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Homemade Chewy Granola Bars are a cinch to make from pantry staples. Gluten free and kid friendly, they’re a great, low-sugar snack option!

Stack of Homemade Chewy Granola Bars | iowagirleats.com

Thank you so much for your kind words regarding my Grandma’s passing – so thoughtful. We really appreciate it. :)

I know a lot of people believe in signs from passed loved ones, myself included. Some think it’s woo woo though I don’t think it’s a coincidence that since we returned from her services, I’ve been feeling semi-stalked by cardinals. We always have cardinals passing through our yard of course, but I kid you not, every. single. time. I look out a window to the backyard, a cardinal lands in my direct view. Not off to the side, not high up in a tree – straight within my line of vision. It’s crazy! My Grandma loved birds, and I have a special, Grandma-related project in the works back there, so I like to think it’s her checking in and saying hello. Even if it’s not, the sightings are a great reminder of her wonderful spirit. :)

Hey, maybe the cardinals have just been trying to sneak a peek at my latest recipe that resembles bird food – Homemade Chewy Granola Bars! Ummm…get your snackatite (snack + appetite – I tried.) ready because these low sugar, nutrient dense, absolutely YUMMY granola bars are off the chain!

Plate of Homemade Chewy Granola Bars | iowagirleats.com

Last week Ben and I took the kids out to dinner and it was a Disaster with a capital D. I always feel better reading other parent’s accounts of nice dinners gone bad, so here you go: right off the bat Cam ate a raw jalapeno then started dipping fried wonton chips into ice water to cool his mouth off. Wasn’t messy at all. Nope! Then Lincoln, who’s usually our good eater, declared the entire platter of assorted dumplings Ben ordered for him inedible. Still unsure why. To top it all off, poor Gwen, who was unusually fussy (read: screaming) during dinner, ended up having a 102 degree fever by the time we got home.

Parents of the year right here, people!

Anyway, thankfully I had a random granola bar in my purse to distract our fire-breathing two year old and give Mr Lincoln something to chew on too (no upside for sis, though thankfully she is on the mend!) which reminded me of this awesome recipe I posted seven years ago (woah!) here on IGE.

Far from the sugary, store-bought granola bars that leave you satisfied for maybe 5 minutes, Homemade Chewy Granola Bars are gluten free, packed with healthy fats and protein, and naturally sweetened with a wee bit of honey. They are SO dang delicious and my kids (and I) gobble them up. There’s even a secret ingredient, ya see, that takes the flavor of these homemade granola bars up 500 notches.

That said, the secret ingredient, along with all the other ingredients in this recipe, are kitchen staples so we can whip these granola bars up anytime. I’m thinking they’ll become regular weekly meal prep items for us, along with Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bars, Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars, Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins, and Cranberry Chocolate Almond Energy Bites, to have on hand for easy and healthy snacking. With summer break just around the corner, lord knows we’ll need them!

Couple of notes:

  • This recipe calls for coconut oil and I do not recommend substituting in any other type of oil. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, and even harder when chilled, (these granola bars live in the fridge or freezer) and help keep the bars together.
  • Along the same lines, I haven’t tested this recipe with any other sweetener besides honey. Its thick and sticky texture keeps the bars together.
  • I use almonds and pecans in my chewy granola bars though you could most likely use whatever nut or seed you have on hand.

Let’s do this!

Hand holding a Homemade Chewy Granola Bar | iowagirleats.com

Start by adding 1/2 cup each almonds and pecan halves, plus 3/4 cup gluten free old fashioned oats to the bowl of a food processor, then process until all the ingredients are finely chopped. I know I’ve said it 1,001 times, but the only oats I use are from GF Harvest.

Pour the nuts and oat mixture into a large bowl then add an additional 1/4 cup oats, 1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries, 2 Tablespoons chia seeds, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and another 1/2 cup each almonds and pecan halves that have been roughly chopped. Stir everything together then set aside.

Next add 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons honey, 1/4 cup coconut oil, and a scant 1/2 teaspoon salt to a small saucepan then bring to a foamy bubble over medium heat. Let the mixture foam and cook for 1 minute then remove it from the heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon each almond extract and vanilla extract.

The almond extract is the secret ingredient in this recipe, by the way. I’m telling you – the subtle, special flavor it adds is craveable.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients then mix well to combine. Scoop the mixture into a foil-lined, nonstick-sprayed 8×8 baking pan then spray the bottom of a glass measuring cup with more nonstick spray and press press press!! The harder you press the better these bars will stick together.

Refrigerate the bars until they’re completely set – a few hours – then lift out of the baking pan using the foil and slice into bars. These bars will soften at room temperature so keep them in the fridge, or wrap in parchment paper or saran wrap and freeze individually. However you eat them them, I hope you love these homemade chewy granola bars! Enjoy!

Overhead view of a stack of Homemade Chewy Granola Bars | iowagirleats.com

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars


Homemade Chewy Granola Bars are a cinch to make from pantry staples. Gluten free and kid friendly, they're a great, low-sugar option for snack time.


makes 12 bars

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup certified gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (no substitutions)
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Line a 8x8” baking dish with foil, letting it hang generously over the sides, then spray with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Add 1/2 cup each almonds and pecans, plus 3/4 cup old fashioned oats into the bowl of a food processor then process until finely chopped. Pour mixture into a large bowl then add remaining 1/4 cup oats, dried cranberries, chia seeds, and cinnamon. Chop remaining 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup almonds then add to the bowl and stir everything together. Set aside.
  3. Add honey, coconut oil, and salt to a small saucepan then bring to a bubble over medium heat, stirring once or twice. Turn heat down slightly, simmer for 1 minute, then remove saucepan from heat and stir in extracts. Pour over the dry ingredients then stir well to combine, and then pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
  4. Spray the bottom of a measuring cup or bowl with nonstick spray then press firmly into an even layer. The harder you press, the better the bars will stick together! Refrigerate until set, a couple hours, then pull out of the baking dish using overhanging foil and slice into bars using a sharp knife. Store bars in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Photo collage of Homemade Chewy Granola Bars | iowagirleats.com