June 19, 2014
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Even better than the store-bought versions, these Nut-Free Granola Bars are the perfect quick breakfast or healthy afternoon snack. Made with old-fashioned oats, ripe bananas, and sweet honey, you’re going to love this gluten-free, allergy-friendly recipe!
Finding nut-free snacks at the grocery store can be a challenge. Even if an item doesn’t contain nuts itself, it’s often made in a facility that produces nuts. Or, it’s full of sugar and other processed ingredients. And then once you do find a snack with approved ingredients, you have to make sure it’s kid-friendly. Yikes!
This uncertainty just won’t cut it when it comes to packing allergy-friendly lunches. These granola bars are the latest in a whole list of nut-free school lunch ideas and nut-free snacks that I’ve shared on MOMables through the years.
Nut-Free Banana Granola Bar Ingredients
After years of scanning the grocery store aisles for a nut-free granola bar that both tasted good and contained whole ingredients, I decided to make my own using common pantry ingredients. All you’ll need for these nutless granola bars is:
- old-fashioned oats
- coconut oil, melted
- mashed ripe bananas
- vanilla extract
- chocolate chips, white or milk chocolate
How to Make Nut-Free Granola Bars
Baked in the oven in just 35 minutes, you won’t believe how easy these Nut-Free Granola Bars are to make! Double the batch for on-the-go breakfasts all week long. To make these bars, first:
Set your oven to 350 degrees, and while the oven heats up, line a baking pan with parchment paper.
Blend your oats in a food processor or blender and transfer to a large bowl with the cinnamon. Then, blend the coconut oil, honey, banana, and vanilla until smooth before adding the egg.
Pour the ingredients into the bowl with the oats and stir until combined, adding in chocolate chips if desired.
Then, transfer the combined mixture into the previously lined pan. Once in the pan, use a second parchment sheet to press down, spreading the mixture until it is even across the pan.
Finally, place the nut-free granola bar mixture into the preheated oven for 32-35 minutes, until set and lightly golden. After this period, remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool down completely.
While you’ve been standing there, smelling them, wanting them, waiting for them to cool, I know you’ve been eating chocolate chips from the bag. Admit it! Okay, maybe that’s just me, but it also gave me the yummy idea to melt some additional chocolate chips and drizzle it over the bars. Mmm…
You don’t have to add the drizzle, but I did. I went there. There’s no going back now; there are never regrets when it comes to chocolate.
Making Bars or Granola Squares
This recipe will come out of the oven in the form of a giant rectangle. It’s up to you to decide what shape to make them. Even better, get the kids involved and practice cutting squares, rectangles, or other fun shapes with cookie cutters.
Which Oats are Best for Granola Bars?
To get the soft, fluffy texture you want in your granola bar, be sure to use old-fashioned oats. While steel-cut oats are perfect for overnight oat recipes and instant oats work great for making homemade instant oatmeal packets you want to stick with the traditional Old-Fashioned variety when making granola bars.
How to Store Nut-Free Granola Bars
If snacks vanish in your house as fast as they do in mine, the best way to store these Nut-Free Granola Bars is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Or, if you wish to save them for longer, they can be kept in the freezer. When storing them, you can wrap the bars individually in wax paper for an easy grab-and-go snack.
How Long Do Homemade Granola Bars Last?
When refrigerated, these granola bars will last up to a week (if you’re lucky). However, if you choose to store them in the freezer, they will stay fresh up to one month.
Banana Chocolate Chip Nut-Free Granola Bars Recipe
- 4 ¼ cups old-fashioned oats divided
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- ¼ cup honey
- ¾ cup mashed ripe banana about 2 medium
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup chocolate chips white or milk chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper for easy lifting.
- In your blender or food processor, add ½ cup of oats and blend to make oat flour. Transfer oat flour into a large bowl.
- Add the remaining oats, cinnamon to the large bowl.
- In a blender, place the coconut oil, honey, banana, and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Add the egg and blend on low speed to incorporate.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the large oat bowl and using a wooden spoon, stir until well combined. Add in the chocolate chips, if using.
- Transfer the thick oat mixture into the prepared pan. Take another piece of parchment paper and place it on top of the oat mixture, press down to spread the oat mixture throughout the pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 32-35 minutes, until set and lightly golden. Remove pan from the oven and allow it to cool down completely. Refrigerate pan for an hour before slicing.
- When ready to slice into bars, use the parchment paper to lift the baked bars out of the pan and slice into squares with a knife.
- Refrigerate leftover granola squares in an airtight container for up to one week and in the freezer up to a month.
The Enjoy Life Flax Cereal has been discontinued. I cannot find anything even close to this. What do you suggest?
They have other flax cereals in their line. Substitute for the same amount. Enjoy!
What can I use as a substitute for coconut oil?
Melted butter or canola oil will also work.
Could you use Special K red berries cereal as the cereal? It’s my favorite cereal.
You sure can! Feel free to try it with any cereal your family loves.
I tried theses today and I think 2 bananas may have been too much. They’re pretty soft and definitely more cake-like and the kids don’t like the texture. I’ll try with the applesauce next time.
Thank you for this recipe! I added 1/2 c of sunflower seeds, and 1 c of cranberries and raisins combined. Oh, and I cut back on 50% of the chocolate morsels. Yummy snacks for my daughter’s lunch at a nut-free school.
Can I use Arrowhead Mills one ingredient puffed rice for the cereal? Thanks
I don’t see why not!
Any other suggestions for substitutions for the crunchy cereal? I just don’t have any on hand, but I have all the other ingredients. Would chopped nuts work (we have no allergy issues).
the cereal adds volume to these bars. What about making these or these?
Can you tell me approximately how many cups of mashed banana you use? My bananas may have been too large…the bars have been in the oven for over 35 minutes & still don’t look cooked :( Is the texture supposed to be cake-ish?
P.S. my bag of chocolate chips is always open ;)
Oh goodness! I don’ t know the exact amount off hand, but it’s fair to say 2 medium mashed would be between 1/2-3/4 cup total. They’re not cakeish – which leads me to believe it must have been too much banana.
If they don’t hold because they’re too ‘mushy’ they might be good mixed in with yogurt ;)
they definitely hold, but are a bit chewy…I’ll go with smaller bananas next time :)
I made these last night with applesauce instead of bananas, and they were pretty crumbly. Any suggestions re: getting them to stick together more? Thanks
substitutions are always tricky. can you cut the apple sauce in half or even less? bananas are pretty sticky and help! you could prob omit them.
Thanks Laura, I’ll give that a try :)
oops sorry, I see above there is a comment that these work with 3 tablespoons of applesauce instead of bananas. Thanks
Hi, my daughter has celiac disease but is also allergic to bananas. What can I use to replace the banana ingredient? Thanks. (I’m excited for this recipe – she’s not allergic to nuts, but her school doesn’t allow nuts!)
How long can you store those granola bars? I never made something like that myself, but want to try.
Hello and good question!! Typically anything baked with banana will only keep a couple days. If you store in the refrigerator (that’s what I do) in an airtight container, they should keep 1 week. You can also freeze them for 2-3 months. Hope this helps! :)
I can’t wait to try these. I have 2 children on the Autism spectrum and attempt to provide gluten free meals and snacks. Not always easy. I’ll let you know how they go over. Thank you
Our pleasure Raye. We hope they enjoy them!
Marishannon @ My Spirited Adventure
We don’t have any food allergies but these look yummy and I will have to try them!
Hope you enjoy them!! :)
Great! Gluten free treats! Does anyone have any idea what can be substituted for the banana? Or can the banana be omitted? I am highly allergic. Thanks.
The banana adds moisture. I didn’t have a banana and used 3TB apple sauce, they turned out really good!
Thanks for replying on this Laura! :) Awesome to hear yours turned out great with applesauce!
For added fun, you can cut them into fun shapes with cookie cutters instead. Then cut the scraps into little bites.
Great idea – you absolutely can cut them into fun shapes!
Thank you for this recipe! I love the idea of home made granola bars but, like you, thought it was off limits because of my son’s nut allergy. Can’t wait to make these!
Thank you Sally! My daughter has been absolutely loving them! It was always an item we too thought was off limits. They’ve been great for her lunches and snacks for school. ENJOY!!