Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Published Aug 10, 2023, Updated Sep 15, 2023
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These healthy oatmeal breakfast bars are lightly sweetened with maple syrup and studded with dried cranberries and chocolate chips. They’re kid-friendly, vegan, gluten-free and perfect for meal prep.
If you’ve been following me for a while you know how much I love oatmeal. Stovetop oats, baked oatmeal, overnight oats, oatmeal cookies… if the recipe has oats in it I’m here for it! And today, I’m sharing a new recipe for oatmeal breakfast bars!
I do have these berry baked oatmeal bars on the site already, but these oatmeal bars are different! They’re denser and more similar to a soft granola bar versus baked oatmeal. They’re seriously so good… the whole family loved them. And the combo of chocolate chips and dried cranberries is chef’s kiss!
Why You’ll Love These Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- They’re quick to prepare – perfect for busy mornings.
- Packed with nutritious ingredients like oats and flaxseed.
- Easily customizable with your favorite add-ins.
- Ideal for on-the-go breakfast or snacking.
- Deliciously combining hearty oats, sweet cranberries, and chocolate.
- quick oats – the base of our breakfast bars! I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Quick Cooking Rolled Oats.
- baking powder – helps the bars rise.
- cinnamon – the perfect spice pairing for these breakfast bars.
- sea salt – brings all the flavors together.
- applesauce – adds moistness without the need for a ton of oil. It also adds natural sweetness and helps in binding the ingredients together. Make sure you’re using unsweetened applesauce!
- almond milk – another contributor to the moist, chewy texture of the bars. I recommend using unsweetened almond milk to avoid adding unnecessary sugars to these bars.
- maple syrup – the perfect natural sweetener for these bars.
- ground flaxseed – instead of an egg, we’re using ground flaxseed, which helps bind the ingredients together. It’s also a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
- coconut oil – helps to keep these bars moist.
- vanilla extract – a nice flavor enhancer.
- dried cranberries – adds a delightful chewy texture and tart flavor. I recommend using fruit juice sweetened dried cranberries instead of ones that are sweetened with cane sugar. I like these Made In Nature Organic Cranberries.
- chocolate chips – I love the addition of chocolate chips in these bars! I recommend Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips which are allergen-friendly or Lily’s chocolate chips because they are low in sugar and calories.
How to Make
Combine ingredients: In a large bowl, stir all the ingredients together, except for the dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Now, fold in your dried cranberries and chocolate chips.
Bake: Pour your batter into an 8×8 inch baking pan that’s lined with parchment paper or greased with cooking spray. Use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Sprinkle additional cranberries and chocolate chips on top, if desired. Place the pan in your preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350°F, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool and serve: After removing your oatmeal bars from the oven, let them cool completely before cutting. This will help them firm up and make them easier to cut into 9 bars. Once cut, enjoy!
Substitutions & Notes
- Oats: If you don’t have quick oats on hand, you can use old fashioned rolled oats. Just pulse them in a food processor or blender a few times to break them down slightly.
- Applesauce: You can replace applesauce with mashed ripe bananas. For a completely different flavor you can also use mashed sweet potato or pumpkin puree as a substitution.
- Almond milk: Feel free to swap the almond milk with another non-dairy milk like oat milk. Regular dairy milk works as well if you don’t need these bars to be vegan and dairy-free.
- Maple syrup: Honey can serve as an alternative to maple syrup if you prefer its flavor or if it’s what you have available.
- Flaxseed: If ground flaxseed isn’t available, chia seeds can be used. Both ingredients are great for adding fiber and other nutrients to the bars. If you don’t have either on hand you should be fine to omit the flaxseed altogether.
- Coconut oil: If you’re not a fan of coconut oil, use any other mild-flavored oil like olive oil or avocado oil.
- Mix-ins: The dried cranberries and chocolate chips can be swapped out for your favorite mix-ins. Some ideas are raisins, dried blueberries, dried cherries, chopped dates, white chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans or almonds) or cacao nibs.
Tips for Success
Measure accurately – Make sure you measure your ingredients accurately, especially the wet ingredients. Too much liquid can result in soggy bars, and too little can lead to crumbly, dry bars.
Don’t rush the cooling – Allow the bars to cool completely in the baking dish before cutting them into squares. This will ensure they keep their shape and don’t crumble apart.
Choose quality ingredients – The quality of your ingredients will impact the end result. Make sure you’re using high-quality oats, dried fruit and pure maple syrup for the best results.
Customize your bars – Make these bars your own! Feel free to substitute the cranberries and chocolate chips with your favorite dried fruits, nuts, or seeds for variety.
How to Serve Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
These healthy breakfast bars are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways throughout the day:
- On-the-go breakfast: These bars are perfect for those busy mornings when you just need to grab something and go. They’re portable, mess-free and will keep you full until lunchtime.
- Breakfast accompaniment: Serve a bar as a side along with your usual breakfast. They pair well with hard boiled eggs, egg white bites, baked egg muffins or a protein shake.
- As a snack: Enjoy a bar for a mid-afternoon snack or post-workout treat. I love serving them with a drizzle of almond butter or peanut butter for more protein.
- For dessert: While these are technically called breakfast bars, they can also be served as a healthier dessert option. For the ultimate treat, serve one with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.
How to Store
At room temperature: Once cooled, place the bars in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for about 2 days at room temperature.
Freezing: These bars will last for up to 3 months in the freezer in a freezer-safe container. To enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for a few hours at room temperature.
More Bar Recipes You’ll Love
- Apple Granola Bars
- Coconut Chocolate Chip Larabars
- Fruit and Nut Bars
- Apple Oatmeal Bars
- No Bake High Fiber Bars
- Tahini Fig Bars
- Toasted Coconut Chia Bars
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- Nut Free Granola Bars
- Crispy Chocolate Rice Cake Bars
- Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
- Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
More Oatmeal Recipes to Try
- Baked Oatmeal Cups
- How to Make Oatmeal
- Easy Baked Oatmeal
- Overnight Oats
- Protein Oatmeal
- How to Make Oatmeal for Babies
- Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie
- Berry Baked Oatmeal Bars
Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- 3 cups quick oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup dried cranberries, plus more for topping
- ½ cup chocolate chips, plus more for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
- Combine all ingredients except for the dried cranberries and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
- Once combined, fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.
- Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan. Evenly spread batter in pan using a spatula and top with additional cranberries and chocolate chips.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the bars comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, cool completely and then cut into 9 bars and enjoy.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.