These healthy pumpkin spice granola bars are packed with dried cranberries, pepitas and delicious pumpkin spice flavor! They’re crunchy, delicious and perfect for the fall season.
‘Tis the season for all the pumpkin recipes! If you have been searching for canned pumpkin and striking out this year, I’ve got you! 1) I have a recipe for homemade pumpkin puree so you can make your own at home. 2) Today’s recipe that will satisfy your pumpkin craving… without using any canned pumpkin. Mix a little pumpkin spice with pumpkin seeds and you’ve got the perfect fall snack.
Healthier Granola Bars
When’s the last time you looked at the nutrition label on your granola bar?! The ingredient list is so long and half of the ingredients are either synonyms for sugar or are unrecognizable! I’ve been on a mission to create healthier granola bars that use whole food ingredients, natural sweeteners and have simple ingredient lists. So far I have apple granola bars, chocolate almond granola bars and now these pumpkin spice granola bars, which are the perfect fall snack to satisfy you pumpkin sweet tooth. I already know they’ll be a fan favorite.
Pumpkin Spice Granola Bar Ingredients
old fashioned rolled oats
brown rice crisp cereal – this cereal is similar to Rice Krispies, but made with brown rice so it’s a tad healthier. There are several brands that make brown rice crisps which you should be able to find in the organic/natural section of most grocery stores. Some brands to look for: Barbara’s, One Degree and Nature’s Path.
pumpkin pie spice – most major grocery stores sell pumpkin pie spice but there’s a good chance you have the ingredients in your pantry to make your own! Here’s a simple homemade pumpkin pie spice recipe.
How to Make Homemade Granola Bars
Prep pan – Start by lining a square baking pan with parchment paper. I like to use large binder clips to clamp the parchment down so it stays in place.
Combine dry ingredients – In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, cereal, 1/8 cup of dried cranberries and 1 Tablespoon of pepitas.
Create healthy syrup – In a pot on medium heat, combine the honey and coconut oil. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously. Once bubbling for 30 seconds, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Make sure you cook the mixture until it’s bubbling! This reduces the mixture and is what helps hold the bars together. Let the mixture cool for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Combine wet and dry ingredients – Pour the honey mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well coated.
Press mixture – Pour the mixture into the pan lined with parchment paper and lightly press so the mixture is even. Top with remaining dried cranberries and pepitas and and press firmly with your hands. You’ll really want to press the mixture down well so the bars hold together well. I like to put a piece of parchment paper on top of the mixture so my hands don’t get super sticky.
Refrigerate – Once the bars are fully pressed, place the pan in the fridge for two hours to allow the bars to set. Once the bars are solid or hard to the touch, remove them from the pan, place on a cutting board and slice into 10 bars.
How to Store Granola Bars
These bars will stay together best if you store them in the refrigerator! They will keep for 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want to store them longer, wrap individually and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Substitutions & Notes
Wondering about different ingredient substitutions? Here are some that come to mind:
Brown rice crisp cereal – this is what gives them a little crunch and makes the bars taste like store-bought granola bars. If you can’t find brown rice crisp cereal you can use regular Rice Krispies or simply sub 1 cup of oats for the cereal.
Different sweeteners – I haven’t tried other sweeteners, but I’m guessing the bars would work with agave, coconut nectar or brown rice syrup. I think maple syrup would be too runny and wouldn’t hold the bars together as well as the other options. If you try a different sweetener, let me know in the comment section.
Different dried fruit – I love the combination of the dried cranberries and pumpkin flavor, but you can absolutely switch up which dried fruit you use.
Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment. I like to use binder clips to clamp the parchment down so the parchment stays in place.
In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, cereal, 1/8 cup of dried cranberries and 1 Tablespoon of pepitas. Set aside.
In a pot on medium heat, combine honey and coconut oil. Let mixture heat until it starts to bubble, stirring continuously. Once bubbling for 30 seconds, remove from heat and stir in pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and sea salt.
Pour honey mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until well coated.
Pour mixture into your parchment lined baking pan and lightly press the mixture so it's even. Top with remaining dried cranberries and pepitas and really press the mixture down as much as possible. Skipping this step will result in crumbly bars. I use a piece of parchment to press so that my hands don't get super sticky.
Set: Once bars are pressed down firmly, place pan in the fridge for 2 hours to allow the bars to cool and set up.
Cut: Once the bars feel solid/hard to the touch, remove from the pan, place on a cutting board and slice into 10 bars. Serve immediately or save for later.
To store: these bars will stay together best if you store them in the refrigerator. They will keep for 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge. For freezing, wrap them individually and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.