by Olena

No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 14 votes

These healthy No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars are decadent, slightly fudgy, and a wonderful snack or dessert made with just 8 natural ingredients! Best of all – no oven is required, just one bowl and under 10 minutes prep for a gluten-free, refined sugar-free treat!

Love no bake snacks? You might also like these no bake protein cookies, no bake Nutella pie, and no bake black bean brownies.

no bake peanut butter oatmeal bar sprinkled with sea salt

Decadent Yet Healthy No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

I’ve made no secret of my love for simple no-bake, grab n’ go snacks – especially if there’s an element of peanut butter in them. I’ve already shared a no bake peanut butter pie and peanut butter protein balls; now it’s the turn of these healthy no bake peanut butter oatmeal bars.

Unlike many no bake chocolate peanut butter bars recipes, this version has absolutely NO powdered sugar, crushed cookies, or butter. Instead, these healthy peanut butter oatmeal bars combine wholesome ingredients like almonds, oats, coconut, and unrefined maple syrup. These ingredients actually come up a lot in my healthy snacks – like these coconut protein balls, almond joy protein balls, and even healthy chocolate coconut balls.

I’ve also added tested recipe with dark chocolate chips in the bars or thick ganache topping. I’ve included both options for the chocolate lovers out there. The results are a healthy snack reminiscent of Reese’s peanut butter cups – delicious!

Best of all, this peanut butter oatmeal bars recipe requires just 8 ingredients – most of which are pantry staples, and the bars can be prepped in around 10 minutes. They’re also freezer-friendly for up to 3 months! Perfect for a make-ahead snack, for lunchboxes, busy days, and travel (not that we – and by we, I mean the entire world- are doing much of that right now).

And if you’re as obsessed as us with portable healthy ‘bars,’ then you’re in luck as I have around a dozen available. Anything from high-protein quinoa granola bars, dessert-esque carrot cake oatmeal bars, and slightly more decadent healthy key lime pie bars. Check the bottom of the post for more of my healthy snack recipes!

cut up peanut butter bars in a baking tray

The Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Peanut Butter: Avoid peanut butter with tons of added sugars and additives in general. Instead, choose an all-natural peanut butter with a runny consistency, if possible. If it’s thick, then you can heat it up first. Besides on toast, we love it in peanut sauce and then in peanut slaw.
  • Almonds: The almonds will be processed into flour, so feel free to use about 1 1/4 cups store-bought almond flour if you have it. For substitutions, check the FAQs.
  • Oats: Use rolled oats or quick oats, using certified gluten-free if needed. You could also use store-bought oat flour.
  • Sweetener: Honey (non-vegan), brown rice syrup (decreased GI), or date syrup will work best. You can also use maple syrup, though as it’s not quite as ‘sticky,’ the peanut butter oat bars may be slightly more fragile.
  • Chocolate Chips: I like to use either semi-sweet, dark, or even sugar-free chocolate chips.
  • Shredded coconut: I use unsweetened shredded coconut. You could lightly toast the coconut flakes in a pan until golden brown for extra flavor and crunch.
  • Flavorings: I used a combination of cinnamon, pure vanilla extract, and salt to flavor these no bake peanut butter bars.
oats, coconut flakes, peanut butter, chocolate chips, maple syrup, almonds

Recipe Variations

  • Seeds: Feel free to add some ground flaxseed or chia seeds to boost the protein content further and add additional healthy fats and vitamins/minerals. I recommend adding 2-3 tablespoons and potentially removing a tablespoon or so of the oat flour to make up for them.
  • Dried fruit: Instead of, or alongside, the chocolate chips, you could add some finely chopped dried fruit to the no bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bars. I suggest raisins, craisins, or blueberries as my top picks.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, pumpkin spice, vanilla, ginger, etc.
  • Chocolate chips instead of ganache topping: You can also add 3/4 of chocolate chips to a dough and pulse a few times in a food processor. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top and flatten more with spatula or using your hands, pressing chips into dough.

How to Make No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

  • Process the almonds: Add the almonds to your food processor and process into a coarse flour (meal) texture. Then add the oats and process more until both ingredients are floury in texture.
  • Add the dry ingredients: Add the coconut flakes, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract—process for a further 30 seconds.
  • Add the wet ingredients: Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, water and process until well combined into a ‘dough.’

You may need to pause your machine a few times to wipe down the sides of the jug to make sure everything is well combined.

If the batter seems a little too crumbly, you can add a little extra peanut butter – depending on which type you use, sometimes it doesn’t work as well to bind all the ingredients with the initial amount. Add 1 tbsp, to begin with, and try again.

Don’t pulse too much as it will break down the chips and possibly even cause them to melt from the machine’s heat.

  • Shape the no bake peanut butter bars: First, prepare an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Ensure the paper overlaps the dish’s edges, so it’ll be easy to lift out of the container later. Then transfer the peanut butter dough to the dish and spread/flatten it well with hands and then spatula. Make sure to press on it so bars stick!
  • Decorate and chill: In a small saucepan, add chocolate chips and coconut oil; melt over low heat, whisking constantly. Pour over dough all around and tilt pan to help melted chocolate coat bars evenly. Then refrigerate the peanut butter oatmeal bars for at least 2 hours or freeze for around 30 minutes.  
  • Cut the peanut butter oatmeal bars: Pull the parchment paper flaps to pull the bars out of the tray and cut into 16 slices. Enjoy the chocolate peanut butter squares immediately, with a sprinkle of sea salt, and/or store for later!
no bake peanut butter oatmeal bar sprinkled with sea salt

How to Make Ahead, Store and Freeze

Make Ahead: As these bars require several hours of chilling, you can prepare them the night before to chill in the refrigerator overnight before slicing.

Storing: Store the healthy peanut butter bars in a glass container in the refrigerator for between 7-10 days. You can use parchment paper in-between layers of the bars if needed.

Can I freeze no bake peanut butter bars? These no bake chocolate peanut butter bars are super freezer friendly. Lay the bars in a single layer on a tray until frozen and then transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. You can optionally individually wrap them to freeze, too.

Remove the peanut butter oatmeal bars from the freezer as needed and allow it/them to thaw at room temperature for 20-25 minutes before enjoying.

Close-up of Healthy No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

FAQs

Can I omit the coconut?


Yes, if you’re not a massive fan of coconut, you can omit it and simply add a little more oat flour.

Can I replace the almonds?


Yes, you could replace the almonds with something similar like walnuts, hazelnuts, or sunflower seeds.
Just note that the flavor, nutritional values, and particularly the amount of protein will change based on which you use. Or use approximately 1 1/4 cups almond flour instead.

Are these healthy for you?


While these no bake peanut butter bars may not be a ‘low calorie’ snack, they’re full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Just one bar contains 7g protein!

As long as you enjoy these in moderation, then it will be more than enough to keep you going between meals and helping to attack those sugar cravings.

More Tips

  • To easily slice the no bake peanut butter bars: Dip your knife in boiling (or extremely hot, at least) water for 10-15 seconds at-least before cutting the bars.
  • Feel free to use a 9 x 9 inch pan: The bars will just be slightly thinner.

More Healthy Snack Recipes

You might also like to check out this list of 17 protein snack recipes!

stack of peanut butter oatmeal bars
No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

These healthy No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars are decadent, slightly fudgy, and a wonderful snack or dessert made with just 8 natural ingredients!
5 from 14 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 16 bars
Calories: 232kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a food processor, add almonds and process on High until finely ground. Add oats and process more until finely ground. Add coconut flakes, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract; process for 30 seconds.
  • Add peanut butter, maple syrup and water; process until combined. You might have to stop a few times and scrape down the walls.
  • Line 8" x 8" square baking dish with parchment paper and transfer dough into it. Flatten using your fingers pressing onto dough well so bars don't crumble. Then level with spatula and hands.
  • In a small saucepan, add chocolate chips and coconut oil; melt over low heat, whisking constantly. Pour over dough all around and tilt pan to help melted chocolate coat bars evenly.
  • Refrigerate for a few hours of freeze for 30 minutes. Cut into 16 squares and enjoy chilled.

Store: Refrigerate in a glass airtight container for up to 7 – 10 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

    Notes

    Recipe improved and updated Apr 2021.
    • Peanut Butter: Avoid peanut butter with tons of added sugars and additives in general. Instead, choose an all-natural peanut butter with a runny consistency, if possible. If it’s thick, then you can heat it up first.
    • Almonds: The almonds will be processed into flour, so feel free to use approximately 1 1/4 cups store-bought almond flour if you have it. For substitutions, check the FAQs.
    • Oats: Use rolled oats or quick oats, using certified gluten-free if needed. You could also use store-bought oat flour.
    • Sweetener: Honey (non-vegan), brown rice syrup (decreased GI), or date syrup will work best. You can also use maple syrup, though as it’s not quite as ‘sticky,’ the peanut butter oat bars may be slightly more fragile.
    • Chocolate Chips: I like to use either semi-sweet, dark, or even sugar-free chocolate chips.
    • Shredded coconut: I use unsweetened shredded coconut. You could lightly toast the coconut flakes in a pan until golden brown for extra flavor and crunch.
    • Flavorings: I used a combination of cinnamon, pure vanilla extract, and salt to flavor these no bake peanut butter bars.
    • Seeds: Feel free to add some ground flaxseed or chia seeds to boost the protein content further and add additional healthy fats and vitamins/minerals. I recommend adding 2-3 tablespoons and potentially removing a tablespoon or so of the oat flour to make up for them.
    • Dried fruit: Instead of, or alongside, the chocolate chips, you could add some finely chopped dried fruit to the no bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bars. I suggest raisins, craisins, or blueberries as my top picks.
    • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, pumpkin spice, vanilla, ginger, etc.
    • Chocolate chips instead of ganache topping – older recipe without melting chocolate: You can also add 3/4 of chocolate chips to a dough and pulse a few times in a food processor. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top and flatten more with spatula or using your hands, pressing chips into dough.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1bar | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
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    olena osipov in the studio

    Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

    My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

    25 comments on “No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

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    1. 5 stars
      Just found this recipe today. This is a winner two ways. For me because it is mostly healthy and I love natural unsweetened peanut butter, and my picky grandson because his two loves in life are peanut butter and chocolate.

      1. Hi Stephanie. You can certainly leave the coconut oil out. You process the whole almonds into almond flour…so if you already have almond flour, you can use that instead. Hope that helps.

    2. 5 stars
      Hi Olena, I made these bars today to take away on long haul flight to India from UK, I have just tasted the first bar and I absolutely love it, it’s not only delicious but also very filling. I am taking half batch with me and giving half to my sister. I am sure she will love it too.

      1. Hi Ayesha. Wow, you are ahead of me. Bars are very filling, half a batch will last you to India and back haha. I will make these with almond butter for my flight back from Mexico, great idea!!!!!!! Have a safe flight!!!

    3. 5 stars
      We make these weekly. We store them individually wrapped in the freezer and toss them in lunch boxes and road trips coolers all the time. My kids love making them. simple, easy, super clean and way yummy. Thanks Olena.

    4. Thanks for the lovely recipe. I’m going to try it this weekend and I’m sure my friends and I are going to enjoy it very much.
      I just have a question, I’m not crazy about coconut flakes can I add more almonds and oats instead ?
      Thank you very much for your answer.

      1. Yes, you can do that. You won’t need much extra oats and PB since coconut flakes are very light and kind of “dissolve” in batter. However, you won’t taste them as much as PB flavour is strong.

        1. 5 stars
          I know I will love this and that’s why I’m giving it a 5 sight unseen!
          • 1 cup almonds (will 1C of almond flour suffice?)
          • 1 1/2 cups rolled or quick oats (1.5C of oat flour?)
          Olena, you buy oat flour rather than whiz the oats in the food processor?

          That said, I have a recipe that calls for garbanzo flour and I will buy it because it seems crazy to make flour from dry chickpeas, that it’s a lot of wear & tear on both my blender and food processor. Different story with oats.

          Not a fan of coconut, so best to sub the 1/2C of coconut flakes with 1/2C oat flour, almond flour, a combo of both?

      1. You could use sunflower seeds, walnuts or hazelnuts instead. You need a substitute to make up in volume otherwise bars will be too runny.

    5. I love that you include the nutritional info because I have to count carbs to know how much medication to take and seeing the rest is handy so I know if I need to make any adjustments. It’s so nice to have a break from calculating it myself.

    6. Olena, These sound so yummy! My favorite things in life are dark chocolate and peanut butter. i absolutely loved your post and totally agree with everything you said! I eat very healthy and exercise 2 hours a day because it makes me feel good but never feel like I am on a diet. I just enjoy eating healthy clean foods and not processed. Thanks !

      1. Check out a few stores. I found a brand that isn’t expensive. I try to buy all fats in glass jars. However, coconut oil and dairy products are a problem. I do as much as I can.

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