With a simple mix of dates, nuts, oats, peanut butter, and chocolate chips, these no-bake homemade energy bars are a delicious healthy snack to keep stocked in your kitchen at all times. This is a simple DIY recipe that's great for everyday snacking. It's both adult- and kid-approved!
I know I'm not the only one who's waited a little too long to eat and ended up hangry and ravenous, grabbing any and all of the snacks to quell the hunger pangs.
Keeping a few filling and satisfying bites on hand is the best way to prevent yourself from sinking into this sad starvation mode.
Ideally, you want an easy-to-grab snack with a balanced mix of nutrients that will help you feel energized and satisfied until your next meal. Homemade energy bars are a fantastic option.
These Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars have carbohydrates from the dates and oats, and a mix of protein and fat from the peanut butter and almonds. This balance is key for feeling full and energized.
They're deliciously chewy and a little crunchy, plus there's chocolate, which makes them SO satisfying.
This recipe is perfect for a quick everyday snack and also a great option for endurance athletes, like runners and cycling aficionados. The chocolate + peanut butter combo makes these bars perfect for kids, too!
If you're looking for more plant-based snack ideas, try my Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas, Spicy Tofu Jerky, or Berry Coconut Water Smoothie. Along with energy bars, these recipes are some of my favorites to reach for whenever between-meal hunger rears its head.
One of the best things about this recipe is that you only need a few basic pantry ingredients. They are:
- Dates - For the best flavor, I prefer to use whole dates and remove the pits and chop myself.
- Almonds - I like raw (not roasted) almonds for this recipe.
- Oats - Look for dry rolled oats that cook in one minute. They may be labeled as Quick Oats or Instant Oats. Use certified gluten-free oats if needed.
- Peanut butter - I use creamy peanut butter with no added sugar. Salted and unsalted peanut butter both work, depending on your poreference.
- Chocolate chips (optional) - I use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips for this recipe.
- Cinnamon (optional)
See the recipe card at the end of this post for exact quantities and preparation instructions.
Here's a basic summary of how to make energy bars at home. You can find more detailed instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Add all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips to a food processor. Process until the mixture sticks together when pressed.
Add the chocolate chips and pulse until they're evenly mixed with the other ingredients.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined 8x8-inch baking pan and press down firmly and evenly with your hands. Chill in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Remove from the freezer, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into pieces.
Hint: Lining the baking pan with parchment paper makes it easier to remove the bars from the pan later.
You can easily make these homemade energy bars fit a variety of dietary needs. Here are a few possible substitutions.
- Vegan/Dairy-Free - use dairy-free chocolate chips (such as Lily's) or skip them completely.
- No Added Sugar - omit or use stevia-sweetened chocolate chips (such as Lily's). Use peanut butter with no added sugar.
- Peanut-Free - substitute almond butter or cashew butter (or any nut/seed butter) for the peanut butter.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure the oats and other packaged ingredients are labeled gluten-free if needed.
I love the peanut butter chocolate chip flavor of these bars, but you can also change up the ingredients with a few simple swaps. Here are a few ideas.
- Cinnamon Raisin - double the cinnamon and use raisins instead of chocolate chips
- White Chocolate Macadamia - Use macadamia nuts instead of almonds and white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips.
- Cashew - substitute cashews for almonds and use cashew butter instead of peanut butter.
- Tahini - use tahini instead of peanut butter.
There are so many possibilities for flavoring homemade energy bars. Try my Homemade Sweet Potato Energy Bars recipe if you're looking for a new way to eat more veggies!
You'll need a food processor to make these energy bars at home. I use an 8-cup food processor, but a smaller one could also work.
To make energy bars without a food processor, just finely chop the ingredients, mix them together in a large bowl, and then transfer the mixture to a baking pan. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.
Use an 8-inch square baking pan to act as the mold for forming the bars. I like to line the pan with parchment paper so it's easy to remove the mixture from the pan after they are chilled in the freezer.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or in a freezer-safe, airtight container for up to three months.
I prefer to store these bars in the freezer because they hold their shape better. I usually thaw one for about 5-10 minutes on the counter before eating.
Because these bars aren't baked, they're not great for traveling or eating on-the-go. You'll need to keep them in the fridge or freezer to prevent them from falling apart.
Spend a few minutes pressing the mixture firmly and evenly into the baking pan with the heels of your hands. Don’t rush through this step! It’s essential for making the bars stick together.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Energy bars have a mix of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) that provide both quick and long-lasting energy. They're a balanced snack to try when you want to feel more energized.
Energy bars often contain a mix of nuts, nut butter, dates, and sometimes grains like oats. Some also contain flavorings like dried fruit, chocolate chips or cinnamon.
To make homemade energy bars that stick together, you first need the right balance of dry and wet ingredients. Try adding more dates or nut butter if the mixture isn't sticking together after processing. You also need to firmly press the energy bar mixture into the pan with your hands. Finally, be sure to chill the bars in the freezer for the best results.
Easy No-Bake Homemade Energy Bars with Oats
- Knife and cutting board
- Food processor
- 8-inch square baking pan
- Parchment paper
- 1 ½ cup chopped pitted dates (about 18 medjool dates, see note)
- 1 cup almonds
- ¾ cup quick-cook oats (dry, see note)
- ¾ cup peanut butter (or almond butter)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- ½ cup chocolate chips (optional, see note)
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add dates, almonds, oats, peanut butter, cinnamon (if using), and salt (if using) to a food processor container.
- Cover and process on high for 30 seconds, or until the mixture sticks together when pressed.
- Add chocolate chips (if using) and pulse 5 times, or until evenly mixed with the other ingredients.
- Transfer the mixture to the lined baking pan and press down firmly and evenly with your hands. (Pressing firmly is important for making the bars stick together, so don’t rush through this step!)
- Transfer the baking pan to the freezer and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Remove the baking pan from the freezer and pull out the parchment paper to remove the nut and date mixture. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 12 pieces.
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