No Bake Chocolate Granola Bars (vegan & Gluten Free)!

12 servings
20 min

These no bake chocolate granola bars are a healthy snack you will actually love!

chocolate granola bars on a parchment lined wooden board

you can’t have too many healthy snack ideas!

People assume that – as a food photographer – I have no end of varied and delicious meals, snacks and treats to choose from all day long. And on the one hand, this is not incorrect.


After prepping, styling, shooting and cleaning said meals, snacks and treats, the last thing I want to do is then eat them. Honestly? I want to pack them up and either freeze them, eat them the next day (at the earliest) or freeze them for some future date.


If I WERE to actually eat allthethings my waistline would have some harsh words for me. I have found that the older I get the more I have to watch what I eat and make a more mindful effort to keep an eye on both what I’m eating and portion sizes.


On a typical work day I simply don’t have time to sit down and enjoy a proper meal. I know it’s the right thing to do but the truth is that when it comes to feeding myself in the middle of a million tasks I want something quick, easy and satisfying. Which is why you’ll find so many bites-and-bars type recipes on this blog!

chocolate granola bars on a mini cake stand

you’re gonna love these chocolate granola bars!

This no bake chocolatey chewy granola bar is hands down one of my favorites. I make it all the time and never tire of it. With just six ingredients – all of which I always have on hand – it’s an easy recipe that comes together simply and quickly.

You don’t even need a mixer or food processor! And this recipe is refined sugar free, vegan AND gluten free!

Best of all it is super adaptable, so you can change up most of the ingredients based on what you have in your pantry, any food allergies or taste preferences.

what do you need to make these homemade granola bars?

You only need six (!!) ingredients for this recipe:

  • dates
  • oats
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • nut butter
  • your choice of nuts and dried fruits
glass bowls filled with cocoa powder oats almond butter pistachios and dried cherries

how do you make them?

To make this granola bar recipe, you’ll start by breaking down the dates with some water in a saucepan, till it thickens.

dates and water in a saucepan
date paste in a vintage saucepan

You’ll then transfer the mixture to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir till combined.

cocoa powder in a glass mixing bowl with oats pistachios and dried cherries
chocolate granola bar batter in a glass mixing bowl

Press into a baking pan that’s been lined with parchment paper, cover and freeze overnight.

chocolate granola bar batter in a parchment lined baking pan
chocolate granola bar batter in a parchment lined baking pan

Slice into bars and enjoy!

chocolate granola bars on a parchment lined wooden board

these chewy chocolate granola bars beat store-bought bars any day!

Because I make these bars often they are always around when people come over – and they are always a hit. The chewy texture, delicious, wholesome ingredients and natural sweetness satisfy that midday sweet tooth with zero guilt! As snack bars go you can’t get better.

feel free to switch up the ingredients as you like!

I personally think these are the best granola bars, but you can absolutely adapt this recipe by switching up some of the main ingredients. Here are some ideas:

For the dried fruit: swap in dried cranberries, apricots or raisins (just chop up any larger pieces).

For the nuts: you can use any nut you like – pecans, cashews and walnuts all work (again, chop up any large nuts into smaller pieces).

For the nut butter: I’ve used every type of creamy nut butter and seed butter over the years, from peanut butter and even tahini!

You can also add in more mix-ins if you like! Some of my favorites include sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, chia seeds and sunflower seeds. You can top with a sprinkling of sea salt flakes too for a sweet-salty finish!

Let me know if you try them!

chocolate granola bars on a mini cake stand
No Bake Chocolate Granola Bars (vegan & Gluten Free)!
Recipe details
  • 12  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 10 Minutes Total time: 20 min
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  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup almond butter

Line your baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.
Place the dates and water in a small saucepan over high heat, uncovered. When the water boils reduce the heat to medium, and cook till the dates are completely broken down and paste-like, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Let cool till warm.
In a large bowl combine the oats, cocoa powder, pistachios and cherries. Stir in the date paste and almond butter till well combined. Using slightly dampened hands, press into your prepared pan.
Freeze for 2 hours, or overnight. Using your parchment sling to assist, transfer to a cutting board and cut into bars.
Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Use any combination of nuts and dried fruits that you like - chop up larger pieces.
  • Swap the almond butter for peanut butter, sunflower seed butter or even tahini!
Sheri silver
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