Aug 30

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Bars for Back To School

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

"Easy" just might be one of the most overused words on my site. In fact, I just did a search and I'm up to 112 posts and counting that mention easy in them at some point.

But I'm okay with that. As a mom of five school-aged children (as of Wednesday, not sure whether to cheer at that or cry), I'm very big on recipes that are simple and easy. And these no bake peanut butter bars are exactly that. We're talking 5 minutes and done, simple and easy at its best!

If you've been an Unsophisticook reader for any length of time, you've probably also noticed that I love recipes that are customizable, and these no bake bars are no exception. Once you know the basic recipe formula, you can create dozens of variations -- you really can't go wrong! At least I haven't yet...

No Bake Oatmeal Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars Formula

There are three main ingredients in these no bake bars, and two of the three can be customized:

all-natural peanut butter -- choose from peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc., just make sure it's the all-natural variety, or even better, all-natural and organic.

liquid sweetener -- honey, maple syrup or agave nectar are all great choices, but please, only the real versions of each of these ingredients.

old-fashioned oatmeal -- also known as rolled oats, be sure to choose this variety, NOT steel cut or instant oats.

The basic formula is 1 cup of PB, 3/4 cup sweetener, and 3 cups of oatmeal. To this mixture you can add up to 1 1/2 cups of the mix-ins of your choice. Some of my favorites:

dried fruits -- raisins, cranberries, apricots, unsweetened coconut, cherries, etc., coarsely chopped for larger pieces.

nuts -- peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.

sunflower seeds -- shelled, of course.

chocolate chips -- we like the mini chips best, but any will do.

ground flaxseed -- good source of omega-3s and adds protein.

I typically choose 2-3 ingredients from the list above and add 1/2 cup of each to the mixture. I know that dried fruits and nuts can get pricey, so be sure to hit the baking aisle at Walmart to pick up the Great Value brand for these ingredients -- I've never been disappointed by the quality and the value is fantastic!

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

For the bars pictured, I used almond butter, honey, rolled oats, dried cranberries, and unsweetened shredded coconut, and oh man, are they ever delicious! My kids eat them both for breakfast and as an after school snack, and I eat them pretty much any time I can get my hands on them. Sadly, they rarely last that long.

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Yield: 12 bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars


  • 1 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup liquid sweetener -- honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup of 2-3 mix-ins from the list


  1. In a saucepan, warm your choice of peanut butter and sweetener over low heat until they can be mixed together easily. You could also warm them in the microwave if you watch the mixture carefully to prevent it from boiling over.
  2. Stir in oatmeal and mix-ins until thoroughly combined.
  3. Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper (not a necessity, but it makes it easy to lift the whole thing out for cutting).
  4. Press the oatmeal mixture evenly into the pan and allow it to cool. I often just put them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  5. Lift the entire cooled bar out of the pan and cut into 12 bars.
  6. For the bars pictured above I used: 1 cup all-natural almond butter, 3/4 cup honey, 3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.

With so many possibilities, you could make a different version of these no bake peanut butter bars every time you mix them up! And I'll be completely honest -- sometimes they don't even make it into the pan because the mixture is so tasty right out of the pan.

What flavor combination would you like to try first? I'd love some new suggestions!

Walmart Moms Disclosure

by Tara | 14 comments

  • Amy

    How do you keep the chocolate chips from melting after you warm the honey and PB? I've made something like this before and the chips just ended up melting and if I let it cool too much I couldn't mix in the chips?

    • Yeah, it's a little hard to find that sweet spot where the mixture has cooled just enough to stir them in without melting. A lot of times we'll just press them into the top after it's cooled a bit -- works just as well!

  • I would add chia seeds, almonds, and chocolate!

    • Ooh, good idea! I have a sample package of chia seeds, and I've been wondering what I should try them in.

  • Alexandra

    I made these today and they were delicious. Is there a way to make them firm up a little more?

    • Glad you enjoyed them, Alexandra! You could try adding a little more oatmeal, like maybe 1/2 cup, or refrigerating them will firm them up too. But I just wrap them in a little parchment paper and make sure I have some baby wipes on hand to wipe those slightly sticky fingers.

  • Dona

    What's he best way to sore these bars?

  • Kentucky Lady 717

    Can you use regular oats instead of old fashioned oats ?

    • When you say "regular", do you mean quick cooking oats? If so, I'd say you can use them, but it may affect the texture somewhat. Quick cook oats are just rolled thinner than old-fashioned oats so they cook faster.

  • katie

    iI Use Milk,cocoa,sugar,cook for one minute stir in oats and peanut-butter,drop on wax paper till set delicious

  • Chelsea

    what is the nutrition value?? Calories per serving size? and Amount of protein in one serving?

    • Lisa

      It will somewhat depend on the add-in you use. I calculated the nutritional info using natural peanut butter, honey, oats, 1 cup of dried cranberries, and 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips. has a great recipe calorie calculator.

      Nutritional Info

      Servings Per Recipe: 16

      Amount Per Serving

      Calories: 215.2

      Total Fat: 9.7 g

      Cholesterol: 0.0 mg

      Sodium: 75.6 mg

      Total Carbs: 29.1 g

      Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g

      Protein: 5.4 g

  • Vicki

    I've made these at least a dozen times, and I thought it was probably time to thank you for the recipe! We love them! I typically use just our regular peanut butter, molasses or honey, 5-minute or 1-minute oats (depending on what's in the cabinet). I don't cook the syrupy stuff and the peanut butter - if I just stir it a while, it blends together beautifully. Then I don't have worry about anything melting. (and don't tell anyone, but I've even used pancake syrup in a pinch - I know, I know ...) I've added everything from almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, cranberries or other dried berries, and whatever chips we have on hand - today it was mini choco chips, white choco chips and peanut butter chips. Oh, and I always add a tablespoon of cinnamon. They're so incredibly good!

    • Thanks for sharing, Vicki! I'll have to try the cinnamon -- that sounds wonderful.

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