Easy Homemade Cereal Bars

Easy Homemade Cereal Bars

These healthy cereal bars are just like KIND bars, but you customize them and you control the amount of honey!

These healthy cereal bars are just like KIND bars, but you customize them and you control the amount of honey!

Snacking happens. It just does. If you’re my kid, you’re not going to eat candy right before dinner, but you are going to eat in between meals. Let’s do it right, then.

When my kids were super little, I was soooo focused on keeping them on a plan for two things: sleeping and eating. They napped in their own beds, and they went to sleep at a very reasonable hour.

And they ate 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. That’s it. The snacks were things like fresh fruit, maybe some cheese and crackers.

We didn’t really do energy bars, and breakfast was eggs and fruit. Not cereal. Not cereal bars. No way. That was then, and this is now. Now my kids are older, and I’m less obsessed with their eating between meals. They play sports, and they’re always hungry. At least I can try to get something good into them.

These healthy cereal bars are just like KIND bars, but you customize them and you control the amount of honey!

Cereal or no cereal?

Most cereals are full of extra sugar, and don’t satisfy anyone for very long. Not to mention how incredibly expensive breakfast cereals are.

For so many years, I got up extra early and made them eggs for breakfast every single school morning. Whether they liked it or not. Eggs pack so much more bang for your breakfast buck than cereal.

But sometimes, the cupboards are bare… except for some cereal and milk. So cereal it is. We buy mostly Chex cereals, and I’m glad to have them when we need them.

These healthy cereal bars are just like KIND bars, but you customize them and you control the amount of honey!

My personal favorite gluten free cereal is puffed rice. You know, Rice Krispies-style cereal. There are a number of companies that make gluten free puffed rice.

I usually buy Erewhon crisp rice cereal, since it’s super simple and good quality. If I can find it on sale, I’ll also buy Nature’s Path Organic Crispy Rice. Here are 5 brands of GF crisp rice cereal to try, to help you make an informed choice.

These healthy cereal bars are just like KIND bars, but you customize them and you control the amount of honey!

Store bought or homemade?

For on the go breakfasts, and for snacks between meals, these days we do buy a bunch of gluten free energy bars and cereal bars. My kids tend to be divided about which is the “best” gluten free bar.

Some of them taste downright awful to me, like Quest bars, and ain’t nobody gonna convince me otherwise. KIND bars come in a million different flavors, and there’s usually something for everyone. Many of them really are cereal bars, not just fruit and nut bars.

Luna bars are really more like candy bars, but my oldest can’t seem to live without them. She will go for one of my homemade protein bars, though, if I have one on offer. But let’s face it: sometimes it’s just not possible!

These healthy cereal bars are just like KIND bars, but you customize them and you control the amount of honey!

Make them your own

If you’re willing to make a batch or two of your own bars, a recipe like this one for gluten free cereal bars can really save the day. It’s so easy to swap out one nut for another, or even some of the nuts for some dried fruit.

There are a few rules to follow if you want to make cereal bars that actually hold together, instead of crumbling into a weepy mess in your hands. But you can still customize them in plenty of ways, and even cut back on the honey quite a bit.

Here are the rules:

Rule #1. Use raw, unsalted nuts. If you add a lot of really processed nuts, like salted this and roasted that, you’ll pay more for the nuts and you’ll be stuck with that flavor profile.

Rule #2. The recipe calls for 1/2 to 3/4 cup (168 g to 252 g) honey and/or Lyle’s Golden Syrup. You need a thick, sticky sugar to hold these bars together. You can use 1/2 cup, but don’t use less. The bars just won’t hold together. Trust me I’ve tried.

Rule #3. Use softer nuts that are easy to break, like pecans, cashews and peanuts. If you want to use other nuts, like almonds, buy them slivered or sliced. I’ve used whole or chopped almonds, and they are just too large to hold together in the bar without using a metric ton of honey.

And remember, if you’re going to ruin my kid’s appetite for a meal, you’d better really ruin it. Like, don’t send them back to me feeling a little hungry. A kid who is a little hungry is going to be really picky. And I don’t do picky.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time:


3 cups (350 g) raw unsalted nuts (I recommend a combination of cashews, pecans, peanuts and slivered almonds)

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups (60 g) (unsweetened) gluten free crisp rice cereal

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons (42 g) virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup (168 g to 252 g) honey and/or Lyle’s Golden Syrup

2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped and melted (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a quarter sheet pan (a shallow rimmed 9 x 13-inch baking sheet) with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the raw nuts, chopped chocolate, rice cereal, and salt, and mix to combine. Break up any large pieces of nuts or chocolate. Add the oil, and the honey and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and mix to combine well. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, and spread it into an even layer. Cover with another sheet of unbleached parchment paper, and press firmly to compress the mixture into an even layer.

  • Remove the top sheet of parchment, and place the pan in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until the mixture is lightly browned and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Without removing the bars from the baking sheet and using a bench scraper or butter knife, slice into bars by cutting down the length in the center, and then across into two rows of 7 bars each. Place the bars in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until completely chilled.

  • Remove the bars from the refrigerator or freezer, and separate them along the scored lines. Drizzle with the optional melted dark chocolate and allow to set. Serve or store the bars in the refrigerator or freezer.


Comments are closed.

  • Carolyn
    March 29, 2017 at 10:07 AM

    These look good, I’ve been searching for a homemade recipe I can try. My husband cannot have chocolate, so I was wondering about adding dried fruit? Have you ever used nut butter to help keep bars together with honey? Thanks for all the great recipes!

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 29, 2017 at 2:51 PM

      You can use more raw nuts and seeds in place of the unsweetened chocolate, Carolyn. No, I haven’t used nut butter. I have only made this recipe as written, other than the variations I have already recommended. If you add nut butter to such a simple recipe, you really are changing it quite a bit. I have other granola bar recipes on the site, if you’d prefer. Just use the search bar.

  • Kathy
    March 27, 2017 at 9:53 PM

    Wow, what a fantastic recipe. Thank you ?. I have just cut them & yes !! they don’t fall apart. I have been searching for a healthy cereal bar & this is it… soo tasty oh & it’s a healthy alternative. Now I vary the ingredients for a different flavour. Well done ✅✅✅. I love your site. Thank you from Australia

  • Karla
    March 27, 2017 at 5:25 PM

    Could you please confirm if it is 3/4 c honey and 3/4 c syrup or do you mean a combination of the honey and syrup to equal 3/4 cup?

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 27, 2017 at 6:37 PM

      This is what it says: 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup (168 g to 252 g) honey and/or Lyle’s Golden Syrup. That means that you can use honey and Lyle’s or just one or the other. The amount is given first, as it is either 1/2 cup total or 3/4 cup total.

  • Bells L
    March 27, 2017 at 1:41 AM

    I cannot get these to stay together for love nor money….crumbly results are tasty though. Am tempted to bung milk on and call it granola!

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 27, 2017 at 11:27 AM

      If you aren’t measuring your ingredients by weight, you may be using too little honey. That’s what holds the ingredients together. That, or if your mixture of raw nuts and seeds are too large, or you’re not pressing everything into the pan as directed. As you can see from the video, they hold together when made as written.

  • Leeann Lukianuk
    March 27, 2017 at 12:06 AM

    Please put me on your email list. My husband was just diagnosed with celiac.

  • GrBlsiss
    March 26, 2017 at 7:36 PM

    Do you think it would work to substitute a vegan soft margarine for the coconut oil?

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 27, 2017 at 11:25 AM

      I’m afraid I honestly don’t know!

  • Janet
    March 26, 2017 at 1:47 PM

    Finally a bar without oats. totally making these for the work week.

  • Janet
    March 26, 2017 at 1:47 PM

    Finally a bar without oats. totally making these forthe work week.

  • Beth
    March 26, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    Will this recipe do well without the chocolate? We have an allergy to this in our family.

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 27, 2017 at 11:29 AM

      Sure, Beth, just eliminate the chocolate drizzle and use more chopped nuts or seeds in equal weight to the unsweetened chocolate.

  • Leslie
    March 25, 2017 at 7:23 AM

    These look great. Have you done a cost analysis? Make or buy, which is cheaper?

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 25, 2017 at 8:10 AM

      I haven’t, Leslie, but I’m curious! KIND bars themselves are so expensive, but so are nuts, generally. The reason I think that the make-it numbers would be considerably lower is because you can use considerably cheaper nut pieces, rather than whole nuts. If you do the breakdown, be sure to let us know!

  • Sharon
    March 24, 2017 at 4:57 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    This recipe sounds great, except my childrens’ school have a ‘nut free’ policy when bringing their lunches. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute for the nuts that you think would still work? I was thinking maybe a mixture of rolled oats and maybe some seeds ? (sunflower/seasame?)

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 24, 2017 at 5:14 PM

      I honestly don’t think you can make this 100% nut-free, Sharon. The only thing I can think of is that maybe you could use a combination of coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, and oats. But instead of experimenting like that, I would just use my no bake nut-free granola bar recipe!

  • Vonice
    March 24, 2017 at 3:33 PM

    Any idea on calorie content? I could figure it out but why do it if you already have! Thanks

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 24, 2017 at 5:12 PM

      I’m afraid I don’t provide that sort of information, Vonice. It sounds like you already know what to do to figure it out!

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