Years ago, before I started developing my own recipes, I was never able to find a good granola bar that didn’t use sugar. When making this one, I was looking for the following qualities: relatively cheap ingredients, no refined sugar, chewy, and won’t fall apart.
These cranberry chocolate chip granola bars fit the bill. They’re dense and packed with healthier ingredients. They stick together. It’s a good texture. They’re mildly fruity and sweet, but not sickly. They look nice. They’re the ultimate one-bowl granola bars.
While these aren’t sugar-free, they have less than the average grocery store granola bar, and you can really control what’s going into them. The sugar is also partly balanced by lots of fibre from the oats and seeds.
For a similar recipe, try my peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars – they’re a bit softer but also oat and oat flour based.
Why You Should Try This Recipe
These have been our go-to granola bars for about a decade now, and I make them all the time. They were a perfect university snack (years ago!) and we always take a batch camping.
- Flexible add-ins: use different seeds or dried fruit, leave out the chocolate, and so on. See more about this below.
- They’re probably less expensive than store bought: or at least you can make them that way! With basic ingredients like oats and honey, the more expensive additions can be changed to be budget friendly.
- It’s a good basic snack: good for hiking, camping, or just to have on hand for a daytime snack, these are filled with energising ingredients like whole-grain oats.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Oats: rolled oats, not steel cut. Quick-cook might work but I haven’t tried it. Use certified gluten-free oats and oat flour if necessary.
- Add-ins: sub raisins or other dried fruit for cranberries and use only sunflower seeds for a less pricey variation. Chocolate is optional.
- Chia: ground flax, in an equal amount, can be substituted for the chia seeds.
- Coconut oil: I don’t recommend switching out the coconut oil, as it’s needed to help solidify the bars once they cool.
- Honey: to make the recipe fully vegan, use a sticky syrup like coconut.
Step by Step
1. Mix wet ingredients: in a large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until well combined.
2. Add dry ingredients: add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix very well.
3. Press into a tin: use damp hands or the back of a soup spoon to press into an even layer.
4. Bake: for about 30 minutes, or until lightly golden.
These are baked in a 20cm (8-inch) square pan. It makes for fairly thick and chewy granola bars. To use a larger pan, you’ll have to reduce the baking time, so watch for the slight golden outer edges. I would reduce the time by at least five minutes for thinner bars.
The original recipe used dates and blended the wet ingredients in a food processor. I’ve re-tested and chose honey as it’s more accessible and I know many of you don’t have extra machines in the kitchen. If you want to use dates, though, you can – it’s 150g soft dates and then blend with the milk and oil before adding the dry ingredients. See these carrot granola bars for a fruit-sweetened recipe.
How to Store
Storage: I recommend keeping these in the refrigerator or other cool place so that the coconut oil stays solid. Keep in a sealed container for at least a week.
Freezing: simply place the bars in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw when needed.
- Don’t make unlisted substitutions: almond flour and coconut flour are the top suspects. They doesn’t absorb liquid at the same rate as oat flour, and will make for crumbly bars.
- Cool fully before slicing: refrigerate to chill completely before cutting the bars. Because there are so many additions, they tend to crumble if they’re warm when sliced.
- Check oven temperature: if you’re following the recipe to a tee (no substitutions, same size pan) and the bars don’t turn out, your oven might be to blame. Lots of ovens run 10-20°C off temperature which can cause baking issues – a small thermometer will help.
More Gluten-Free Snacks
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Chewy Granola Bars
- 130 grams honey (use coconut syrup if vegan)
- 80 grams coconut oil soft, or melted
- 50 ml oat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 220 grams rolled oats
- 30 grams oat flour
- 100 grams dried cranberries
- 100 grams dark chocolate chips mini if possible
- 75 grams sunflower seeds
- 75 grams pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 50 grams chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) and line a 20cm (8-inch) square baking tin with parchment paper.
- Add the honey, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined.130 grams honey, 80 grams coconut oil, 50 ml oat milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the oats, oat flour, cranberries, chocolate chips, sunflower, pumpkin, and chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl.220 grams rolled oats, 30 grams oat flour, 100 grams dried cranberries, 100 grams dark chocolate chips, 75 grams sunflower seeds, 75 grams pumpkin seeds, 50 grams chia seeds, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix very well, until the dry ingredients are well mixed and everything has been incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking tin. Press down firmly, using a lightly dampended hand, to make an even layer.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool fully at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to chill before slicing.
- Store in the refrigerator or freezer. The bars are best kept cool.