These homemade Gluten-Free Cereal Bars are tastier than anything you’ll find in the store and better for you, too! Made with less than ten ingredients, they’re a no-bake recipe both kids and adults will love!
This recipe was adapted from our cookbook, The Gluten-Free Family Cookbook, and posted with permission from Fair Winds Press.
Cereal Bars Like You’ve Never Had Them Before!
Did you grow up eating cereal bars in the school cafeteria? We sure did! Sweet, sticky, and crunchy, they were one of our favorite treats.
However, store-bought cereal bars aren’t exactly the best for you, and they definitely aren’t allergy-friendly. So, in true Cotter Crunch fashion, we decided to make our own homemade cereal bars!
After all, life’s too short to live without cereal bars. Everything you never knew you needed, this recipe is:
- Made with just seven nutritious ingredients.
- Assembled with zero baking involved.
- Easily customizable.
- Great to prepare in advance.
Simple Ingredients & Allergy-Friendly Swaps
You won’t find any brown rice syrup, corn syrup, fructose, or mystery ingredients in this recipe. Instead, we use just a handful of items to create a taste and texture you’ll love. There’s even an option to make them refined sugar-free!
Here’s what you need:
- Nut or Seed Butter – Use any nut or seed butter like peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter to form the base of the bars and act as “glue” holding the rest of the ingredients together.
- Maple Syrup or Honey – This helps enhance the sweetness of the bars while also holding the ingredients together. If preferred, agave nectar can be substituted for a vegan option.
- Sugar – Adjust as needed to suit your tastes. Feel free to use a sugar-free substitute like Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener or Stevia instead!
- Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract. Trust us. You can taste the difference!
- Sea Salt – Just a pinch helps bring out the flavor of the rest of the ingredients.
- Unsweetened Shredded Coconut Flakes – This adds a chewy texture and extra flavor.
- Gluten-Free Cereal – We love Eat Love Bird, but any gluten-free cereal can be used.
Note: Dry cereal made with shapes similar to Cheerios, Chex, Rice Krispies, or puffed rice work best.
Feel free to mix and match different ingredients to add extra nutrients and switch up the flavor of these cereal bars! For example, some of our favorite mix-ins include:
- Cocoa Powder
- Protein Powder
- Freeze-Dried Fruit (raisins, cranberries, strawberries, etc.)
- Dark Chocolate Chips or White Chocolate Chips
- Mini Marshmallows
Pro-Tip: You can also try swapping your favorite cereal flavors and adding a drizzle of chocolate on top!
How to Make the Best Cereal Bar Recipe
One batch of this recipe makes up to 12 bars and is ready in less than an hour! Here’s what to do:
- Prepare. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, and grease it with cooking spray.
- Boil. Add the nut butter, honey, and sugar to a large saucepan over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Heat the mixture until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Stir in the Remaining Ingredients. Stir in the coconut and cereal as you would with the marshmallow mixture of Rice Krispie treats, making sure they’re coated evenly.
- Transfer the Batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish, and gently press it down in an even layer with a spatula or your hands.
- Chill. Transfer the pan to the fridge, allowing the cereal bars to chill and set. Then, slice, serve, and enjoy!
Tips for Success
- Use a Silicone Spatula. A silicone spatula works best to combine the ingredients without creating a sticky mess.
- Work Quickly. Have all the ingredients on hand, and work quickly to mix the ingredients and prepare the bars before the mixture cools and begins to set.
- Don’t Crush the Bars. You want to make sure to press the bars down firmly so they hold their shape but be careful not to crush the cereal.
- Adjust the Ingredients. If the bars are too sticky, add more cereal. Alternatively, if they’re too dry, mix in more nut butter or honey until they hold their shape.
Common Questions About These No-Bake Cereal Bars
Healthy looks different to everybody. However, as far as the standard cereal bar goes, this recipe is a pretty healthy option! It’s full of fiber and healthy fats to keep you satisfied and full. Plus, cereal is often enhanced with vitamins and nutrients like folic acid, riboflavin, and thiamin.
The nut butter and naturally caramelized raw sugar and honey help hold the bars together.
Stored in an airtight container or wrapped with plastic wrap, these cereal bars will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Or, for a longer-lasting option, wrap them up in wax paper, and freeze them for 1-2 months!
There’s never a bad time for this recipe! It’s perfect for quick breakfasts, lunchbox treats, after-school snacks, and even desserts.
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