This recipe for homemade granola bars is fast, easy and so good you’ll never want store bought granola bars again! AND, there’s a story behind them! Read on!

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
Feast your eyes upon Homemade Granola Bars just waiting to be devoured on a nice nature hike. Jk. We’re watching Netflix.

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe

I always thought people who made their own granola bars were very… granola, that is until I met Laurel way back in 2002. Laurel was the parent of one of the little kiddos I worked with in my first year of practice as an Occupational Therapist. I loved that kid and learned so much from him! I even used photos of his hands to make some of my instructional stories about cutting and printing, so I think of him often and when I do, I think of the baked goodies his mom used to bring the school staff. She was an awesome mom in every way and was one of the great examples I could draw upon when I started having my own kids 3 years later.  She advocated for her son, tried everything the therapists and teachers suggested, and her son made great gains due mostly to her loving, consistent guidance.

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
I even have the original paper Laurel gave me, carefully preserved in my recipe collection!

I wouldn’t describe Laurel as “granola” but I would describe her as incredibly clever. She obviously knew that plying her son’s young therapists with delicious baked goods would ultimately inspire us to work harder for him and every kid in that school. Moms are the unsung heroes, I tell ya. They get it and sometimes they’re even willing to share their recipes which is how I came to discover the only recipe for homemade granola bars I’ve ever needed, and now I’m going to share it with you.

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
Homemade Granola Bars filled with milk chocolate chips, craisins, coconuts, and oats! YUM!

Making Homemade Granola Bars

What I like most about Laurel’s recipe for granola bars is that it doesn’t take anything fancy. You *can* add wheat germ but you don’t have to (and I never have because I don’t actually know what that is* and have never had it in my pantry, though I’m sure it would be good).

*Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Craisins and coconut go into Homemade Granola Bars
This recipe for Homemade Granola Bars takes your basics – sugar, butter, peanut butter, coconut and raisins or craisins.

I also like that there are no eggs in this recipe so here is one time you can taste the batter without wondering if 44 years of eating batter is finally going to catch up with you… I couldn’t claim this is a “low cal” recipe or clean eating nut bar or whatever, but remember, it pre-dates 2002 when Whole 30 didn’t exist, vegans were unheard of, and no one in their right mind would pay $2 for a bar of processed dates holding raw nuts together. Plus, Laurel’s son was a picky eater and nothing crystallizes food like a picky eater; you’ll serve anything if they’ll only eat it. So yeah, these granola bars have butter, peanut butter, sugar and chocolate chips. But they are homemade so there’s no extra preservatives and crap in them AND they are so good, you’re not going to care.

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
One cup of milk chocolate chips goes into the mix!

The batter is THICK! Laurel mixed it with her hands but I use my mixer. DON’T over mix. Just get it blended then leave it alone. We aren’t making cookies, we are making hearty nature food.

Once you have mixed everything together, you press the batter into a buttered 9×13 pan and here’s a tip:

Homemade Granola Bars
Wet your hands a little so the batter doesn’t stick while you’re pressing! Works like a charm! Now bake for 25 – 30 minutes!
Homemade Granola Bars recipe
And this is the finished product – golden and delicious Homemade Granola Bars!

Homemade Granola Bars

Every time I take photos of the finished product, I feel upstaged by food. That’s right, these homemade granola bars are better at posing than I am.

Homemade Granola Bars
Oh hey there. Wanna go for a hike?
Homemade Granola Bars
Work it Baby!
Homemade Granola Bars
When I said “hike” I meant “book club.”
Homemade Granola Bars go to Book Club
Seriously. I took these Homemade Granola Bars to my book club and they were a hit! We were discussing the book “Educated” by Tara Westover and so I thought they were in fitting with the theme, as much as any food could fit with her tale. (Read that book, then come back and let’s talk about it.)

I like simple recipes that stand the test of time, and I like recipes that bring back happy memories! So thank you Laurel, wherever you are today, for sharing your recipe for Homemade Granola Bars. It meant a lot to me then, and it means a lot to me now. Your son is an adult now, probably old enough to drink the cocktails I share (!!!), but he will always be a little preschooler in my mind, proudly handing out the granola bars his mom made for school.

xoxo Nicole

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Homemade Granola Bars Recipe

Homemade Granola Bars

This recipe for Homemade Granola Bars is the *only* one you'll ever need! They are simple and fast to prepare and result in chewy chocolatey goodness!

Keyword Homemade Granola Bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Author The Spirited Thrifter


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter (no, not natural)
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup (I use white corn syrup but you can use whichever you have)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut (I use sweetened but you could use whatever your little ol' heart desires)
  • 1/2 cup craisins or raisins (I use craisins because my children won't touch raisins - they're "so" different)
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ (if you're granola and know what this is and have it)


  1. Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, melted butter, and vanilla in bowl and mix well.

  2. Add coconut and craisins/raisins and mix in. If you're using wheat germ, add it now.

  3. Add rolled oats and mix just until blended.

  4. Add chocolate chips and mix just until blended. *Note: I usually add the whole bag of chocolate chips to recipes that ask for a cup - artist's discretion! However, in this recipe, I wouldn't. They are sweet enough and there is chocolatey goodness in every bite as is. Instead, eat the rest of the bag of chocolate chips while you hide in the pantry from the kids.

  5. Use damp hands to press batter into 9x13 pan well-greased with butter.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown.

  7. Cut into squares or bars. Take to book clubs, play dates, ladies home parties, the office luncheon, and be ready to act one-with-nature. Take to your child's teacher (*if it's a class that allows peanuts*) to show how much you love her and that you hope she too will remember you and your child in 16 years.

  8. Can be stored in the fridge but they probably won't last long enough to bother.


  1. Garden Goddess

    If it ever cools off around here I am definitely going to try baking these!

    Wheat Germ:
    First picture an egg. Next, picture a grain of wheat. The “bran” (fiber) is like the egg shell. The “wheat you grind into white flour” (carbohydrate) is like the egg white. The “germ” is like the yolk–it’s where the fat is and is where the germ of life resides. Just remember to keep your wheat germ in the refrigerator or freezer as the oil can make it turn rancid and unhealthful surprisingly quickly. Whole wheat flour has all three components, therefore, will go rancid more quickly.

    Thanks for the recipe and best wishes!

    P.S. My grandmother–who lived to 102 years old–sprinkled some wheat germ on her food every day!

    • nicole

      THANK YOU! It now makes sense! I might even buy some! So I should have granola bars with wheat germ every day! HA!

  2. I just made these and they are awesome. Very rich and chewy. Even my youngest liked them but I didn’t tell him there were cranberries, that would have made them poison.

    • nicole

      YAY! It means a lot that they get the Colleen-seal-of-approval! And yes, always keep the poison a secret. 😉