Healthy Cereal Bars! This cereal bar recipe is made with a combination of cereals, dried fruit and seeds, nut butter and honey. These chewy bars are naturally sweetened, high in fiber, and FULL of flavor. Keep these on hand for a quick on-the-go breakfast, or enjoy as a snack or healthy dessert.
Cereal bar ingredients:
Cereal: to add a variety of textures and flavors, I like to use a combination of cereal for these bars. Feel free to use as many or as few kinds as you’d like. If all you have is Cheerios, just use those! Got a mix of random cereals? Add ‘em! Keep the flavors simple, avoid any sugary cereals and instead use basic corn, rice and wheat cereal varieties.
Seeds: for healthy fat and fiber, add a combination of pepitas and flax seeds. You can add or substitute whatever nuts and seeds you have on hand. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are all great options. As are almonds, peanuts, pecans, pistachos, and cashews.
Nut butter: I prefer creamy natural almond butter for these bars, but you can also use natural peanut butter. For added crunch, use crunchy nut butter instead of creamy. And if you need these to be nut-free, use sunflower seed butter or tahini.
Honey: to naturally sweeten these bars, use high-quality (local, if possible) honey. Don’t be tempted to substitute with maple syrup—it’s not thick enough to hold the bars together.
Flavorings: with a combination of flavors from the cereals, nuts, seeds and dried cranberries, it’s best to keep the added flavorings to a minimum. Cinnamon, vanilla and some flaky sea salt do the trick.
How to make cereal bars
The process for making these cereal bars is somewhat similar to making homemade granola bars or rice krispies (minus the copious amounts of marshmallows).
Step 1: Combine the cereals, seeds, and dried cranberries in a large bowl.
Step 2: Combine the nut butter, honey, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Remove the nut butter mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Step 3: Pour the nut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and gently mix until combined.
Step 4: Transfer the cereal mixture to the prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
Step 5: Chill at least 1 hour, then cut into bars.
- Rice Chex
- Wheat Chex
- Corn Chex
- Rice Krispies
- Corn Flakes
- plain Special K
- Bran Flakes
- Use raisins, dried cherries, or diced dried apricots instead of dried cranberries.
- Add unsweetened shredded coconut.
- Play around with the spices, swapping out the cinnamon for some ginger, nutmeg, and/or cardamom.
- Increase the protein content by adding a scoop or two of your favorite protein powder to the nut butter mixture.
- Increase the fiber content by substituting some of the honey with soaked and puréed dates.
- Swap the pumpkin seeds for chopped almonds, pecans, pistachios, or cashews.
- Drizzle with dark chocolate or add chocolate chips for a more decadent treat.
If you give this Healthy Cereal Bar recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!
Healthy Chewy Cereal Bars
- 4 cups plain dry cereal unflavored such as corn, rice or wheat chex, cheerios, kix, etc.
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup raw pepitas
- 3 tablespoons flax seeds, optional
- ⅔ cup creamy natural nut or seed butter, such as almond butter**
- ½ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Flaky sea salt, optional
- Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two opposite sides.
- In a large bowl, combine cereal, cranberries, pepitas and flax seeds.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine nut butter, honey, cinnamon and kosher salt; cook just until completely smooth (do not bring to a simmer), 1–2 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla. Pour nut butter mixture over cereal and gently, but thoroughly, mix until cereal is completely coated.
- Transfer cereal mixture to prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer using flat bottom of a measuring cup, bowl or glass. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, or preferably 4 hours.
- Lift bar out of pan using parchment overhang. Slice into 10 even cereal bars.
- Store cereal bars between layers of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container (or individually wrapped in plastic wrap) in the refrigerator.