Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars

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Batch of Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars on a parchment-lined cutting board

John and I kind of have a thing for granola bars. It started when we discovered the glory that is Trader Joe’s Apple (Pie) Bars. Then, we got into more basic versions with rolled oats. But somewhere along the line we got suspicious of the ingredients – namely high fructose corn devil – and strayed away from them altogether.

However, sometimes you really just need a snack that has some serious staying power. And being that this is Minimalist Baker, you know I wanted something simple. Enter: The 5-Ingredient (No-Bake) Granola Bar. Things are getting seriously minimalist right now.

Spoonful of oats and bowl of dates
Toasting rolled oats on a baking sheet

How to Make Granola Bars

The base for these bars is dates – the natural sweetener supah powah. Then we add almonds, oats, peanut butter, and maple syrup (or honey or agave) and mix it all together!

That’s it. Just 5 ingredients, no baking involved (unless you want to toast the oats and almonds) and they’ll keep in the freezer for-ever (that is, if you can resist them for that long).

Oats, almonds, and peanut butter for making healthy granola bars
Pouring warm peanut butter honey mixture into dry ingredients

Substitutions

If you can’t jive with peanut butter simply swap in almond, sunflower or another nut/seed butter. To keep these vegan, stick with maple syrup or agave instead of honey. And to keep them gluten-free, use GF oats. Simple, customizable, delicious!

Stirring together ingredients for homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Baking pan and stack of simple healthy homemade granola bars

Speaking of delicious, these little guys are dreamy.

Simple flavors, wholesome ingredients, salty-sweet and lots of crunch. I made a batch last week and am already down to one-quarter of ONE bar. How I exercised the self control to save one quarter of a bar is beyond me. But by tomorrow it likely won’t be there, if I know myself at all.

Cutting board with a batch of our Healthy Granola Bars recipe

These really are the perfect bar for a hearty snack because they keep you full for hours and don’t provide a sugar overload. Plus, they pack in plenty of healthy fats from the almonds and peanut butter, and lots of fiber from the oats. Afternoon and mid-morning snack, solved.

Tall stack of our healthy granola bars

More Granola Bar Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Stack of homemade Granola Bars for delicious gluten-free vegan snacks

September 23, 2016: Video added and recipe updated to include slightly more dates so the bars stick together more easily. 

Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars

Healthy, no-bake granola bars with just 5 ingredients and a sweet, crunchy texture. Peanut butter and maple syrup complement each other perfectly in this ideal portable breakfast or snack.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Cascading stack of Vegan Granola Bars made with almonds and oats
4.82 from 648 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 10 (bars)
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup packed dates (pitted // deglet noor or medjool)*
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds (loosely chopped // see instructions for roasting nuts)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free for GF eaters)
  • Chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc. (optional additions)

Instructions

  • Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a "dough" like consistency. (Mine rolled into a ball.)
  • Optional step: Toast your oats (and almonds if raw) in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven for 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw – I prefer the toasted flavor.
  • Place oats, almonds and dates in a large mixing bowl – set aside.
  • Warm maple syrup (or agave or honey) and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
  • Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8-inch baking dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily. (A loaf pan might work, but will yield thicker bars // adjust size of pan if altering batch size).
  • Press down firmly until uniformly flattened – I use something flat, like a drinking glass, to press down and really pack the bars, which helps them hold together better.
  • Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars (or 9 squares // as original recipe is written). Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. I kept mine in the freezer to keep them extra fresh, but it isn’t necessary.

Video

Notes

*Although not ideal, if your dates don’t feel sticky and moist, you can soak them in water for 10 minutes then drain before processing. This will help them blend better and hold the bars together better. But ideally, you can find fresh, sticky moist dates.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with maple syrup and unsalted peanut butter.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 bar Calories: 231 Carbohydrates: 33.9 g Protein: 5.8 g Fat: 9.7 g Saturated Fat: 1.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.47 g Monounsaturated Fat: 5.45 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 30 mg Potassium: 332 mg Fiber: 4.4 g Sugar: 20.7 g Vitamin A: 33 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 61.72 mg Iron: 1.25 mg

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  1. MendoNana says

    Delicious! I toasted the almonds and oatmeal in a nonstick skillet, so it didn’t heat up the kitchen. I added sweetened dried cranberries for the optional dried fruit. I used crunchy peanut butter, because that’s what I had; it worked fine. This will be a classic recipe in my family!
    Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely! We’re so glad it will be on repeat in your kitchen. Thank you for sharing! xo

  2. SueJ says

    This was fabulous!!!! Way better than expectations (but I can be a cynic)! As at least one of the previous commenters did, I did mix up different dried fruits, because I didn’t have enough dates, to reach the total weight called for. Did the same with a mix of nuts/seeds to reach the amounts called for. Toasted all ingredients that were not already toasted. I did hesitate to list here what I specifically used other than specified in original recipe, because it seems to be discouraged by the site’s notes preceding the comments. I did include the 10 min. fruit soak and drain to ensure it was moist enough. I toasted the oatmeal as described. Used an 8 x 8″ pan. I have no doubt I will make these again and again!!! Thanks to the staff at Minimalist, and, honestly, thanks to the previous commenter who similarly did some substitutions, giving me the courage to do so myself, in order to make it without having to run to the market

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing, Sue! We’re so glad you had success with your modifications! xoxo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Barbara, we’re not sure what you mean. Would you mind clarifying what you mean by porridge? What type of grain? Is it cooked or uncooked?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Linda, Another reader reported cutting up the dates by hand and mixing vigorously. The granola bars might not hold together as well that way, but it could be worth a try! It’s also possible you could have success in a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix), but in our experience blenders struggle a bit with dates. Hope that helps!

  3. Suzanne says

    I’ve made these bars numerous times using various nut butters, various nuts and seeds and dried fruits. They’re always good. They make a great to go snack. I just keep them in the freezer. Best granola bar recipe I’ve tried.

  4. Billie Alexander says

    Second time making these. I’ve never had a filling granola bar before! I work as a farming apprentice and baker, so long demanding days both jobs. When I get hungry and need a snack this literally smashes cravings. Allergic to tree nuts so I sub Pepitas, and have been changing it up with different dried fruits for each batch. Also first lasted 3 weeks, super cost effective getting the ingredients from my co-op too.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad the granola bars have been helpful, Billie. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications!

  5. Kim L says

    These are delicious and perfect for hiking or traveling. I use rice syrup and have absolutely no issues with them sticking together.

  6. Karen says

    Does heating the honey not make it lose the parts that make it healthier? I’ve always seen not to heat up honey

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Karen, we have heard that about raw honey specifically. You could use another sweetener!

  7. Gretchen says

    I adapted these to bite size peanut balls to make it easier for me to have a small snack. I ground the dates, oatmeal, and almonds in the food processor. Then mixed the peanut butter and maple syrup as directed. Mix with ground ingredients. You may need to add a bit more of the peanut butter mixture to hold the ingredients together. Scoop into size desired. Squeeze into balls. I freeze on a plate and then store in a freezer container in the freezer. They can be thawed or eaten frozen if needed!

  8. Carole Leybourne says

    A lovely recipe to follow, thank you!
    I chose to go with half maple and half agave syrup.
    I didn’t have enough almonds so topped up with cashews and the nut butter I had was almond. I loved the flavour of the toasted oats and nuts.
    I chose to add a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds, the same of sunflower seeds and dried cherries, which brought a zing to the sweetness 😋
    An absolutely delicious nutty treat. Definitely healthier than shop bought as no ultra-processed ingredients 😋 Thanks again! 🙏🏻

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy the granola bars, Carole. Your modifications sound lovely. Thank you for sharing! xo

  9. Kelsey says

    These look great but question: are these really healthier than those in the store say from nature valley? Some of theirs for one bar say only 150 calories and 9g of sugar, but you are saying these have 230 calories and 20g of sugar?? That seems like a lot considering the store bought ones or maybe I should skip the snack altogether.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kelsey, unlike cane sugar, dates have fiber and naturally-occurring nutrients, so it’s not as simple as comparing grams of this vs. that. These granola bars are less processed and contain more wholesome ingredients than most store-bought bars and that will likely mean a higher nutrient content. That being said, what’s “healthy” is going to vary from person to person and goes beyond the scope of what we’re able to discuss here!

  10. Amy says

    If I wanted to make a 9×13 pan (because they are that good and we eat them FAST!) would you recommend just doubling the recipe???? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, that should work beautifully! We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Amy! xo

  11. Flora says

    I have never left a comment on a recipe blog post before but I just had to tell you that these granola bars are BANGING!
    I added white and milk chocolate chips and they are perfect. A lovely new addition to our food bag for our long hikes. Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Your additions sound extra delicious, Flora! Thanks so much for leaving a review! xo

  12. Kath says

    So good thank you! I swapped out the dates for dried apricots and the syrup for honey then added desiccated coconut and cacao nibs. Also added more peanut butter and honey than the recipe, until it all stuck together some more. They took a couple of days to firm up properly in the fridge with some jars on top to press down. They are the perfect breakfast snack, thanks for the great recipe :)

  13. Penny says

    I’ve made this twice. I have used a bag of dates. The first time the bar was very dry and fell apart into crumble. The second time Iused more dates and soaked them for 10mins. The bars are a lot moister but are still falling apart. Not sure how to make them ‘stick’ together

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Penny, sorry it’s giving you trouble! Is it possible you’re not pressing down firmly enough (see step 6)? What type of dates are you using?

  14. Kathryn says

    I made these yesterday and will be making them again soon. I added a bit of mixed fruit at the end but they would have been great even without it. I used a piece of greaseproof paper to stop the glass I was using to compact the bars from sticking to them. They are incredible. Everyone in the family even my picky teenage daughter keep eating them and I’ll be out getting more ingredients very soon.

    Next time I’ll make extra and put some in the freezer! A fantastic recipe !

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad the granola bars are a hit with the whole family. Thank you for sharing, Kathryn! xo

  15. Amber Wujcik says

    I would like to increase the protein content. Have you tried adding collagen or whey powder to the recipe (I know the collagen would make them no longer vegan)? Just curious if you think it would change the texture?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amber, that could work! Maybe start with slightly less oats in case the protein powder dries them out. Let us know how it goes!

  16. Jennifer Bishop says

    I’ve made these granola bars innumerable times. I use the recipe as written and add a little sea salt. I wrap them individually for ski snacks. It is an easy, great recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing! xo

  17. sha says

    Thank you so much for this recipe!

    I want to make it less sweet so I’m thinking of reducing the amount of dates and maple syrup, but I feel doing so would change the texture and it wouldn’t bind as well.

    Do you have any suggestions on what else I could add that could act as a binder
    ?
    Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sha, you’re 100% correct – they won’t bind as well. Maybe more nut butter would help?

      • Erika says

        I usually skip the maple syrup and add some water instead. It works very well! I think they are sweet enough without, however I use mazafati dates that are a bit sweeter and more moist than medjool.

  18. Steph says

    Hello, these look great. I’m wondering how they do outside of the fridge / freezer. I was thinking of making some to take on a long hall flight to keep me satisfied but if they become a gooey mess then they won’t be suitable. Excited to try them either way!

  19. Michelle Saunders says

    Tastes divine, sadly did not bind together… will have to use it as a cereal or overnight oats…. Gutted

  20. Kathy says

    I made a few modifications. I soaked the dates in boiling water for 15 minutes to soften and drained them. I also cut the almonds to 1/2 C and added one cup total of mixed hemp kernels, ground flax seed, pepitas and sunflower seeds. I rolled them into 1 1/2″ balls using some coconut oil on my hands to make that task easier. so delicious and filling!

  21. Mary says

    I’ve been looking for a granola bar recipe and this turned out great! I did add a little of the maple syrup to the dates in the processor to get them to blend. I also added chopped dried cherries and soaked and dried pumpkin seeds ( more crunch), and a couple tablespoons of melted cacao butter for richness and “glue”. And vanilla.
    Altogether a wonderful recipe – many thanks!

  22. lisa says

    These are so good! I made them last night with a few twists. I followed most of your recipe with the following changes… I added 1/4 c of golden raisins, 1/4c of dried cranberries, 1/4c of Pepitas, 1/2c of almonds, 1/2 c of hazelnuts, 1/4 c of coconut flakes and 1 tsp of vanilla. They turned out amazing! I cut them into snack sized bites and placed them in the freezer. They will make great snacks during Pickleball, after my weight workouts or anytime for that matter. Love your site. Cheers, Lisa

  23. Lynn says

    These turned out great! I made them as stated. Next time I’ll try adding other ingredients. I can always trust your recipes to turn out :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you have success with our recipes, Lynn! Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  24. Amanda says

    These are amazing! I’ve made them a bunch of times now. My boyfriend can’t get enough of them. They last him around 5 minutes!! So delicious and such a nice protein boost for a mid morning snack.
    Yum! I’m going to try a nutless version for my bf’s sons who have nut allergy. Using tahini and various seeds instead of the nuts. Hope it comes out as delicious.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Amanda. We are so glad you both enjoy them! Tahini and raw pumpkin/sunflower seeds should work :) Keep us posted!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Robin, perhaps another sweet, sticky dried fruit like apricots or prunes. They may not hold together quite as well though. Let us know if you try it!

  25. Aerin says

    Wow these are good. For the optional add ins I did banana chips crushed up, coconut flakes (toasted with the oats) and chocolate chips. They cut and held together well and are hearty. This whole blog has been really helpful for me navigating my daughters food allergies, it’s our go to site for baking recipes and never disappoints so I figure I should finally comment!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad it’s been helpful, Aerin! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! xoxo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mary, sorry they fell apart! Is it possible your dates weren’t sticky and moist? Did you try soaking them (see the notes section)? One other idea is to make sure you’re pressing them very firmly in step 6!