Cereal Bars

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5 from 552 votes
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My homemade cereal bars need just 3 wholesome ingredients to make and taste better than anything store-bought! They make a healthy and delicious snack.

Love easy snack recipes? Try my fruit leather, peanut butter oatmeal balls, veggie chips, and kettle corn next.

healthy cereal bars.

It’s no secret that I love to make my family homemade snacks, especially because I know what goes in them and honestly, they are cheaper too (hello, cost of living crisis!).

My homemade cereal bars are one of our weekly staples, and they taste exactly like a packaged cereal bar, minus the laundry list of ingredients, excess calories, excess sugars (yes, plural!), and butter.

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make cereal bars
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. More healthy snack bars
  8. 3-Ingredient Cereal Bars (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Just 3 ingredients. Cereal, a sticky sweetener, and nut butter are all you’ll need.
  • Diet friendly. My recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free, and can easily be made dairy-free, too.
  • It’s ready in 5 minutes. All you do is mix it up, transfer it to a pan, and wait for it to set. 
  • It’s easy to customize. You can change up the cereal, add flavor extracts, and use other nuts or seed butter—the possibilities are endless!

★★★★★ REVIEW 

“I made these bars with Cheerios, American Dream Peanut Butter Cheesecake, peanut butter, and Maple Syrup. Simple and Delicious”Molly

cereal bars.

Ingredients needed

  • Cereal. Any crispy cereal works, including Cheerios, special K cereal, or even rice krispies. I like to look for ones that are made with whole grains and have added vitamins and fiber to them.
  • Maple syrup. Binds everything together and adds some sweetness. You can also use honey or brown rice syrup, but you’ll likely need to add a little extra cereal to prevent them from becoming soggy.
  • Almond butter. Smooth almond butter with no added sugar or salt. 

How to make cereal bars

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

cereal bar ingredients in bowl.

Step 1- Make the bars. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir until fully combined.

set and sliced cereal bars.

Step 2- Set and slice. Transfer the cereal bar mixture to a lined pan and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or until it has firmed up. Once firm, slice them into bars. 

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Use a crispy cereal. No one wants soggy or soft cereal bars, so make sure you start with fresh and crisp cereal. Check the expiration date and discard any crushed pieces.
  • Avoid overmixing. Similar to the earlier point about crispy cereal, another reason why the cereal could soften is due to overmixing. Prevent this by mixing everything together slowly and just until the cereal is mixed in.
  • Always use a sharp knife when cutting these into bars to prevent them from crumbling or falling apart.
  • Line the pan. Even for non-stick pans, I always line them with parchment paper. It makes cleanup a breeze and keeps everything in place.
  • If you want some extra protein, make my protein cereal bars instead.

Variations

The beauty of this cereal bar recipe is just how easy it is to customize it with other ingredients or even add some fun ones to it. Here is what we’ve tried: 

  • Make it almond-free. If you can’t tolerate almonds or are allergic, switch it out for peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, or tahini. 
  • Lower the sugar. Swap out the maple syrup for sugar free maple syrup or sugar free honey.
  • Keep it gluten-free. Use a celiac-friendly cereal like Gluten Free Cheerios. 
  • Add mix-ins. Chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanuts, raisins, cranberries, freeze-dried strawberries, and toasted coconut flakes are all great additions.
  • Drizzle with some melted chocolate for that extra dose of deliciousness.

Storage instructions

To store: Avoid keeping these bars stored at room temperature as they are prone to becoming soggy. Instead, place them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. They will keep well for up to two weeks. 

To freeze: Place the bars in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

homemade cereal bars.

Frequently asked questions

Are cereal bars healthy for you?

Homemade cereal bars are much healthier than store-bought or packaged bars. They contain considerably less sugar, less fat, and fewer ingredients. They are also more cost-effective, too.

More healthy snack bars

cereal bars recipe.

3-Ingredient Cereal Bars

5 from 552 votes
My homemade cereal bars need just 3 wholesome ingredients to make and taste better than anything store-bought! They make a healthy and delicious snack. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes

Video

Ingredients  

  • 2 cups cereal cheerios or any crispy cereal of choice
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey or brown rice syrup * see notes

Instructions 

  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine your cereal, almond butter, and maple syrup and mix until combined.
    cereal bar ingredients in bowl.
  • Transfer the mixture to the lined pan and press firmly into place. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up. Once firm, slice into bars.
    set and sliced cereal bars.

Notes

If the mixture is too thick, add more maple syrup to thin it out. 
For the cereal, I like to use gluten-free cheerios or any fortified crispy cereal (cereal with added fiber and vitamins). 
TO STORE: Avoid keeping these bars stored at room temperature as they are prone to becoming soggy. Instead, place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. They will keep well for up to two weeks. 
TO FREEZE: Place the bars in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 89kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 6gFat: 5gSodium: 37mgPotassium: 110mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 167IUCalcium: 38mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 8g
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally updated November 2022, updated and republished July 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. I am going to try this recipe to use up some toasted O’s cereal I have, but after that I am not going to purchase this cereal anymore because I recently read that calcium carbonate (which is listed in cereal ingredients) is sometimes contaminated with lead–no one should consume lead, thank you.

    1. So let me understand your comment. You do not wish to ‘purchase’ the cereal anymore as it contains harmful contaminants… however, you don’t want to waste what you currently have on hand, so you will eat it anyway??? Does this make any sense to you?

  2. 5 stars
    I made these bars with Cheerios, American Dream Peanut Butter Cheesecake peanut butter and Maple Syrup. Simple and Delicious

  3. 5 stars
    A super simple recipe with a delicious turnout! I will definitely be making these again! Love this!

  4. Hi there!

    Do you know if these would work without the peanut butter? I work in a school and everything has to be nut free, but it seems like a great snack to make with the students!

  5. Hi I was wondering if you have any recipes for this without using a nut based butter? My daughter is allergic to all nuts and has celiac.
    Thanks

  6. I’m not sure how long ago this was posted but I read the ‘cheerios if not strictly gluten free’ for being an option. Is this a mis-type? cheerios are gluten free. The whole grain ones are not and I think there is 1 other of their USA line that aren’t but all the rest should be gluten free. I bookmarked this recipe and look forward to making it when I make my next order of cheerios from my favorite USA brand site. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Jami- This was posted around the time there was the media issues with Cheerios being under fire for not being handles correctly, thanks for the update!

  7. So I just made these (at 10pm!).
    I made these as a special treat for my daughter’s lunch for preschool tomorrow.
    She does not get a lot of sweets in her lunchbox– mainly because naptime happens right after lunch time and this mama (and her teachers) needs her to take a nap!( ha ha). I personally can’t stand honey, but I know it’s a great way to sweeten without adding sugar (for the reason I mentioned before)
    I can’t wait to see what she thinks.

    **Note: I only had honey on hand as a sweetener and I had regular peanut butter, so that’s what I used, along with Honey Nut Cheerios. Oh, and even though I DON’T give her a lot of sugar, I DID add a FEW chocolate chips to make it even more special!!**

    Thanks for the great recipe and I can’t wait to try it with other cereals!

  8. Hey, Arman ~ I tried this one today and changed it up a bit. We had Peanut Butter Puffins that were sitting around, and since I hat to waste food, I thought I’d just make them into cereal bars. I added some chocolate to the bottom of the pan first. I chopped up the Puffins into smaller pieces, along with natural peanut butter and organic agave as my sweetener. I also added some mini chocolate chips from Enjoy Life. they look de-lish…I’ll let you know how my kids like them. I might also try this recipe with chopped nuts, rather than the cereal.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, Dorina! I’ve made this before using all chopped nuts and it was really delicious, and only a small piece needed to satisfy- I let it cool and crystallise, and broke it like a toffee 🙂

      1. Ok, great, Arman. I have been trying to duplicate the Luna Bar flavor Nutz Over Chocolate. I have been delving into my own personal gut health, an, as such, I’ve been very, very label conscious. I am not a fan of soy and am disenchanted to see so many brands including soy in their recipes. My goal here would be to make this recipe without soy, so that my daughter can have a healthier snack. Thank you so much for inspiring me, in more ways than one. I might just launch my own little blog about good gut health. I have a site called Shine the Light Project, http://www.shinethelightproject.com…it‘s all about shining the light on human trafficking, labor exploitation, and helping people find simple ways to end slavery in their own lives. i am a big fan of the Fair Trade movement, for example, and am all about using non-GMO, high quality organic ingredients in my recipes. Feel free to stop on by my page…perhaps there’s a way for us to collaborate? You never know. Thanks, Arman

  9. So I definitely add protein powder to these so that they hold my husband over a bit better and they are delicious! Thanks for this!

    1. Hi Diane! I’ve never tried it with PB2, sorry- I don’t see it working well, as the texture of PB2 is a little different.

  10. Keeper! Delicious. Just made these using gf cheerios, peanut butter and organic brown rice syrup. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  11. hello this is my new go to recipe for morning tea – bring a plate – WHATEVER !! added coconut flakes one time and another used gluten free weetbix – just awesome – thanks so much

    1. Hi Meryem- You sure can, you may need to increase just a little bit, honey tends to need a little bit more for no bake recipes 🙂

  12. I don’t eat cereal as often as I want to..it was a nightly routine for me growing up, but then I decided to save my sugar calories for ice cream. Woof.

  13. I love how simple this recipe is! I hate food waste. I used to save veggie scraps to make homemade veggie broth, but it ended up just being too much work. This looks like such an easy way to deal with leftovers.

  14. Can’t wait to try these. In the recipe you say line a baking tray? What size baking tray do you suggest? 8X8 ?

  15. I eat cereal as dessert too. Theres been a couple times recently I had it as breakfast…and that’s because I was super lazy.

  16. What a terrific recipe – I was just looking at 5-ingredient ones on TV and this tops those!

  17. Turn the cereal dust into cereal milk it the most amazing malty flavoured milk in the world don’t not do it grammar is my forte btw

  18. Such a simple recipe and much healthier than any store bought version! I can’t wait to try these!

  19. Neil will save all his cereal bits and then mix them in a bowl with PB and whatever other nonsense he finds. It’s actually pretty delicious….as I’m sure these are!

  20. Oh my! Here’s to hoping I win the mixer! A few years ago I have my kitchen aide away to someone who had a dream to start baking cupcakes out of her home for a business but didn’t have a mixer. I gave her mine and didn’t think I’d miss mine bc I have a hand mixer. Boy was I wrong! I really miss mine and they are way too expensive to buy a new one! ?

  21. I HATE wasting food, which is why I’m devastated when I see that something in my fridge is expired! 🙁 BUT, I never waste cereal. I tried your bars and I thought they were awesome! So delicious and sweet–I’m totally reminiscing the Froot Loops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch bars now!

  22. Ha, I actually just bought a box of cereal (paleo granola – you’d approve!) purely to put on top of my yoghurts, protein puddings etc. I love the texture!

  23. Hello new lunchbox staple! I can’t get over how quick these are to make, I am constantly craving rice krispy treats but it’s so hard to find ones not made with beef gelatine. Thanks for another awesome recipe and WIAW Arman. I hate wasting food, I won’t throw anything away unless it is mouldy. In all honesty, I tend to eat more cereal dry out of the box than in any other medium (including the dust at the bottom), I do use it as an ice cream and yogurt topping occasionally though.

  24. OOH, I love cereal bars. I would love to make these. I love to use up ingredients. Using God’s resources is wonderful!

  25. I use cornflakes to make cereal bars because the have the texture of a butterfinger when you mix them with peanut butter and maple syrup. I don’t eat that much cereal really, but if I have a handful left I usually just mix it into my oatmeal or something. Great easy recipe Arman!

  26. These sound amazing! I love how quick and simple they are to make. Plus they uses GF cheerios, which is basically like my favorite cereal, simply because it goes with any flavor and any food!

    1. Oh no! I didn’t use gluten free cheerios because of the shenanigans surrounding them- I used Nature’s Path Power O’s 🙂

  27. I HATE wasting food and I usually don’t. Probably because I’m Italian so I love to eat…and I’m that friend who always brings extra food to classes/rehearsals to make sure her friends are fed! LOL

  28. Omg I love putting cereal on my ice cream. There is just something about that combo of sweet, creamy and crunchy! Imagine if I put these crumbled cereal bars on my ice cream, now that’s what Im talking about!

  29. These would be great for party when I am in a hurry. And probably my picky niece too! I never have cereal as a meal b/c I find it so un-satisfying, but I love it as a snack!

  30. What a neat recipe—these would be fun to bring to a party or something. I may or may not take it one step into the “are you f—ing kidding me” zone and make this with Cinnamon Toast Crunch…

  31. I definitely don’t like to waste food! I love cereal. I add it to cookies for a little extra crunch, or add it to a mixture of nuts and dried fruit for some trail mix snack.

  32. Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids. Oh wait. You didn’t use Trix. Ok then, maybe you aren’t so silly, mate. In fact, maybe you’re a genius! I love me a good cereal bar in the morning. Quick, easy and portable…what’s not to love there?? Can I top mine with colored sparkling sugar, though? 🙂

    1. Wait, I just googled TRIX.

      Also, what is with you guys having cereals with marshmallows in them? Lucky Charms! I would pluck them out.

  33. Yuuummm. I don’t do creative things with cereal. I just eat it in a bowl. I think I could manage these, though 😉

  34. Oh mannn. I used to love buying cereal bars (with alllll the ingredients and sugar), and now look at you, making it so simple and healthy. You da man, Arman. YUM

  35. Wasting food droves me crazy – I definitely try to find ways to use the very last of everything to the best use

  36. Yup yup yup simplicity at its finest. These would be perfect stored in the freezer. Then I may combine the new use of the cheerios into your marble rice crispy bars from a while back.

  37. If my kids saw these they would surely beg to adopt you, lol, they are bottom of the bag hoarders as well 🙂

  38. Easy recipes are the best! I start wondering how to recreate it with my favorite Cinnamon Squares 😀

      1. Hey! I really want to make a batch for my dad but we live in a super humid and hot area. Do these get super gooey and sticky? Or are they pretty sturdy like a granola bar?