Peanut Butter Oat Bars

These 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.

peanut butter oat bars drizzled with dark chocolate on a sheet of parchment paper

In both of my pregnancies I’ve never really had cravings to speak of. I’m an aversion girl mostly, it would seem. Lately though, I’ve had super intense chocolate and peanut butter cravings in the afternoons.

It’s not like I’m after a candy bar or anything, it’s more of a peanut butter off the spoon and a square of dark chocolate kind of thing. Or, I’ve been spreading a whole wheat digestive with peanut butter, topping it with a square of dark chocolate, and eating in in three or four bites. Usually it hits the spot.

I’m a big believer in listening to my cravings, but also trying to understand what my cravings mean. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and fat, two things every body needs, but in particular a body hard at work growing a brand new human. It’s also rich in amino acids, in particular arginine, which is a building block for new proteins.

Chocolate of course is sweet and delicious, but it’s also mega rich in magnesium, and I suppose it’s no coincidence that these very specific cravings hit right around the time my magnesium supplement ran out.

After a few days of snarfing down this chocolate and peanut butter combo each afternoon, I decided the only logical thing to do was bake up a batch of my favourite healthy Peanut Butter Oat Bars!

oats, flour, sugar, chocolate, milk, peanut butter, and vanilla on a grey background

What’s in these peanut butter oat bars?

  • 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. Please choose a natural peanut butter that doesn’t have any crap added to it. 
  • 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.

process shots of peanut butter oat bars being made in a metal bowl

How do I make peanut butter oat bars?

I strongly recommend you use either a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer 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.

In a large bowl you’ll use your mixer to cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar, then add in the vanilla extract.

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.

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.

Lastly, fold in the chocolate chunks, trying your best not to eat them all up as you mix them in.

peanut butter oat bar dough pressed into a square baking pan

This mixture gets pressed into a 9×9 baking pan that you’ve lined with parchment paper. I like to butter the two sides of the pan where the parchment doesn’t touch, but that’s just me.

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. 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.

peanut butter oat bars sliced on a piece of parchment

Pro tips / recipe notes:

  • 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.

peanut butter oat bars sliced and drizzled with dark chocolate

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.

a batch of peanut butter oat bars on white parchment paper with a pot of melted chocolate and a chocolate covered spoon in the background

Other baked treats you might enjoy:

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Matcha Shortbread Cookies
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Quinoa
Healthy Cherry Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks

peanut butter oat bars sliced and drizzled with dark chocolate
5 from 3 votes
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Peanut Butter Oat Bars

These 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. 

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate, Oats, Peanut Butter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 274 kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 1/2 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk whole, almond, soy, whatever you like
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks about 5oz / 150g chopped dark chocoalte
  • extra dark chocolate for drizzling totally optional, but pretty!

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  2. Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Slowly add the milk in a steady stream, mixing until a clumpy dough forms.
  6. Fold in chocolate chunks, using your hands to knead everything together.

  7. Press the dough into the prepared baking dish - wet hands are helpful here
  8. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the bars are lightly golden on top and set.

  9. Allow to cool completely and cut into squares.
  10. Once cooled, drizzle with melted dark chocolate if desired. 

Recipe Notes

  • 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.
  •  
Nutrition Facts
Peanut Butter Oat Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 274 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 275mg 11%
Potassium 276mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 35g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 15g
Protein 9g 18%
Vitamin A 0.3%
Calcium 7.1%
Iron 6.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This recipe was originally published February 17, 2017. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on September 14, 2018.

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

These 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. #snack #healthy #peanutbutter #oats #oatbars #easy #vegan #lowsugar #wholewheat


 

Comments

  1. Katie: these sound really good. I have a friend who is about to have her second and has asked for a batch of “nursing” cookies. I had given her a batch with her first – I will for sure offer up these as well. Thanks?

  2. I made another batch of these while visiting said new sweet baby and his mum. They are dead easy to make and I had to exercise considerable restraint not to gobble them up myself. I think they may become my post swim snack . I made them with spelt flour because that’s what was left in the cupboard. They were delicious.

  3. I admire your honesty about the realities of breastfeeding. My daughter was very early (31 weeks) and was an extremely poor feeder, so much so that at the 12 week mark my husband looked online for an all night store to buy formula and all the gear.After a momentary pang I was so happy to see her nursing a bit better from a bottle held by her father. Sometimes these things just don’t work out. She is pretty healthy now at 21 but I do wonder if in later life if my emergency caesarean and bottle feeding will affect her health. Hard to know I guess. I never ever judge about these things as we all have our own stories, often unspoken. As for the bars, I’m sure they are good for menopausal women too 😉

    • I haven’t done the calculation, but I’d imagine they are quite high due to all of the oats and flour. If you need to know a specific number, there are several great recipe nutrition calculators online.

  4. Something in place of the chocolate? The horror! Making these in 10, eating them in 30. Love it when everything is already in the kitchen and I can immediately satisfy the ‘I need these’ craving. I will surprise the kiddos with them after school. Thanks Katie!

  5. I needed an easy and quick treat for a spur of the moment game night and these Peanut Butter Oat Bars fit the bill perfectly. They were a hit. Not overly sweet, rich and filling.

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