If your mornings are hectic, running out the door with a coffee in one hand and your kids in the other, then these easy, nutritious no bake Trail Mix Granola Bars are for you!
I ran for the bus every single day that I worked in a corporate office.
I’d shuffle down the block in my heels, my hot coffee sloshing onto the pavement, and my mouth full of a grab-and-go breakfast (like these Strawberry Oatmeal Bars), silently praying that the bus was behind schedule.
This was my Monday through Friday for four straight years. You would think that after one year of stressed-out suit sprinting that I would have learned to leave the house earlier, let alone after four years, but it never happened.
What did I do instead? I stored my heels in a box underneath my desk and made sure I also always had a stash of no-bake trail mix granola bars (or sometimes Healthy Granola Bars) at the ready.
I might be late, but at least I wouldn’t be hungry.
5 Star Review
“These granola bars are sooo good. The whole family loves them.”— Brittney —
How to Make Trail Mix Granola Bars
If you find yourself rushing in the morning, struggle to find time for a healthy breakfast or snacks, have picky eaters to feed, or a bus of your own to catch, this trail mix granola bars recipe is for you (or try these No Bake Granola Bars).
Because they’re a no bake recipe, they take only a few minutes to make, are made from simple ingredients (like this Crock Pot Granola), and can last for weeks, so you’ll always have them at the ready. Plus, they are super yummy, filling, and healthy too!
- Oats. The base for every great granola bar (and Healthy Granola recipe). It adds a hefty dose of fiber and plant-based protein to every bite.
- Rice Cereal. Adds a lovely contrasting texture to the oats and additional crunch. I always opt for a whole grain cereal whenever possible for a few healthy bonus points.
- Flaxseed Meal. Adds additional fiber and protein along with healthy fats. The flaxseed meal also helps bind the granola bars together and hold their shape (as in these Fig and Date Energy Balls).
- Peanut Butter. A generous scoop (or two) of your favorite peanut butter gives these healthy granola bars a wonderful nutty flavor and helps hold everything together (if you love peanut butter, you’ll also enjoy these Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls).
- Honey. A little squeeze of honey gives these bars the smallest kiss of sweetness and just the right amount of sticky chewiness.
- Coconut Oil. Incorporates some healthy fats into the bars and keeps these trail mix granola bars moist.
- Cinnamon. Just a hint to warmly spice the granola bars with a little extra something-something. (For more cinnamon goodness, try these Oatmeal Breakfast Bars.)
Trail Mix Granola Bar Mix-Ins
Once you have the base of the peanut butter granola bars mixed together, it’s a chose your own adventure of flavors. Choose from any of these mix-in ideas below or feel free to get creative with your own combinations.
- Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, honey-roasted peanuts, pistachios.
- Seeds. Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, or pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
- Dried Fruit. Raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried apricots.
- Chocolate. You can never go wrong with mini chocolate chips or a drizzle of melted chocolate before chilling these bars.
- Warm the honey, peanut butter, and coconut oil together, stir to combine, and then add the vanilla. Let cool.
- Toss together the oats, cereal, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, and any desired mix-ins.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture over the top, then stir until everything is evenly moistened.
- Transfer the mixture into a baking pan lined with parchment and sprayed with cooking spray.
- Press into an even layer then chill until completely set.
- Remove the bars from the pan and slice into bars. ENJOY!
I tested a few different versions of these trail mix peanut butter granola bars, each with varying amounts of peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil.
All were duly devoured, but today’s recipe is my favorite. It has just the right amount of sweetness, and the coconut oil helps the bars hold their shape.
- Peanut Butter Lovers Granola Bars. You can certainly swap the coconut oil for extra peanut butter if you’re a big fan. (Or try these Vegan Protein Bars or Peanut Butter Protein Bars)
- Swap the Nuts and Fruits. Feel free to change out the nuts and fruits for any flavors you love or have on hand. Unlike my old bus route’s departure time, this peanut butter granola bar recipe is very flexible and forgiving!
- To Store. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks in a covered container.
- To Freeze. Trail mix chewy granola bars may be frozen for up to 3 months when wrapped tightly in plastic and stored in a freezer-safe container.
Tools Used to Make These Bars
- 8×8 Baking Pan. My go-to pan for bars, brownies, and more.
- Parchment Paper. I especially love these pre-cut sheets for their ease and convenience.
These days I’m still running late but with a trail mix granola bar in either hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Several factors can cause these granola bars to not hold their shape. First, make sure you are chilling them thoroughly before slicing. Second, these are best stored chilled in the fridge. If left at room temperature (or in a hot car) they will soften considerably. Last, no-stir peanut butter works best in this recipe since natural peanut butter tends to have more liquid and add extra moisture. If you prefer to use natural peanut butter, try increasing the amount of oats, a few tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
I have never added protein powder to these trail mix granola bars before, however, it should work just fine. If the mixture appears too dry and crumbly once you’ve stirred in the protein powder, add a few extra tablespoons of peanut butter or honey to introduce a little extra moisture, if needed.
You may swap the peanut butter for any nut butter of your choice, such as almond butter or cashew butter. If you have a nut allergy, try swapping for peanut-free Wow Butter.
Trail Mix Granola Bars
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats gluten free if needed
- 3/4 cup crispy rice or other puffed grain cereal, whole grain if possible (I used this one)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit I used 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup mixed nuts and/or seeds, I used a mix of toasted pumpkin seeds and almonds
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips dairy free if needed
- Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on two of the sides like handles. Generously coat the foil or paper with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, peanut butter, and coconut oil. Melt gently and stir until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, cereal, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt, then stir in the dried fruit, nuts/seeds, and chocolate chips.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture over the top, then stir until the ingredients are evenly moistened.
- Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking pan, then with a spatula or your fingers, press into an even layer. If the mixture is too sticky, lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the top, then press on its surface.
- Place the bars in the refrigerator to set, at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Once fully chilled, remove the bars from the pan with the foil or paper “handles,” then, using a very sharp knife, slice into bars. Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer for later.
- NOTE ON PEANUT BUTTER: I used Jif Creamy Natural Peanut Butter, which does not need to be stirred at room temperature. If you use a different brand or formula, you may need to alter the amount of liquid/oats/salt to suit your tastes and ensure the bars hold together once chilled. This recipe is flexible and forgiving, so feel free to adjust as needed.
- TO STORE: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks in a covered container.
- TO FREEZE: Trail mix chewy granola bars may be frozen for up to 3 months when wrapped tightly in plastic and stored in a freezer-safe container.
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