I made these No Bake Peanut Butter Chia Healthy Granola Bars in honor of my sister, who recently informed me that she is, “over quinoa.”
Over quinoa? Has the sun set on this little fiber and protein-rich powerhouse? Did its popularity rise, then fade into oblivion like the cupcakes and Krispy Kremes of yore? Or could my sister just have been toying with my emotions?
I’m hoping it’s the latter, because in addition to a fierce addiction to these Chicken Quinoa Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers, I have enough quinoa squirreled away in my basement to feed a small football team, assuming that football team is, you know, into quinoa.
About This Healthy Chewy Granola Bar Recipe
Since my sister is due to pop any second with my very first niece or nephew (yes, I am going to be an aunt!), I thought that the least that I could do would be to create a recipe for her that was mommy-friendly—no baking, one bowl, freezer friendly, healthy, endlessly flexible, kid-approved, and super-powered—and was quinoa-free.
It was also a good challenge to myself to incorporate new ingredients and grains that would still provide fabulous nutrition benefits, without involving the q-word.
The first thing that you should know about this healthy granola bar recipe is that it is ultra versatile.
The base is peanut butter, oatmeal, and honey (just like these No Bake Granola Bars and Healthy Granola Bars), and from there, how you customize the no bake bars is up to your preferences (or what is immediately available in your pantry).
I stirred in a generous handful of nuts for protein, chia seeds for fiber, and millet for crunch.
If you’ve never had millet, it’s a whole grain that’s ridiculously affordable, nutritious, and most commonly associated with bird seed, but do not be fooled.
Cooked, it makes a refreshing swap for oatmeal or rice, and raw it adds an addictive crunch to everything from Pumpkin Granola to these Buttermilk Crunch Muffins.
If you don’t have or prefer not to purchase millet, you can swap it for additional rolled oats, extra chia, or for a similar crunchy texture, uncooked quinoa (sorry sis).
Peanut butter base secured, it’s time for fun part of any homemade healthy granola bar recipe: the mix-ins!
I loaded my chia bars with walnuts and chopped dates, but feel free to swap any combo of dried fruits and nuts you love—or just go with a giant handful of chocolate chips.
Whichever homemade granola bar path you choose, I am confident in your decision.
No Bake Granola Bars Storage Tips
- To Store. Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- To Freeze. To freeze, individually wrap in plastic, place in a ziptop bag, then freeze for up to 2 months.
More Granola Bar Recipes
- Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- Salted Chocolate Almond No Bake Granola Bars
- Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars
- Cranberry Almond Granola Bars
These no bake healthy granola bars are soft, chewy, loaded with smooth peanut butter and honey flavor, and best of all, they are great for you too.
They’re also freezer-friendly, so you can use these last few weeks of summer to stock up before the back-to-school madness strikes.
Or in the case of our family, baby madness!
No Bake Peanut Butter Chia Healthy Granola Bars
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (quick cooking can also be used—I just prefer the chewier texture of the old fashioned)
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, and almonds or a mix. I used walnuts)
- 1/4 cup uncooked millet or uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use the kind that must be refrigerated or the bars may not set)
- 1/3 cup honey (I like raw—use maple syrup to make vegan)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, or dried cherries, raisins, chopped dried apricots, chopped dried dates, etc. (I used chopped mejool dates)
- OPTIONAL: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the oats, nuts, quinoa or millet, and chia seeds on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until the mixture is lightly golden and smells toasty, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with plastic wrap or parchment paper, lightly mist with cooking spray, then set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt together the peanut butter and honey, stirring frequently until creamy and smooth. Remove from the heat, then stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, millet (or quinoa), nuts, and chia seeds. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the top, then with a rubber spatula, stir until the ingredients are evenly coated. If using chocolate, let the mixture cool for 1 to 2 minutes to ensure the chocolate doesn’t melt, then stir in any desired mix-ins (if you are not adding chocolate, you can stir in the mix-ins right away).
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. With a rubber spatula, press it firmly to the edges, then place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top and press down firmly with your fingers to make sure it is spread tightly and evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the bars to set and the flavors to mingle. Use the plastic or parchment paper to remove the bars from the pan, slice into bars, and enjoy.
- I love toasting the ingredients in Step 1, because it deepens the bars’ flavor. That said, if you can’t handle turning on your oven, it is totally fine to skip this step! If you have time, I would still suggest toasting the nuts in a dry saucepan on low heat before adding them, because it does so much to maximize their flavor, but this is optional too.
- Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To freeze, individually wrap in plastic, place in a ziptop bag, then freeze for up to 2 months.
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Just made these last night and tried one for breakfast this morning and they are my new go to granola bar recipe! They tasted amazing and I like that they are healthy. I melted chocolate chips (not too many!) and coconut oil and drizzled it on top. Thanks for a delicious and healthy recipe!
Mell, thank YOU for giving the recipe a try and taking the time to leave this awesome review! Your extra chocolate drizzle sounds delicious. :)
I flubbed the recipe and it wouldn’t hold as bars, but the finished product was successfully converted into a hearty, nutty oatmeal so it was far from a failure.
Sarah, I’m so glad to hear you were still able to enjoy the end result! Thanks for giving it a try and reporting back!
I’ve made these twice now and they are very good. I primarily use them as my breakfast. Even though the bars may seem small, they are very filling so you definitely don’t have to worry about being hungry mid or late morning. I stuck to the recipe exactly and chose to use a mixture of mixed nuts, pecans,almonds,cashews,walnuts. Only thing that can improve on, is the nutritional information could be listed. Could probably figure it out myself but I’m to lazy to do that. Lol!
Mike, I’m so glad these bars are a breakfast winner for you! Thanks for taking the time to leave this awesome review!
Thank you for this recipe! it is sooooo good. I was looking for ways to get chia seeds into my partner’s diet. He’s like a whiney kid sometimes about certain foods, and he doesn’t like chia seeds. This is perfect!
YAY! I’m glad you enjoy them, Lily. Thanks so much for taking the time to report back!
I love these bars, everyone that I have given them to absolutely love them. One of these people actually ask for the nutritional facts, does this recipe have a nutritional facts available.
YAY Natasha! I am so happy to hear these were a hit! I calc the nutritional info for newer recipes but haven’t been able to update all of the old ones. You can, however, plug the recipe link in at myfitnesspal.com and calc it yourself for free. I hope that helps!
New to your website, so glad to have found you and this delicious recipe. So easy, so good and so versatile! Really like chia, and the added quinoa in here is just a great bonus. A question, what if I added raw hemp? Thoughts?
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the bars, Susan! I haven’t experimented with adding hemp myself, but you could try it. I hope you enjoy!
Super tasty but unfortunately fell apart when slicing it up. Regardless, we still enjoyed it. I thy I’ll tinker with the recipe to make it more sticky next time.
I’m sorry to hear that these fell apart for you, Emma. I’m happy you enjoyed the flavors, and I hope it goes better next time!
Delicious! Easy! And healthy! Can’t go wrong ?
I’m so happy that you enjoyed them, Emily! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I’ve been making these bars for 2 years. I absolutely love them! I always toast the dry ingredients and it’s fun mixing up the fruit and nuts for each batch. I store them in the freezer and enjoy them frozen.
I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed them, Julie! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I have made this recipe several times and always works out perfectly.
My whole family love these bars. They are delicious.
I am so so happy to hear it, thank you Maria!
I tried this recipe and it came out super dry and crumbly. The stuff just crumbled and broke when I tried to cut it into bars. I substituted maple syrup for about half of the honey; is syrup less sticky? I also used natural peanut butter in the recipe— does it work better with oil/sugar-added PB?
I’m sorry you had trouble with these bars, Greg. Maple syrup should work fine here. Did you use refrigerated natural peanut butter? Different brands of peanut butters vary, so that could be a contributing factor. If you try the recipe another time and they are really crumbly again, you could scrape them back into a bowl and see if you can get them to stick back together with more peanut butter and syrup. They shouldn’t be sticky, but they should definitely hold together!
Had a go with what I had. No nuts or honey so used chopped dates and a little more peanut butter. Love the quinoa and chia, works very well.
Hi David! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
This is a great recipe! I made them for my daughter for a midnight (or mid morning) nursing snack. She loved them and I am about to make a double batch for the freezer before I leave for home. These granola bars are absolutely delicious!
Hi Julianne! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I made these for my daughter who just had her second baby. I made the first batch with maple syrup. The taste was great. I made the second batch with honey and they held together much better than the batch with maple syrup, so Inthink future batches will be made with honey . So glad I found this healthy recipe! My daughter loves them for a middle of the night snack when she’s up feeding her baby. Thanks for creating!
Hi Julianne! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
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