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Rise & Shine Energy Bars

Rethink your morning routine of peeling back the ol’ energy bar wrapper and dig into your own homemade bars instead! Homemade energy bars not only taste better, they are completely customizable to your own personal preferences, and they will inevitably save you quite a bit of money down the road.  You cannot loose! 

A crumpled piece of brown butcher paper on top of a metal table top. A large pan of granola bars has been cut into 14 equal rectangles and placed back together into the shape of the pan.

{{Blog post originally published 2/20/2013, images, video, and content updated 8/21/2018. Don’ t worry, the recipe is still the same!}}

There is nothing romantic or even remotely exciting about peeling the plastic wrapper off of my energy bar in the mornings before I devour it! I recently realized that I have been investing so much time and energy into my morning cup of coffee that I have become pretty blasรฉ about the food that goes with it. On a typical weekday I save the “real” food for a few hours or so after the kids head off to school. It’s pretty pathetic, but it is the truth.

I honestly think a lot of people live their lives this way. We are so on the go, even from the moment that we awaken, that we have even lost the desire to sit and enjoy a hearty breakfast. While I wish I could say with all honestly that I am going to change this routine I have set for myself I actually know that I’m probably just going to sink right back into my old ways. ( Which will in turn make me really feel horrible and guilt trip myself for those energy bars. It’s a horrible chain reaction, I know!) At any rate, instead of trying to reinvent my morning routine I decided to offer myself a better option. Homemade energy bars!!! 

Brown butcher paper laying on top of a metal table. On top of teh paper is a rectangle made of homemade cereal bars. A woman has cut the rectangle in half, lengthwise and is using a large knife to cut the rectangle down into smaller "granola bar" sized treats.

Here are my top 3 reasons for loving these homemade energy bars so much! 

  • At a whopping $1 – $3 on average for store bought energy bars the savings allen his my #1 reason for loving these so much. If I actually pay what it costs to buy a bar that I actually think tastes good for every day of the week that I typically eat one we’re looking at a $12 per week/$48 per month habit. Considering Todd and I both have a habit of starting our days this way, we’re spending about $100 a month on something we don’t even REALLY enjoy that much. Considering I can make a batch of 14 bars for a little over $5 a pop we’re saving about $90 a month! 
  • TASTE IS EVERYTHING!!! Honestly, store bought bars are weird right? They have strange aftertastes, weird textures, and sometimes they look pretty questionable too. Homemade energy bars are completely customizable to your own tastes. Like citrus and cranberry? Great! Peanut butter chocolate chip? No problem! Start with the basic bar recipe which I am including below then mix in the add ins until they taste exactly like you want for them too. 

Basic Bar ingredient list for easy customization 
1 1/3 cup nut chopped (Try all one type of nut our a mixture of a few of our favorites)
1 cup gluten-free oats
1/4 cup seeds (flax, chia, and sunflower are all great options!)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons salted  butter or vegan butter substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons any extract OR 1 teaspoon citrus zest
2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1/2 cup dried fruit (no need to chop cranberries, but if using a larger fruit like apricots chop them into pieces similar in size to the nuts in your recipe.)
Follow the instructions listed below in our recipe card to see how it all comes together! 

  • No more wrapper. Well, I do secure a small piece of parchment paper around them so they don’t stick together while I’m storing them, but it doesn’t feel as lack-lustre when I peel this wrapper back. Excitement and anticipation for your daily energy bar IS possible my friend! 

If youโ€™ve made these Rise & Shine Energy Bars, created your own version of energy bars, or have made any of the other recipes on our site, donโ€™t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you thought in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, and PINTEREST to see more delicious food, design, and decor.

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A crumpled piece of brown butcher paper on top of a metal table top. A large pan of granola bars has been cut into 14 equal rectangles and placed back together into the shape of the pan.

Rise & Shine Energy Bars

  • Author: This Mess Is Ours
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 18 min
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 14 bars
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Gluten Free

Description

These bars are the ultimate grab ‘n’ go treat! Swap up the nuts, fruits, and seeds any which way you want to create your own personalized energy bar.


Ingredients

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup gluten-free oats

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup flax seeds

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

4 tablespoons salted  butter  or vegan butter substitute

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups puffed brown rice cereal

1/2 cup dried cranberries


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ยฐF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans, oats, pine nuts, and flax seeds on the sheet and bake about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, butter, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and a light brown caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the caramel over the nut and oat mixture. Stir in the brown rice cereal and the cranberries until evenly coated.
  4. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extend the paper over the sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Cover the pan with a second piece of parchment and press down to compress the bars. Let the mixture stand for about 2 hours until firm.
  5. Discard the top piece of parchment and use the “handles” from the second piece of parchment to gently remove the cereal square from the pan then cut the squares into 12 equal size bars and serve.

Notes

*I have been making a batch of these at the beginning of the week and wrapping them individually in plastic wrap. I keep them in the refrigerator so we can pull out as many as we want each morning. Just be sure to let them come to room temp before you eat them because they really harden up in the fridge, but they will soften back to a crispy, chewy granola bar in a few minutes.

Inspired by Lara Ferroni’s Real Snacks

 

 

Comments

  1. Meg, I can’t bake fast enough! I still need to make those amazing almond joy bars and these will definitely be next. Pine nuts are such an intriguing addition!
    -Dana

    • Meg

      Thanks Dana! I have been baking a lot lately… I think with a cross country move looming over us and a very rambunctious 2 year old it makes me feel like I am at least in control of something, even if it is only baked goods! Haha!

    • Meg

      Thanks Alyssa! I am forever trying to get my family to eat a healthy breakfast so granola bars and raw bars are a must in our house for when we are on the go, but I hate buying the premade bars at the store. I just don’t trust the manufacturers of a lot of those brands enough to fuel my families bodies with them.

  2. These are perfect for sending with my boys as they go out to battle the next snowstorm. They are in their trucks for 30+ hours and need something quick and nourishing to keep them going, and I bet these will hold up fine!! thanks for sharing!

  3. Amanda

    Made these bars with a few modifications (sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts, chia seeds instead of flax seeds, chocolate chips instead of cranberries [my 3 year old insisted], forgot the salt). Anyway, result was delicious. Thanks for the great website!

    • Meg

      Peggy, these bars are great with any sort of nut or seed substituted in. We build these bars a few different ways on a regular basis, my husband likes the pecans and pine nuts, my daughter likes walnuts and sunflower seeds. I have also built these same bars substituting in pistachios for the pine nuts and we loved them!

  4. taca

    How long can they be on room temperature without becoming very soft or even to began to melt? Can I keep them out of the refrigerator on the kitchen table all day? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Meg

      Hi, we eat these bars so quickly that I often leave mine out on a serving plate covered with plastic wrap. They will not melt or soften at all. I have had a batch sitting out for up to 3 days at a time and the bars have been fine.

  5. Sharon

    Meeting up with my husband who is walking across America so I made these to help him have something for quick energy when needed. I used milled flax seeds instead of the seeds, added craisins infused with pomegrante juice, walnuts (coarsely chopped), dried blueberries and coconut and then tripled the recipe using a Pampered Chef jelly roll pan, fit perfectly. Thanks for the recipe, it looks amazing.

    • Meg

      Wow, walking across America! That is amazing, I hope that these bars give him the added burst of energy he needs:) Your version sounds amazing by the way.

  6. Amanda

    This is a great recipe. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve made it twice now and both times, the bars have disappeared within a matter of days!

  7. Laurel

    This recipient looks great. What can I use in place of the lite brown sugar. We are trying to stay away from sugar and I don’t want to use anything fake either. Thanks.

  8. Janet m

    Do you happen to have an estimate on the protein level in the rise and shine bars?
    I am trying to up my protein intake.

  9. usaswtladybug

    Do you put this back in the oven
    After you pack it down for about 30 minutes . I just made a pan and got nothing the mix set for 2 hours and
    Nothing it just falls apart need help

    • Meg

      Oh no! I am so sorry you are having trouble with the recipe. When you put the ingredients into the baking dish to set did you press down firmly to pack all of the ingredients together?

  10. Hi Meg

    Having looked at a great number of “Energy Bar” recipes in order to align one with our Gorillaxtreme brand, we chose yours in preference to all the others. Why? Well, apart from looking like a really healthy bar, the majority of ingredients are available on our doorstep here in South Africa, thus reducing the carbon footprint associated with the making of these bars. Plus, they taste so much better than those off a shop shelf.We thought we’d let you know… While we have your attention, take a look at Gorillaxtreme…and you’ll know why we were looking for a dynamic bar with plenty of flavour and energy.

  11. Dear Meg,

    I’ve tried this recipe, the taste is absolutely great. but i found it difficult to coat all those dry ingredients with such a small amount of caramel. Or have i did a wrong convertion? i’m using metrics measurement instead of US.
    i’ve also substitute pecan with walnuts. i’ve omitted flax seeds.

    regards,
    christina tan

    • Meg

      Christina, I have never converted the recipe to metrics so I am unsure of what the exact conversions would be. However, you should be able to coat all of the ingredients lightly with the amount of maple sauce that is listed in the recipe. Your cereal mixture should be completely coated, but not wet if that makes sense. I always play around with substituting the nuts and seeds so that should be fine. Hope this helps!

  12. Beth

    I hate to leave a negative review, because I really wanted to like this recipe, but… if I ever make these again, I am definitely cutting the sugar by about half. I like granola that’s a little sweet, and I get that it needs a certain amount of caramel and honey to get the ingredients to stick together, but the sticky sweetness of these bars is completely overpowering. The taste is more reminiscent of a dessert treat (like peanut brittle, only with pecans) than a breakfast food. It’s way sweeter than anything I’ve bought at the store. I can’t even eat a whole bar in one sitting. I feel bad saying so, but I really think someone needed to say something about reducing the sugar content. I bet they’d be really good if they were less sweet. The idea of of using pine nuts certainly sounds delicious (I used sunflower seeds instead).

    • Meg

      Beth,
      You are more than welcome to have your own opinion about the bars and your own personal sugar level. I certainly wouldn’t have thought this was a “negative review” until you called it one. Simply make it with less sugar and you will be happy. I happen to have a bit of a sweet tooth so it is perfect for me and my family. For me personally peanut brittle is too sweet and since I have a sweet tooth that is saying a lot. Maybe you are simply more of a savory person and that is OK. We are all different, it keeps it interesting.

      • Beth

        Glad I didn’t come across as too negative. It was my first time making granola bars, so I had no idea how they’d turn out, and thought nothing of the sugar content while I was making them. I do like sweet things, just not so much in the morning. I had to bring this up in case anyone reading this feels the same and might appreciate a “heads up.” I’ll try tweaking this recipe a bit and see how it goes next time. By the way, I gave some to my best friend and my sister. My sister agreed that they were too sweet, but my friend really liked them! She suggested making them with dried cherries, almonds and maybe even chocolate chips. Yum! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Martha

    These look great, I can’t wait to make them. What brand of puffed rice do you use? The link in the recipe isn’t working.

  14. Felicia

    Hi There.

    I was wondering if you think these would work if you sub ALL cereal, for the oats? Sadly Im “that Celiac” who cant even eat “GF” oats…. Recipes like this make me sad with envy. : /

    Also, do you know/think that coconut sugar may work in place of the regular brown?

    • Meg

      Felicia, I haven’t tried it that way, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! Maybe you could even add in puffed millet cereal in place of the oats to add a little different texture. I have never tried coconut sugar in the bars either, I think it would work though:)

  15. Vv

    Hello!, first time I comment on your wonderful blog, I have a quick question on this simple recipe though. Is it possible to replace the butter for coconut oil? Because where I live is rather impossible to find vegan butter. And also, does it need to be solidified or melted? I look forward to your quick response. Have a great one! Greetings from Dominican Rep. ^^

    • Meg

      Hi!! Thanks for taking the time to comment:) I have never personally tried to use coconut oil in these, but I think it may just work. Do you have access to coconut butter? It might work better actually. The oil will need to be melted. I hope it works out and they taste great!

  16. Katie C

    I am so happy that I found this receipe! I must have stood in the granola bar isle for 20 minutes earlier this week checking out all of the options before I finally gave up. These are just what I was looking for! I hope they taste as good as they sound.
    Do you have any nutritional information on the bars?

  17. Elie

    Awesome! I replaced the brown sugar with 1/3 cup of real maple syrup and I didn’t have any dried cranberries so I used dried cherries. I also didn’t have any pine nuts so I used sunflower seeds with the pecans, used milled flax seed (didn’t have whole), and I added some hemp seed. They came out so good! I melted a bar of 86% dark chocolate and drizzled it all over the top.

  18. Cat

    Hi Meg,
    I’m interested in making it for me boyfriend who never eats breakfast, but here’s my problem: we live in different time zones, so I’m very concerned about the shelf life of these bars. Do you think they’ll last if I wrap them with plastic, and mail them in around Christmas when the temp is a little colder…?

    • Meg

      Hey Cat, Great question. Ok, so it really depends on how long you are shipping them for. A simple overnight or even 2-day shipping in the colder months should be fine.

  19. Holy breakfast, Batman. THESE ARE DELICIOUS!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been needing a quick eating snack for at work, I am an LMT and have to keep energy up! I made a batch this morning. We didn’t have some of the things, so I used raw almonds, raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and ground flax instead of flax seeds. They turned out absolutely amazing! A very versatile recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much!!

  20. Stacey

    I made these for my husband whom I fight with regularly over him not eating breakfast and you’re absolutely spot on about them being the “crack” equivalent of Breakfast Bars, he is amazed at how much better his morning workouts have become, go figure. I package them individually in small 3X5 inch ziplock bags and store in an airtight cookie jar. I am making so many now that I buy my ingredients at the Bulk Foods store. I have made a few variatons such as adding mini chocolate chips, I’ve melted and spread dark chocolate on the top, I’ve added honey roasted sunflower seed in place of the pine nuts, and am going to try adding peanut butter to the mix today. Thank you

    • Meg

      Yay Stacey!!! I am so glad that you and our husband love these as much as we do. I love the idea of adding dark chocolate and the peanut butter sounds killer too!

  21. Greg

    I’ve tried to make these 3 times now and they won’t stick together. I’ve even tried refrigerating them and baking them but nothing will work. Any suggestions?

    • Meg

      Greg when you make the bars and place them in the baking dish are you applying enough pressure to compact everything together as tightly as possible so that all of the air is pushed out? I sometimes have even used the bottom of a glass on top of the parchment to make sure I compact the ingredients together as much as possible.

      • Greg

        Thanks Meg, sorry for the delay. Yes I’ve been pressing pretty hard. First few times I made them it worked and they were great, then I tried doubling up on the recipe to make more but ever since them it doesn’t seem to stick. I’ll try again next week and let you know!

  22. Jean

    I stumbled upon your recipe, looking for a granola bar recipe without eggs (and butter), and that contained the ingredients I had at home. This one sounded simple enough and delicious. They turned out great: chewy with great flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Lauren

    Hi there. This is a fabulous recipe thank you! I made them but I substituted the brown sugar for coconut sugar and the butter for coconut oil and they turned out so well. Will definitely be making loads more….

    • Meg

      Lauren coconut sugar and coconut oil sound like a great combination for this bar!! I can’t wait to try that version myself, thank you for sharing!

  24. Pepe Reynoso

    Hello Meg, i did the recipe and the mix stuck to the paper, it became really messy. I spread some canola oil on the paper, it was that?

    PEPE

    • Meg

      Can you clarify if it stuck to the paper on the bottom of the pan or the top? I do not grease the parchment when I make these bars, so I imagine that is the problem. The paper will peel away from the bars wen you remove them from the pan if you do not use oil.

  25. G. Jones

    Would love to make these. I see in the directions to pour caramel…. But I see no caramel listed in the ingredient list. I’m not a big fan of caramel, can I use something else?

    • Meg

      The caramel is actually the sauce that is made on the stove top in the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ It doesn’t really taste that reminiscent of caramel ๐Ÿ™‚

      • G. Jones

        I made this last night with a few changes (dates instead of almonds, no pine nuts) delicious. Followed the recipe except I doubled everything. Used a big baking sheet to cool the mixture in, hands in pot holders to flatten it out to fit pan, pizza cutter to cut into bars. Great taste, a little sweet first thing in the morning, but I am usually up a couple hours before I eat.

  26. Deonte

    Hi!

    I’m looking forward to using your recipe as a healthy gift for one of my best friends who is all about his fitness. I got all of the ingredients (or most) and I just have one question: when do we add the vanilla extract?

    • Hi Deonte,
      When you remove the liquid from the heat add the vanilla. Be careful though, because it can splatter. I hope your friend enjoys the bars!

  27. Sandy

    Hi Meg. First time at trying out granola bars. Had 2 questions
    1. Is the puffed rice sweetened? We don’t get that brand in Singapore and was wondering about that while looking for a a substitute.
    2. When you mention pressing down the bars, is it just with your hands or do you place another pan and then some weight on it?
    Sorry may sound silly but trying for the first time!!!!

    • Hi Sandy,

      Not silly questions at all! No, the puffed rice cereal is not sweetened. I place a piece of parchment paper on top and use the bottom of a glass to press down all around the pan. Push down as hard as you can to compact the bars tightly. I hope you love them as much as we do!

      -Meg

  28. Andrew

    Hi

    love the bars (double batch disappeared in thtee days) but they are a little sweet for us.

    What can we remove/subsiture to make them less sweeet but make sure the bars stay together?

    Thanks

    Andrew

  29. Thanks for the recipe. I made it, and thought it was very taste. I also made 2 other recipes at the same time, which I also recommend (do a google search for): loveandzest Tart Cherry Dark Chocolate & Cashew Granola Bars, redandhoneyHealthy Homemade Granola Bars.

  30. Christine

    I needed a bar that did not need refrigeration so I replaced the flax seed with chai seeds. Left out the butter and added 12 TBS ground flax seed to the sugar and honey towards the end of the boil. I also used crunchy flax cereal instead of rice crisps. Turned out great!

  31. Sarah

    Hi. Can these be frozen? I’m thinking maybe the rice cereal wouldn’t stand up to it, but like a couple of other people on here I have a man who doesn’t want breakfast and is away from home.

    • Hi Sarah,
      Great question! I have never tried freezing the bars, so I am unsure exactly how it would work out. I would suggest possibly making a batch and freezing a few as a test. If you do it please come back and let us know how it worked out!

  32. For healthier bars you say ditch the brown sugar and use honey. There is already 1/2 cup honey in the receipe, so do you ADD more honey (as in the equivalent of 2/3rds brown sugar)??
    Thanks, Carol

    • Hmmm… I’m not sure where I mentioned ditching the brown sugar…was that in a comment? I think a better choice would be to cut the amount of brown sugar in the recipe in half. Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

      • The comment about ditching the sugar is on a site called dailyburn.com. YOUR rise and shine bars are No.7 of 9 homemade energy bars listed. Yours looked the best!

  33. I made this twice now since I found your recipe. cant get enough of it. Its really good. Thank you very much, I will try your other breakfast bar tonight. Maybe the Apple Granola bar. Thanks again God bless.

  34. Amber

    Just made these for my husband and I. Very tasty and the texture is pleasing. The brown rice cereal was a little hard to find. I ordered Arrowhead Mills from Amazon.

    • So glad that you liked them, Amber! Sorry, you had a problem finding the brown rice cereal, we can always find it at Whole Foods and our regular grocery here in Southern California. So thankful for Amazon!

  35. Harsha Modha

    Made these just now, used various nuts like pistachios and cashews as well as those listed in the recipe. They turned out really well. Thanks for the recipe. ๐Ÿ˜€

  36. Karen

    My husband and I are avid athletes and I was excited to find this recipe for our pre/post workout refueling. Let me say, they taste DELICIOUS! I think the cook (me) made an error however and they are super sticky. I think maybe I shorted the dry ingredients so there was too much caramel and the bars were too wet…? Maybe I didn’t make the caramel correctly? Can you tell me what the consistency of the caramel is supposed to be? (i.e. liquid like an oil based salad dressing, sticky like honey or thicker?) Any other tips as to where I might have gone wrong would be welcome!

    • Hi Karen! The caramel should be thick, but it hardens around the nuts and oats once you have compressed them so that they aren’t too sticky. They have a little stick to them, but not so much that you can’t hold them comfortably in your bare hands.My guess would be that maybe a measurement in the liquid ingredients was off resulting in too much caramel or the dry ingredients are off. I am so glad you like the favor though!

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ABOUT MEG

Meg van der Kruik is the writer, mother, photographer, designer, cook and creative spirit behind This Mess is Ours. After her infant son was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she dedicated herself to learning to make meals the whole family would love. It’s a bit of a mess – cooking for a vegetarian and three meat-eaters with a range of gluten + dairy sensitivities, but she manages to bring them together every night around their little family table.