No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bars quickly and easily come together in the food processor with wholesome ingredients like oats, nuts, chia seeds, dried fruit, peanut butter, and honey!
Today's Energy Bars evolved as a quicker way to make one of our family's most beloved no-bake recipes. You see, one of my daughter's favorite things to have for breakfast or as a snack are Oatmeal Cookie Energy Bites, and consequently, she frequently asks if we can whip up a batch. My boys enjoy them..and my husband is a fan of them...and I like them, too...soooo we make them a lot!
But I have to admit that, after making them approximately eleventy billion times, I got a teensy bit tired of the rolling process -- ha. So one day it occurred to me that perhaps I could blend up the ingredients as usual and then -- instead of rolling them into little balls -- I could quickly press the mixture into a baking dish. And thus we arrived at Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bars!
Reasons to Love 'Em
What makes this combination of ingredients so great, whether pressed into Energy Bars or rolled into balls?
Well, my kids love these bars because they're yummy, and they also think it's fun to help me make them.
I love them because they're wholesome, filling, and easily adaptable to whatever ingredients I have on hand, meaning that I can switch out the type of nut, nut butter, or dried fruit that I use.
And even better, they're super quick and easy to make using just a food processor. Because unlike my Copycat KIND Bars, this Energy Bar recipe is no-bake!
Energy Bar Ingredients
Let's take a closer look, shall we?
- Nuts. Use your favorite type or whatever you have on hand...pecans, walnuts, cashews, and almonds all work beautifully.
- Oats. This recipe calls for old-fashioned rolled oats. If you opt for quick oats instead, you may have to use slightly less since they're packed more densely. And be sure to use gluten-free oats for gluten-free Energy Bars!
- Raisins. You may substitute dried cranberries or even dried cherries. Or sometimes I leave out the dried fruit and add mini chocolate chips instead. 😉
- Chia seeds. You can leave them out if that's your preference, but I always like to sneak in extra good stuff where I can. For that matter, if you like, you can add other types of seeds as well.
- Cinnamon + nutmeg + vanilla. For that tasty oatmeal cookie flavor.
- Peanut butter. Any type of peanut butter should work. I've made these Energy Bars with creamy or crunchy, regular or natural, no-stir or the kind that separates (just be sure to stir it first!). Even better, you can opt to use alternative nut butters or non-nut butters, such as almond butter or sunflower seed butter.
- Honey. For natural sweetness. But I've also made this recipe with maple syrup.
And that's it!
How to Make Energy Bars
The first time I made this recipe, I wasn't sure the recipe would work in bar form. But sure enough, it did!
- Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add the oats, raisins, and spices and pulse until combined.
- Add the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla and pulse until all ingredients are blended, scraping the bowl as necessary.
- Dump the mixture into an 8- by 8-inch baking dish and press firmly into an even layer.
- Cover and chill until firm and cut into bars.
The important thing to understand is that since the no-bake mixture needs to be chilled to hold its form, these Energy Bars should be stored in the refrigerator.
So while they're not ideal to toss in a purse or backpack, they can definitely be popped in a lunchbox with an ice pack, and they're great straight out of the fridge for breakfast or as an after-school snack. My husband even tends to sneak them for dessert...shhhhh!
So three cheers for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bars! Because who wouldn't love a recipe with the appealing flavor and nutrition of Energy Bites...but without the manual labor?! 😉
More Wholesome Bar Recipes
- Soft-Baked Banana Oatmeal Bars
- Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
- Crunchy Oats & Honey Granola Bars
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bars
- 1 cup nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, etc.
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup raisins, OR dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- ½ cup peanut butter, OR alternative nut butter
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a large food processor, pulse the nuts until finely ground (but stop before they start turning to nut butter!). Add the oats, raisins, chia seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the nuts; pulse five (1-second) pulses to combine. Add the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla to the mixture; pulse until all of the ingredients are well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Scrape the mixture into an 8- by 8-inch baking dish; firmly press into an even layer. Cover and chill for two hours or until firm. Use a knife to slice into bars. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- These Energy Bars are no-bake and do not harden. Keeping them chilled will firm them up, but they must be stored in and served from the fridge. They are not intended to be portable.
- Recipe may be doubled and pressed into a 9- by 13-inch dish.
Post originally published on August 24, 2017, and updated on March 20, 2021.