Nut Free Granola Bars

homemade nut-free granola bars made with sunflower seed butter and chocolate chips

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 5 reviews

No-bake, easy nut-free granola bars made from a base of oats, sunflower butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Lightly sweetened with honey or maple syrup. Then add what you like - chocolate, dried fruit, sunflower seeds or coconut. You'll love the thick, rich texture of these bars!


Units Scale
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or dried fruit)
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds or coconut)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (unsweetened, no oil added)
  • 1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. In a medium bowl, combine oats, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds and cinnamon
  2. In a smaller microwave safe bowl, combine sunflower seed butter, honey or maple syrup, vanilla and salt
  3. Microwave the bowl of sunflower seed butter for 35 seconds, then mix really well to combine the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour the warm sunflower butter mixture over the oats.
  5. Mix really, really well until the oats are completely covered. The wet ingredients will be thick, so it will take a little bit of strength to mix everything together completely.  Don’t leave any bare oats! As you mix, the chocolate chips will melt into the mixture, giving the bars a chocolatey flavor. 
  6. Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper. The parchment needs to be long enough to hang over two edges of the pan so that you can fold the paper up and over the bars (the parchment should be about 20 inches long).
  7. Drop the batter into the 8x8 pan and use a spatula to smooth it out as best you can.
  8. Fold the edges of the parchment up and over the bars (see blog post above for step-by-step photos). As you press the bars down, the parchment will keep your fingers from sticking to the batter. 
  9. Press down on the parchment paper to smooth the granola bars out firmly and evenly. Use your hands, but also press down on the bars with a glass or a jar which makes it easier to put firm pressure on the batter. Pressing firmly is very important because it helps the bars hold together. 
  10. Refrigerate the bars for at least 1 hour, then cut into squares or rectangles. 
  11. These bars can be stored in the refrigerator (several weeks) or pantry (1 week). Personally, I prefer the texture of refrigerated bars, but you might like the softer texture of bars at room temperature. 
  12. To keep the bars fresh longer, store them in the freezer. The bars defrost quickly for snacks and school lunches. 


Toasting Oats: Toasting the oats before making the bars is optional. Toasted oats have a more pronounced flavor and the texture is more firm (less chewy than raw oats). To toast oats, heat the oven to 350 F. Spread the oats out evenly on a large sheet pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until very lightly browned. 

Honey or maple syrup is the glue that holds these bars together. You can try using less than 1/2 cup, but I can't guarantee that the bars will hold together as well.