Chewy Granola Bars loaded with Oats, Dried Fruits and Nuts

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Chewy Oat Meal Bars

Before proceeding with the chewy granola bar recipe I would like to thank Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice for coming forward to sponsor the prizes for the winners of Whole Wheat Baking Event.

She has gladly agreed to send Tea Masala Extract, Garlic Extract, Garam Masala Extract and Kesar Milk Extract for Sadhana and Muskaan.

I have myself used the Tea Masala extract and Kesar Milk Extract and we all love it in our family. Tea masala is my favorite because it refreshes you instantly. I have also used that extract while baking this Vegan Christmas Fruitcake.

For a long time now I have wanted to bake granola bars. It’s going to be almost a year and a half since I started this blog but I don’t have a single recipe here for granola bars. I have collected/bookmarked a lot of recipes but did not bake one until now.

Since I’m conducting the Whole Grain – Oats event, I felt this is my chance to give it a shot. I was browsing through Esther Brody’s 250 Best Bars and Squares book and this recipe caught my immediate attention because it was simple to bake and also had room for a lot of changes, to suit our taste.

Also this recipe is a good one if you want to start involving your kids in baking and to get them to pitch more in the kitchen. My son has shown interest in baking for some time now and once I read the recipe I immediately recognized that he would love to help me. So off we set with a mixing bowl and spatula to baking these simple and chewy granola bars.

These bars are quite healthy too but for the use of condensed milk. If portion control is maintained this can very well be a grab and go breakfast or an after school snack or dessert in my son’s case.

Chewy Granola Bars Recipe

Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
15 Mins30 Mins16 Squares OR 8 Bars
Chewy Granola Bars loaded with Oats, Dried Fruits and Nuts Give homemade granola bars a try with this simple and healthy recipe. These chewy granola bars is loaded with oats, dried fruits and nuts and quite low in fat too.
  • 3 cups Quick Cooking Oats (I used Quaker’s Large Flake)
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 cup Sunflower Seeds (I used salted)
  • 1 cup Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 cup Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can/300ml (See My Notes) Condensed Milk (I used low fat)
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  1. Preheat oven to 325F/160C for 15 minutes. Line a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil and grease it well with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl mix together oats, cranberries, seeds, nuts and chocolate chips.
  3. Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Also stir in the oil and applesauce until blended.
  4. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Use a spatula to smoothen it. If you feel that the oats sticks to the spatula, grease it with cooking spray and smooth it out.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until top is lightly browned. I felt mine was not done after 25 minutes so gave it another 6 minutes. By then it had browned a little.
  6. Place the pan on a rack to cool slightly, then carefully lift the foil and place it on the wire rack. When it is cool completely cut it into bars. You can either go for the usual rectangular shaped bars (like the store bought ones) or squares. I cut them into squares to cut the calorie intake. Dipping the knife in hot water will enable easy cutting.
  1. As per the original recipe these bars were supposed to be crispy because it used 1/2 cup melted butter/margarine. Since I had used applesauce (to sub for 1/2 the fat and little condensed milk) the bars were chewy, which we all liked very much. My son loves it very much and takes it for lunch everyday (for dessert). It has the perfect blend of sweetness from the condensed milk and chocolate chips, tanginess from the dried cranberries and little salt from the sunflower seeds.
  2. This chewy granola bars recipe is a good basic recipe where you can play with the combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruits of your choice.
My Notes:
  1. The original recipe used raisins, but I went with dried cranberries because I felt the sourness from it will balance the overall sweetness of the bars. You could try chopped apricots too.
  2. The other change I made was using slivered almonds instead of chopped peanuts. Again here too you can use the nuts of your choice.
  3. The recipe had called for 1 can condensed milk (14oz/398ml). Since I live in Canada now, I found that the Eagle Brand condensed milk I get here was only 300 ml. So I used 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce to make good the difference. Also, it required 1/2 cup of melted butter/margarine. I decided to use 1/4 cup of canola oil and 1/4 cup of applesauce instead. After measuring 1/4 cup applesauce I found that I had only another 1/4 cup left in the jar, so I stirred in that too. So totally 1 cup unsweetened applesauce.
  4. I think this is the reason the bars took extra time while baking and also for the chewiness. So adjust the baking time according to the ingredients you use.
  5. In recipes like these (bars) and few other recipes where chocolate chips are used in large quantity, I replace it with 1/2 the quantity of mini chips. So I used 1/2 cup of mini chips instead of the 1 cup of regular chips mentioned in the original recipe.
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  1. Sunitha

    Hi Madhuram,

    Can I use the quaker rolled oats that we get at Costco?


    • Madhuram

      Yes, Sunitha.

  2. Rani

    Hi Madhuram,First of all congratulations to you for a wonderful site.I just happen to see this site & very excited to try some..

    Question – can i use carnation milk(evaporated milk)instead of condensed milk as binding agent?

    • Madhuram

      Thank you very much Rani. You could give it a shot. The condensed milk is sticky because of the sugar and works alright as a binding agent, so evaporated milk minus the sugar I’m not sure how good it will be. I think I would try the following; mix all the ingredients except for the milk and then add the milk just enough to keep all the ingredients together and bake it. Try it and let me know how it turned out.

      • Rani

        Thanks for your response Madhuram..will soon try n post the feedback..

  3. Sevanandi

    Did you use Sweetened Condensed Milk or Plain?

    • Madhuram

      Sweetened condensed milk.

  4. oni

    Hi,i have tried few recipes from your site,they r really easy to make & since i am a vegetarian it’s exciting to find eggless recipes..
    I want to make this granola bar & was wondering if i could use instant oat instead quick oats..

    • Madhuram

      Thanks Oni. Instant oats will not work.

      • oni

        Thanks Madhu for the quick response..I am planning to make
        your granola bars & wanted to know if there is any substitue
        of applesauce..
        Thanks again..

        • Madhuram

          Mashed bananas if you like the flavor of bananas or some other pureed fruit. Try peanut butter or almond butter. Then it will be loaded with fat though.

  5. sl

    Thanks for this recipe. I would prefer not having chocolate chips because I am not too fond of chocolate flavor. Does that make any difference to any other measures or to the timing? Thanks.

    • Madhuram

      It wouldn’t affect the baking time. Maybe you could substitute more dried fruits and nuts instead of the chocolate chips.

  6. anu

    hi madhuram,

    i am a great fan of cereal bars,and when i saw this recipe,i absolutely fell in luv with it.

    Can u tell me a substitute for condensed milk? I need this make this bar so that it has low gi value.

    Can i substitute with a few raisins and more nuts instead of condensed milk?

    Do u have similar cereal bar recipes like this?
    (without wheat,sesame and milk products)

    thanks for your recipe,

    Anu, the condensed milk acts as a binding agent to hold together the ingredients. So it can be simply substituted with dried fruits. Maybe you can mix together all the other ingredients and try adding maple syrup/honey little by little until all of it holds together and bake it. I’m not sure about the exact baking time without having done it myself. Maybe you can play around it a little bit. I will try to post more bar recipes. Meanwhile try google for some more bar recipes.