunch box treat brings you back the playground. I’d love to know!
If you make
The Best Peanut Butter Granola Bars
These peanut butter granola bars are a classic lunch box treat made from natural, whole food ingredients and no refined sugar.
- 180 g rolled oats gluten-free if needed
- 40 g brown rice crisp cereal gluten-free if needed
- 80 g roughly chopped peanuts
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 180 g smooth natural peanut butter
- 180 g unpasteurised honey
- 60 g unrefined coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 40 g dark chocolate optional
- ½ tsp unrefined coconut oil optional
- Flaked finishing sea salt optional
- Preheat the oven to 165°C (325°F) and grease and line an 8 x 8 inch baking tray with non-stick paper. It’s best to leave a bit of paper overhang on the sides for easy lift and removal of the cooked bars.
Tip the rolled oats, rice crisp cereal, peanuts, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Set aside
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, gently whisk together the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil until smooth, runny, and emulsified. Do not boil.
Once the wet ingredients are fully combined, remove the pan from the heat. Add the vanilla and whisk vigorously.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well to coat, making sure every bit of the dry ingredients is covered.
- Dump the coated oats into the prepared baking tray, smooth to the edges, and press down very firmly to seal in place.
Bake the bars for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges and top start to turn a deep golden brown. If the bars begin to brown too much, lightly cover them with a layer of foil. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool in the pan completely before removing.
- Once the bars have cooled, remove them from the pan and slice into 12 equal pieces.
- Optional: to make the chocolate drizzle, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl over a bain-marie. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the cut bars. Allow to harden slightly before topping with finishing salt and serving.
- These granola bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- I use Green & Black’s dark baking chocolate. It’s the only chocolate I can find that uses raw cane sugar instead of refined.