Easy Oatmeal Bars

Here’s an oatmeal bars recipe that’s beyond easy! These healthy breakfast bars are irresistibly tasty and great for busy mornings and snacks.

Oatmeal bars

Here’s a recipe that’s perfect for breakfast and all those in between moments, too. This ridiculously easy no bake Oatmeal Bars recipe! These were big winners in our house and quickly solidified themselves into the weekly repertoire. These breakfast bars star peanut butter, honey, and Old Fashioned oats, and they’re a healthy breakfast or snack you can feel good feeding yourself or your family. In fact, I had to remind myself I didn’t need to sneak these like a treat.

Variation: Try our fan favorite Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars or Peanut Butter Energy Balls!

Ingredients for this oatmeal bars recipe

These oatmeal bars have just 4 ingredients plus salt (because salt’s a given, right?). This makes them easy to whip up on moments notice…and we do. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • Old Fashioned rolled oats: That’s the standard oatmeal you’re used to, not steel cut oats! Because it has the texture of rice, it’s not a substitute here.
  • Peanut butter: Use creamy, no sugar added peanut butter. If all you have is sweetened, leave out a bit of the honey. Use sunflower butter as a nut allergy substitute.
  • Honey: Honey adds a warm, golden flavor and a nice sticky texture. See our notes on vegan substitutes below.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds just the right hint of complexity.

Of course, you’ll need a little salt to round it out for the perfect flavor. Make sure to use kosher salt, since it flavors foods more gently than table salt.

Oatmeal bars recipe

How to make no bake bars: a few tips

Over here we love a good no bake recipe: and not just because you don’t have to wait for the bake time! No bake recipes are as close to no fail as you can get. Here are a few tips to note about the process of making this oatmeal bars recipe:

  • Use a small glass to get them perfectly flat. You’ll mix the ingredients together then throw them into a square pan with parchment underneath. Pat them as flat as you can, then roll over the top with a small glass. It gets the most uniform texture.
  • Freeze first! Freeze the pan for 15 minutes, which sets the bars. They will still be a little soft at this point.
  • Cut into bars. Then cut them into bar shapes. You can eat immediately, but we prefer waiting for another 1 hour of refrigeration for them to set completely.
Oatmeal breakfast bars

Make large or small oatmeal bars (we prefer small)

One of the things we like about this recipe is cutting the bars smaller: to get more of them! Here are a few notes on the pros of smaller oatmeal breakfast bars:

  • Make 32 rectangle-shaped bars for more servings & less calories and sugar. The sugar in a small bar is only 1 teaspoon, and it’s still a super satisfying snack or treat. We prefer this size for most versatility (though the photos show the squares).
  • Make 16 square bars for breakfasts. If you’re eating them as breakfast bars, you’ll probably want a larger bar to be more filling. Of course, you could just eat 2 small bars!

Vegan oatmeal bars variation

Want to make these into vegan oatmeal bars? We typically use maple syrup as our liquid sweetener of choice, which is vegan. But in this recipe, the flavor and texture of honey is integral to the structure of the oatmeal breakfast bars. Here’s our preferred vegan sweetener:

  • For vegan oatmeal bars, try agave syrup! It’s a little thicker than maple syrup, so it will work a little more similarly to honey.
  • You can also try maple if it’s your only sweetener on hand. Just note that the bars will do better right from the refrigerator.
Oatmeal bars

When to eat oatmeal bars…breakfast, snack or anytime!

Yes, we love these oatmeal bars because they are perfect for those times in between meals when you’re hungry and don’t want to grab and unhealthy option. Here are a few ideas we’d recommend:

  • Breakfast: Grab them as you go out the door, or crumble over Greek yogurt
  • Snack: Grab one from the fridge anytime
  • Sweet treat: This is all we need to feel like a satisfying treat without a splurge. They’re especially good for kids (our son loves them!)

Oatmeal nutrition info

What’s so great about eating oats for snacks and in oatmeal breakfast bars? Well, these whole grains have a lot of good going on. Here’s some of the benefits you get from oats (source):

  • High in plant based protein. 1 cup of raw oats has 11 grams protein, or ~20% of your daily need!
  • High in fiber. 1 cup of raw oats has 8 grams of fiber, ~30% of your daily need.
  • Very filling: Oats may reduce appetite and help you eat less calories overall.
Oatmeal breakfast bars

More oatmeal recipes

It might sound silly as a “foodie” and cookbook author, but one of my favorite foods is oatmeal! I eat it every day and it’s always satisfying and filling. It’s great for healthy breakfasts and naturally gluten free snacks. Here are our top oatmeal recipes:

This oatmeal bars recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten free. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, see the notes in the recipe.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Oatmeal bars

Easy Oatmeal Bars (4 Ingredients!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (16 votes, average: 4.81 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 large or 32 small 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s an oatmeal bars recipe that’s beyond easy! These healthy breakfast bars are irresistibly tasty and great for busy mornings and snacks.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (no sugar added, or sunflower butter for nut free)
  • 1/2 cup honey (or agave syrup* for vegan)
  • 4 cups Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Add a sheet of parchment paper to a 9 x 9 pan. Place the ingredients in the pan and press it into an even layer. Use a small glass to roll over the top to get it smooth. 
  2. Freeze the bars for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the freezer and use the parchment to lift it out of the pan. Cut into 16 squares or 32 rectangles. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. You can eat right away, or refrigerate for about 1 hour for a more solid texture.  

Notes

*Maple syrup is generally our sweetener of choice, but the flavor and texture of honey really make these bars. Since maple syrup is not as sticky as honey, for vegan substitute we recommend agave syrup. 

  • Category: Snack
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: Breakfast

Keywords: Oatmeal bars, oatmeal bar recipe, oatmeal breakfast bars

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Melissa
    January 13, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Hi! Have you guys tried making these with almond butter? It’s what we have on hand and I figured checking with you first would be best so I don’t end up wasting it. :)

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      January 13, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      They work with any nut butter, so almond butter is great! A follower on Instagram just told us she tried it and it was delicious! :)

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.