Soft Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are loaded with coconut, fruits, seeds, warm spices, and rolled oats, with just the right amount of sweetness. Naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, they fit right in your hand for a healthy breakfast on-the-go.
These oatmeal breakfast bars are a fast, simple breakfast solution that fits right in your hand for a healthy breakfast on-the-go!
Crunchy granola bars are fine for snacking, but these soft, chewy oatmeal bars feel like a real meal. One batch of this easy make-ahead recipe makes two-dozen bars - enough to get you through the week or month, depending.
Loaded with coconut, fruits, seeds, warm spices, and rolled oats, these oatmeal breakfast bars are packed with healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates. Gluten- and dairy-free, they get just the right amount of sweetness from natural sugars.
A Healthy Breakfast for Busy Mornings
Seven minutes. When my youngest was thirteen, that's how long it used to take her to get dressed, check her face, comb her hair, check her face again, maybe put on a little make-up, gather her school supplies (that were supposed to have been gathered the night before), grab her clarinet, hug her Mama, and run out the door...
Breakfast, if there was one, was in her hand - because if she couldn't hold it and eat it before she got to the bus stop, it got stuffed in her backpack and forgotten. (Because, "I'm not eating at the bus stop: that's so embarrassing.") It didn't matter how early she awoke; breakfast was always a struggle.
If I could time it just right, I might be able to get her to take a breakfast burrito, but her most frequently chosen breakfast was a grocery store granola bar, which are fine for snacking or grabbing a quick carb boost, but lack any substantial protein. They are also filled with unpronounceable
chemicals ingredients. That's when I started making homemade breakfast bars.
Baked Breakfast Bar Ingredients
- Old-fashioned oats: Old-fashioned oats give the bar texture, even after baking. Avoid using quick oats; they don't lend enough structure to the bar.
- Applesauce: Use whatever applesauce you have on hand. We recommend using unsweetened applesauce. If you use sweetened applesauce, consider reducing the amount of honey used by up to half. Chunky applesauce will leave apple bits in the bar, which is a good thing.
- Almond milk: Use any alternative milk -almond, oat, or rice all work with this recipe. We have not tested this recipe using dairy milks.
- Banana: Use very ripe bananas; like those you would use when making banana bread.
- Coconut: Coconut adds both flavor and structure to these breakfast bars. Use shredded coconut, either sweetened or unsweetened.
- To up the flavor profile, toast the coconut before adding it to the batter.
- Ground almonds: Grind almonds in a small blender cup, food processor, or spice grinder. Do not completely pulverize them: you want them to be a little gritty.
- Baking powder
- Vanilla: Use extract or paste.
- Spices: Add spices as desired. Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are all good options.
- Dried fruits, nuts & seeds: We recommend adding 1¼-2 cups of add-ins to the batter: your choice of chopped dried fruits and/or nuts. While not expressly required for making these oatmeal bars, they greatly enhance the overall flavor and texture. (Kind of like how chocolate chips greatly enhance the flavor of Toll House cookie batter.)
How to Make Soft Baked Breakfast Bars
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Make Oatmeal Batter
Thoroughly whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in applesauce, mashed banana, honey, and vanilla.
Add in oats, ground almonds, ginger, baking powder, salt, and your chosen fruit-nut additions. Use a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
Pour in almond milk a little at a time, stirring to combine. Allow the mixture to sit and thicken for 30 minutes.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the oatmeal mixture evenly over parchment paper.
Bake 40 minutes, until the top is slightly golden and it is “bouncy” to the touch. (Like a heavy quick bread.)
Remove baking sheet from oven and cool the oatmeal "cake" on rack for 20 minutes.
Use a sharp, wet knife to cut the oatmeal cake into 24 bars.
Place half the bars on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving space in between each bar.
Bake bars for another 20 minutes at 375°F (190°C), turning over halfway through the baking time.
Hint: If you only have one baking sheet, do the second bake in two batches.
Remove from oven and cool completely on cooling rack. Store cooled bars in an air-tight container.
This recipe was developed using a rimmed half-sheet pan. You can bake it in a different sized pan, but that may affect the cooking time. If you don't own a good-quality commercial grade half-sheet pan, consider getting one soon. Its uses are infinite, and if you get a good one, it will last a lifetime and longer.
Baked oatmeal contains eggs and should be refrigerated. If you plan to eat the bars within the week, simply put them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For longer storage, wrap bars individually (or better yet, vacuum-seal them) and freeze them. Sealed breakfast bars will last up to four months in the freezer.
Thaw frozen bars to room temperature whenever you want one. You can eat them cold, but ten seconds in the microwave does wonders to activate the flavors.
Add-ins are a way to put your favorite flavors forward. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Sunflower seeds
- Dried apricots
- Dried cranberries
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Dried pineapple
- Dried mango
- Ginger chips
- More coconut!
Dried fruits and nuts should be chopped before adding.
More Oatmeal Recipes
If you enjoy sweet, baked oatmeal, you'll love our Butterfinger Oatmeal Bars, and Hearty Homemade Breakfast Granola! Or try some easy Steel Cut Oats with Apples & Cinnamon, made overnight in your rice cooker!
Tip: Have you ever used oatmeal to thicken a meat sauce? It may sound weird; but it works like a charm. (You won't even taste the oatmeal.)
Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Optional Add-ins (Use 1¼ - 2 cups total)
- chopped dried fruits raisins, Craisins, dried apricots, dried pineapple, etc.
- chopped nuts or seeds sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.
- ginger chips
- Preheat oven to 375°F | 190°C.
Make Oatmeal Batter
- Thoroughly whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in applesauce, mashed banana, honey, and vanilla.
- Add in oats, ground almonds, ginger, baking powder, salt, and your chosen fruit-nut additions. Use a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
- Pour in almond milk a little at a time, stirring to combine. Allow the mixture to sit and thicken for 30 minutes.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the oatmeal mixture evenly over parchment paper.
- Bake 40 minutes, until the top is slightly golden and it is “bouncy” to the touch. (Like a heavy quick bread.)Remove baking sheet from oven and cool the oatmeal "cake" on rack for 20 minutes.
- Use a sharp, wet knife to cut the oatmeal cake into 24 bars.
- Place half the bars on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving space in between each bar.Bake bars for another 20 minutes at 375°F | 190°C, turning over halfway through the baking time.Hint: If you only have one baking sheet, do the second bake in two batches.
- Remove from oven and cool completely on cooling rack. Store cooled bars in an air-tight container.
NOTE: Nutritional analysis DOES NOT INCLUDE optional add-ins.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Originally published February 24, 2014. Post has been updated with new content, images, and recipe instructions for improved reader experience.