With a simple blend of dates, nuts, oats, peanut butter, and chocolate chips, these homemade no-bake energy bars are a delicious, healthy snack to keep in your kitchen anytime. This is a simple DIY recipe that’s great for everyday snacking. It is both adult and kid approved!
I know I’m not the only one who waited a little too long to eat and felt hungry and hungry, grabbing all the snacks to assuage the hunger pangs.
Keeping a few nutritious and satisfying bites on hand is the best way to avoid slipping into that sad starvation mode.
Ideally, you want an easy-to-eat snack with a balanced mix of nutrients that will help you feel energized and full until your next meal. Homemade energy bars are a fantastic option.
These chocolate peanut butter bars have carbs from dates and oats, and a protein and fat blend from peanut butter and almonds. This balance is essential for feeling full and energized.
They’re deliciously chewy and a bit crunchy, plus there’s chocolate in them, which makes them so satisfying.
This recipe is perfect for a quick daily snack and also a great option for endurance athletes, like runners and cycling enthusiasts. 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 Dried Tofu, or Coconut Water Berry Smoothie. Along with energy bars, these recipes are some of my favorites to reach for whenever hunger strikes between meals.
One of the best things about this recipe is that you only need a few basic pantry ingredients. They are:
- Appointment – For the best flavor, I prefer to use whole dates and remove the pits and chop myself.
- Almonds – I like raw (unroasted) 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 preference.
- 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 article for exact amounts and preparation instructions.
Here is 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 article.
Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor. Mix until the mixture sticks when pressed.
Add the chocolate chips and pulse until evenly mixed with the other ingredients.
Transfer the mixture to an 8 x 8 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper and press down firmly and evenly with your hands. Put in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Remove from the freezer, transfer to a cutting board and cut into pieces.
Hint: Lining the pan with parchment paper makes it easier to remove the bars from the pan later.
You can easily adapt these homemade energy bars to a variety of dietary needs. Here are some possible substitutions.
- Vegan/dairy free – Use dairy-free chocolate chips (like Lily’s) or avoid them altogether.
- No added sugar – omit or use stevia-sweetened chocolate chips (like Lily’s). Use peanut butter with no added sugar.
- Peanut Free – replace peanut butter with almond butter or cashew butter (or any other nut/seed butter).
This recipe is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure the oats and other packaged ingredients are labeled gluten-free if necessary.
I love the peanut butter chocolate chip flavor of these bars, but you can also switch up the ingredients with a few simple swaps. Here are some ideas.
- Cinnamon Raisins – double the cinnamon and use raisins instead of chocolate chips
- Macadamia with white chocolate – Use macadamia nuts instead of almonds and white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips.
- Cashew – Replace almonds with cashews and use cashew butter instead of peanut butter.
- Tahini – use tahini instead of peanut butter.
There are many possibilities for flavoring homemade energy bars. Try my homemade sweet potato energy bar recipe if you’re looking for a new way to eat more veggies!
You will 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, simply chop the ingredients finely, combine them in a large bowl, then transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Follow the rest of the recipe as it is written.
Use an 8-inch square pan to act as a mold to form the bars. I like to line the pan with parchment paper so it’s easy to remove the mixture from the pan after it’s cooled in the freezer.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.
I prefer to store these bars in the freezer as they hold their shape better. I usually thaw one for about 5-10 minutes on the counter before eating.
Because these bars are unbaked, they are not ideal for traveling or eating on the go. You will need to store them in the fridge or freezer to prevent them from falling apart.
Spend a few minutes pressing the mixture firmly and evenly into the mold with the heels of your hands. Don’t rush this step! This is essential for the bars to stick together.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Energy bars contain a blend of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) that provide both quick and long-lasting energy. It’s a balanced snack to try when you want to feel more energized.
Energy bars often contain a mixture 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 to find the right balance of dry and wet ingredients. Try adding more dates or nut butter if the mixture doesn’t stick after processing. You should also firmly press the energy bar mixture into the pan with your hands. Finally, be sure to chill the bars in the freezer for best results.
Easy No-Bake Homemade Energy Bars with Oats
With a balanced blend of dates, nuts, oats and peanut butter, these homemade no-bake energy bars are a delicious healthy snack to keep in your kitchen at all times.
Servings: 12 bars
Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Add dates, almonds, oats, peanut butter, cinnamon (if using) and salt (if using) to the container of a food processor.
Cover and process on high for 30 seconds, or until mixture sticks when pressed.
Add chocolate chips (if using) and pulse 5 times, or until blended with remaining ingredients.
Transfer the mixture to the lined pan and press down firmly and evenly with your hands. (It’s important to press down firmly so the bars stick together, so don’t rush this step!)
Transfer the baking dish to the freezer and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Take the mold out of the freezer and remove the parchment paper to remove the mixture of nuts and dates. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 12 pieces.
Note on 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.
Chocolate chip notes: I use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips for this recipe. To make this recipe vegan/dairy-free and no added sugar, use Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips or a similar chocolate chip sweetened with stevia.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.
Nutritional values include optional ingredients and are an estimate only.
calories: 264calories | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated fats: 4g | Monounsaturated fat: 8g | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 337mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 91UI | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2mg