Cranberry Coconut Granola Bars


These cranberry coconut granola bars are made without oil and instead use mashed banana as a binder! They’re soft, chewy and also happen to be nut-free so they’re perfect for back to school.

This granola bar recipe actually took quite a few tests to perfect it! My goals? It had to taste good (of course) and stick together, but I also didn’t want the bars to have a ton of sugar. I thought this was an easy task, but it turned out to be quite the adventure!

Two cranberry granola bars stacked.

I knew this batch was a winner as soon as I cut into them. When I tried a bite that consisted of a combination of toasted coconut, dried cranberries and chocolate, recipe development was done! They have the perfect amount of chewiness and a bit of crunch from the brown rice cereal.

Banana Sweetened Granola Bars

I know it’s so easy to just buy granola bars at the store, but I’m here to show you that homemade granola bars are super simple to make and much healthier! These granola bars are made with just 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and no oil! The banana in the recipe replaces the oil and adds a hint of sweetness. No need for the sugar and oil laden snacks that will have your kiddos bouncing off the walls. Opt for this recipe with whole ingredients instead!

Side by side photos of mixture for cranberry granola bars.

Here’s What You Need

  • old fashioned rolled oats
  • coconut flakes – look for the unsweetened variety. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to toast coconut flakes!
  • crispy brown rice cereal
  • dried cranberries
  • chocolate chips – I’ve made these with regular chocolate chips and Lily’s white chocolate chips. Both work great.
  • ripe banana – be sure your banana is ripe (yellow with a few black spots). This insures it will mash easily.
  • sunflower seed butterI used sunflower seed butter to keep these school-friendly but any nut butter will work
  • maple syrup
  • vanilla
  • sea salt
Granola bar mixture in a loaf pan lined with parchment.

Kid-Friendly Snack

The sunflower seed butter keeps the bars from getting too dry and also helps them stay together. You could certainly experiment with using a different nut butter in place of the sunflower seed butter. I chose it because I like the flavor but it also keeps the bars nut-free. If your kids are going to school or daycare, this is a great nut and peanut-free snack!

Kids will love these bars because they have a bit of sweetness and us adults will love them because they’re healthy, homemade and include only 10 ingredients.

Cranberry granola bars on parchment.

How to Make Granola Bars

Toast your oats and coconut: Start by spreading the oats and coconut flakes on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF until just golden brown. Let cool slightly.

Mix dry ingredients: In a large bowl, stir together the cooled toasted oats and coconut, cereal, cranberries and one tablespoon of chocolate chips.

Process: In a food processor or blender, pulse together the banana, sunflower butter, maple syrup, vanilla and salt until evenly blended.

Combine and prep: Stir the banana mixture into the oat mixture until combined. Spread the mixture on a baking pan or stone lined with parchment paper. Press down into a rectangular, flattened shape. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips and use your hands or a spatula to press the chocolate into the mixture. You want the mixture to be as compact into the pan as possible!

Bake: Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the bars are golden brown. Cut into bar shapes before they have a chance to really harden and then let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container to store.

Storing Homemade Granola Bars

If you prefer a softer, chewy granola bar, I recommend storing on the countertop in an airtight container for up to five days. If you like a harder texture, you can store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer! They will last up to two weeks in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.

Hand holding one cranberry granola bar.

More Granola Bar Recipes to Try

Cranberry Coconut Granola Bars

4 from 4 votes
These homemade granola cranberry coconut chocolate chip granola bars are nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and perfect for back-to-school. They’re chewy, a little crunchy and absolutely delicious.
Hand holding one cranberry granola bar.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup crispy brown rice cereal
  • 1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons white chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips, divided*
  • 1 large very ripe banana
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seed butter, or peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt


  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  • Toast your oats and coconut: spread oats and coconut flakes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until just golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together cooled toasted oats and coconut, cereal, cranberries, and 1 Tablespoon of chocolate chips.
  • In a mini food processor or blender, pulse together banana, sunflower butter, maple syrup, vanilla and salt until evenly blended. If you don’t have a food processor/blender you can do this in a bowl, just be sure to really combine the mixture.
  • Stir wet ingredients into the bowl with the oat/coconut until combined.
  • Spread mixture on the prepared loaf pan with parchment. Press the mixture lightly with your hands or a rubber spatula to flatten, then sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over top. Again, use your hands or the spatula to press the chips into place and compact the mixture into the pan as much as possible.
  • Bake at for 12-15 minutes or until bars are golden brown. Cut into 5-6 bars before they have a chance to really harden up, then let the bars cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage.


To keep these bars dairy-free, make sure to use vegan dark chocolate chips instead of white chocolate chips.


Serving: 1bar Calories: 181kcal Carbohydrates: 25g Protein: 4g Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 4g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Sodium: 46mg Fiber: 4g Sugar: 10g
Course: Bars and Balls
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut granola bars


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Recipe Rating

    1. Eva
      September 13, 2021 AT 6:18 am

      4 stars
      These were amazing! easy to make! i made them without rice krispies because I live in the Netherlands and I could not get them over here.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 13, 2021 AT 10:05 am

        I’m so glad these granola bars were a hit, Eva! Thanks so much for trying this recipe out and coming back to leave a review. It means so much to me!

    2. Jessenia
      April 28, 2020 AT 2:58 pm

      Can I use almond butter instead of sunflower seed butter? Or will that take away from the taste

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 29, 2020 AT 12:33 am

        Hey Jessenia! You can use any nut or seed butter you prefer. 🙂

    3. Sanjivini
      September 2, 2014 AT 8:19 pm

      Love all things oaty!

    4. A Magpie in the Sky
      August 26, 2014 AT 6:09 am

      Mine never stay together so I will be giving these a go ASAP!

    5. Jen
      August 25, 2014 AT 12:12 pm

      These look AMAZING! Wondering if you could sub out the banana for something else? (just found out I’m allergic 🙁 ) Time to experiement!

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.


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