GF: Peanut Butter Granola Bar

Okay… I had no idea the email that would ensue after the mere mention of granola bars in my kitchen.

Really. Mark me clueless.

However, I probably shouldn’t have been. I searched far and wide for a granola bar that met my gluten-free lifestyle to no avail for many years. Granted I have now fallen in love with Mrs.May’s (especially the Cashew Crunch and the Fruit and Nut bars.  All Gluten free, of course as well as all natural… and yummy!).

Granola bars, however, are a bit different.
If I dare say, granola is a bit personal too.Some like it crunchy.
Others prefer chewy.

Some like coconut.
Others would rather climb a coconut tree than eat it in their granola.

Some love fruit.
Others prefer chocolate chips.

Some like it sweet.
Others prefer it salty.

I could go on here, huh? I won’t. I promise.

Instead, let me just tell you this. I prefer my granola to be somewhat chewy with a small hint of crunch (usually from a nut… but sometimes from the grain/cereal). I prefer my granola to be on the sweet side too.

And peanut butter? Oh dear me. My love of peanut butter is definitely genetic. I distinctly remember watching my dad dig a huge soup spoon into the peanut butter jar and extract the largest mound of peanut butter that could possibly fit and jam it into his mouth. This was followed quickly by a slight moan of delight and a sticky-gooey peanut butter smile across his lips.

Now, I have never gone so far as to fill my mouth with so much peanut butter that I could breathe (or smile…… DAD!). However, nothing does my upset tummy any better than a piece of toast smeared with a little peanut butter. I am my father’s daughter, after all.

When I finally got the courage to make granola 6 years ago, I realized how stinkin’ easy it really is. There is no secret – just a million variations. These variations sometimes overwhelmed me as I just wanted a simple recipe. So I made one up. What the heck, I thought, can screw it up too badly, huh?

And indeed, I didn’t. In fact, it’s become a staple around here. The variations come only as the ingredients wax and wane from my pantry shelves. Below you will find the basis for two types of granola bars (my on-the-go breakfast during the work week). However, please know that in recent weeks (months?), my fellow gluten-free bloggers have been making granola of their own. Play around with the recipes and you will most certainly come up with one you LOVE as well.

  • Did you post a granola recipe on your blog and I missed it? PLEASE – let me know! I didn’t have a chance to gather all of my links before life took over and rushed me along again. Please drop me a comment or an email so I can link to your recipes as well. :)

Here’s my recipe for granola bars. Have no worries – it’s done in a flash (the longest time is waiting for it to cool- which is a necessary step – sorry!). Jump in to granola-land! You’ll love it!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy) or almond butter (if you want to make almond granola bars)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups granola base
2 cups nuts/seeds
1 cup dried fruit

GRANOLA BASE could be:

  • Gluten free oats (toasted)
  • Gluten free cereal (like Maple Buckwheat Flakes OR Nutty Flax, etc)
  • 1.5 cups gluten free oats/cereal + 1/2 cup shredded coconut

NUTS/SEED combinations could be any combination of the following:

  • Pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
  • Almonds
  • Pine nuts
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax seeds

DRIED FRUIT can be any combination (or single fruit) of the following:

  • Dried cherries
  • Dried blueberries
  • Dried cranberries (like Craisins, if you want sweet ones)
  • Dried apricots (chopped into small pieces)
  • Dried dates (chopped into small pieces)
  • Dried figs (chopped into small pieces)
  • Raisins
  • Prunes (chopped)

Directions

  1. Butter an 8 X 10 inch pan generously OR line it with parchment paper than also comes up the sides of the pan about 1/2 of an inch.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  3. Toast your nuts/seeds in the oven for a few minutes until slightly golden. While you are doing this, make your “granola glue” or peanut butter sauce.
  4. To make the “granola glue” or peanut butter sauce, combine honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat, while stirring, until the brown sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and simmer for 1-2 minutes until evenly foamy/bubbly on top. Remove from the heat. Add one teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir (it will steam a bit). Add peanut butter and stir briskly until lumps are gone and the consistency is uniform.
  5. Mix granola base (oats or cereal) with your toasted nuts/seeds. Pour peanut butter mixture over the top and stir until evenly distributed. Add dried fruit and stir again to distribute.
  6. Pour mixture into pan (on to parchment paper). Spread evenly and then press down in to the bottom of the pan. Press the granola together firmly.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (it will firm up as it cools) before cutting.
  9. Cut into bars (1″ wide and 4″ long). Wrap bars in cling wrap or wax paper and store in a Ziploc bag or airtight container on the counter until consumed. (I’ve store mine up to 10 days, but it depends on the weather.) These can be refrigerated; however, I haven’t tried freezing them yet.

Happy GF Eating!
Kate

69 comments on “GF: Peanut Butter Granola Bar
  1. Sheila says:

    I am headed off to the kitchen right now! I think we’ve finally hit upon something that I can make that will keep the toddler, the husband and me all happy at the same time! Thank you so much for this. And I love the idea of using the maple buckwheat flakes for this.

  2. conviviality says:

    Hey Kate. Mmm. I’ll have to try these. I posted a really basic granola recipe a bit ago: http://reddirtgirl.blogspot.com/2008/01/granola.html
    Yesterday when I made it I added dried blueberries. Good stuff in the morning.

  3. connie says:

    Kate,

    These look every bit as good as I had hoped…thanks for the recipe – obviously a keeper!

  4. Steve says:

    Where do you find the time to do all you do when it comes to baking/testing?!We have been talking about making granola bars for a while now. I like the almond butter vs. peanut butter thought.

  5. Lizzie says:

    Yum! Yum! Yum! I love how you give so many options for the base, nuts and fruit. It’s a lot easier on my wallet when I can just pick from my cabinet. :)

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  6. childlife says:

    Thanks for all of the wonderful gluten-free links to peruse and for your wonderful looking version (our house loves peanut butter too!) Looking forward to giving your bars a try!

  7. Jennifer says:

    These look scrumptious! I will definitely be trying this recipe!

    I’d like to make them with the Maple Buckwheat Flakes that you suggested, but haven’t been able to find them in the grocery stores around here. Anyone know where I can get them?

  8. dianne says:

    The mere prospect of peanut butter and a granola bar and I’ll be booking flights! I too am a peanut butter addict …. three jars in my kitchen as I type! :)

  9. Gregorio says:

    My friends boy has to eat gluten free he will love this.

  10. connie says:

    Tried these last night – totally awesome! I used the Nutty Rice cereal, and a mix of coconut, buckwheat, and ground almonds and pecan pieces. Totally delish! I’ve passed this recipe on to my gf/cf buddies. :)

  11. Sheltie Girl says:

    Kate – This is a wonderful recipe. My husband will love the peanut butter flavor!

    Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

  12. Michelle says:

    I tried this and it burned at 400 degrees within 15 minutes. Did anyone else have this problem?

    I haven’t heard of this, Michelle. Maybe your oven is hotter than mine? (My oven is practically antique, I swear! LOL – Vintage 1980, I bet. LOL) Try turning the temperature down (baking is at 350F) and baking for a little less time (15 minutes?). Sorry to hear about this though. =(
    I hope these ideas help.
    -Kate

  13. Crystal says:

    I’ve tried this a twice already (in the past 2 weeks) I did different combo of cereal, nuts, fruits etc and both batches were wonderful. My daughter is autistic and it pretty picky with foods but she can’t get enough of these

  14. Kara says:

    I just made a batch of these to take on vacation. I was a little skeptical–not because I thought they wouldn’t taste good, but because I was afraid they wouldn’t fill me up for 2-3 hrs (my definition of a good snack). I’ve been desperate for a substitute for the protein bars I’ve always eaten (that (1) are expensive, (2) contain HFCS, and (3) are made on equipment that processes wheat). I had knew I needed to cut them out when I realized that I couldn’t pronounce or identify most of the ingredients. But these absolutely did the trick! I used oats, Nutty Flax cereal, and coconut, almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and a few kinds of dried fruit. I’ll be making them a staple in my kitchen.

  15. I know you wrote this post ages ago, but I was sneaking around your site and ran across this. I’m totally into making my own granola and “power” bars, so I will add this to my collection of recipes. There’s so much good information here! Thanks! I like using almond butter in the mix for bars. And maple syrup. And candied ginger. And — well, like you said, anything goes!
    Take care,
    Melissa

  16. Lauren says:

    Neat idea making it into bars! I’m going to try it with my sugar- grain-free granola. Yum!

    Fabulous site! Getting lots of inspiration for GF recipes here. :)

  17. Janet says:

    wow they are amazing. made it with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and raisins. everyone loved it, even my 30 year old daughter who hates raisins! Thanks…

  18. miriam says:

    will try them tomorrow.
    thanks

  19. trishtator says:

    This was the first home recipe I tried in my gf cooking, and it is wonderful. I now make it about once a week for my die-hard granola-loving boyfriend, and so thank you :)!

  20. kelly says:

    Can anybody offer advice about: 1) where to buy certified GF oats; a brand name? and 2) actual brand names of GF cereals you have had success with in this recipe? I have sworn off GF cereal after about 4 different tries of paying $7 for a box of groooooooooooos GF cereal! THANK YOU!

    Hello Kelly!

    You can buy certified gluten free oats online at Amazon or a variety of other vendors like:
    GlutenFree.com
    OnlyOats.com
    GiftsofNature.net
    CreamHillEstates.com
    GlutenFreeOats.com

    I’ve used Perky’s Nutty Flax and Perky’s Nutty Rice with this recipe consistently because I love the crunch with them. I’m not a big cereal eater – but I love granola and use these cereals for this purpose almost soley. (Unless I’m desperate for a quick breakfast! LOL)

    Hope this helps!
    -Kate

  21. kazzles says:

    I just made this recipe last week and love it. My housemate has been scoffing the bars too and he’s a gluten eater so that’s a great compliment!

    I love it that you can mix and match with what you have in the pantry (I used up a lot of random stuff I only had small amounts of) and I look forward to making them much more in the future. Am going to try a version with rice bubbles I think.

  22. Catherine says:

    Hi, I’m a (gluten-eating) lurker. I just wanted to let you know that this is the best, most helpful, most delicious granola bar recipe/template ever. My (also gluten-eating) boyfriend requests a constant supply of these, and thanks to the handy template, I am free to add my personal favorite fruits and nuts and whatever is in the pantry. In other words, everyone wins. Thanks!

  23. Rachel says:

    Thanks for posting this! I used rice chex as my granola base and random items in my pantry for everything else, and they tasted great.
    FYI, I froze half the recipe and when they thawed to room temperature I couldn’t tell they had ever been frozen. Usually I just ate them straight from the freezer, though. :c)

  24. Annette says:

    We don’t bake these granola bars – my family prefers chewy bars so we cook the honey, brown sugar and peanut/almond butter but then just mix in the rest of the ingredient and press into a pan – cut and ENJOY!

  25. Bindu says:

    I made this for my son, they were a big hit! Thanks!
    I used soynut butter, honey, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cocoa pebbles, raisins and honey nut chex. also threw in some choc chips (what was left in the bag).

  26. Manda says:

    Hello Kate,

    Ball parking this, how many bars do you usually get from this? I’m approximating 10-12 with my additions and then possibly double the recipe so I’d have a good ammount. I’ve been eating the Luna bars, but, of course, I can no longer tolerate any dairy and the oats are really messing with me. Even GF oats hurt my stomach.

  27. Doreen says:

    Found the granola bar recipe earlier today. After a quick trip to WholeFoods for 2 items, I made the bars using your recipe. Awesome!!! I used a combination of Rice Chex, Nutty Flax, and unsweetened coconut for the granola base. I used chopped cashews, sliced almonds and sunflower seeds for the nuts/seeds category. I used pieces of dried apricots and dried granny smith apples for the fruit requirement.
    I let them cool completely as you advised, and they cut beautifully. Instead of the 8X10 pan, I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture out in a rectangle so it was about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in thickness. It doesn’t touch the sides at all, but I was able to cut 18 decent-sized bars. I brought some to a neighbor immediately, who loves granola! They were a hit. Even my husband said that he wasn’t just trying to be nice, that he truly loved the taste of these! I can’t wait to make more. Thanks so much for listing the variations for each of the 3 key categories of the mixture: Granola Base, Dried Fruit, and Nuts/Seeds.
    I’m not a very good baker and this recipe made me very proud.

  28. Randy says:

    Is it necessary to have so much sweenter in your peanut butter bars? I’m sure it is delicious, but I am trying to cut back on sugar in general. I will try my first batch with a little less, but would love to hear from anyone who has done this or who has a good alternative to brown sugar and honey
    Thanks

    • Kate says:

      Nope…not necessary at all. Just reduce the brown sugar to 2 Tablespoons – or omit it – it is there to provide a deeper flavor. The honey and peanut butter are a lovely combination.

      I use natural peanut butter – one without anything but freshly ground nuts. So when the sweet tooth bites… it bites! :)

  29. Shelley says:

    These are wonderful! I am so glad I found your blog – I have been attempting homemade granola bars for some time and have yet to come up with a recipe as good as yours! Winter break ends tomorrow and my 4 GFCF kiddos are heading back to school with some of your yummy recipes in their lunch boxes! Cheers!

  30. Lindsey says:

    Hi! Thanks so much for posting this! I had just perfected the art of granola bar making when I found out that I needed to be gluten free. I was sad to see that most of the gf granola bars in the market have nuts or something else I can’t have…eggs, dairy and nuts. So…when I found your recipe I was hopeful that perhaps I could adapt it to my diet.

    Do you have a suggestion as to what I could substitute for the peanut butter?

    Thank you so much for your time!!

    Lindsey

    • Kate says:

      Hmmm…you can’t have tree nuts or peanuts? What about sesame seeds? Maybe some tahini but then you will need to add some more sweetner. I don’t know… haven’t tried this one and my brain is foggy tonight!

    • Susie says:

      Sunbutter is a great option. It is made from sunflower seeds which are a non-allergenic food. It is delicious!

  31. As someone who just started a new nutritional diet that cuts down on gluten and refined sugars, I am so excited to try these! I’m going to have to try them without the brown sugar, but if I include dates they may turn out just as sweet. The other great thing about homemade granola bars is how cheap they are compared to store-bought brands. My favorite gluten free bars are larabars; they’re super expensive and have only three ingredients! Thanks for the recipe, J.

  32. Nancy says:

    This is the best recipe I have found that give a lot of flexibility based on tastes. I like to put chocolate chips the mix before pouring in the hot glue. It melts and tastes like no bake cookies.
    YUMM.

  33. Gretchen says:

    Any recipies you can suggest for a celiac/diabetic? That much honey would put me in a coma? I am looking for a high protien snack bar that I can make with less than 25 grams total carbs per bar.

  34. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for this recipe, it is saving me a ton of money. I am using agave nectar instead of honey, and it comes out just fine as long as I simmer the nectar and sugar for a good 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. I would like to note, however, that I think the recipe comes out better with a dash of salt added to the glue portion, unless you are using salted nuts. I also have been skipping the baking step, and they firm up just fine! Oh, and one more thing, since it is hot here now in Michigan and I don’t like using my oven – you can toast the GF oats in a just a couple of minutes in a dry skillet on medium low heat (you have to stir them constantly though).

  35. Julia says:

    Thanks for the great recipe! I used maple syrup instead of sugar and honey. And yes, used a little salt. Thanks again!

  36. debi9kids says:

    Just made a batch of these tonite and my house smells delicious! Thanks.

  37. Virginia Sissom says:

    Okay gals, I’m not only gluten restricted, but also Oat restricted due to allergies. Does anyone have a gluten-free granola bar or GF Trail mix recipe that packs protein?

    • Kate says:

      Hello Virginia

      You can use this recipe and susbstitute your favorite protein crunch for the oats called for. This recipe is just a ratio. You can use millet flakes, Perky’s Nutty O’s, etc for the oats without a problem.

      Hope that helps!
      Kate

  38. Evelyne Danais says:

    I will try this recipe and share mine with you. This is the easiest recipe out there. We have a peanut allergy in the house so I use sunflower seed butter but you can use peanut butter.

    start by measuring all your ingrdients it goes fast

    1/2 cup honey melted in microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes
    3/4 cup sunbutter add this to honey and stir until melted
    1 1/2 cups crunchy rice cereal
    1 1/2 cups quinoa puffs – stir in the cereals and pack into a seran wraped dish, cool in the fridge then cut, can be frozen

  39. Rebecca says:

    I have tried these yummy granola bars 2 times now. They are delicious but crumbly and they fall apart. I thought it was something I did, so tried it again and the same thing happened. I think next time I will use some more honey or agave. Maybe corn syrup will make it chewier. I know “gasp! corn syrup! But half or a quarter of the amount may hold it together better. But it does make very good crumble topping!

  40. Tanya says:

    Thank you for the recipe, I’ll be trying it today! But it looks like you changed the temperature partway through, it says to preheat to 400* and then bake at 350* … unless something is going on that I’m unfamiliar with (very possible).

  41. Beth says:

    I made the granola bars last night and I also had the problem of them falling apart. Any suggestions.
    They are delicious.

  42. Constance says:

    Wow. If I could go through my computer screen and hug you right now, I WOULD! I just started eating gluten-free and I just can’t believe how expensive GF granola bars can be. I literally have everything I need to make these bars in my house, at this very moment! YAY! No more spending 8$ on 5 granola bars! Thank you so much.

  43. Neeka says:

    Any idea how many calories per bar?

    • No, I’m sorry. I have not done the calculation. I typically enter the recipe into the NutritionData.org: http://tinyurl.com/6w8sk5f
      That site allows you to enter in your own recipes and calculate calories, etc. Sometimes it is frustrating for specific gluten free ingredients – but once you enter the data from the package/whatnot, you can save that ingredient to your list.

      HOpe this helps!
      Kate

  44. KrisK says:

    This is good. I have successfully frozen it and not noticed a big difference. Love that you can pick your favorites to make your own custom bars. Has anyone used something in place of the peanut butter successfully?

  45. DianeTampa says:

    I made them today and they are excellent!

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