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Chewy No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

4.5 stars (118 ratings)

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No-bake peanut butter oatmeal bars have a soft, chewy texture and the perfect balance of savory peanut butter and sweet honey. Featuring old-fashioned oats, these bars have been shared thousands of times on Pinterest but can be made from five simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. Only ten minutes to make and 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.

Easy Homemade Granola Bars

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 post-hike snack that I could quickly make from my pantry out of minimally processed ingredients. I wanted something that would provide enough energy to hold us until dinner without requiring refrigeration or making a mess.

Finding three kinds of oats and a jar of peanut butter in my pantry, my first thought was a chewy granola bar. I didn’t have the extras I typically toss in my crunchy granola, like dried fruit or nuts, but simplicity turned out to be delicious. These no-bake oatmeal bars turned out so well that they inspired me to make these 5-ingredient oatmeal balls, too.

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.

Homemade Oatmeal Bars Ingredients

Making these no-bake oatmeal bars requires only five ingredients, all staples in my pantry and possibly in yours too. See the recipe card below for exact measurements.

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.
  • Old-fashioned oats – These give the bars enough texture without being too soft or too chewy.
  • Honey – Sweet and sticky, it helps bind everything together while adding a touch of sweetness.
  • Peanut butter – Adds a savory element with a protein boost.
  • Vanilla – An aromatic that adds a sweet depth of flavor. A little goes a long way.
  • Kosher salt – A small amount, just enough to amp the flavor without making it salty.

Featured Ingredient: Old-Fashioned Oats

This recipe calls for old-fashioned oats, which are also known as rolled oats. In the world of oats, they are more processed than steel-cut oats but less processed than instant oats. They are quickly steamed and then rolled flat to give them a chewy texture.

Old-fashioned oats are a great choice for many baking applications, specifically recipes that call for the oats to be added without prior cooking. Try them in pumpkin spice granola, overnight oatmeal, and oatmeal cookies.

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How to Make Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Making these oatmeal bars is just about as difficult as making Rice Krispies treats. You do need to use caution not to get burned, but the method for these bars is very straightforward.

  • Start by measuring out your ingredients and a piece of parchment paper large enough to overhang the pan when the bars are pressed into it. We will use the paper to lift the bars out prior to cutting them.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the peanut butter and honey over a medium flame, stirring until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  • Remove the pan from the flame, then stir in the salt and vanilla.
The honey and peanut butter mixture, poured over the oats in a bowl.
Peanut butter and honey mixture poured over the old-fashioned oats.
  • Fold the hot peanut butter mixture into the oats mixture to combine completely. Pour the oats onto the parchment paper, then use the back of the spoon to press it firmly into the pan.
  • Cool completely. (You can use the fridge to speed up this process.) Once firm, use the parchment paper to lift the oatmeal bars from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board.
  • Slice and enjoy!
The oats and peanut butter mixture combined in a bowl.
Peanut butter and honey mixture combined with the oats.

How to Store

As these bars contain ingredients that are shelf-stable, they do not need to be refrigerated. However, they will keep longer and take on a firmer shape and chewier texture when stored in the fridge. Personally, I keep them in the fridge at home but don’t worry about keeping them out of the fridge when taking them with me on the go.

For best results, store them in an airtight, resealable container and plan to use them within a week. If you’d like to store them longer, they can be frozen and thawed at room temperature as needed.

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.

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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.

Chewy No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

No-bake peanut butter oatmeal bars have a soft, chewy texture and the perfect balance of savory peanut butter and sweet honey. Featuring old-fashioned oats, these bars have been shared thousands of times on Pinterest but can be made from five simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. Only ten minutes to make and thirty minutes to cool means you are closer to a homemade snack than you thought!
4.5 stars (118 ratings)
prep: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
total: 40 minutes
servings: 12 bars

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

  • Line a 9" x 9" or 8" x 8" square cake pan with parchment paper.
  • Measure oats into a medium size mixing bowl.
  • 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.
  • Remove from flame, add vanilla and salt, mix completely.
  • Pour peanut butter honey mixture over oats. Fold oats into the mixture until evenly coated.
  • 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.
  • Allow to cool completely prior to cutting.
  • Store in an airtight container, refrigerate for firmer bars or store at room temp for softer bars.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1Calories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 6gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 127mgFiber: 3gSugar: 13g

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

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

About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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21 Comments on “Chewy No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars”

    • Hi Jennie,

      I am not a dietician and cannot make any recommendations regarding suitability for medical conditions. My understanding is that diabetics can eat anything in moderation and it would be up to the individual to know if something is or is not able to be included in their diet. The nutritional information provided at the bottom of the recipe card may be helpful.

      Renee

      Reply
  1. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • 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

      Reply
  2. 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

    Reply

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