Some days are so jam-packed, sitting down to a meal in the middle of the day just isn’t practical. The vending machine is always one option, but it can be costly, and even healthy ones have pretty limited choices. Plus, a “healthy” label slapped onto a processed food is kind of confusing. Individually wrapped granola bars might seem like the only solution, but some of them taste like cardboard. And at around $5 per box, they’re hardly a bargain. Armed with a few simple ingredients and some basic kitchen equipment, granola bar victory can be yours with one of these delicious recipes. We’ve covered everything from decadence to convenience, so all you have to do is decide which of these granola bar recipes to make first.
1. Cranberry Pistachio Granola Bars
Most granola bars from the store have absurdly long ingredient lists. That seems silly when these snacks deliver even more flavor using just eight ingredients. Also, good luck finding a packaged bar featuring pistachios. For these delectable snacks, Julie Chiou decided to combine her favorite trail mix ingredients into something a little bit easier to eat.
The combination of nuts and dried fruit doesn’t just taste great — it’s good for you, too. Chiou says, “They’re a great snack to have during the day when the craving for something sweet or something not so good for you hits.” And they’re not just for the office. Portability is the name of the game with these treats. “Whip up a batch and put them into snack bags to bring to the beach, on a plane, or to the pool,” Chiou says. These beat airline peanuts any day.
Visit Table for Two for the recipe.
2. Double Chocolate Granola Bars with Chia Seeds, Almonds, and Sea Salt Sprinkle
The obvious meal-on-the-go choice for chocoholics tends to lean more toward candy. Fight the temptation and get a lot more staying power by whipping up some of these rich treats. These snacks are easy to make, even with a packed schedule. “With healthy and delicious chocolate bars that take a mere 30 minutes from start to finish, you can be in snacking heaven in no time,” Megan Link says.
Inspired by a packaged treat, Link decided to attempt recreating it in her own kitchen. She found that making them herself is a lot more fun, since there are so many opportunities to experiment. “Today’s chocolate granola bars are my venture into total customization and they did not disappoint,” she wrote. Link added chia seeds, but recommends flax seeds and coconut as well.
Visit The Housewife in Training Files for the recipe.
3. Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars
Fresh citrus zest is one of those flavors that just doesn’t translate to processed foods. By the time you unwrap your treat, there’s barely a whisper of that zingy punch. These bars deliver way more flavor with the unmistakable taste of orange, plus a little bit of ginger.
Even if this is your first foray into homemade snacks, don’t worry. “If you’ve never made homemade granola bars, you are going to be pleasantly surprised at just how easy they are,” Erin Clarke says. Her simple recipe starts with toasting the dry ingredients in the oven, tossing everything with a honey and almond butter mixture, then mixing in the additional flavors before a trip to the oven. Simple and simply delicious.
Visit Well Plated for the recipe.
4. Tropical White Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars
When an island vacation just isn’t in the cards, brighten your day with a tropical snack. Filled with white chocolate, dried mango, coconut, and dried pineapple, these bars feel sort of like a mini getaway in the middle of the afternoon. Megan Green used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen as a guide, but swapped all of the flavors for something a little bit more summery.
Her new concoction proved to be a success. “I just can’t say enough wonderful things about them,” she says. Though you might be tempted to cut into these goodies right away, try to resist that urge. After 45 minutes, Green’s were still a bit too crumbly, so she says to “plan on cooling/chilling for a few hours before consuming.” Of course, they’ll still taste great if you can’t wait that long.
Visit My Bacon-Wrapped Life for the recipe.
5. Monster Cookie Granola Bars
These bars might not win any health-food awards, but they’re still a lot better than actually eating a massive cookie for lunch. Blogger Heather Kinnaird created these treats as a snack for her kids. While she started with a pretty well-balanced idea, things quickly snowballed after she decided to use some peanut butter-filled chocolate candies. “If there’s peanut butter, then you may as well add a bit more chocolate,” she says.
The best part about this recipe is there’s no baking required. Just mix the ingredients, press into a pan, then let rest before cutting. “Ok, so these might not be the healthy sort of granola bars,” Kinnaird says, “but they sure are good.” Do yourself a favor and make some tonight.
Visit French Press for the recipe.
6. 5-Ingredient Granola Bars
Like many, Dana Shultz grew tired of reading the labels on her favorite treats to discover corn syrup hiding inside. She took matters into her own hands and started experimenting with recipes. She wound up with a mix of almonds, oats, dates, honey, and nut butter. “That’s it. Just 5 ingredients, no baking involved,” she says.
Though these bars don’t need anything else to taste great, Shultz says they’re easy to customize. She suggests adding chocolate chips, dried fruit, and other nuts. There’s really no limit, though. Any mix-in you like will work well here.
Visit Minimalist Baker for the recipe.
7. Snickerdoodle Cookie Granola Bars
When the bakery case at the coffee shop is calling your name, reach for one of these cookie-inspired goodies instead. Part dessert, part wholesome snack, they’ll satisfy your sweet tooth and help fill you up.
People who prefer something a little denser and stickier over crunchy snacks will go crazy for the texture of these treats. “I have to chew and chew each bite, which is nice because it prevents me from inhaling three bars in 3 minutes,” Averie Sunshine says. Though optional, a drizzle of white chocolate on top makes for a tasty finish.
Visit Averie Cooks for the recipe.