These soft and chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars are made with layers wholesome oats, stuffed with a gooey caramel date filling sandwiched in the center! They’ll become your new favorite grab-and-go breakfast or a healthy treat the moment you take a bite. Vegan and gluten-free with no refined sugar.
Healthy Date Bars With Oats and Peanut Butter
Every sweet tooth needs to try these nutty peanut butter oatmeal bars. They’re not overly sweet by any means, but they definitely have that dessert-for-breakfast vibe. You’ll be surprised that something so healthy could be so indulgent!
The soft date center has a delightful crunch from the chopped pecans – both textures beautifully complement the chewy peanut butter oatmeal layers on either end. You’ll want to enjoy one of these bars in the morning, as an afternoon snack, and then again for dessert. Yes, we speak from experience!
How Many Calories Are in Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars?
The hearty oats, the lack of refined sugar, and the use of coconut oil instead of butter are just a few reasons why these bars are a healthy, low-calorie option. Each serving contains about 236 calories, with some variation depending on the exact ingredients you use and the size you make each portion.
One thing’s for sure – you won’t find healthier oatmeal bars that taste as good as these do! If you’re super strict about counting calories, I recommend doing the calculations on your own. I promise you’ll be pleased with the results!
What You’ll Need
Ready to round up your oatmeal bar ingredients? Scroll down to the recipe card to see the amounts associated with each item.
For the Date Filling
- Dates: Pitted and chopped.
- Smooth Peanut Butter: Or any other desired nut or seed butter.
- Water: Only as much as needed to thin it out until desired consistency.
- Chopped Pecans: I like to garnish the finished bars with whole pecans as well, but this is totally optional.
For the Peanut Butter Oat Layers
- Rolled Oats: I use the Gluten-Free Rolled Oats from Bob’s Red Mill, but any kind of old-fashioned oats will do.
- Finely Ground Oat Flour: I also like the Gluten-Free Oat Flour from Bob’s Red Mill. If you don’t have any oat flour on hand, you could always grind some up yourself or opt for white whole wheat flour instead.
- Baking Soda
- Coconut Sugar: May sub with any granulated brown sweetener of choice such as Lakanto, Swerve or any granulated brown sugar substitute.
- Ground Cinnamon: A small dash of cinnamon adds great depth of flavor.
- Salt: Just a pinch to balance out the sweetness.
- Flax Egg: Make this in minutes by combining a tablespoon of flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and letting the mixture rest until it thickens. If you’re not vegan, you can use a regular egg instead (be sure to bring it to room temperature first).
- Smooth Peanut Butter: May sub with any nut butter or seed butter.
- Coconut Oil: Measure this out while it’s solid, then melt it down according to the recipe instructions. Feel free to use vegan butter or regular unsalted butter if you’re not dairy-free or vegan.
- Maple Syrup: May sub with any sticky liquid sweetener of choice. Use sugar-free maple syrup, date syrup, yacon syrup or vegan honey.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Or pure maple extract – up to you!
How to Make Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
The date filling does have to be cooked over the stove, but the process is super quick and simple. After that, it’s just a matter of microwaving, mixing, assembling and baking!
Prepare the Filling
- Heat Oven & Line Pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on the edges for easier removal.
- Boil Dates: Combine the dates and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil, mashing down the dates with a spoon.
- Reduce Heat & Mash: Lower the heat while continuing to mash down the dates. Mash and stir constantly for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to form a paste.
- Remove From Heat: Remove the date paste from the heat and stir in the peanut butter until combined. Set the filling mixture aside.
Make the Bars
- Melt Coconut Oil: Place the coconut oil into a medium-sized bowl that’s safe for the microwave. Heat it on high for 20 seconds.
- Add Peanut Butter, Vanilla & Maple Syrup: Remove the coconut oil from the microwave and whisk in the peanut butter until it’s smooth. Next, add the vanilla extract and maple syrup.
- Add Flax Egg & 2 Tbsp Date Paste: Stir in the thickened flax egg and 2 tablespoons of the prepared date paste, mixing until combined. Set the mixture aside, leaving the remaining date paste for the filling.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: Combine the oats, flour, coconut sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- Add Wet Ingredient Mixture: Pour in the melted coconut oil and peanut butter mixture, stirring until the batter is combined and thick.
- Transfer Half of Batter to Pan: Pat half of the oat mixture into the prepared pan, pressing it down firmly and spreading it flat with an offset spatula.
- Continue Layering: Use an offset spatula to spread the date mixture on top of the oat mixture, then sprinkle the chopped pecans on top. Gently pat the remaining oat mixture over the date mixture. If you’d like, you can sprinkle an additional teaspoon of rolled oats evenly on top of the bars for added texture.
- Bake: Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, or until they’re lightly browned.
- Let Cool: Remove your bars from the oven and allow them to cool completely. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pan in the fridge if needed.
- Cut & Serve: Cut the oatmeal bars into 12 squares. If desired, top each one with a small dollop of peanut butter followed by a whole pecan and a drizzle of melted peanut butter or chocolate.
Tips for Success
Even though there are a few extra steps involved to create the different layers, these oatmeal bars are very easy. Check out the tips below if you’d like a little more advice before you make these nutty oat bars.
- Use the Right Kind of Oats: Stick with old-fashioned rolled oats for this recipe. Quick oats and steel-cut oats have different cook times, require different amounts of liquid, and simply wouldn’t work as well in these bars.
- Line the Pan Properly: I like to leave a good amount of overhanging parchment paper on either end of the pan when I line it. This way, I can lift out the bars when they’re done and move them right to a cutting board.
- Cool the Bars Before You Cut Them: Don’t try to cut and serve your oatmeal bars until they’ve cooled completely. They need a chance to firm up so they’re easier to slice.
We truly think these bars are perfect exactly how they are. But hey, it’s always fun to experiment with mix-ins!
- Chocolate Chips
- Shredded Coconut
- Chopped Almonds
- Hemp Seeds
- Cacao Nibs
- Protein Powder
- Chia Seeds
Extra date bars should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for up to 5 days. You can keep them on the counter for 3-4 days if you prefer the slightly softer texture they have at room temperature.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes! Just wrap each bar in foil, clear wrap or wax paper, then place the wrapped bars into a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw out frozen oatmeal bars in the fridge before you dig in.
More Easy Protein Bar Recipes
- No-Bake Almond Cranberry Granola Bars
- Pumpkin Protein Bars
- Chewy No-Bake PB&J Bars
- Strawberry Granola Bars
These soft and chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars are made with layers wholesome oats and a stuffed with a gooey caramel date filling sandwiched in the center! They'll become your new favorite grab-and-go breakfast the moment you take a bite. Vegan and gluten-free with no refined sugar.
- 1 1/3 cups chopped pitted Medjool dates
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter , may sub any nut butter or seed butter
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2-1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup finely ground gluten-free oat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 flax egg , combine 1 tbsp flax seeds + 3 tbsp water and let sit to thicken. Can use room temp egg if not vegan
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter , may sub any nut butter or seed butter
- 1/3 cup coconut oil , measure when solid. You can sub vegan butter or regular unsalted butter if you're not dairy-free or vegan.
- 2 tbsp maple syrup , may sub with any sticky liquid sweetener of choice. Use sugar-free maple syrup, date syrup, yacon syrup or vegan honey.
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or pure maple extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving a slight overhang on the edges for easier removal.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the dates and water. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil, mashing down with a spoon.
Reduce heat, and continue mashing down while stirring constantly about 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter until combined. Set aside.
Mix flax egg in a small bowl or mug and set aside to thicken.
In a medium microwaveable bowl, heat coconut oil on high for 20 seconds. Remove from microwave and whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Add vanilla and maple syrup.
Stir in flax egg and 2 tablespoons of prepared date paste and mix until combined. Set aside. Leave the remaining date paste for filling the oatmeal bars.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pour in the melted coconut oil/peanut butter mixture and stir until combined and thick.
- Pat half of the mixture into the prepared pan - pressing down firmly and spread flat with an offset spatula.
- Spread date mixture on top evenly with an offset spatula then sprinkle chopped pecans over. Gently pat remaining oat mixture over date mixture.
Optional – Sprinkle an additional 1 teaspoon rolled oats evenly on top for added texture.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool. You can speed up the cooling process by putting the pan in the fridge if needed. Cut into square bars.
Optional – Top each square with a small dollop of peanut butter in the center, place whole pecan on top and drizzle melted peanut butter or chocolate over each square.
- To Store: Extra date bars should be refrigerated in an airtight container and enjoyed within 5 days. You can keep them on the counter for 3-4 days if you prefer the slightly softer texture they have at room temperature.
- To Freeze: Wrap each bar in foil, clear wrap or wax paper. Place wrapped bars into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before enjoying.