Make easy and delicious chewy chocolate chip granola bars that put store-bought bars to shame. Perfect for a sweet and salty portable snack with the classic chewy texture we all love. A tree nut-free and perfect pre-and post-workout snack in a healthy wholesome energy bite.
Healthy - no artificial flavor in these chewy bars like my Energy Snack Seed Bars with Tahini. Only natural flavor from whole grain oats or quick oats, raw honey, nut butter and dark mini chocolate chips. No brown sugar, chocolate liquor, or high fructose corn syrup like you might find in energy bars bought at your local grocery store.
Many pre-packaged snacks are loaded with refined sugar and fillers. Making your own no-bake chewy chocolate chip granola bars will ensure few nutrient-dense ingredients and no baking required for these healthy snacks.
Versatile - It's easy to make this wholesome snack your own. Use unsweetened cranberries or raisins instead of chocolate chips. Swap tree-nut free peanut butter for almond butter or other nut or seed butter. Use sunflower seeds, almonds or other tree nuts in place of seasame seeds. Just ensure your wet ingredients and dry ingredients ratios are the same.
If you love oats, try my 3-Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, Carrot Cake Oatmeal Nut Breakfast Bars and my Oatmeal Strawberry Crumble Bars (gf, nut free).
Granola bars can be a healthy ideal portable snack, even for those with a sweet tooth!
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Gluten free old fashioned rolled oats - adds a chewy texture to the bars. Oats are loaded with soluble fibre called beta glucan, which may reduce LDL total cholesterol, support a healthy microbiome and help balance blood sugar. For crunchier bars substitute with quick-cooking oats. Or pulse the rolled oats in a food processor for a few seconds to break down slightly for a crunchier bar.
- Crispy rice cereal - adds a little crunch. I use rice crisps, crisp rice, or brown rice crisp. These are puffed rice cereals without gluten, unlike rice krispies cereal which contain gluten and other additives.
- Sesame seeds - adds crunch and a healthy amount of protein, calcium, zinc and antioxidants. Swap for other seeds or chopped nuts like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or chopped almonds.
- Hemp hearts - are a nutrient-dense powerhouse. These tiny seeds contain high levels of protein, potassium, fibre, vitamin K and iron to power you through your day.
- Dark chocolate mini chips - are better than regular sized chocolate chips to help bind the ingredients together. Loaded with antioxidants, it's hard to pass up a sprinkling of chocolate in your bars. I prefer dark chocolate over semisweet chocolate chips. Dark chocolate has a greater amount of cocoa butter rather than nonfat dry milk or sugar of some form.
- Unsweetened shredded coconut - adds a nice texture and a mild coconut flavor.
- Sea salt - bumps up the taste and flavor of all the ingredients.
- Raw honey - helps to bind the ingredients, adds a little sweetness and boost of antioxidants. Swap with pure maple syrup though it may be less able to keep the bars from crumbling.
- Peanut butter - also helps to bind ingredients, and adds protein and healthy fats to the granola bars. Use organic store bought or make my homemade peanut butter recipe. Peanuts are great for tree-nut food allergies, otherwise swap with almond butter, sunflower seed butter or another nut butter or seed butter.
- Unrefined coconut oil - keeps the healthy granola bars from crumbling.
- Vanilla extract - enhances the flavor of the other ingredients and adds a subtle vanilla flavor.
See recipe card below for all ingredients and quantities.
Expert tips and variations
Press firmly - press the mixture firmly into an 8-inch baking pan to ensure that the bars hold together well. Place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap over the granola mixture in pan and use a mini rolling pin, mini cheese board, book or your hands to firmly press bars into place. This will prevent crumbling when cut.
Cool completely - allow the uncut bars to cool completely, set and harden in the fridge before cutting. Room temperature bars will soften and fall apart.
Store - bars are best stored in the fridge in an air-tight container with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between bars. Bars will keep for 1 week in fridge and 3 months in freezer.
How to make chocolate chip chewy granola bars
- Line a square 8-inch pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl or large bowl, mix together the oats, rice cereal, sesame seeds, hemp hearts, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut and sea salt.
- In a small pot over low heat, warm honey, peanut butter and coconut oil until just melted and mixed well. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Note: wet ingredients, not including vanilla extract, can be placed in a microwave safe bowl and heated in 10 second increments until slightly warmed and easy to mix together.
- Pour liquid honey mixture into bowl of oat mixture and mix until fully combined and there are no dry patches.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread out evenly. Place a square of parchment paper on top of the granola and press down to compact the mixture.
- Place dish in the fridge for 20-40 minutes or freezer for 10-15 minutes to allow the bars to set before slicing. Use a sharp knife to slice into 25 squares.
Chewy chocolate chip granola bars: FAQs
The raw honey and peanut butter work really well to bind the ingredients together. Make sure to follow the measurements in the recipe as they are balanced to have enough wet and dry ingredients to hold the bars together.
To keep your chocolate chip granola bars sticking together, make sure to weigh your ingredients for accuracy. Also, press the granola firmly in your pan to compress everything together. And finally, make sure to refrigerate your bars before and after you slice them. The cold will keep them firm and intact.
Yes, you can definitely swap in different seeds or nuts. You can also swap the peanut butter for another nut butter, tahini or sunbutter. The chocolate chips can be replaced with dried fruit like cherries, cranberries, blueberries or goji berries. Brown rice syrup is the perfect vegan swap for the honey. Just make sure to swap out for equal measurements so the bars hold together well.
It helps to add a square of unbleached parchment paper on top of granola in baking dish to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Press down with your hand, making sure to get into the corners. You can also use a mini rolling pin or jar to roll it flat and firm. Or, try a small cutting board or small book to press it down firmly.
Granola bars can be healthy or unhealthy depending on their ingredients. Many store-bought granola bars have a dizzying list of both good and not so good ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, palm kernel oil, added sugar, soybean oil, soy lecithin, calcium carbonate, barley malt, egg whites, corn starch, soy flour, rice flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, invert sugar, whey powder, and tapioca syrup. It can influence your daily values and purchase decisions as some ingredients look and are healthy.
However, many are packed with high sugar, bad fats and processed ingredients. On the other hand, homemade granola bars are made with wholesome ingredients natural sweetener and are sure to fit your daily diet.
More healthy granola bar recipes
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Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
- 1 8-inch square pan lined with parchment paper
- 1 small saucepan
- 1 cup gluten free old fashioned rolled oats (105 grams)
- 1 cup crispy rice cereal (50 grams)
- ¼ cup sesame seeds (35 grams)
- ¼ cup hemp hearts (35 grams)
- ¼ cup dark chocolate mini chips (45 grams)
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (20 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (1 gram)
- ⅓ cup raw honey (120 grams)
- ¼ cup smooth roasted peanut butter (60 grams)
- 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil (15 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 grams)
- Prepared dish: line a square 8-inch pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, laid each way to overlap all four sides of the pan.
- Mix: in a large bowl, mix together the oats, rice cereal, sesame seeds, hemp hearts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut and sea salt.
- Warm: in a small pot over low heat, warm the honey, peanut butter and coconut oil until just melted and mixed well together. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Combine: pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined and there are no dry patches.
- Prepare: pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Place a square of parchment paper on top of the granola and press down to compact the mixture. You can use a small rolling pin, board, or your hands to ensure the bars are tight and compact.
- Set: place the dish in the fridge for 20 minutes or the freezer for 10-15 minutes to allow the bars to set before slicing.
- Slice: with a sharp knife, slice the bars into 25 squares.
I love these squares! So delicious and nice to know they are a healthier option to the sugary protein bars you see in the store.