These baked oatmeal bars are like a mix between a bowl of oatmeal, a muffin and one of these banana oatcakes. They’re portable, golden on the outside, soft in the center and irresistibly sweet. You won’t believe they’re made without any refined sugars, eggs or dairy!

Close-up side angle shot of three oatmeal bars stacked on top of one another.

Baked oatmeal bars: easier than oatmeal

When Juniper was a toddler, she refused to use silverware. Instead, she would grab a handful of food and fist-stuff it into her mouth (that girl could fit her ENTIRE FIST in her mouth!). For a while breakfast was a bit of a struggle as we often had oatmeal on weekdays (when the muffin stash ran out), but she refused to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon. One day I slopped it onto a plate, and voila! She devoured the entire thing using her fingers. From then on we started serving her oatmeal on a plate, which she ate by the handful. As you can imagine, this wasn’t the cleanest of eating methods, and we often sent her off to school with oat-encrusted hair and clothes.

After a couple of months a light bulb went off in my head: what if I converted her morning oatmeal into bar form? And that, my friends, is how this recipe was born.

Baked oatmeal bar on plate with glass of milk in the background.

Vegan baked oatmeal bars

These vegan baked oatmeal bars are flavored with berries, cinnamon, cardamom, bananas, coconut oil and a touch of maple syrup. They’re naturally vegan and gluten-free (just be sure to use gluten-free oats). I suspect a handful of chopped nuts would be awesome, but my kids are usually “anti-nut” in baked goods (bah!). The bars hold hold their shape thanks to an extra dose of chia and flax seeds, which also provide an excellent source of protein and fiber.

Hand grabbing an oatmeal bar off of a plate.

How to make easy oatmeal bars

These oatmeal bars are a breeze to throw together, especially since we usually have all of the ingredients on hand. The oats and seeds are combined with the spices, to which you add coconut oil and boiling water. The hot water helps to soften the oats and gel the seeds (flax seeds and chia seeds are both excellent thickeners and help “stick” the bars together).

Process shot divided into 4 quadrants showing how to make the oatmeal mixture.

From there you stir in mashed banana, maple syrup and berries. I usually use frozen wild blueberries and raspberries, which we always have in the freezer, but you could use fresh berries instead.

Process shot divided into four quadrants, showing how to mix the banana puree and berries into the the oatmeal mixture and bake it.

How to store and serve baked oatmeal bars

The oatmeal bars are a fantastic make-ahead breakfast since they can be refrigerated all week or even frozen for a few months. The bars are fabulous warm or at room temperature. Juni and Ella take theirs plain on a plate, and James likes his warmed in a bowl, drizzled with milk and maple syrup. As for me, I prefer to heat up the bars in the toaster oven until crispy around the edges to eat as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. I’ve also been known to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, but please, please don’t tell my kids. ☺️

Child holding baked oatmeal bar in her hand.
Baked oatmeal bar broken up in a bowl with milk and a spoon.

Oatmeal bar tips

  • Be sure to use gluten-free rolled oats like these if you can’t eat gluten.
  • Instead of using eggs, these bars are bound with chia seeds and ground flax seeds (which are also a great source of fiber and protein!). If you have the space, store your seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to extend their shelf life.
  • I use virgin coconut oil in these bars, which provides a lovely flavor and healthy fats. However, you could use ghee or butter instead.
  • It’s important to cover the oat mixture and let it sit for 5-10 minutes after adding the boiling water. This will activate the thickening power of the oats and seeds.
  • Feel free to swap in honey in place of the maple syrup.
  • I usually use frozen wild blueberries and raspberries in these bars, since I always have them on hand, but you could use fresh berries instead!

Other make-ahead breakfasts to try:

Watch the video!

Get the recipe

Overhead shot of baked oatmeal bars on plates with forks.
4 from 1 vote
Print

Baked Oatmeal Bars (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

These baked oatmeal bars, which are made without eggs, dairy or refined sugars, are like a mix between a bowl of oatmeal, a muffin and a banana oatcake. They’re portable, golden on the outside, soft in the center and irresistibly sweet. You can eat them on their own, or you can serve them in a bowl with milk and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey. The bars are a great make-ahead breakfast, as you can bake them on the weekend then eat them all week long (or even freeze them!). Chopped nuts would be a delicious addition.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword baked oatmeal bars, oatmeal bars recipe, vegan baked oatmeal bars
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 9 bars
Author Nicki Sizemore

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups (270g / 9.5oz) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons (28g / 1oz) chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons (23g / 0.8oz) ground flax seeds (flaxseed meal)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt* (see notes)
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, peeled
  • ¼ cup (85g / 3oz) maple syrup
  • 1-1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries and/or raspberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish generously with coconut oil.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  3. In a heatproof bowl combine the oats, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Stir to combine. Plop in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Pour the boiling water over the mixture and stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 5-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mash the bananas using a fork until mostly smooth. Stir in the maple syrup.
  5. Pour the banana mixture over the oats (which will be quite clumpy at this point) and stir well to combine. Fold in the berries.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish and bake 30 minutes, or until golden on top and around the edges. Let cool 5-10 minutes (the longer it cools, the easier it will be to cut). Cut into bars and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Do Ahead: The cooled bars can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or they can be individually wrapped in wax paper or plastic wrap and frozen in a ziptop bag or airtight container for up to 2 months. Reheat the bars in a toaster oven or microwave.

Tips:

  • Be sure to use gluten-free rolled oats like these if you can’t eat gluten.
  • I cook with Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which is less salty than Morton’s (due to its shape). If you use Morton’s kosher salt, cut the quantity back to 1 tsp.
  • Instead of using eggs, these bars are bound with chia seeds and ground flax seeds (which are also a great source of fiber and protein!). If you have the space, store your seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to extend their shelf life.
  • I use virgin coconut oil in these bars, which provides a lovely flavor and healthy fats. However, you could use ghee or butter instead.
  • It’s important to cover the oat mixture and let it sit for 5-10 minutes after adding the boiling water. This will activate the thickening power of the oats and seeds.
  • Feel free to swap in honey in place of the maple syrup.
  • I usually use frozen wild blueberries and raspberries in these bars, since I always have them on hand, but you could use fresh berries instead!