Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

These peanut butter oatmeal bars are the best trick! They’re no bake, easy and healthy; and the flavor is out of this world.

Peanut butter oatmeal bars

Here’s our new favorite trick for healthy treats: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars! These are everything you want in a treat: irresistible sweet peanut-y flavor, chewy texture, and a little drizzle of chocolate on top! These no bake oatmeal bars are like our famous bliss bite cookies, but easier and healthier (if that’s possible). And we can’t get enough of them! Our son Larson often asks with a sly smile if he can have an oatmeal bar: and we’re happy to indulge him. This sweet treat optimizes whole grain oats while hitting it big in the sweet, salty and satisfying department. Let’s get cooking! Though really…there’s no real cooking involved.

Ingredients for peanut butter oatmeal bars

There are only 5 ingredients you’ll need for these peanut butter oatmeal bars…and two are in the recipe title! That’s the ultimate easy recipe, right there. We love these no bake oatmeal bars for treats, but they’re also great for snacks since they’re mostly just whole grain oats. For breakfast bars, we prefer our straight up Oatmeal Bars: but you could also eat these for breakfast as well. Here’s what you’ll need for these babies:

  • Old Fashioned rolled oats: Use plain old oats here: not steel cut or instant oats!
  • Peanut butter: We like natural peanut butter with no added sugar or salt, but use your favorite brand.
  • Honey: Honey has the best warm flavor and sticky texture. See below for a few vegan options!
  • Cinnamon: This spice adds just the right nuance.
  • Dark chocolate: All you need is a 1 ounce of dark chocolate — it’s just a hint of the good stuff!
Peanut butter oatmeal bars

Chocolate drizzle is optional

The dark chocolate is optional here: but it’s a great addition! Just the small amount of chocolate adds a great punch, but still keeps the treats on the healthy side. How?

  • Dark chocolate adds just 8 calories per bar! That’s for the large sized bar (see more on that below). We’re not in the habit of counting calories, but we were pleasantly surprised to note that the drizzle doesn’t take it into decadent territory.
  • Also try milk chocolate, peanut butter, or white chocolate. Some variations? Melt semi-sweet chocolate, peanut butter chips, or white chocolate chips into a drizzle. White chocolate and dark chocolate together would also look lovely.

Cut them into large or small servings

Serving size is helpful when you’re looking at healthy treats! These peanut butter oatmeal bars have two size options depending on what you’re looking for:

  • Cut them into 20 bars, 4 x 5-inches. We like small rectangles vs the standard large squares you get if you simply divide a 9 x 9 pan evenly into 16. Call us crazy, but it’s more fun to eat this size!
  • Or go smaller: cut those in half to make 40 bars! Love curbing a sweets craving with a little morsel? Go for 40 small bars: they’re perfect for little nibbles.
No bake peanut butter oatmeal bars

Vegan no bake oatmeal bars

Want to make vegan peanut butter oatmeal bars instead? The honey in this recipe is important for creating a nuanced, warm flavor and the sticky texture. Typically we use maple syrup as a vegan sweetener, but it doesn’t have quite the same texture and sweetness here. We recommend using agave syrup: it’s slightly stickier than maple. But you can use maple syrup if it’s all you have!

How to store peanut butter oatmeal bars

These peanut butter oatmeal bars are the perfect treat to throw in the fridge and gobble up on moments notice! They keep very well in the fridge or freezer; here’s what to know:

  • Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you do the drizzle, wait for it to dry, then place wax paper between the layers. Or just don’t care and stack them, like we do!
  • Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. They also freeze well…and honestly taste great popped out of the freezer too.
No bake oatmeal bars

More healthy bars

We love these healthy bars as a sweet treat that’s not decadent and fills us up with whole grains! Here are a few more healthy bars that taste amazing:

This peanut butter oatmeal bars recipe is…

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

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Peanut butter oatmeal bars

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 4.09 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 20 bars (or 40 small bars) 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These peanut butter oatmeal bars are the best trick! They’re no bake, easy and healthy; and the flavor is out of this world.


Scale

Ingredients

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

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 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the freezer and use the parchment to lift it out of the pan. Cut into 20 rectangles (4 x 5 inches) or 40 small rectangles.
  3. In the microwave with short intervals or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate, stirring until it comes together into a glossy chocolate. If using the microwave, use short bursts of 10 seconds or so and stir after each: be careful not to overheat the chocolate or get any water in the chocolate, which will cause it to seize up. When melted, drizzle over the bars and allow to cool.  You can eat right away, or refrigerate for about 1 hour for a more solid texture. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (or frozen for several months, placing wax paper between the layers). 

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: Dessert or Snack
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: Peanut butter oatmeal bars, No bake oatmeal bars, Healthy bars

More with peanut butter

Who doesn’t love nutty peanut butter? There’s nothing it doesn’t make better. Here are a few more peanut butter recipes to enjoy:

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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.

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Heather E.
    January 13, 2021 at 11:56 am

    I made these yesterday with the chocolate drizzle. I know it’s there as an accent but we couldn’t taste it at all. No worries though, we just added MORE!! My all time favorite no bake granola bars call for mini chocolate chips. Next time I will add them in place of the drizzle. Oh, and I like a thin bar so I pressed the mixture onto a parchment lined quarter sheet pan.

  • Reply
    Paula Hallman
    January 14, 2021 at 11:24 am

    Question, not reply. Just wondering how you integrate the dark chocolate square. Is it chopped or shaved?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      January 14, 2021 at 11:45 am

      The chocolate is melted in step 3!

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