Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
Published Sep 13, 2023, Updated Jan 21, 2024
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These healthy pumpkin oatmeal bars are packed with fall flavors and studded with chocolate chips and walnuts. They’re easy to whip up and make for a great breakfast or snack option. Vegan + gluten-free.
Introducing your new favorite fall snack: pumpkin oatmeal bars!
I based this recipe off my apple oatmeal bars that I shared last month. I swapped the applesauce for pumpkin puree, added pumpkin pie spice and swapped the chopped apples for walnuts and chocolate chips. The combo is so good and they’re such a great portable option for breakfast or a mid-day snack.
Why You’ll Love These Bars
- Nutrient-Packed: Made with quick oats and flaxseed, these bars are full of fiber and protein.
- Quick and Easy: No complicated steps here; just mix, bake, and you’re good to go.
- Versatile: Perfect for breakfast, a midday snack, or even as a dessert.
- Customizable: Feel free to switch out the walnuts for your favorite nuts or seeds and adjust the sweetness to your preference.
- Vegan & Gluten-Free: No need for dairy products or eggs in this recipe. We’re also using gluten-free oats and pumpkin, so this recipe is certified gluten-free.
- Vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free
- quick oats – the base of our pumpkin bars! I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Quick Cooking Rolled Oats.
- pumpkin puree – adds nutrients and moistness without the need for a ton of oil. The pumpkin also adds nutrients! You can use canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree. If using store-bought, just make sure the ingredient list is only “pumpkin” – you don’t want to accidentally buy pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugars.
- maple syrup – the perfect natural sweetener that pairs perfectly with pumpkin. Just make sure you’re using pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup!
- ground flaxseed – to make these bars vegan we’re using ground flaxseed instead of an egg, 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.
- pure vanilla extract – a nice flavor enhancer.
- pumpkin pie spice – adds that quintessential fall flavor to the bars. You can easily make your own pumpkin pie spice at home with a combo of cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves and ground nutmeg or use a store-bought blend.
- cinnamon – adds an extra depth of warmth and spice.
- baking powder – helps the bars rise.
- sea salt – to bring all the flavors together.
- chopped walnuts – adds crunch, healthy fat and additional nutrients like omega-3s.
- chocolate chips – because everything is better with chocolate, am I right? I recommend Lily’s chocolate chips because they are low in sugar and calories.
How to Make
Prep: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F. Either line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or give it a good spray with cooking spray. Set it aside for later use.
Make oat flour: Take 2 cups of the quick oats and blend them in a blender or food processor until you get a fine flour consistency. Alternatively, you can use scant 2 cups of store-bought oat flour.
Combine dry ingredients: Transfer your oat flour to a large bowl. Add the remaining quick oats, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt. Stir to combine.
Add wet ingredients: Add the pumpkin, maple syrup, ground flaxseed and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Stir everything together until it forms a dough.
Fold in mix-in’s: Gently fold in your chocolate chips and walnuts to the mixture, ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Bake: Pour your batter into the prepared baking dish. If you like, you can scatter additional chocolate chips and walnuts on top, pressing them down slightly into the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out clean.
Cool: Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, cut them into 9 equal bars and serve. Enjoy!
Substitutions & Notes
Oats – Quick oats are the best for these oat bars, but rolled oats will work as a substitute.
Maple syrup – You can replace this with any other liquid sweetener, such as honey, agave syrup or monk fruit maple syrup for a sugar-free option. I don’t recommend swapping the maple syrup for a dry sugar like brown sugar or coconut sugar as it’ll change the consistency of these bars.
Flaxseed – If you don’t need these bars to be vegan you can use a regular egg instead of the flaxseed.
Coconut oil – You can use any other neutral oil in place of coconut oil like olive oil or avocado oil. Alternatively, you can use melted butter if you don’t need these bars to be vegan.
Mix-in’s – Feel free to customize these bars with your favorite mix-in’s. Instead of walnuts and chocolate chips you can use a blend of other mix-in’s. Some ideas: almonds, pecans, pepitas, dried cranberries, raisins, dried cherries, cacao nibs.
Nut-free – If you need these bars to be nut-free skip the walnuts all together.
Tips for Success
- Line your pan: Either grease your baking pan well or line it with parchment paper for easy removal of the bars.
- Blend oats properly: To create a nice, soft texture for your bars, make sure to blend 2 cups of the quick oats into a fine oat flour. A high-powered blender or food processor will do the job perfectly.
- Check for doneness: Ovens can vary, so start checking your bars a little early to ensure they don’t overcook. They’re done when firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Don’t skip the cooling time: Allow your bars to cool completely before cutting them. This will make sure that they hold their shape and don’t crumble when cut.
What to Serve With Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
I love eating these healthy pumpkin oatmeal bars with a drizzle of almond butter for breakfast or a mid-day snack, but if you’re looking to get a bit more protein at breakfast here are some pairing suggestions:
- Hard boiled eggs: I’ll typically eat 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs with a bar.
- Protein shake: a protein shake is a great option when it comes to amping up the protein in your breakfast. I have a few different protein shake flavor variations you can check out.
- Egg dish: serve these bars with these egg white bites or baked egg muffins for another quick, easy and portable breakfast option.
How to Store
At room temperature: Once cooled, place the apple oatmeal bars in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for about 2 days at room temperature.
Freezing: These bars freeze well and will last for up to 3 months in the freezer in an airtight container. To enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for a few hours at room temperature.
More Pumpkin Recipes to Try
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Healthy Low Sugar Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Brownies
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- Vegan Pumpkin Protein Bars
- Healthy Pumpkin Cake
More Bar Recipes to Try
- Apple Granola Bars
- Fruit and Nut Bars
- Apple Oatmeal Bars
- Chocolate Coconut Bars
- Tahini Fig Bars
- Crunchy Protein Bars
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
- 3 cups quick oats, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips, plus more for topping
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray and set aside.
- Put 2 cups of the quick oats in a blender or food processor and blend until you’ve created oat flour.
- Transfer the oat flour to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining oats, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt and stir to combine.
- Add pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut oil, flaxseed and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix well until combined.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Scatter additional chocolate chips and walnuts on top, gently pressing them down.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the bars are cooked through and a toothpick insured comes out clean.
- Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before cutting into 9 bars and serving.
- Oats – Quick oats are the best for these oat bars, but rolled oats will work as a substitute.
- Pumpkin – Pumpkin is the star ingredient in this recipe, but you could also use sweet potato puree or butternut squash puree instead of the pumpkin puree if you’d like.
- Maple syrup – You can replace this with any other liquid sweetener, such as honey, agave syrup or monk fruit maple syrup for a sugar-free option.
- Flaxseed – If you don’t need these bars to be vegan you can use a regular egg instead of the flaxseed.
- Coconut oil – You can use any other neutral oil in place of coconut oil like olive oil or avocado oil.
- Mix-in’s – Feel free to customize these bars with your favorite mix-in’s. Instead of walnuts and chocolate chips you can use a blend of other mix-in’s. Some ideas: almonds, pecans, pepitas, dried cranberries, raisins, dried cherries, cacao nibs.
- Nut-free – If you need these bars to be nut-free skip the walnuts all together.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.