These no-bake peanut butter oat bars are loaded with goodness. Made with wholesome ingredients and naturally sweetened (from dates)!
We’ve always loved a good granola or energy ball, but recently I’ve started making bars to switch things up. These no-bake peanut butter bars are great as a snack or afternoon delight. When we have these around, they are a favorite “treat” to add to my girls’ lunches.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars in the Making
Fifteen minutes, plus a little bit of chill time in the fridge, and you’ll be gobbling these babies up!
- These no-bake bars start by blending up the dates, which creates the paste needed to keep these together, and also provides the natural sweetness.
- Then the peanut butter, oats, flaxseeds, coconut, and salt are added to the dates and blended together to make the bar “dough”.
- Next, the “dough” is scooped into a bread pan, or square pan, lined with parchment. Then, it's evenly spread and pushed down into the pan using the back of a spoon.
- Time for the chocolate! Melted coconut oil, cacao, and pure maple syrup are mixed together to create the chocolate topping. This is spread over the “dough” and sprinkle with shredded coconut.
- Bars then get refrigerated for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow bars and chocolate to set. Remove from fridge and take out of pan by grabbing the sides of the parchment paper. Bars are then cut into desired size.
The Ingredients and How to Keep These No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars Clean
The No-Bake Bar Ingredients
- Ah, nature’s candy! Dates are a great source of antioxidants, are high in fiber, and are a natural energy booster. Plus, they are the perfect way to add natural sweetness to just about anything.
- I prefer medjool dates as they are softer and have a more caramel like taste – perfect for mixing into recipes of all kinds! The majority of medjool date farmers naturally follow organic standards without needing certification, so it’s okay to buy non-organic dates.
- Always look for peanut butter that contains just peanuts, or peanuts and salt. Stay away from ones with added oils (most are heavily processed oils) and/or sugar. This keeps your peanut butter natural and clean. We love Smucker’s Organic Creamy Peanut Butter; there are no added sugars or oils.
- In addition, organic is of importance with peanut butter due to the high amount of pesticides used in the growing process.
- Oats are high in antioxidants and fiber, but are also a great source of whole grains (no refined grains here). As a rule of thumb, buy rolled oats (also known as old fashioned) as quick oats/instant oats are more processed.
- Fun fact for ya: Did you know that all oats are technically gluten-free? It’s confusing when you see some oats labeled as gluten-free and some not… am I right? But in reality, all oats are gluten-free. However, during processing some may become contaminated with gluten. People with a gluten intolerance should buy gluten-free certified, but for the rest of us that prefer to avoid gluten, all oats are okay. However, we still buy certified gluten-free oats. Our favorite oats are these.
Flaxseeds & Coconut
- Flaxseeds - I love adding in any sort of superseeds to my recipes to increase the nutrition. Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Always buy ground flax (flax meal) as it’s easier for the body to absorb.
- Shredded Coconut - make sure you buy unsweetened, shredded coconut. Coconut should be the only ingredient.
The Chocolate Spread/Topping
For these bars, I make my own chocolate topping using cacao, coconut oil, and a wee-bit of maple syrup (to balance the bitterness of pure cacao). This keeps the chocolate completely clean and refined sugar-free.
You could absolutely use melted chocolate chips as well if that's easier for you, or if you don't like the taste of dark chocolate. Just know that it will take away from being refined sugar-free if your chocolate chips have sugar in them (and most do).
Can I Use Deglet Noor Dates?
Yes, either deglet noor dates or medjool dates will work for this recipe. Typically, deglet noor dates are smaller, so you may need to throw in a few extra dates (this recipe calls for 14 medjool dates).
In addition, they are less chewy, so makes it harder to blend into recipes. I prefer and recommend medjool dates because they are softer and have a richer, sweeter flavor.
Storing No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars
These should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay good for up to one week.
More Recipes I Think You Might Like
If you make these no-bake peanut butter oat bars, please let me know what you think! Leave a comment below and/or share a photo on Instagram and mention @CleanPlateMama!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars
No-Bake Bar Ingredients
- 14 pitted medjool dates
- ¾ cup + 1 TBSP natural peanut butter
- ½ cup rolled oats certified gluten-free if needed
- ¼ cup flaxseed meal
- ¼ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut + more for sprinkling
- ¼ tsp. fine sea salt just a pinch if your peanut butter has salt in it
Chocolate Spread/Topping Ingredients
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 3 tbsp. cacao powder
- ½ tbsp. pure maple syrup more if you like it less bitter
- Add dates to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until only small pieces remain. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor or blender a few times until done.
- After dates are blended, add peanut butter, oats, flaxseeds, coconut, and salt to the blender or food-processor. Pulse until all ingredients are evenly mixed. You may need to break up the date chunks with a fork from time to time (and if some smaller chunks of dates remain, that's okay too).
- Place parchment paper in the bottom of a large loaf pan or square baking dish. Scoop mixture into prepared pan and press down firmly with fingers or the back of a spoon until mixture is evenly spread and packed down.
- Mix the melted coconut oil, cacao, and maple syrup in a small bowl until cacao is completely mixed in. This will be on the thicker side. Spread chocolate evenly over bars. Sprinkle with shredded coconut if desired.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes so chocolate and bars can set. Take bars out of pan by pulling on the parchment paper. Evenly cut into bars or squares.
- Store bars in fridge in an airtight container. These should stay good for about a week in the refrigerator.
- I make my own chocolate topping for these bars to keep them completely refined-sugar free, but you can easily use melted chocolate chips to spread on the bars if you want. If using chocolate chips, use ⅓-1/2 cup chips, then melt. Also, look for organic and/or fair-trade certified to keep them as clean as can be (Equal Exchange Chocolate Chips are our favorite).
- Nutrition info is calculated off of 14 bars, but if you cut into smaller pieces, you'll have less sugar per bar (even though it's still natural sugar from the dates, I try to limit my sugar so I like the bars cut smaller than 14 total).