Friday Food : Homemade Granola Bars

Despite keeping my stock of Marathon Bars plentiful and in variety, I have always wanted to try to make my own.

Not because I wanted to make them healthy or because I wanted to put anything too unusual in them. I simply wanted to know I could do it, if it was easy, and if it was cost effective.

After searching through several recipes over numerous sites I discovered a woman after my own heart when it comes to recipe preferences. I discovered Andrea of Simple Organized Living. Here are her requirements :

  • not too sweet — but still sweet enough
  • easy to make with simple ingredients I always have on hand
  • makes at least a 9×13″ pan
  • they stick together very well and can easily be cut into bars
  • ability to customize based on individual taste

I would add another preference her instructions lend themselves to as well. Not having to turn on my oven!

 Homemade Granola Bars


  • 1/2 c. honey or corn syrup {I used 1/4 c. of each}
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1/4 c. ground flax seed {I used chia seed}
  • 1 or 2 T wheat germ {optional — and I did not add this}
  • 1 cup total of your favorite mix-ins


  1. Prepare a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, either by greasing it or lining with wax paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cereal, seed and optional wheat germ.
  3. Prepare your peanut butter and set aside.
  4. In a small sauce pan, mix honey {and/or corn syrup} and brown sugar. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved – stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and quickly stir in peanut butter.
  6. Pour syrup mixture over dry ingredients – mix well.
  7. Stir in chosen mix-ins.
  8. Press mixture into baking dish. Let cool and “firm up” – similar to Rice Krispy Bars. Cut into bars and store in an air-tight container for up to a week, or freeze for a longer shelf life.

Makes about 18 bars when cut into 1″ x 4″ pieces. Although it’s supposed to make 24.


I changed the order of the original recipe, because I found having my dry items, PB and pan prepared in advance helped to keep things running smoothly. For me if I had to scoop the PB or prepare the dry items after I mixed the syrup it would have thickened too much to blend well.

In my first batch (the primary photos) I used cherry flavored craisins and mini chocolate chips as my mix-ins. My bars broke very easily as I was trying to cut them and when I served them. Not crumbed, but broke in half. I think having the larger items inside caused them to be less stable.

In my second batch, I used only c. chips and I skipped the chia seeds. I waited longer to cut them into bars. I think having smaller items helped keep them together better. However I noticed the mix did not fill the dish as well. I also think the chia seeds add to the look of the bars, but not to the taste. If on a budget they probably could be skipped.

The whole process took under an hour, including washing the dishes. When I made my second batch, I came in the door at 6:10 and was walking out the door with the tray at 6:40.

I loved both versions of the bars! My office mates ate up the first batch, my Toastmaster members ate up the second. I look forward to trying other variations, such as raisins, white chocolate chips or other seasonal mix-ins.

Do not try to cut the bars with a pizza cutter.  ( ;

I bought all ingredients other than the brown sugar and chia seeds. My total was under 20 dollars, and I had items to spare to make future batches.

2 thoughts on “Friday Food : Homemade Granola Bars

  1. YUM! these look great! i tried to make my own once but they turned out only okay. i like your addition of the crispy rice for a little crispy crunch action 🙂

  2. Pingback: Friday Food : Oatmeal Raisin Quinoa Cookies | ROJ Running

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