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No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

No bake peanut butter oatmeal bars are a quick and tasty no bake treat. With a chewy texture and the perfect balance of savory peanut butter and sweet honey they are great for an afternoon pick me up, post workout recharge, or breakfast on the go. These bars are made from five simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. Only 10 minutes to make plus thirty minutes to cool, means you are closer to a homemade snack than you thought!

A stack of two oatmeal bars on white parchment paper with another oatmeal bar leaning against them. A silver espresso cup is in the background.

Originally appearing on the blog in March 2016, the post was last updated in May 2020. The recipe has been simplified, but no major changes.

When I see the words peanut butter and honey combined, I know I’m in for a tasty treat. It’s a sweet and savory combination that I loved as a kid and haven’t outgrown to this day. It’s also the inspiration behind these super simple, no bake peanut butter oatmeal bars.

When I set out to make these bars the first time, I was in need of a quick post-hike treat. It had to be something homemade so that I could control the ingredients. It also needed to provide enough energy to hold us until dinner, while not being a complete calorie bomb.

My initial thought was a chewy granola bar, but I didn’t have dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate on hand, all the things that make granola, granola. Luckily, simplicity can be delicious. These no bake oatmeal bars have everything they need, nothing more and nothing less.

Overhead shot of a black tray with peanut butter oatmeal bars messily arranged. The tray is on a blue and beige checked napkin and a gray backdrop.

Making Homemade Oatmeal Bars

Making these no bake oatmeal bars requires only five ingredients and it’s easier than making my ultimate holiday Rice Krispies treats. You will need a large mixing bowl, a small saucepan, a heat proof spoon, a square cake pan, and a sheet of parchment paper.

You simply heat the peanut butter and honey over a medium flame, stirring until it reaches a smooth consistency. Remove from the flame before adding in the salt and vanilla. Fold the peanut butter mixture into the oats mixture to combine completely, then press out in the parchment lined pan. Cool completely and enjoy.

Three images for no bake peanut butter oatmeal bars: 1 showing the ingredients in bowls and measuring cups on a dark surface, 2. the smooth texture of the honey and peanut butter sitting on the oats, 3. the texture of the mixture when combined.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars FAQs

Can I make these in the microwave?

Yes! The reason for heating the peanut butter and honey is to make it easier to mix. Use a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20 second burst, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth and hot, then add the salt and vanilla before combining with the oats.

What if I don’t have parchment paper?

You could grease the pan with a solid fat like coconut oil or butter, or spray with an oil mister. The bars may crumble a bit as you take them out, but they will still taste good!

Can I swap in a different sweetner?

Yes! I have not extensively tested other sweeteners, but I do an oatmeal ball version of these with maple syrup. I’m not sure how sugar or simple syrup would do because of the texture, but I could imagine it would work with molasses, corn syrup, or other sweeteners with a similar texture.

Can I use sunbutter, almond butter, cashew butter, or any other type of nut butter?

Absolutely! As long as it’s thick and creamy like peanut butter it will hold together the oats.

Can I use this recipe to make oatmeal balls instead of oatmeal bars?

Yes! You can shape the dough (mixture?) into balls the same way you would cookie dough. Be advised: work quickly. As the mixture cools it doesn’t stick together as well.

Can I freeze these for later?

Yes! Freeze them in a freezer friendly container and they should keep for a couple months. They thaw out well without compromising the texture, but oddly enough, they taste good while frozen too.

How should I store them?

Storing them in the fridge is going to give them a firmer shape and a chewier texture. Storing them at room temperature can make them soft if the room is too warm, but it’s perfectly safe for these shelf stable ingredients. It’s totally up to you, but I like them in the fridge.

What if I don’t have a square cake pan?

I would try a 8″ round cake pan or a 9×5 loaf pan. You want it to be thin enough that you can cut it into portion sizes, but not so thin that it will fall apart. Alternatively, you could skip the pan and roll it into balls like you would cookie dough.

Tall image showing an oatmeal bar next to half of an oatmeal bar with an espresso and tray of bars in the background.

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No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars Recipe

No bake peanut butter oatmeal bars are a little bit sweet and a little bit savory. With honey, peanut butter, and oats, these simple treats won’t last long, but you can make them again and again. A quick and easy homemade treat made from pantry staples.

If you like this recipe, please give it a FIVE STAR rating and share with your friends!

A stack of two oatmeal bars on white parchment paper with another oatmeal bar leaning against them. A silver espresso cup is in the background.

No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Yield: 12 bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

No bake peanut butter oatmeal bars are a little bit sweet and a little bit savory. A quick and easy homemade treat that you can make from pantry staples.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Line a 9" x 9" or 8" x 8" square cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Measure oats into a medium size mixing bowl.
  3. Heat peanut butter and honey in a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Once the edges start to bubble stir constantly until the texture is smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from flame, add vanilla and salt, mix completely.
  5. Pour peanut butter honey mixture over oats. Fold oats into the mixture until evenly coated.
  6. Scoop oat mixture into the middle of the parchment paper. Using the back of a silicone spoon or your greased hands, evenly press oats into the bottom of the pan.
  7. Allow to cool completely prior to cutting.
  8. Store in an airtight container, refrigerate for firmer bars or store at room temp for softer bars.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 127mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

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For the step by step version of this recipe, check out the No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars Story.

More Delicious Treats with Oats

Leah

Thursday 24th of March 2022

So yummy! They taste like Rice Krispie treats to me!

Joyce

Wednesday 2nd of March 2022

once you heat up the honey to a bubbly boil, it takes away the benefits of it. Have you ever cooked the oatmeal first then add the honey and peanut butter to it?

Renee N Gardner

Tuesday 8th of March 2022

Joyce,

I am not a health expert and don't pretend to be one on the internet. That said, there are no definitive studies that prove raw honey is better, but there are some that say it might be better. If eating raw honey for its health benefits is the goal, this may not be the recipe for you.

This recipe works because 1. cooking the peanut butter and honey together thins out the consistency enough that it can be blended with the oats and 2. the peanut butter and honey return to their semi-solid state when they cool back to room temperature and can solidify further when chilled in the fridge to give us solid bars.

If you were to cook the oats first using a liquid, you would end up with soft, mushy, semi-dissolved oats. Once their texture has been altered in this way they will not give you the chewy texture of a bar. Cooked oats blended with peanut butter and honey is delicious, in fact it's one of my son's favorite breakfasts, but it's not an oat bar.

If you were to bake or toast the oats without a liquid, you would end up with the same dry texture as the original recipe, but with a nuttier flavor. It won't make it any easier to blend the peanut butter and honey with the oats.

I haven't tested it, but I image that heating the peanut butter on it's own without the honey MIGHT work, but it also might result in burnt peanut butter. My thought here is that if you can heat the peanut butter then add the honey before adding the oats it might still get you to the end result you want. However, I don't know how hot honey can get and still be considered "raw", I also do not know if heating the peanut butter alone would allow it to carry over enough heat to thin the mixture enough to blend it with the oats.

If you do decide to test it out, I would love to hear what you find. In the meantime, you could try this recipe as written with a pure honey that isn't raw, knowing that what you may lack in benefits you'll make up in flavor.

Janice

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

Do these squares freeze well? They taste delicious!

Renee N Gardner

Thursday 30th of April 2020

Janice,

I haven't had them stick around long enough to freeze, but I do have them scheduled for an update with new photos in two weeks. I'll make sure to test and find out for you. If you try it, let me know!

Renee

David @ Spiced

Wednesday 9th of March 2016

These bars sounds like the perfect mid-afternoon snack! I love the peanut butter + honey combination...and yes, a cup of coffee is totally required with this one. Thanks for sharing! #client

Renee Sitavich

Wednesday 9th of March 2016

The coffee just makes it! You're welcome!

Sam | Ahead of Thyme

Tuesday 8th of March 2016

This sounds amazing! I can't wait to try this maybe tomorrow!! Thanks for the recipe :)

Renee Sitavich

Wednesday 9th of March 2016

Let me know how it turns out for you!

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