Soft and chewy granola bars are chock-full of oats with a hint of chocolate for a satisfyingly sweet and nutty bar made with just six ingredients!
If you’re looking for a soft yet chewy granola bar that doesn’t require any baking and only uses 6 ingredients, I have the recipe for you!
What goes into these no-bake granola bars?
If you’re looking to cut down on refined sugar or focus on more whole foods, these are a great option. The basis of these bars are rolled oats, and they’re naturally sweetened with a Medjool date paste. Nut butter and cocoa powder add flavor and additional richness, while the add-ins add more flavor and texture.
- Medjool dates
- Baking powder
- Rolled oats
- Nut butter of choice (peanut, almond, etc.)
- Cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- Add-ins like chocolate chips, slivered almonds, dried fruit, etc.
How to make no-bake granola bars?
The first step is to make the date paste by boiling the dates with a bit of baking powder to help break down the dates. From there, simply mix together all the ingredients and press into a pan and refrigerate until firm and sliceable.
What do they taste like?
Because these don’t have any refined sugar, most of the sweetness comes from the earthy date paste. Adding chocolate chips as a mix-in will help enhance the light chocolate-y flavor of these, and I like the nuttiness that adding slivered or sliced almonds provides. These do get fudgier the longer they sit in the fridge, but at room temperature, they kind of remind me of those Quaker Chewy granola bars.
Soft No-Bake Chocolate Granola Bars
- ¾ cup Medjool dates
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1.5 cups rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon nut butter of choice (peanut, almond, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
- ¼ cup add-ins: chocolate chips, slivered almonds, dried fruit, etc.
Make the date paste
- Add the dates and water to a small saucepan over high heat, uncovered. Once the water begins to boil, add the baking powder and stir, lowering the heat to medium or medium-high, so that the date mixture continues to foam and bubble. Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until date mixture is completely broken down into an approximate paste. Remove from heat and let cool. Optionally, you can blend the cooled date paste in a blender or food processor to get a smoother paste.
Make the granola bars
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats, cacao powder and add-ins of your choice (I added 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of toasted, slivered almonds). Stir in cooled date paste and nut butter until the wet ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Press oat mixture into a greased baking pan or, if you're lazy, rip off a large square of plastic wrap. If you press the oat mixture into a rough rectangle and then cover in plastic wrap, you can use a heavy cutting board to flatten it out into a prettier square.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars for the cleanest cuts.
I’ve made these four times so I think I am overdue to comment. I LOVE these bars. The best thing about them is no food processing (so no cleaning the food processor). I use more chocolate chips (or carob chips) and no nuts. I would err on the side of more dates to allow for more stickiness and CHOP them before adding the pan. I just added instant coffee to my last batch and it was tasty. Thanks for the recipe! Again great idea and love the way they taste!
So happy to hear you’ve been loving these, Stephanie! Thanks for sharing your modifications and tips! 🙂
Omg, These are amazing and I haven’t even tried a completed one! I snagged a pinch while forming them into a square and I almost died. SO amazing!!!!!
Oh yay!!!! Rikki, I’m so glad to hear it 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know! <3
What is the yield of this recipe? And what size pan do you use?
Hi Allison! The yield will depend on the size you make the bars. I didn’t use a pan when I made these (just formed them using plastic wrap and my hands on a cutting board) and made about 6.
I think a loaf pan would be a good size, or you could use the smallest square-shaped pan you have (an 8×8 would probably make the bars too thin). Hope this helps–I’d love it if you let me know how they turn out for you! 🙂
I made these last night mainly for my boyfriend to take to work, and he approves! Of course I loved them, but he’s a little harder to please. I didn’t have quite enough oats so I added a bit of almond meal. I added some chopped nuts and chocolate chips but left everything else the same. They had the perfect amount of moisture and cut into bars nicely. Nice job!
Whitney!! So glad to hear it! Adding almond meal + those other add-ins sound DELICIOUS. Thanks so much for letting me know they worked out for you 🙂
reading this post makes me miss summer so much!! I’m really digging the whole idea of using dates as a natural sweetener, I really need to get on this!
i wanted to ask if you might know what the calories are and the carbs thanks alot , i ask because carbs are not my friend
Just made these and they look fantastic!! I love the date paste ingredient – I’ve used dates before, but never broken them down with water and baking powder, what a great method! I’m sure I will be making these often, thank you!
Not a big fan of dates. Any suggestions of alternates? Thanks! 🙂
Do you like raisins? Or apricots? Actually, most dried fruits should work fairly well. You may need to add some sweetener to taste, but I think raisins would be the closest sub. Or prunes. Let me know how it goes!
Lynn @ The Actor's Diet
I just bought a whole buncha dates – can’t wait to make these!
Yay! Let me know how you like them 🙂 I’m busy exploring your blog right now and it’s amazing!! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
carla @ eat sweet. by carla sue
Yum! These bars look amazing!
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies
Ooh, just pinned these. 🙂 I’ve been having frozen muffins for breakfast for a few weeks now and I think I’ll switch it up with granola bars next week!
The Wimpy Vegetarian
I love dates!! Pinning these bars right now to make sure I make them. Oh, and I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve left a bakery, accidentally carrying a bag of sugary somethings, and have no regrets LOL. Really enjoyed reading your post about the weekend. It’s sounds so fun, and major congrats on the new bed. I still remember when I made the transition. I was living in Atlanta and just couldn’t wait for the store to deliver it, I was that excited. so they threw it on top of my car, tied that sucker down, and I hoped for the best when I got onto the freeway. Got it to my apartment in all one piece, but then couldn’t figure out how the hell I was going to get it off the car and into the apartment by myself. Eventually I did it, but jeez, it was crazy. LOL.
Oh man your comment just made my day! You’re right–I have ZERO regrets about all the delicious Mexican pastries that were consumed. In fact, I’m ready for a round two… 🙂
I’m so enjoying everyone’s stories about their upgrades to a new bed! Ha–that is too funny that you couldn’t wait for them to deliver it!! I love that. Serious determination to sleep in comfort! And then from Atlanta to California…I can only assume the bed didn’t go with you 🙂
You will not go nuts with this one. YUMMY! 🙂
Wow – what an incredible week. Truly sounds fantastic!! And those no bake bars? YUUUM
It definitely was! Almost as fun as your life 🙂
These look fabulous, healthy and so simple Erika! Love the raw cacao. That’s too funny about y’all “accidentally” leaving the bakery with pastries…sounds like something I would do! I remember upgrading from a twin to a queen and then a king, oh my! Such a difference!
Haha! I have this impression you would have slightly more restraint than Erik and I did…luckily, I think your being vegan would keep you from visiting El Bolillo in the first place! I really should go vegan 😉 And yes! Twin to queen has been amazing so far!!
Oh no girl, trust me, I have a sweet tooth like you wouldn’t believe! Seriously, my hubby and mother-n-law nicknamed me the Cookie Monster. I’ve always been addicted to sweets, I just do my best to make them as healthy as I can. I LOVE sugary pastries!!
Sounds like a wonderful no-bake recipe!
Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen
Sounds like an awesome weekend! I need to get a new bed too! Those granola bars look so tasty!
Thanks Alex! I hope you get a new bed soon–it’s the best feeling, sleeping in a brand spankin’ new bed 🙂
Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
Queen beds rock–Michael totally still thinks we need more space though (because “I hog the bed”–aka, I try to be near him, oh man I’m the worst lol)
Hahaha THE WORST! Obvs. Haha.
Alex @ Brain, Body, Because
Oh my gosh! That weekend sounds SO fun!!! Which bands did you see?? I didn’t realize that half of them are still together / touring / alive (Postal Service? Interpol [sorta]?) Also, please tell me that you caught the Octopus Project! I saw them a few years ago and it was AMAZING!!!
Also amazing: These granola bars! It has been gross hot in Pittsburgh an no-bake anything is a win in my book.
Also also – you had a TWIN bed?! Girl, that shit is SO SMALL! I’m glad that you have a bigger bed now 🙂
Ahhh I’m so sad to say we did not see the Octopus Project 🙁 We were kind of lame and only went for like five hours each night to catch the headliners. Doing music festivals all day long is just exHAUSTING so we didn’t catch any of the smaller bands. Poop! I’m sad we missed them!
And girl, me too 🙂
Sounds like a great weekend, Erika! These granola bars sound really tasty!
Thanks Kenley! They are pretty addicting 🙂
These look GREAT…. and the weekend sounds like it was amazing.
Monday’s on the other hand, suck.
(¸.•´ (¸.•`¤… Jennifer
Jenn’s Random Scraps
True story! And thanks Jennifer 🙂
Nancy @ gottagetbaked
That sounds like a fabulous weekend, girl. Now that I’m older (read: tired ‘n cranky) I don’t have too many weekends where my schedule is packed full of stuff but they’re always fun when they happen! Not so fun is the empty fridge, which is what mine is at the end of the work week. Fridays are always our take out day because there’s nothing to eat at home. I was literally standing in the grocery store last week, with a pack of dates in my hand wondering if I should buy them. I put them down and walked away and now I’m kicking myself for doing so. I’m buying some asap so that I can make these bars. I love how easy, adaptable and healthy they are (provided I don’t cram them full of chopped chocolate bars or something ridiculous like I’m wont to do). And how do you cut them into such perfect rectangles? Every time I cut bars, they’re all wonky. Last comment: congrats on the bigger bed! I went from a single bed at my parent’s house, to a queen when me ‘n Tony first moved out, and now we have a ginormous king. You’re just one step away from the biggest size – I hope you get there soon!
Mmm, I want to implement take out Fridays! I think I need more take out pad thai and fried rice in my life. Ooh yes, please go buy some dates! They are so amazing, and you can use them in so many things! If you like the flavor, they’re seriously the best replacement for sugar. So healthy! 😉
You always make me feel so good about myself! I thought these bars were pretty messy, but in order to maximize neatness, I shaped them into the best possible square I could, then refrigerated them so that they were cold when I cut them. That’s it! 🙂
christina @ smallkitchenchronicles
Sounds like a great weekend, Erika. And enjoy that lovely new (BIG) bed of yours. I remember the day I upgraded from full to queen and it was OH SO NICE. Sleep in comfort, girl! And these bars looks delicious; quite the compliment from the boyfriend too, AND with no added sugar to boot, nice! xo
Ahaha don’t worry, I am!! 😉 Yes, I was quite pleased (and kind of surprised!) Erik liked these as much as he did. Thanks for stopping by, as always 🙂
Going to go get some dates…… 😉 yum!