No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars – These healthy homemade peanut butter granola bars are so easy and delicious! You only need a few ingredients & a few minutes to make them! (Gluten-Free, Vegan-Friendly)
We have several allergies and intolerances at our house, but peanuts aren’t one of them! My kids and I love making peanut butter treats and snacks on the weekends, and these healthy peanut butter granola bars are one of our favorites lately. They taste SO GOOD!
I’m a sucker for their soft texture, perfectly balanced flavor, and how easy they are to make. Seriously. We’re talking like 5-6 main ingredients in this peanut butter granola bar recipe!
I’ll grab the recipe, you grab the peanut butter–let’s get started on these gluten-free peanut butter granola bars!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars, At A Glance:
Here’s What You Need To Make No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars:
- (Gluten-Free) Quick Oats. Quick oats work like a charm for gluten-free granola bars. They’ve got a great soft texture that packs down well and doesn’t make them too chewy. If you’re gluten-free make sure to use gluten-free oats–Bob’s Red Mill & One Degree brand are two of our go-to’s!
- Crisp Rice Cereal. Here’s the secret for a granola bar with great texture! You’ll cut the oats with crisp rice cereal. It adds lightness and crunch, which is crucial, in my opinion! Note: this recipe doesn’t work as well with puffed rice. We recommend crisp rice cereal only. See the FAQ for our favorite GF brands!
- Natural Peanut Butter. We want the drippy kind of creamy peanut butter made with just peanuts or peanuts and salt. If you’re using peanut butter spread (that contains oils or sugar), you may need to play with the amount of liquid in the recipe to keep these from being dry. We love PB Co old fashioned peanut butter best, but you can use your fave!
- Honey. Next up is some honey. This adds sweetness and helps bind the granola bars together. If you’re vegan, feel free to use agave or pure maple syrup instead.
- Vanilla. I love adding some vanilla to peanut butter granola bars! It’s that little secret something that makes them so good!
- Salt. Trust me. It won’t turn your granola bars salty, it’ll just balance that flavor like a dream.
- Some Chocolate Chips (If You Want). I’m not here to tell you what to do, but I’m just going to casually mention that drizzling these no-bake peanut butter granola bars with a little melted chocolate is super delicious.
How To Make Soft Peanut Butter Granola Bars, Step By Step:
- Prep Your Station. Line an 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. Get out a large bowl for dry ingredients, a medium bowl for wet ingredients, and a flexible spatula for stirring.
- Set Aside Your Dry Ingredients. Start by adding quick oats and crisp rice cereal to a large mixing bowl. Set aside for a minute while you mix up the wet ingredients.
- Melt The Peanut Butter & Honey. Next, in a microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter and honey. Microwave in 20-30 second bursts, stirring in between each until the mixture is liquidy and smooth. (This should only take 30-90 seconds, tops!) Note: you can also do this on the stovetop if you prefer. Just melt together on low heat in a saucepan.
- Stir In Flavor. Add vanilla and salt to the peanut butter & honey mixture and stir to combine.
- Add Wet To Dry. Then, pour the peanut butter mixture over your dry ingredients (oats & cereal).
- Stir To Combine. Give the whole mixture a stir until the dry ingredients are evenly coated. (There may be a minute here where you worry it’s going to be dry. Just keep stirring! If you’ve used natural drippy peanut butter and honey, you’ll be good to go.)
- Pack Down! Next, transfer the granola bar mixture to your prepared baking pan. Use the back of your spatula (or your fingers if you must!) to pack down the mixture evenly. Really work to pack it down here, as the better you pack it, the better your bars will hold together.
- Drizzle With Chocolate If You Want. If you want, you can drizzle the bars with melted chocolate chips here. (It’s optional, but delicious!)
- Chill & Cut. Put the pan in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes before slicing into 12 bars. (Make one slice widthwise, then cut into 6 sections lengthwise)
- Store In The Fridge. Transfer your gluten-free peanut butter granola bars to an airtight container or bag and store in the refrigerator 4-5 days.
Peanut Butter Granola Bar Mix-Ins & Variations To Try:
Made as written, these are pretty healthy peanut butter granola bars! That said, there are always fun ways to dress them up with mix-ins and toppings. Here are some of our favorites…
- Drizzle with chocolate (instructions in the recipe card!)
- Add mini chocolate chips. Or, sprinkle the tops with mini chocolate chips right before you pop them in the fridge. Pack them down a bit with your spatula to help them stick!
- Add M&Ms or chocolate candies. Give them a bit of a monster cookie feel by adding just a few m&ms. (On top works best!)
- Stir In Chopped Peanuts. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped peanuts for extra crunch. (I reduce the oats by 1/4 cup when I do this so there’s enough of the peanut butter mixture to go around.)
- Add A Sprinkle Of Cinnamon. Or, try adding a little cinnamon. Just 1/8-1/4 teaspoon goes a long way!
FAQ + Tips For The Best No-Bake PEanut Butter Granola Bars:
PACK THEM DOWN! My #1 tip for helping no-bake granola bars stick together and have great texture is to pack them down. Press down firmly with the back of a flexible spatula. Then do it again. Seriously. The more you pack them, the better they’ll hold together!
Can I Use Rolled Oats Instead Of Quick Oats To Make Granola Bars? What About Steel-Cut Oats? Quick oats are the best choice for making homemade peanut butter granola bars because they have a softer, more easy to chew texture. They also pack down more easily, which helps the bars stick together. Rolled oats will be chewy, and more likely to fall apart here. Steel-cut oats won’t work at all, since they’re too hard and chewy to eat raw.
Are Rice Krispies Gluten-Free? No! Rice Krispies brand cereal is NOT currently gluten-free. While rice itself is naturally gluten-free, many crisp rice cereals are made with malt syrup, which comes from barley and contains gluten. If you’re making these homemade peanut butter granola bars for someone gluten-free, it’s important to buy certified gluten-free oats and gluten-free crisp rice cereal. Speaking of which…
What Crisp Rice Cereal Is Gluten-Free? Since Rice Krispies brand isn’t gluten-free, you may be wondering what brands WILL work. Our favorite gluten-free crisp rice brands are:
- Barbara’s Organic Brown Rice Crisps Cereal (Walmart, Sprouts, Whole Foods)
- Nature’s Path Crispy Rice Cereal (Sprouts, iHerb,)
- One Degree Gluten-Free Brown Rice Crisps. (Thrive Market, Walmart, Whole Foods)
- Some stores are carrying generic brands now that are gluten-free, so be sure to read your labels!
More Gluten-Free Recipes you’ll love: