These whole grain Peanut Butter Oat Bars make a great snack or after school treat! Made with healthy ingredients, low in sugar, and vegan friendly, these are sure to hit the spot.
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Do you love peanut butter? Do you love chocolate? Well then you're in luck because these low-ish sugar vegan-friendly Peanut Butter Oat Bars have both, in just the right amount.
Made with wholegrain flour, rolled oats, and just a touch of brown sugar, this is kind of like a healthy peanut butter cookie meets granola bar situation that's perfect for an afternoon snack. I love 'em for on-the-go treats too, and they're freezer friendly to boot.
Are you ready to make some healthy Peanut Butter Oat Bars? Let's do it!
What's in this recipe?
- Oats! We're going with large-flake rolled oats here.
- Whole wheat flour. I used white whole wheat flour, which is a little more mellow than regular whole wheat flour.
- Peanut butter! Smooth and chunky are both fine. I used chunky.
- Brown sugar. It's not very much, so just go with it.
- Milk. You can use almond, oat, soy, or regular old cow's milk. You choose!
- Vanilla extract. Try making your own!
- Dark chocolate chunks. These are optional but highly recommended.
- A lil' bit of baking soda and salt. As we do.
Do I need any special equipment?
I strongly recommend you use either a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer (this is the one I have) to pull these together. If you don't have either of those, you *can* mix the dough by hand, but it requires far more elbow grease than I'm in the mood for these days.
How do I make peanut butter oat bars?
Step 1: In a large bowl you'll use your mixer to cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar, then add in the vanilla extract.
Step 2: Next, add the oats, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt, and use the mixer to combine with the peanut butter. It's going to look crazy crumbly (upper right photo above) but have faith that it'll come together.
Step 3: Add the milk and mix it together. See? The mixture should be coming together. It's not super wet, but if you squeeze a chunk of dough you it should hold together. You can also taste-test the hell out of the dough at this stage since it doesn't contain any scary raw egg.
Step 4: Lastly, fold in the chocolate chunks, trying your best not to eat them all up as you mix them in.
Step 5: This mixture gets pressed into a 9x9 baking pan that you've lined with parchment paper (I love this unbleached parchment). I like to butter the two sides of the pan where the parchment doesn't touch, but that's just me.
Step 6: Now, the peanut butter oat bars go into a pre-heated oven for a quick bake. It'll totally depend on your oven, but somewhere in the 15-20 minute bake time is what we're after.
Pro tip! We don't want to over-bake these bad boys and dry 'em out, so err on the side of underdone and they'll come out perfect.
Once the oat bars are baked, you can let them cool in the pan. Then I like to slice them up, and drizzle them with dark chocolate. This is totally optional, but it makes me feel fancy and I enjoy feeling fancy a lot.
That's it! Your peanut butter oat bars are done, and you can sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy a healthy-ish afternoon snack.
Can I use an alternate sweetener?
I've made these using an equal amount of coconut sugar and they turned out just fine, if only a smidge more crumbly.
Are these oat bars vegan?
If you use a plant-based milk and vegan chocolate, they're totes vegan.
Can this recipe be made gluten-free?
I personally haven't tried this as I always use whole wheat flour, but I'm willing to bet they can be made with a gluten-free flour blend instead. Also be sure to seek out gluten-free oats if it's important for you.
How should I store these oat bars?
They'll last about a week in an airtight container at room temperature or about 3 months in the freezer. I love to freeze them in these reusable silicon freezer bags as a sustainable option.
Can I use something else in place of the chocolate?
You crazy. But ok. I've made these with half chocolate half raisins before and they're super tasty.
Hey Nutrition Lady, what's the deal with oats?
Oats are rich in indigestible carbohydrates called beta-glutens which help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Oats are also host to a number of phenolic compounds which have antioxidant properties. Due to the high levels of those beta-glucans, oats are also helpful in stabilizing blood sugar.
In fact, eating oats in the morning may help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the entire day. Oats are also a good source of dietary fiber and protein. Look for gluten-free oats if you're celiac or have another gluten sensitivity.
Peanut butter, consumed in moderation, is a good source of energy and protein. It's also a good source of vitamin E, and is rich in several B vitamin complexes.
Please choose good-quality natural peanut butter that contains only peanuts and perhaps a bit of salt. We want to avoid added sugars, cheap filler oils, and other junk if possible.
Other baked treats you might enjoy:
Apple Crumble Bars
Matcha Shortbread Cookies
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Quinoa
Healthy Cherry Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks
Fudgy Adzuki Bean Brownies
Wholegrain Cast Iron Skillet Cookie
Peanut Butter Oat Bars
- ½ cup light brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 cup natural peanut butter creamy and chunky are both fine
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk whole, almond, soy, whatever you like
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks about 5oz / 150g chopped dark chocoalte
- extra dark chocolate for drizzling totally optional, but pretty!
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F.
- Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper.
- With an stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand-held electric mixer, mix the brown sugar and peanut butter on medium speed until until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla.
- Add in the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. The dough will be very thick and clumpy, but it should hold together if you squeeze a handful of it.
- Slowly add the milk in a steady stream, mixing until a clumpy dough forms.
- Fold in chocolate chunks, using your hands to knead everything together.
- Press the dough into the prepared baking dish - wet hands are helpful here
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the bars are lightly golden on top and set.
- Allow to cool completely and cut into squares.
- Once cooled, drizzle with melted dark chocolate if desired.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- Can I use an alternate sweetener in these oat bars? I've made these using an equal amount of coconut sugar and they turned out just fine, if only a smidge more crumbly.
- Are these oat bars vegan? If you use a plant-based milk and vegan chocolate, they're totes vegan.
- Can these oat bars be made gluten-free? I personally haven't tried this as I always use whole wheat flour, but I'm willing to bet they can be made with a gluten-free flour blend instead. Also be sure to seek out gluten-free oats if it's important for you.
- How should I store these oat bars? They'll last about a week in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Can I freeze these oat bars? Please do! They'll last about 3 months in the freezer.
- Can I use something else in place of the chocolate? I've made these with half chocolate half raisins before and they're super tasty.
This recipe was originally published February 17, 2017. It was retested, rephotographed, and last updated on March 26, 2020.
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction