Healthy Homemade Granola Bars: Soft, Chewy, and Easy to Make

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars: Soft, Chewy, and Easy to Make

The concept of store-bought granola bars is great – easy, convenient grab-and-go snacks. The taste of them, however, is often overly sweet and unappetizing in my opinion. And there’s just something about unwrapping a commercial granola bar from shiny plastic that doesn’t feel very satisfying.

Don’t get me wrong, I purchase my fair share of processed snacks from the grocery store. But I try not to rely on these types of snacks for my toddler all of the time. 

So I have been thinking about how great it would be to find a recipe for simple homemade granola bars for toddlers and kids. My criteria for a great recipe for healthy granola bars includes the following;

  • Easy to make
  • Few ingredients
  • Nutrient-rich wholesome ingredients
  • Toddler approved (bonus points for baby and adult approved)

I also wanted an apple-flavored granola bar, because my toddler was having absolute meltdowns over the store-bought apple Nutri Grain bars (he can’t get enough of those!). I was also keen on the idea of an oat-based granola bar. Oats are healthy whole grains and a good source of iron for babies and toddlers

So I started experimenting with some apple oat-based granola bar recipes that didn’t have all the strange ingredients found in the store-bought bars. 

I landed on a recipe for “Healthy Apple Pie Oat Bars” from My Kids Lick the Bowl. I added some fresh chopped-up apples to the original recipe and experimented with some of the suggested ingredient options.

I tried a couple of other apple bar recipes, but this one with my own little twist was my favorite!

These homemade chewy granola bars make a great snack for the entire family! I have even started giving our nearly 1-year-old baby crumbled-up pieces of these. She loves them! 

Ingredients for Homemade Granola Bars for Toddlers

  • 2 Cups Quick Oats
  • 1 Small-Medium-Sized Apple
  • 1 Cup Applesauce (unsweetened applesauce with no added sugar)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • Butter or Coconut Oil to grease a baking dish

You can also add additional granola bar fixings to the mixture like dried fruit or chopped-up fresh strawberries. You can even add in hidden veggies like pureed carrots or pureed zucchini.

Skip ahead for additional granola bar fixing ideas, as well as a discussion on making baby friendly granola bars, and food allergy considerations and ingredient substitutions. You can make these bars baby-friendly, gluten-free friendly, and vegan friendly!


Aside from the listed ingredients, you only need 1 large mixing bowl, a baking dish and a fork to make these!

Mix all the ingredients, and pour and smooth the mixture out flat onto a buttered or oiled baking dish. Then bake granola bars for 25 minutes or so! 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add dry ingredients; 2 cups quick rolled oats and 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon to a large bowl and evenly mix them.
  • Add 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce to the same mixing bowl.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of room temperature coconut oil to the mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the bowl.
  • Crack an egg and add it to the mixture.
  • Mix all the ingredients well.
  • Finely chop a small-medium sized apple and add to the mixture. You can also leave the apple out, but I like the texture, extra flavor and nutrients it adds.
  • Butter a rectangular or square baking dish, and add the mixture to the dish. Flatten it out evenly and put it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.
  • Cool and cut into pieces!
  • Store in an airtight container.
soft baked apple toddler granola bars

My toddler eats these chewy homemade granola bars for an afternoon snack, for breakfasts, or as side options for lunches and dinners!

He also loves to help make them.There aren’t so many ingredients that it takes forever, and he enjoys dumping in all the ingredients and stirring them together. So it’s a great indoor activity to do with little ones. 

My nearly one-year-old has also started devouring them!

simple homemade apple granola bars for toddlers

I store these homemade granola bars in a Tupperware in the fridge for a couple of days. They’re usually gone pretty quickly because they are such an easy, convenient and perfect snack or side option! I like to have one for breakfast myself or grab one for everyone to snack on as we are running out the door. 

I plan on continuing to make these as my kids get older as well. They will be great packable school snacks. 

toddler eating homemade apple granola bar

Additional Homemade Granola Bar Recipe Fixings 

Sometimes I experiment with adding different ingredients to these oat bars. That’s the great thing about this versatile recipe; you can easily add different fixings to change the flavor or nutrient profile. 

Depending on what we have in our fridge and pantry, I’ll add ingredients like almond butter, sunflower seeds, white chocolate chips, dark mini chocolate chips, mashed up granola mixture, pumpkin seeds, seed butter, date paste, peanut butter, or rice krispies.

If my 11-month-old baby is eating them too, I am sure to only include soft chewy fixings that are in smaller pieces so that they are not a choking hazard.

It can be hard to find good on-the-go snacks for babies and young toddlers other than store-bought plastic-wrapped ones. These homemade bars are easy to pack up though and are the perfect healthy snack for little ones.

Making Homemade Granola Bars Baby-Friendly

I stick to the simple version of this recipe without any additional nut and seed fixings if my baby will be eating the bars.

I am one of those anxious over-the-top cautious moms when it comes to choking hazards. So I’m sure to chop up the apple ingredients into small pieces and crumble the bar up before giving any to my baby.

Additionally, if the bars get overcooked and end up on the hard and crunchy side rather than soft and chewy, they are not for babies. 

We also only started giving my baby bite-sized pieces of these bars when she had been sitting up on her own for quite some time. She also already had some practice with chewing and mashing solid foods.    

Also, note that honey is often called for as a substitute for maple syrup in baking recipes. Babies under 1-year-old should not have honey though, so do not use honey as a substitute.

Allergy and Food Sensitivity Considerations and Modifications

I love that these homemade granola bars can be adjusted to account for individuals with food allergies and food sensitivities. 

Gluten Allergy or Gluten Sensitivity

If you or your kids are gluten-free, be sure to buy gluten-free quick-cook oats. Oats themselves are naturally gluten-free, but if the packaging does not specifically state that they are gluten-free, then they may be contaminated with gluten. This is because they may have been processed in a facility among gluten containing foods.

Milk Protein Allergy

For those who have a milk protein allergy, be sure to use coconut oil in the recipe instead of butter. You can use coconut oil to grease your baking dish as well. 

Egg Allergy

This recipe calls for one egg, however you will obviously want to use an egg substitute if you have an egg allergy. Nature’s Eats shares ingredients you can substitute for egg that will serve the same purpose of binding all the ingredients together.

They share options including; chia seeds, ground flax seeds or pureed fruit. 

You can simply soak 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 3 tablespoons of water for at least 15 minutes to replace an egg. Alternatively, you can simply add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal to replace an egg. 

Storing and Freezing Homemade Granola Bars

Like most things, these homemade bars are best when consumed fresh and within a couple of days. If you want to freeze some to have on hand though, all recipes offers some great suggestions for freezing homemade granola bars.

They suggest freezing freshly baked bars on a baking sheet covered for a few hours. Then put them in a freezer ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to a couple of months. When you are ready to eat them, simply thaw at room temperature. 

plate of homemade chewy granola bars

How did these homemade bars turn out for you and your toddler, baby and/or kids? Please share in the comments below!

For more simple, delicious and nutritious toddler snack and meal ideas check out more Easy Toddler Recipes.

As a busy mom, I know that I need very simple kid-friendly recipes if I am going to realistically make them. Luckily, I have found a few recipes that meet these criteria and that we make weekly.

More of our favorite nutritious and delicious go-to recipes include;

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