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Crunchy Homemade Granola Bars

Breakfast is always one of the hardest meals for me, and I am guessing I am not alone on this, so I am always looking for fun and new ideas for breakfast.

One of our favorite foods for breakfast, or even snacks, is homemade granola bars. Homemade granola bars are easy to make and I love the fact that you can control the ingredients that go into them. Not only does this make make them healthier, it also allows you to change them up and create all kinds of flavors.

Homemade granola bars are also cheaper to make than buying them, especially if you deal with food allergies like my family does.

I was recently looking though a few of my cookbooks for some breakfast inspiration and came across a granola bar recipe that I had not tried before. It was similar to ones that I had tried before, but not quite the same.

The recipe was called Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, but they turned out just like a granola bar and I knew I had to share it for my Cooking Through My Collection Series.

This recipe comes from a Quick Cooking Cookbook that I have had for years. It is from the 2003 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes cookbook. It is so old in fact that I could not find one to link to online.

However, many of the other Quick Cooking Annual Recipes cookbooks are available used. I own several of these annual cookbooks and love them.

I have picked most of them up used over the years and they are some of my favorite recipes. Of course that might have to do with the fact that they were published by Taste of Home and you all know I love Taste of Home.

Part of the reason these cookbooks are hard to find is that Quick Cooking Magazine is no longer around. Several years ago they change it to Simple and Delicious Magazine. And although I love the new Simple and Delicious version, some of the old Quick Cooking recipes are still my favorite.

Now for the recipe. When I made these I was actually expecting them to be a soft and chewy granola bar, but they came out quite crispy and a bit harder than other homemade granola bars that I have made.

This was actually a good thing though because when my husband tasted them he said they tasted a lot like the Nature Valley granola bars that he likes so much. So, I ended up making a copycat version of something that I did not intend to, but I am so glad they ended up just like a Nature Valley bar, because we love those.

And if you do not want these to be really crunchy, just reduce the cooking time a little.


Note: I have had a few of you comment or email that these were not crunchy or crispy for you. I think in some ovens and with a smaller size pan they made need to cook a little longer. Several of you mentioned that you added things to the recipe like raisins or craisins. I think in some cases that might be the problem because it would add some extra moisture. I have made these several times now and they have always crisped up for me. If you all have thoughts on why they are not crisping up, feel free to leave a comment.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. sounds great! we made some no bake chewy apple cinnamon granola bars today, but they kids were talking about how they like the crunchy ones also. What’s the purpouse of the orange marmalade or other jam? I think I only have strawberry and grape around, so just wondering does it add flavor or? Also, tips on how to cut these? Did you cut them before baking them?

    • The jam adds flavor and texture. I don’t think they would hold together as well without it. You can use whatever jam you want. We like raspberry and strawberry. I cut most of mine when they came out of the oven. There was a small chunk that I did not cut right away and I was still able to cut them fine later. I think it depends on how crispy you cook them also on how hard they would be to cut. I hope that helps.

      • I also notice that if they are thicker, they will not get as crispy in the center. One batch typically takes an entire lasagna pan and a half (in my case) in order for them to even get remotely crispy.

  2. crunchy granola bars are our favorite. i’ll have to give these a try!

  3. Hi Lynn, not sure where we went wrong but ours haven’t hardened up properly. I even tried popping a baking sheet over them and cooking them longer, to no avail. I did use some of my homemade apricot jam and am wondering maybe that could be it. On the plus side, we reduced the nuts and added some cranberries to top up and oh wow, the flavour is so yum, yum, yum! Even the man was eagerly eating the soft bits that broke off. 🙂

    • I am sorry they did not crisp up. You are the second person that has told me that they tried them today and they did not crisp up. Both of you said that the flavor was great, but not crispy. So, I will be making another batch tomorrow to see what results I get when I make them again. I will keep you updated…..

  4. How do you store them?? How long do they last? Can they be made in big batches and frozen?

  5. Hi Lynn,

    I love your website! I would really like to try these granola bars- however, one of our food allergies is to coconut. Any suggestions about a possible replacement?- add more oats? dried fruit?

    Appreciate all that you do!


    • I think you could leave the coconut out and add maybe 1/2 cup more oats. Or if you can have nuts, use the nuts and no coconut. I hope that helps.

  6. Adding this to my list of recipes to make for school. Hopefully my daughter will enjoy them for breakfast as well. It’s hard to find breakfast stuff for a picky breakfast eater :/

  7. Mine didn’t crisp up either – but I used extra coconut instead of nuts, and honey instead of jam, and I think that was probably my downfall. After baking 18 minutes I ended up with a pan full of gooey, sticky, sweet and wonderful – I wasn’t able to cut them into bars that would hold together at all. Oh well, I’ll eat it out of a 1/4c measure if I have to, it’s really very good! Next time I’ll stick to the recipe a bit closer – and there definitely will be a next time!

    • Oh, I did want to ask, should the brown sugar be packed or not? I wasn’t sure so I lightly packed it but didn’t do a really thorough job of it, so maybe that also contributed to my lack of success.

    • I am glad they tasted good even if they did not crisp up. And I lightly pack my brown sugar, so I doubt it was that. It was more likely the honey instead of the jam.

  8. Just slid my first batch in the oven. Has anybody tried subbing in some coconut oil for butter?

    • I have substituted coconut oil for butter in several bar recipes, muffins, banana breads and even some cookies with NO issues, IMHO. I would be hesitant to use coconut oil for flakier crusts or other pastry style breads as the flavour that comes through may not be as good.

  9. Hi,
    I’ve tried so many granola bar recipes and realized the reason why they weren’t getting crunchy is the type of oats I used. I used the quick oats instead of the ‘old fashioned’ oats.

    • I usually use quick oats for my granola bars or a mix of both. Thanks for sharing that, I might have to try them with just old fashioned oats to see what difference I notice. I know I like homemade granola better with at least part quick oats.

      • I only use quick oats, and they always turn out wonderfully! However, I do have to let them dry a good two to three hours before packaging.

  10. Anyone have any luck getting these out of the pan? They are delicious when picked off of the top but I’m really sad to have ruined by favorite baking pan on them…

    • I always douse the pan in Pam cooking spray before baking! This leaves them a little hard to get out, but not horrible. Also, you could try turning them out right away (kind of like flipping out muffins). I don’t know if the second option will work, but I have always been curious. Also, you could line your pan with parchment paper if you aren’t feeling that adventurous! Good luck!

  11. love the sound of this recipe but HATE coconut ….. any suggestions for options to make it up??

  12. Hey Lynn!

    I love the recipe and it has become my go-to recipe for making granola! However, I am a little concerned about the full cup of brown sugar, and found that the following substitution works well:
    1/2 c. jam + 1/4 c. brown sugar + 1 c. honey

    Just thought I would bring this up and see what you thought! This does make things a little more moist, so I tend to add a bit more oatmeal and coconut.
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  13. Gerry Capella says

    4 cups (( quick or old fashion oats
    1 stick of melted butter
    1. Cup Brown sugar
    2 Cups coconut
    1 Cup of dark chocolate chips
    1 Cup of semi-sweet chocolate

    • Gerry Capella says

      3/4 cup Orange marmalade
      1 cup candied cherries (chopped)
      I grease aluminium foil lined cookie sheetthen press all the mixture onto +
      After it is baked I SCORE the top of the into bars when it is completely
      Cooled it is easier to cut into bars.
      It is hard to remove the bars but it is worth it… they r DELICIOUS.

  14. Credit where credits due. I’ve tried a few recipes but this one is by far the best. My grandchildren and sons I know will demolish them in no time! Thanks for the recipe. I substituted the nuts for mixed seeds.

  15. Credit where credits due. I’ve tried a few recipes but this one is by far the best. My grandchildren and sons I know will demolish them in no time! Thanks for the recipe. I substituted the nuts for mixed seeds.

    • I am so glad your kids and grandchildren loves these! And I think it is great that you make homemade granola bars for them! I am sure they appreciate it.

  16. The recipe sounds very easy and inspiring. Will try it soon. Thanks

  17. Can I coat the bars with chocolate? Will it still be crunchy?

    • I think you could easily spread melted chocolate on top of these. I am not sure how coating the entire bar would work, but spreading melted chocolate or chips on top would probably work well. I hope that helps.


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