Granola Recipe: Easy and Healthy Granola Bars or No Bake Cookies

I have a thing for granola. No, I’m not a trippy hippie. But I do love the healthy simplicity of a delicious granola bar while outside on a hike or as an afternoon snack at work.

The problem with most granola bar brands though is they’re laden with fat and unpronounceable ingredients – especially those fatty Nature Valley Granola Bars. Sure there are “healthy alternatives” like the Chewy Granola Bars from Kashi, but at $5 for a box of 6 tiny bars I think I’ll pass on even the organic manufactured versions. I’ll keep my cashi in my pocket, thank you very much. Smirk.

granola bars granola recipe

To show you that healthy and organic granola snacks can be had for less, I’ve put together a yummy homemade granola recipe for your snacking pleasure. If you’re not into bar shapes, go ahead and use a cookie cutter for no bake cookies! This is a no bake recipe that’s fun to make with your kids too!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked buckwheat, al dente
  • 1 cup raw rolled oats
  • 3 apples
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, or raisins
  • 1 cup dried apple slices, or other dried fruit
  • 30 dates, pitted and soaked in water for 15 minutes (add more for sweeter snacks)
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 1/4 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Yields 20 granola bars or around 30 cookies. I used all organic ingredients bought in bulk (no name generics) costing under $6 for the batch.

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, place 1 cup cooked buckwheat, cored apples (keep the peel), dates, honey, cinnamon, salt, and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds.

granola bars recipe food processor

2. Grind until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

granola bars recipe

3. Add 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup cranberries, dried apple (or other fruit) slices to the food processor (you don’t need to rinse the bowl in between steps). Very coarsely chop the nuts, seeds, and fruit in a few quick pulses. Add them to the bowl with the apple mixture and combine well.

granola bars no bake cookies recipe

4. Add the oats, and remaining buckwheat, almonds, sunflower seeds, and cranberries to the mixture and combine.

granola bars no bake cookies oatmeal recipe

If the dough is too moist, add a pinch more oats to the mixture. The dough should be sticky but not runny. The varying degrees of chopped nuts, seeds, and fruits give this granola an amazing texture.

no bake cookies oatmeal granola bars recipe dough

5. Spread the granola dough on plastic wrap to shape into bars 1/2 inch thick and then chop into sections 4 inches long.

granola bars dough rolling

Alternatively, use a cookie cutter to shape the granola dough into no bake oatmeal cookies – perfect for kids’ lunches and snacks.

no bake cookies oatmeal cookies

6. Place the granola bars or cookies onto dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 135 degrees for 4 hours. Flip the bars over and continue dehydrating for another hour, depending on how chewy and moist you prefer your granola bars. If you prefer very crunchy granola bars, then dehydrate for another 8 hours after flipping.

granola bars no bake cookies recipe dehydrator

Granola bars get flipped!

granola bars no bake cookies dehydrate

7. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container. To maintain freshness longer, store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

I would have taken photos of the finished homemade cookies, but they didn’t last long enough. πŸ˜‰

homemade granola bars

These are seriously yummy, healthy, and affordable snacks to make. Enjoy!

Your two cents:

  1. Nicki at Domestic Cents May 22nd, 2009

    Looks great! I have a health food store where I can buy things in bulk also. I’ve found that it really saves AND you get better quality. Win-Win.

  2. Kerry May 22nd, 2009

    @Nicki These are YUMMY and very frugal when the ingredients are bought in bulk. Win-win is right! πŸ˜€

  3. Christine May 22nd, 2009

    These look good! But is there a way to dehydrate them without actually having a dehydrator machine thingummin? Would the oven work?

  4. Kerry May 22nd, 2009

    @Christine You could try a few things. 1) Add more raw oatmeal to absorb the moisture and let sit out on your counter for a while. 2) Just eat the mixture as cereal. πŸ˜€ 3) Heat the oven to a low temperature and then turn it off, placing the bars in the warmed oven to dehydrate as the oven cools.

  5. Jules May 23rd, 2009

    Mmmm…I need to find a place that sells dates.

    Wondering if you’ve tried Alton Brown’s granola. It’s not raw, but it’s supposedly great.

  6. neimanmarxist May 23rd, 2009

    LOL @ keeping your cashi in your pocket! πŸ˜€ i love kashi products too, but seldom buy them because they’re so expensive. I’ll have to try these & feed them to my vegan bottomless pit husband. I might add chocolate bits, because the lucky creature doesn’t gain weight no matter what he eats!

  7. Kerry May 23rd, 2009

    @neimanmarxist I think chocolate chips are a wonderful addition to this vegan bar. I might just add a few chunks of chips to my next batch. Your husband is a lucky guy to not have weight worries AND to have you make him these granola bars. πŸ˜‰

  8. Beth May 23rd, 2009

    Love the recipe, but I can’t eat dates… Is there something else that can be used as a substitute?

  9. Aman@BullsBattleBears May 23rd, 2009

    looks like Kashi bars, only fresh and wholesome (being homemade and all!) great recipe worth trying out!

  10. Kerry May 23rd, 2009

    @Aman These bars are tastier than Kashi plus they cost less than half. πŸ˜‰

    @Beth There are a few yummy fruits you can substitute dates with – like raisins, figs, cranberries, and perhaps even prunes. Try fruit which is sweet and sticky to bind the ingredients together. Could also add additional honey to add sweetness and stickiness.

  11. Kelly from Almost Frugal May 25th, 2009

    Fox- this sounds delicious! And the previous commenters asked my questions which were about lack of dehydrators and dates (can’t stand ’em). I think I would try this with dried apricots and in the oven (or maybe even in our scorching summer sun) or with almond milk as a cereal. thanks again!

  12. Kerry May 25th, 2009

    @Kelly Apricots would be delicious in this recipe Kelly! Using the sunshine to slightly dehydrate everything would work very very well. Great ideas!

  13. derek May 25th, 2009

    is there a link to print off recipes without the pictures? If not is it possible to have just a point form word doc. available to print off in the future?

    thanks for the recipes

    Derek

  14. Kerry May 25th, 2009

    @Derek You could try copying and pasting the text into a .doc or .txt file to get the recipes without the photos.

  15. nancy (aka money coach) May 25th, 2009

    yum – I suspect I’d pretty much want to eat them before they became granola bars! This will be my weekend project – too much of my own cashi is going to kashi! Thanks for the inspiration, as always.

  16. Saver Queen May 27th, 2009

    I love making my own granola bars too, although I use a different recipe. Maybe I should try yours and compare!

  17. Meaghan May 31st, 2009

    This is great! I love granola bars, but I always feel guilty buying them b/c they are so expensive.

  18. Dani2 June 1st, 2009

    Another advantage to making your own granola bars – no packaging waste! These look great. Thanks for all the great tips.

  19. Kerry June 1st, 2009

    @Dani2 Ohh yes, the packing waste – you are so right! Since I make all my own snacks I forgot about all the packaging that goes into individually wrapping each and every bar. Enjoy the package free bars!

  20. Justin June 1st, 2009

    These look incredible. Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe.

  21. jay June 4th, 2009

    Looks like a great recipe! Where can I find buckwheat?? Trader’s Joe?

  22. Karen June 14th, 2009

    looks like a great recipe – with these granola bars why would you ever have to buy a bar again in the store

  23. Niche Topics July 11th, 2009

    My family loves granola bars but they can be rather expensive and laden with sugars. Thanks for sharing…looks good πŸ™‚

  24. A. Pfeifer August 31st, 2009

    THANKS!! I have been on the internet for over an hour looking for something that didn’t qualify as dessert, or have half a pound of butter or oil. I, too, quit buying Kashi when they went to $5.00/box from $3.50 and I noticed “natural ingredients” popping up on their labels. I want to know where in their world quest for ingredients they found that rarest of rarities: the Natural Ingredient Tree. Maybe THAT’S what spiked the price!! I’m probably going to bake them, though.

  25. marina November 16th, 2009

    hi there. this is exciting to know how to make one’s own granola bars!
    if one does not own a dehydrator, how long in the oven before they get too dried out and crumbly do you figure?
    also, is the honey absolutely necessary? i find with the fruits you include that it would already be plenty sweet enough for me. any suggestions? would it fall apart without it as a binder?
    thanks]
    marina

  26. Leslie November 19th, 2009

    Hi, I would like to try this recipe, but I cannot eat buckwheat (you just do not want to know what it does to me). I have no problems with any other grains, so can you make an alternative suggestion to buckwheat?
    thanks, Leslie

  27. Kerry November 19th, 2009

    Hi Leslie: Try this Homemade Granola Recipe — it’s buckwheat free! πŸ™‚

  28. Kerry November 19th, 2009

    Hi Marina! You don’t need a dehydrator. Just set your oven to a low temperature for an hour or so until they are just moist to your liking. You can skip the honey without the bars falling apart.

  29. Karen December 14th, 2009

    These look great – but can I freeze these bars?

  30. Stef September 25th, 2010

    Great!

    I’m a huge fan of granola bars. It’s better than eating candy bars when you get hungry at work. I have to try that recipe.

    Keep posting!

  31. Lyn January 19th, 2011

    These look delicious! My hubby and I just bought a food processor and dehydrator and have been having fun testing out new recipes with them. This would be prefect as we also stopped buying granola bars because of the added fat and sugar and skyrocketing prices.
    But do note that this recipe is NOT VEGAN… as it contains honey as an ingredient. If you left out the honey or replaced with agave then there you go! Delicious vegan bars πŸ™‚ YUM!
    Very excited about this one

  32. Mercedes June 23rd, 2011

    Any suggestions for a substitution for the raw apples? Raw apples and my mouth just don’t get along, but I’m not sure there is something that would have a similar texture

  33. Moira September 11th, 2011

    The recipe looks great, but you do not indicate anywhere how many calories per bar. Could you let us know?

  34. Ruthann Biel September 12th, 2011

    I am allergic to apples (along with 24 other foods). I am going to try to make them with Asian pears which are available in my area.

  35. Babi Zajicek October 23rd, 2011

    Would be interested to know the calories per par or cookie.

  36. Melanie March 20th, 2012

    What does the “al dente” mean after buckwheat?
    Sorry, I’m new to this πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Melanie

  37. Ruthann Biel March 20th, 2012

    From Dictionary.com

    al denΒ·te
       [al den-tey, -tee; It. ahl den-te]
    adjective, adverb
    (especially of pasta) cooked so as not to be too soft; firm to the bite: spaghetti al dente.

  38. Calla September 19th, 2012

    Thanks for posting the great photos of the step by step process. I purchased buckwheat groats at the natural foods store. It this the same ingredient called for in this recipe?
    Calla

  39. bakerkids3 February 26th, 2013

    What could i add instead of the almonds? not a big fan of almonds.

  40. russia amor January 3rd, 2014

    Thanks for this great recipe. It looks good and delicious. All I need is buckwheat but I don’t know where to get that since I’m new in this place plus I’m Asian . I am going to make it rigth now with 3 cups of oats instead of 2 cups buckwheat and 1 cup oats.

  41. Stephanie March 10th, 2014

    Great recipe… sounds delicious!

    Wondering though, how to store these, and how long will they last? It’s the apple that really throws me off!

  42. Vanessa Lee August 20th, 2015

    Can these be frozen? I know you say they will last up to a week in the fridge, but I plan on making them for my toddler. I doubt she’ll go through the batch in a week. Let me know please, looks delish!

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