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Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Bars for Back To School

“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

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Yield: 12 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 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.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

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.

Need another peanut buttery good afternoon snack idea? These peanut butter protein balls are a BIG HIT with my kids! Made with just 5 ingredients, they’re packed with protein and healthy fats.

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

I’d love to see how your no bake peanut butter bars turn out… Tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check it out. Enjoy!


Friday 9th of February 2024

My daughter used to make these herself when she was a teenager. She got the recipe from a friend. Anyway on buying nuts, I swear by ordering them online. I order walnuts from Bella Viva California, and pecans from Pearson Farms in Ga. I have no affiliation with either place. I can't remember where I got my almonds, but I don't have the difficulty finding quality almonds like I do quality pecans and walnuts. I freeze them and never have any to throw out. With other brands I found too many shriveled nuts that were unfit to eat and throwing out product gets expensive. Thank you for the recipe. It is so delicious and super easy too. :))


Tuesday 8th of December 2015

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!

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Saturday 12th of December 2015

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


Saturday 28th of March 2015

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


Friday 5th of June 2015

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


Tuesday 26th of August 2014

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

Kentucky Lady 717

Friday 22nd of August 2014

Can you use regular oats instead of old fashioned oats ?

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Friday 22nd of August 2014

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.

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