How to Make a No-Bake Low-Sugar Granola Bar

Do you love granola bars—but not the high sugar content? This low-sugar granola bar recipe is just what you need.

Granola bars are easy snacks to have on hand when afternoon hunger hits. Unfortunately, packaged granola bars are often full of sugar, and the last thing we all need is an afternoon crash. I decided that I could make my own low-sugar granola bar from scratch to control the sugar content and the ingredients.

Developing the Recipe

After a quick search, I came across this homemade granola bar recipe. While it looked delicious, the ingredient list was long and it had quite a bit of sugar. Then I came across this recipe for granola cereal bars. There were fewer ingredients, but it still had more sugar than I wanted. I knew I wanted to use honey, as it has a lower glycemic index (GI) than refined sugar. I really liked that this second recipe had a shorter prep time, too.

My solution? I decided to marry the two recipes together. The result is this chewy low-sugar granola bar recipe!

How to Make Chewy Low-Sugar Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Yield: 12-14 bars

Editor’s Tip: Here’s what you need to know about choosing a healthy peanut butter.

Instructions

Step 1: Prep your baking dish

Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with parchment or waxed paper. Leave an overhang on two sides so that you can easily remove the granola bars once they’ve set.

Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, crisp rice cereal, sliced almonds, flaked coconut, dried cranberries and ground cinnamon.

Step 3: Mix the wet ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, peanut butter and vanilla. You can spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring sticky honey to make things easier. Find more measuring cup tricks.

Editor’s Tip: If your honey has set up or crystallized, remove the lid and microwave for about 45 seconds. If it is not in a microwaveable container, bring a small pot of water to a low simmer and set the jar in the water, allowing it to rest until the honey loosens up, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Combine the wet and dry ingredients

Spoon the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until completely combined. If the mixture seems overly wet, stir in a few more oats. The drier the mixture, the better it will hold together when cutting into bars.

Step 5: Put it all together

Place the granola mixture into your prepared baking dish. Use the spatula or the flat bottom of a cup to pack the granola firmly into an even layer in the baking dish. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Step 6: Slice into bars

After the granola has firmed up, use a sharp knife to cut it into individual bars. Wrap each bar up individually in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Alternately, you can store the bars together in a covered container, separating the layers with parchment or waxed paper.

Our Verdict

You won’t miss all the sugar with these hearty granola bars. They are chewy, flavorful and filling. You can also easily customize them with your favorite ingredients—think dark chocolate chips or additional dried fruits or chopped nuts. Also, any healthy nut butter (like almond butter or sunflower butter) can be used in this recipe in place of peanut butter.

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Susan Bronson
Susan Bronson is a writer and editor based in Northern Wisconsin.