Crunchy, Chewy No-Bake Breakfast Bars (Paleo, gluten-free)

These Crunchy, Chewy No-Bake Breakfast Bars are an easy, healthy and filling treat to start your day!

It takes just a handful of ingredients and a few minutes of prep time to create bars that are also perfect as a snack any time of day.

And while they’re great without baking them, I also include instructions to bake them for a toasty flavor.

And they’re naturally vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free and Paleo!

healthy breakfast bars on parchment paper on a wooden cutting board

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No-Bake Breakfast Bars

Yes, an ideal breakfast would be a plate full of healthful foods packed with protein, healthy fats and unprocessed carbs.

But life isn’t always perfect and breakfast especially isn’t always perfect.

So these no-bake breakfast bars are here to help when you’re in a hurry.

Instead of a sugar-laden pastry, these healthy breakfast bars use dried fruit for natural sweetness, plus seeds and coconut for protein, fiber and healthy fats. These ingredients also provide the perfect combination of crunchiness and chewiness.

They’re just sweet enough to feel like a treat without a sugar crash later.

And they’re great for kids and adults alike!

Plus the fact that they’re naturally nut-free means kids can bring these to school without a problem.

I originally made a version of these from Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson and loved their mix of textures and flavors. And while Nigella is a culinary goddess, I made a few tweaks by paring down the ingredients and making the baking step optional.

 

What you need to make No-Bake Breakfast Bars

bowls of dates, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and chia seeds on a wooden table

Ingredients:

Note: There’s no added salt in this recipe, so using slated pumpkin seeds OR salted sunflower seeds is fine. If both have salt, the bars might get too salty.

Equipment:

 

How to make No-Bake Breakfast Bars

First, we need to turn the dates into a date paste. There’s two easy ways to choose from:

  1. Add the dates to a bowl and submerge them in about 1 1/3 cups very warm water. Wait 10 minutes for them to soften (do not drain), then puree in a mini or regular food processor (wrap a towel around where the bowl meets the lid in case water leaks), blender or with a stick blender to form a paste.
  2. Add the dates and 1 2/3 cups water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat (do not drain), beat with a fork until you have a paste, and let cool.

Then you simply mix the date paste with all the other ingredients until everything is evenly blended. I use my hands for this but the mixture is sticky so you can also use a spatula or wooden spoon.

Line the baking dish with parchment paper with some paper coming up the sides so they’re easy to remove.

Pour the mixture into the pan. Using a large, flat spatula (the kind of lifting, not stirring), press the spatula down on the mixture to compact it into one even layer. The more you press down, the neater they’ll slice.

Chill in the fridge for at least one hour. The longer they chill, the firmer they get, but even after one hour they cut into bars.

Lift the bars out by the parchment paper onto a cutting board and cut into 16 bars (3 down and 3 across). They might seem to small but trust me, they’re very filling.

Baking option: These bars are wonderfully moist and sticky. But to give them a toasty flavor and a slightly dryer texture, once everything is squished down by the spatula, bake the bars in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, until the bars are darker around the edges. Let cool before cutting or chilling. This step can also be done after cutting into bars.

vegan breakfast bars on parchment paper on a wooden cutting board on a wooden table with a white baking dish in the background

How to store these healthy breakfast bars

Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Or wrap bars individually and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

 

Substitutions and variations

As you can already see from the ingredient list above, there are a lot of different ways to make these your own:

  • Use dried cranberries, dried cherries or goji berries (I’ve tried each of these and they’re all great; I have not tried any other dried fruit like raisins, apricots or blueberries)
  • Use brown flax seeds or sunflower seeds, or use any combination to equal 1 cup
  • Add 2 teaspoons cinnamon when you blend the dates into a paste
  • Replace half the chia seeds with cacao nibs

 

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Crunchy, Chewy No-Baked Breakfast Bars on parchment paper on a wooden cutting board
breakfast bars made with dates, seeds and coconut on parchment paper on a wooden cutting board
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Crunchy, Chewy No-Baked Breakfast Bars

These easy, healthy and filling breakfast bars are filled with the perfect combination of dried fruit, seeds and coconut. They're crunchy, chewy, mildly sweet and perfect by themselves or crumbled over yogurt. They also make a great snack! And they're naturally gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free and Paleo.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast bars, gluten free breakfast bars, healthy breakfast bars, no bake bars, paleo breakfast bars
Servings: 16 bars
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. pitted dates
  • 1⅔ cup very warm water
  • cup dried cranberries, dried cherries or goji berries
  • ½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds (raw, roasted and/or salted; see notes)
  • 1 cup brown flax seeds or sunflower seeds (raw, roasted and/or salted; see notes), or a combination of both
  • cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  • Line a 2-quart/8x8" baking dish with parchment paper. Make sure the paper comes high enough up the sides for you to grab later.
  • Prepare the dates:
    No-cook method: add the dates and the water to a bowl. Let them soften for 10 minutes. Do not drain. Blend with a food processor (mini or regular; wrap a towel around where the bowl meets the lid in case water leaks), blender or stick blender until you have a paste.
    Saucepan method: add the dates to a small saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat so it simmers for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat (do not drain) and beat with a fork until you have a paste. Let cool.
  • Add the date paste to a large bowl with the dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and/or sunflower seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes and shredded coconut. Stir with your hands, a spatula or a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and spread it out as much as possible. Using a spatula (the kind for lifting, not stirring), press the spatula down onto the top of the mixture to create one even layer. The harder you press, the firmer it will be and the neater it will cut.
  • Chill for at least one hour or up to 8 hours (the longer it chills, the firmer it gets). Use the parchment paper to lift the bars onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars (3 across and 3 down).
  • Baking option: These bars are wonderfully moist and sticky. But to give them a toasty flavor and a slightly dryer, crunchier texture, you can bake them: Once you have compressed the bars into the pan, bake at 350° for 30 minutes, until the edges have darkened. Let cool before cutting or chilling. This step can also be done after cutting into bars.

Notes

Note: There's no added salt in this recipe, so using slated pumpkin seeds OR salted sunflower seeds is fine. If both have salt, the bars might get too salty.
How to store these healthy breakfast bars
Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Or wrap bars individually and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Substitutions and variations
As you can already see from the ingredient list above, there are a lot of different ways to make these your own:
  • Use dried cranberries, dried cherries or goji berries (I've tried each of these and they're all great; I have not tried any other dried fruit like raisins, apricots or blueberries)
  • Use brown flax seeds or sunflower seeds, or use any combination to equal 1 cup
  • Add 2 teaspoons cinnamon when you blend the dates into a paste
  • Replace half the chia seeds with cacao nibs
 
This recipe is adapted from the Breakfast Bars 2.0 in Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson.

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