cyclist, bicyclist, triathalon

Energy bars are a terrific option for athletes – or anyone – looking for a quick source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins & minerals. Conveniently packaged and easy to throw in a gym or golf bag – or briefcase, for that matter – they’re a quick source of energy for athletes, students, or harried, on-the-go executives. Homemade energy bars offer all these benefits plus will save you money, and they are surprisingly easy to make!!

Before we get to the actual recipe, a few general comments on energy bars:

Most commercially available energy bars – Clif Bars, Power Bars, and the like – cost around a dollar each. Our local Wal-Mart sells Clif Bars for $.89 each, and based on my experience, that’s a really good price. If you make your own you’ll not only enjoy great tasting bars & know exactly what went into them, you’ll enjoy substantial savings versus these prices!

Most energy bars contain around 220 calories. If you maintain an active lifestyle or are an athlete, eating an energy bar is perfectly fine because you need to maintain your caloric intake given your high level of physical activity.

For anyone who is less active, energy bars are a good option especially if the alternative is junk food, a candy bar, or the fatty, cholesterol-laden hot breakfast buffet at your hotel. Just bear in mind that the calories will add up if you eat several per day!  I’ll provide a concise nutritional breakdown for the bars you can make yourself in just a moment.

That disclaimer issued, let’s look at how you can create tasty energy bars with little effort and less than 45 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup light syrup (or try one of these healthier alternatives:  agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey)
  • 2 scoops (each scoop is about 4 tbsp.) protein powder – I used vanilla flavored; any flavor will work
  • 1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup juice – I use orange/banana/pineapple juice; orange juice is fine
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped dates (you can use dried cranberries, raisins, and chopped nuts, if you prefer)
  • 1-1/2 bananas, mashed

Here’s a photo of the ingredients I typically use:

energy bar ingredients

Other

  • cookie sheets
  • non-stick spray (see video below)
  • large mixing bowl

Extremely complicated directions:

    1. Thoroughly mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl
    2. Mix all wet ingredients in another bowl
    3. Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and mix together thoroughly
    4. Put spoonfuls on a cookie sheet that you’ve sprayed with non-stick spray, and form into bars (I use a plain table knife for doing this.)  Spreading the spoonfuls out a bit as you put them on the paper makes this much easier.
    5. 5.31.09 edit:  surely one of the more bizarre videos ever put on YouTube, here’s a 1:18 video of how I form the bars; note that I am baking them on cookie sheets which have been sprayed with non-stick spray:

  1. Bake at 325°F for approximately 15 minutes or until the bottoms of your bars are golden brown

When they’re done, take them out of the oven and let them cool.  (NOTE:  the bars will be a bit soft when you remove them from the oven; when they cool they’ll firm up.)

Here’s a picture of the bars before going into the oven (these pics were taken before I switched from waxed paper to non-stick spray; both techniques work just fine but the spray is a bit easier):

energy bars

…and after:

energy bars, baked

As you can see, this recipe made 11 fairly large bars. I certainly could have opted to make them smaller. Total cost per bar (I’ll spare you the detailed calculations) works out to about $ .66 each, primarily because I used a relatively small (read: expensive per scoop) container of protein powder. If I were to buy a 5 lb. container, the cost per bar drops to about $ .45 – half the cost of the best price I’ve seen for Clif bars!

Nutritional Breakdown:

  • 280 calories
  • total fat: 1.9g
  • saturated fat: .5g
  • cholesterol: 10.2mg
  • protein: 13g
  • carbohydrates: 53.2g

Note that this is approximate as the size of the bars can (obviously) vary a bit, and is based on the recipe yielding only 12 bars. At that yield, the bars are akin to a supersized Clif bar.

How does this nutritional profile compare to commercially available energy bars?

Homemade Clif Bar Power Bar Gatorade Bar 4 Fig Newtons
Calories 280 240 230 260 220
Protein 13g 10g 10g 8g 2g
Carbohydrates 53g 44g 45g 46g 44g

As you can see, the homemade bars compare very favorably to the commercially available alternatives… and they taste great and are less expensive! Also, keep in mind that these bars are considerably larger than the store bought bars, so it’s a bit of an apples and oranges comparison… keep reading for a more relevant comparison.

If the recipe yielded 16 bars, the nutritional breakdown is:

  • 210 calories
  • total fat: 1.4g
  • saturated fat: .3g
  • cholesterol: 7.6mg
  • protein: 9.7g
  • carbohydrates: 40g

This is certainly a fairer comparison. At this (16 per batch) yield, the homemade bars offer lower calories, more protein, and lower carbs than the commercially available bars!  (All nutritional information is based on the data on product packages and where that isn’t available, from nutritiondata.com)

Try it – you’ll like it!

Making these energy bars could not be much easier – measuring and mixing the ingredients takes about 5-7 minutes maximum, forming them into bars (or whatever shape you prefer) takes about another 10 minutes, and they bake in around 15 minutes. You certainly can double the batch to make 20-32 bars.

Store them in Ziploc bags or in an airtight container, and they’ll keep for about 2 weeks at room temperature… if they last that long!!

Email me or comment if you have questions, or if you have your own energy bar recipe.

I should mention that if you are making significant changes to your diet, please seek the advice of your physician or a qualified nutritionist.

Enjoy!!

8.9.08 Edit: Here’s a picture of a batch that I made this afternoon. I didn’t have any bananas, so I used 3 egg whites and a little extra juice, a combination of chopped dates and craisins, and made 16 bars. These are a bit larger than most commercially available bars. One of the fun aspects of making your own bars is that you can improvise a bit:

Energy Bars - batch of 16

8.19.08 EditFor more tips and suggestions on making your own energy bars, click on this link to see a brief follow-up post.

5.30.09 Edit:  I’ve added a 4×6 recipe card to the FREE Downloads page; just download it (it’s a Word document), print and add to your recipe box.  Thanks for being here and reading this; please consider subscribing if you don’t already!


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158 Comments on Homemade energy bars: cheap, delicious, and surprisingly easy!

  1. bunny says:

    Thank you VERY much for sharing this recipe :) I can’t wait to try it.

    I wonder if one could use cherry or pomegranate juice instead of orange juice? I also would like to use dried cherries and almond slivers.

    Please let me know if you think these suggestions would work.

    [Reply]

    joey Reply:

    … just made with yumberry an goji berry and was terrific! thanks for sharing :)

    [Reply]

  2. kc says:

    Bunny,

    Thanks for your comment. I see no reason why your changes wouldn’t work! My wife prefers craisins, as she feels they’re a bit sweeter. Give it a shot!! Thx. again.

    kc

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    Hello KC,

    Thank you very much for this post! I was curious to know if you have any recipe which does not call for perishables and does not require an oven for processing? For example, do you have a recipe which could be mixed, formed into bars, and then left in the sun to form and firm up “cook”, and then be wrapped and stored for later?

    What is the shelf life of your bars, as described in the recipe above, and what is your recommended method of packaging for long term storage, as in an emergency food in a disaster???

    I have a lot of questions about this for a very good cause I’m working on. Any chance we can take this off-line in email and you can post what you like here on your blog/site?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Michael,

    Feel free to contact me via email: see the “Contact” page.

    [Reply]

  3. RSZ says:

    Does anyone know if agave would work instead of corn syrup?

    [Reply]

    Rachel Reply:

    You might want to try brown rice syrup.

    [Reply]

  4. kc says:

    RSZ: I think it might work – check out this article:

    http://url.ie/lbk

    Why not try out a half batch and see how it turns out?

    If you do, please let me know!

    Thanks for stopping by…

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  5. Michael Galenkamp says:

    Perfect!
    My wife loves baking, and I love biking (and eating energy bars in the process).

    [Reply]

  6. kc says:

    Michael:

    Thanks for stopping by. If you get a chance, please email the post to your cycling friends! Ride safe.

    -Kevin

    [Reply]

  7. bw says:

    great post, i have never really thought to make my own bars , its hard when im i’m training and going to school to afford to keep buying supplements and energy bars. great post.

    [Reply]

  8. Manda says:

    i am allergic to bananas is there any substitute for this?

    [Reply]

    Rachel Reply:

    Try unsweetened pumpkin puree. I use it as a sub for butter regularly in baked goods.

    [Reply]

  9. kc says:

    Manda,

    I think you could try applesauce as a substitute for the bananas. (I am guessing)that somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 cup applesauce would be equivalent to 1-1/2 bananas. Perhaps another reader could help with this. Thanks for your comment!!

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  10. Gareth says:

    Manda,
    I’m sure any mashed fruit would work.

    KC,
    Rather than using corn syrup (which is terrible for you) why not use maple syrup.

    [Reply]

  11. Norma J says:

    Hi Kevin,
    So glad I stumbled onto your website today!
    The neighborhood kids are gonna love me tomorrow, bcuz I’m going to make these SUPERSIZE bars right now! I will pass your site along to my friends also Kevin.It is a very good one. Thanks,
    AKA: FassstForward

    [Reply]

  12. kc says:

    @Gareth: thanks for the suggestion; I’ll have to try it. From a strict numbers standpoint, corn syrup and maple syrup are quite similar nutritionally. From a health standpoint, maple would be better, no doubt. I did find this site this morning, and the author addresses substituting maple syrup for granulated sugar: http://url.ie/lpn Perhaps I’ll try a half batch with real maple syrup. Thx again.

    @Norma: thanks for your kind words! You’ve started my day with a smile on my face… I really appreciate the feedback!!

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  13. James says:

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet, but a really tasty (probably healthier) substitute for the syrup is to use honey. It is most probably a little bit more expensive however.

    [Reply]

  14. Maxx says:

    kc, you’re the man! :) the bars are great, made some a few days ago and they rocked :) thanx!

    [Reply]

  15. Michael W. says:

    “Bars” are appealing so you can eat them on the run. But I am slightly more interested in “baggy foods” you can take on an airline and eat with a spoon or your fingers. I can deal with one airline meal on a cross-continental trip, but 3, 4, or 5 meals on a transpacific to SE Asia flight REALLY puts me a strange combination of queasy, overfull, and hungry. I think a lot of your ingredients are designed to “glue” the basic oats together, and wonder if would be possible, as a minimalist, to skip those ingredients and skip the baking too.

    I have tried eating plain, uncooked oatmeal, both the “old fashioned” and “quick cook” versions, and amazingly enough they are both palatable and digestible (“oat meal” is already partially cooked, compared to oats in their raw form – compare to “steel cut oats” at markets). Although you need to take in a lot of water, or you get dehydrated from the dry oats. Just so your reader’s don’t gag, I mix the oats with dried cranberries or dates when I try this (all you need is a round tub of old fashioned organic oatmeal from Trader Joes, and some of their fruit pieces from the nut’s ‘n fruits aisle).

    Do you think I could just drop some uncooked “old fashioned” oatmeal flakes, protein powder, some chopped up nuts and dates, and a teaspoon of healthy oil into a baggie, mush it round, seal it and eat it later? Your use of oil and protein powder made me think those are the missing ingredients for a nutritious travel meal.

    Since my “cooking” skills are limited to whining at my wife or opening a can of beans (whole pintos, Trader Joes’ organic) and adding some fish sauce for flavor, I’m lobbing this question at you first for your opinion before I start chopping dates and blending ingredients.

    [Reply]

  16. kc says:

    Michael…

    Funny you should write about “baggy foods.” …see this related post:

    http://url.ie/m0w

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  17. Jenn says:

    I made these with agave nectar and a batch with honey, both were really really good! I also substituted the egg whites with fake egg from Whole Foods. I added in 4 different nuts, raisins and cranberries. I also mashed a peach with the banana, and used chocolate soy protein. These bars are sooooo good!

    [Reply]

    Dustin Reply:

    I am going to try this version of the recipe. I am not much of a cook so I am a little intimidated but I have to make a sports bar for my sports nutrition class….. I’ll let you know how it turns out…. all the comments have been very helpful!!!

    [Reply]

  18. kc says:

    Jenn,

    So glad to hear that it worked well with agave nectar! I tried a batch today with 3/8 cup lt. corn syrup and 3/8 cup honey, and they turned out great. Check back Tuesday – I’m posting a brief follow-up post and will mention the variations you’ve tried. Happy that you’re pleased with the results!

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  19. [...] often thought of making my own energy bars but never got around to trying out a recipe. Check out: Homemade energy bars: cheap, delicious, and surprisingly easy! The title pretty much says it all! tags technorati : energy bars [...]

  20. Matt M says:

    I’ve tried this recipe twice and in the last batch I stumbled into a mini muffin try when looking for the cookie sheet. After a quick eyeball measurement I thought “This might work” and loaded the mix into the mini muffin tray.

    I have to say I prefer the mini muffin version much more than the large bar version. Cooking seems more uniform and the portion is easier to manage. I threw in three with my lunch and can just eat one for a quick snack instead of breaking up a bar. I have not worked out with them but my guess is it would be much easier to manage as a mini muffin there as well. I do have a long run this weekend so maybe I will try that.

    Anyway, just thought I’d suggest the mini muffin tray as an option. I forget the exact size and how many were in the tray but I think it must be in the mid 20s or so.

    [Reply]

  21. Steven says:

    Good idea. I will make a version of these bars.

    [Reply]

  22. Kevin says:

    Steven:

    Thanks for visiting; I love your blog’s design – very clean! Nice work.

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  23. Shannon says:

    Sounds good-I think I’ll make these and substitute all ingredients for organic ones and change the sugar to agave. Thanks dude.

    [Reply]

  24. Kevin says:

    Shannon –

    I think you’ll enjoy them. BTW: nice site! Thanks for stopping by.

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  25. gordon says:

    Kevin,
    I thought that wax paper in an oven was not recommended:
    >Oven: Wax paper should not be used for most baking as it will smoke,
    >however it can be used in some baking as long as the batter
    >completely covers the wax paper.

    that is from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wax_paper

    Maybe the 325F temp is OK?

    [Reply]

  26. Kevin says:

    Gordon:

    FWIW, I’ve never had an issue with it smoking or otherwise being a problem; perhaps it is the 325* temp. Thanks for commenting!

    Kevin

    [Reply]

    Jim Reply:

    Actually, instead of wax paper, you want to use ‘parchment paper’ which is coated with silicon and withstand the heat of the oven. Wax paper can impart a crayon flavor to your baked goods.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Jim,

    I switched to non-stick spray a long time ago; I should update the recipe.

    [Reply]

  27. Colin says:

    Just made myself a batch. I actually made a whole, whole bunch and then thought about how long they’ll keep for and *then* I read your comment about lasting for about 2 weeks. I’ll try freezing some and giving a bunch away. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    [Reply]

  28. Beau says:

    These bars were excellent! I was also wondering, does anybody have a recipe for energy type bars that would be shelf stable (vacuum sealed) at room temperature for a long time?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Beau – Thanks for taking time to come back to the site and comment! Glad you were happy with them. I’m at a loss to answer your question, though – perhaps someone else can chime in. Thx. again.

    [Reply]

  29. Dawnette says:

    This recipe is very tasty and versatile! I have made a chocolate version, an “oatmeal raisin cookie” version, and a strawberry/blueberry version. The next one I’m going to try will be a pumpkin spice flavor. I’ve substituted applesauce (for banana), soy milk (for juice), and added unsweetened chocolate powder, mini chocolate chips (so my teenagers would like them), different kinds of dried fruit, different spices and flavor extracts…..the possibilies are endless! Thanks for posting this!

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Dawnette,

    Thanks for coming back and commenting. Glad you’re happy with them – you’re right, you can modify the recipe quite a bit to suit your tastes!

    [Reply]

  30. Cyndi says:

    I’m so glad I found your website the other day. I love the basic recipe! I had no idea I could make my own energy bars. I have to agree with Dawnette, the recipe is extremely versatile and easy to modify for my boys. We love it!

    Thanks so much for sharing a fabulous recipe!

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Thanks Cyndi, you’ve made my day!!

    [Reply]

  31. Ginny says:

    The recipe sounds really good, but I can’t “do” milk or bananas. The fruit part substitution is easy, but what could I use in place of the 1 1/2 cups dry milk?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Ginny,

    You ought to be able to substitute dairy-free powdered soy milk for regular powdered milk. Thanks for visiting, and let me know how you make out with the recipe!

    [Reply]

  32. Ginny says:

    Hey thanks! I had to hit my head…..a big DUH…….I have tons of okara on hand from making soy milk every week and we get tired of eating various flavors of un-meat patties made with it, so this was a great place to use a half batch. I made a few other changes and here is my revised recipe. I made a half recipe into 18 bars of approx. 40 g. each. They taste great! You notice I added some ghee. We want to eat health food but we want it to taste decadent rather than “taste like health food”. :)

    GINNY’S REVISION:
    1 3/4 C. oats
    3/4 C. dry Okara
    1 scoop protein powder
    3 oz. Agave syrup
    2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
    15 g. chia seeds
    1 Tbsp. ghee
    1/4 C. finely chopped walnuts
    1 beaten egg white
    {1/2 dried apricots reconstituted in
    {1/2 cup pineapple juice, then blended until smooth
    1/2 C. finely chopped dates
    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

    MAKES 18 bars approx. 40 g. each for 118 calories and 4 grams protein in each bar as close as I can figure.

    Oh yeah – I baked them on parchment paper instead of waxed paper. THANKS A MILLION for such a good tasting, healthy, versatile recipe!!!

    [Reply]

  33. Ginny says:

    Oops – it should say “I made THIS half recipe” into 18 bars. Sorry for adding this extra comment but the edit function wouldn’t work on my computer.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    @ Ginny – not a problem! Glad you enjoyed them!!

    [Reply]

  34. Catherine Draz says:

    Great idea…..I made mine with honey and pecans and now my husband doesn’t have to eat those nasty store bought ones….THANKS!!

    [Reply]

  35. cheri says:

    How do you do the chocolate version of these?

    [Reply]

  36. Kevin says:

    @Cheri –

    Cheri, I haven’t done a chocolate version, but the recipe is quite flexible and I think you can get there with a little experimentation…

    First off, I’d use chocolate flavored protein powder instead of vanilla.

    If that doesn’t give the bars enough of a chocolate flavor, I’d also use 3/4 cup nonfat dry milk and 3/4 cup chocolate flavored Carnation (or similar) instant breakfast instead of 1-1/2 cups of nonfat dry milk.

    Let us know how you make out! …and thanks for visiting.

    [Reply]

  37. Ginny says:

    How about just adding some chopped organic semi sweet chocolate chips? I get them at Kroger — their Private Selection brand. I have never seen organic mini chocolate chips, but they would be better in small bars like this. I would probably also use dried cherries because I’ve found that when making muffins a combination of cherries/walnuts/chocolate chips is fantastic. OH HECK……….just make the bars. Be sure to put grated carrots in any muffin recipe you make so you get more than a dessert “thing”.

    [Reply]

  38. Gregory says:

    KC, This sounds like a great place for me to start making some HomeMade Health bars. I have a question, I moved to Ukraine and I (in my current location) have been unable to locate Protein Drinks/Power, I have access to Whey and Powdered milk so I am thinking of making my own.

    Do you know of a recipe or could you post the essential ingredients of the protein drink you used? It sure would help, I have been unable to find a source for DIY Protein drinks.

    I look forward to trying these out even if I have to skip the Protein Drink. :)

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Gregory,

    Thanks for commenting. I used Protein Powder in the original recipe, as it is easy to find in the U.S. I think you’re on the right track; I found the following on a site called wiseGEEK:

    Protein powders are made from four basic sources: whey (from milk), egg, soy and rice. Protein powders can also be a combination of one or more ingredients. These concentrated sources of protein are processed into the powdered form, to be reconstituted into liquid form as a protein shake, or mixed with fruit juice or milk.

    Given this, I think you’d be just fine using whey or powdered milk. Perhaps someone else can comment on this subject! Here’s a link to the article the above quote is from:

    What is Protein Powder?

    [Reply]

  39. C Stevens says:

    Great post. I think this will work very well. I’m going to try to find a mold and make these for my students at boot camp. I think they’ll really enjoy these.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  40. Chris says:

    Looks like a great recipe but what about substituting the syrup with crystaline fructose? Does anyone have any thoughts? I’m trying to avoid the highs and lows of sugar based products such as syrups/honey.

    [Reply]

  41. Ginny says:

    Chris: Where did you get the idea that fructose isn’t sugar? Agave is fructose, not sucrose and a few of us use it in the bars. Just go heavy on the protein and fruit content of the bars and you won’t have to worry about using “sugar”.

    If you check out my revision of this recipe you will notice that I reduced the syrup from 3/4 cup to 1/3 cup and if you cook some prunes or dates with minimal water or natural juice you can most probably eliminate the syrup (sugar by any name) completely.

    [Reply]

  42. Jen says:

    You can omit the banana entirely and it will turn out okay but you may need to add a splash more juice to “wet” the mixture. Another trick is to throw the oatmeal in the blender AFTER measuring it, pulverize it, and you’ll get an oatmeal cookie! (I hate when oatmeal flakes get stuck in my teeth.) I’m not very good at making bars, so I baked my batch in a 13×9 glass dish, then ran through it with a pizza cutter while it was still warm. 12 bars, no fuss! Thanks for posting this recipe!

    [Reply]

  43. harvey says:

    what size are the `cups`??

    [Reply]

    Kitty Reply:

    Cups are measured around 8 oz. :)

    [Reply]

  44. Abe says:

    For those that are looking for an alternative to the syrup, i’d put in some brown rice syrup. Its far less sweeter than the rest but its great for trail bars as it contains low GI complex carbs. Its actually in clif bars. I’d pass on agave nectar since it has a bad rep from its high fructose content(92%) which doesnt go too well within the body in high amounts.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    [Reply]

  45. Ginny says:

    The type of sweetener that you use should be appropriate for your blood type. Brown rice syrup is not healthy for all blood types. Fructose is not healthy for all blood types. Honey is not healthy for all blood types. You can look up all kinds of foods to see what is good for your blood type at this link:

    http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/typeindexer.htm

    IT WORKS!!!! I went from extremely sick to really healthy by following the blood type food plan faithfully.

    [Reply]

  46. Mike says:

    Has anyone tried peanut butter in the recipe??

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Mike…

    Thanks for commenting. To my knowledge, no. BUT: the recipe is remarkably flexible, & I have little doubt that you could successfully substitute peanut butter for one of the liquid ingredients. If you’re game, give it a try and let us know how you make out.

    kc

    [Reply]

  47. Mike says:

    I tried the peanut butter(peanut only peanut butter). (I wanted to get more unsaturated fats into the recipe, they are energy bars after all). I replaced half of the syrup and the dried fruit with the peanut butter. I used brown rice syrup, and replaced the vannilla extract with raspberry extrace. My wife likes how they taste and uses them as a breakfast bar, which is great because she otherwise wont eat breakfast. I like the nutritional stats on this, but am not a huge fan of the taste.

    I also want to try unsweetened chocolate in the recipe, and chocolate whey.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Mike,

    Thanks for updating on your progress! If you try the chocolate version, I’d like to know how you make out.

    kc

    [Reply]

  48. Wally says:

    These are terrific! The family and co-workers love ‘em! I substituted Splenda brown sugar blend as a sweetener and it worked great. I added a little more juice to moisten it. Next, I’ll give molasses a try. For a maple flavor, I also thought about using mapleine or maple extract instead of vanilla. Dried cranberries are also a killer in this. Thanks to all for the hints.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Wally – Thanks for your comment. I’m surprised you were able to use Splenda, as I thought you couldn’t bake with it. ? It apparently worked ok, though. Did your package mention that it was suitable for baking? Just curious. Thanks again!!

    kc

    [Reply]

  49. Wally says:

    Kevin,

    I guess ignorance is bliss! I wasn’t aware that Splenda couldn’t be used for baking, but they turned out great. The Splenda blends are very sweet so I used a little less than 1/4 cup of the brown sugar blend.

    [Reply]

  50. Vern says:

    KC,

    Thanks for the recipe, it’s excellent.

    I tried a variation that also worked great:

    -Substitute 1C Flax for Oatmeal
    -Use honey instead of corn syrup
    -Use 3 apples instead of bananas, make to sauce in food processor
    -No fruit juice, the apples add enough moisture
    -Nuts for additional fat (helpful for 3+ hour rides):
    1/2 cup each raw cashews and salted, roasted almonds
    – Lot’s of dried fruit, all chopped to nut sized cubes:
    1/2 cup each dried apricot, dried cranberry, dried papaya, dates

    The bars are nutty, fruity, not too sweet and easy to digest.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    @Vern:

    Fantastic! Sounds great… I am amazed at everyone’s ingenuity in modding the basic recipe with good results. Thanks for commenting!!

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  51. Sandra says:

    I just made these today. I substituted 1 of the cups of oats for 1c of flax. I omitted the syrup and instead put in two bananas and 3/4 cup of 100% dole juice. I added sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, cranberries and semi sweet choc chips. And I put in 10 scoops of protein powder. They came out great! It made 17 bars.

    they came out to:

    12g protein
    5g fiber
    11 carbs
    6 sugar
    2 fat

    Next time Im going to add a few more choc chips and some raisins.

    I never thought of making my own! Thanks for the recipe!

    [Reply]

  52. drew says:

    you never did mention about how much each bar cost you to make. you ever do a break out? i’m curious to know. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Drew: look at the paragraph directly above the “Nutritional Breakdown” subhead.

    [Reply]

  53. shelby says:

    Do you keep these bars in the fridge or on the counter? If they are only baked at 325 does that take all risk of salmonila from the eggs?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Shelby: stored at room temperature. I don’t believe there’s any risk from salmonella – most cookie recipes specify baking at 325*F to 375*F. Thanks for commenting!

    [Reply]

  54. Nadine says:

    For what is the dry milk powder in the recipe?
    And for what the Bananas?

    What are key components and what are components that can be modified?

    Thanks for your answer.

    Nadine

    [Reply]

  55. Xial says:

    I actually tried your idea in the kitchen today.
    I made a few substitutions according to my tastes: I left out the egg, the dates, and the (I can’t eat the things) bananas, added in a bit more juice and some applesauce to replace the missing items, used a little more protein powder, and less dry milk (to keep from wasting a packet). I also replaced the dates with raisins.

    They came out rather well for a first try. I did learn that I might not want to put them in the oven with my lasagna, which was baking at a higher temperature. I was forced to pull them a little early, so they’re not quite the way I wanted them to be.

    I also did them in a muffin tin, which made them easier to manage. :)

    [Reply]

  56. [...] got bored a couple of weeks ago, and took a recipe I pulled off from Practical Hacks, and modified it a little to match my [...]

  57. [...] mix and some homemade Vegetarian Pemmican squares. You can also search the internet for recipes for energy bars. Bringing your own snacks will help you save money while frequent small meals will keep your [...]

  58. wally Baker says:

    We have found the shelf-life to be a couple weeks unrefrigerated. We refrigerate and/or freeze to increase that, although at the expense of freshness.

    These bars have proven to be life-savers for our family, substituting for a missed breakfast or an energy-boosting afternoon snack. THE BEST healthy snack I’ve EVER had.

    Our favorite version – big chunks of tart apples and lots of molasses!

    [Reply]

  59. mpapa says:

    Do you have the individual nutritional breakdown for each of the ingredients? …specifically carbs and protein. I’ve tried to look up each ingredient to possibly substitute and my numbers are not as high as yours?

    [Reply]

  60. Kim says:

    My were very mushy/gloppy….couldn’t form into bars before baking. seemed like had too much liquid or something though I followed the directions exactly…..hmmmm

    We’ll see how they harden and taste.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Honestly, first I’ve heard of someone having this happen. Obviously, sounds like too much liquid ingredients. I hope you’ll try again.

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    I used honey instead of corn syrup and maybe was too runny. Anyway, my kids still gobbled them up and we all think they’re tasty….just more cookie like than hard & crunchy. Thanks!!

    [Reply]

  61. greg says:

    I like that you save money and everything, but this honestly calls for waaay too much sugar to be considered a “healthy” snack. i make my own using only some brown sugar, and some stevia. i would recommend cutting out the syrup entirely, since there’s so much sugar in the juice, bananas and dried fruit already.

    [Reply]

  62. pat says:

    Will shop for the ingredients tomorrow–I cannot wait to try this recipe–I am glad that it does not call for a dehydrator.
    If I skip the egg whites–what will hold the ingredients together?
    Will it become crumbly ?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Pat,

    If you replace the egg whites with another liquid, it may work… but I can’t guarantee it. Give it a try, and let us know how it works out. The recipe is very flexible.

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  63. olivia says:

    I only had 2 cups of powdered milk, so I substituted powdered almonds (which i had lying around). They add a nice taste, fiber, good fat, and protein.

    Also, I didn’t like the idea of putting in syrup, so I put in half honey, half kefir…more protein, and honey is sweeter for the amount of sugars it adds.

    I also added cranberries and grain-sweetened chocolate chips for half of the dates. mmmmm!

    [Reply]

  64. Samantha says:

    These look great. I’m going to try substituting Molasses for corn syrup–molasses has some good minerals in it. It will make the bars look darker, though.

    [Reply]

  65. Benedict says:

    Happy 2nd anniversary to your post. This seems to be the most popular energy bar recipe on the net, bar none (no pun intended).

    I’m very excited to try this recipe at home tomorrow night! Thanks for this, Kevin and thank you to everyone who’s contributing. Will most likely skip the light syrup in favor of honey. :)

    Thanks again!

    [Reply]

  66. Amy says:

    Thank you so much – I have two teenage swimmers. They need something right away after practice. I’m going to make these tomorrow using honey and applesauce since my daughter’s allergic to bananas. I’m also going to try to make them as “cookies” instead of bars since I don’t have a mini muffin pan and I think the smaller size may be edible in the middle of a practice. Can’t wait to try it!

    [Reply]

  67. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the recipe.
    A few changes from the original recipe (which I did try and is really awesome):
    I used honey and applesauce instead of bananas and syrup.
    Also I used nuts and a small amount of chocolate chips instead of dates.
    Someone else had posted they used mini muffin cups so I used 12 regular muffin cups.
    They turned out really good and taste great. I did have to leave out the Protein powder on the last batch since I ran out.
    Again, Great recipe.
    Thanks for posting it.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Ryan,

    Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you like them!

    [Reply]

  68. Barbara says:

    Kevin,
    Wow! What a stir you have created from your recipe! You are not only gracious enough to post your recipe, but respond to comments, suggestions, and complaints with the same patient kindness and humor.
    Thanks for your post.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Barbara,

    Thanks for your kind words. One of the neatest things about this post is the variety of modifications and improvements readers have come up with… fortunately, the basic recipe is flexible enough to support all this experimentation. It’s been fun. Thanks again…

    kc

    [Reply]

  69. barbara roberts says:

    We like to take energy bars with us on vacation. However, we have found that none travel as well as crispy energy bars. Do you have a recipe for energy bars that will travel well on international travel?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Barbara,

    These of course don’t have any preservatives, and I can only guess how long they would last (a week and a half, perhaps?). My biggest issue is that they disappear too quickly around our home. Perhaps another reader can chime in. Sorry I can’t be more definitive!

    Oops! See Wally Baker’s comment above – he indicates 2 weeks unrefrigerated.

    [Reply]

  70. Barbara Roberts says:

    Thanks, Anyone else with ideas would be appreciated.

    [Reply]

  71. maureen says:

    just found your recipe. I have five small children under 8yrs who I love making muesli bars for for afternoon tea.This sounds super easy and cheap.I will be using their left over breakfast cereal with yogurt and canned fruit, Hope it works

    [Reply]

  72. maureen says:

    I made cookies, mini muffins and large muffins now have to make a batch in pie tins for my husband. My 4yr old said “yum yum” 3yr old said “delicious” 1yr old said “more” so far a bit hit in our house. Im sure my 7&8 yr old girls will love it too

    [Reply]

  73. Jim L says:

    these were great. i took the lazy way out, and just spread the whole batter onto a baking sheet, cooked them, and THEN cut into bars. don’t mind that the sides aren’t crusty since i put them in the fridge. that’ll keep em. wont last long.

    [Reply]

  74. Mike says:

    I used pumpkin instead of banana, and pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, and ta-da, pumpkin pie power bars. Delicious. I doubled the recipe and just used 2 whole eggs, and that worked well. Chocolate protein powder wasn’t noticeably chocolaty.

    [Reply]

  75. Marla says:

    I was desperate for a bar that didn’t have maltitol or chicory or other things I can’t digest. So I tried this recipe today in mini muffin cups with some maple syrup. It was really quick and easy, and would be great in the morning with plain yogurt.

    [Reply]

  76. Victoria says:

    what can I use instead of powdered milk? Can’t have soy either, so powdered soy isn’t a good option. Can I use crispy rice cereal instead of the oats do you think? My kiddo is autistic and is on a special diet, but I’m tired of paying $1.30 for Larabars: he eats 7-10 of them a week. Also, I’d like to put coconut oil in there: maybe part of the peanut butter could be coconut oil? Let me know what you think, thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Victoria,

    Thanks for commenting. Instead of powdered milk and soy, you could substitute coconut milk powder. If you can’t find it locally, Amazon and others sell it; here’s a link for it @ Amazon: http://amzn.to/ayEtYk

    I think you could use rice cereal instead of oats; give it a shot and let us know how it works out.

    As for coconut oil vs. pb, I suspect it’d work. Suggest you buy coconut oil in its virgin state, not the hydrogenated stuff.

    Best of luck, and please let us know how they turn out, if at all possible.

    [Reply]

    Victoria Reply:

    I will, I plan to make it next week once our current stash of larabars runs out. I’ve been trying to find a way to get virgin coconut oil in him for a long time, and I think these bars are the ticket. I’m sure I can hide flax and sunflower seed meal in there too. I think I may have seen some coconut milk powder down at the local health food store. Thanks for the prompt reply, I appreciate it!

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    No problem, and best of luck to you!

  77. kenny says:

    Hello, i was wondering if there was a replacement or if you had to use the dry milk…. i just moved to sweden and i cant find any anywhere in my small town. Thanks for the bars, they look good!!

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    kenny:

    You could try instant mashed potatoes instead of the powdered milk.

    Not that I’ve ever tried this! But it’s worth a shot if you’re really stuck.

    Also, see above: coconut milk powder is an acceptable substitute as well.

    [Reply]

  78. [...] not dissimilar to an oatmeal cookie.  But energy bars, they are.  I adapted the recipe from Practical Hacks.  (There were a few recipes I got ingredient ideas from, but ultimately, anything that gets me [...]

  79. Black Lab says:

    I’ll definitely have to try that recipe out for myself

    [Reply]

  80. Liz says:

    Thanks for the recipe – tastes delicious – now the true test to see if will work well my my training. I posted my review of it and a link to the recipe on my blog: http://seelizzietri.blogspot.c.....y-bar.html

    [Reply]

  81. Sarah says:

    Do you mind if I put this recipe on my website? I will, of course, give you full credit for the bars. Those look delicious!
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Sarah: go ahead; no worries. kc

    [Reply]

    Wally Reply:

    Kevin,

    Just a general comment to you and others. Since I saw this basic recipe back in 2009, I’ve tried any number of different variations. Molasses, honey, agave nectar, brown sugar and regular splenda, pumpkin, applesauce, apples, cranberries, all sorts of nuts, high protein, high carb, flax seed, peanut butter, on and on. It really doesn’t seem to matter. In their own way, they have all turned out well. I feel like my fridge is empty when I don’t have a supply!

    One thing, I did get lazy on the bars. I now just cover the cookie sheet, bake, then cut the bars to size.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Wally,

    Thanks for coming back and making this follow-up comment; I appreciate it. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the recipe is remarkably flexible, and you’ve certainly offered additional proof of that fact. Thx again!

  82. Shane Grzywacz says:

    About how much did you spend on the recipe?

    [Reply]

    Wally Reply:

    I don’t really keep track. Most of the ingredients for the basic recipe (nuts, dried fruit, oats, powdered milk, protein powder, brown sugar) are available in the bulk food section at my local market and are cheap. Probably half the price or so of regular bars. But they are made to my taste and have no preservatives, so those are real positives.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Shane,

    In the post I address cost per bar. Is that what you’re getting at?

    [Reply]

  83. [...] took some inspiration from Practical Hacks and set out to come up with my own homemade energy bars. This will be a test and learn to get the [...]

  84. Chris says:

    This is GREAT and I really appreciate all of the follow-up discussion which takes the basics and really elevates them with possibilities! I’ve been scouring the web for health bar ideas and this post rocks.

    I am a physician who has been struggling with some of my homeless patients nutritional status. Especially alcoholics who lack Vitamin b12 and get almost no omega 3 FAs but have high risk for heart disease. The chia seeds in an earlier post will solve the omega 3 issue… but any ideas about b12 (usually from animal products – like egg yolks, not whites).

    Based on what I’ve read so far.. I plan to bake like crazy, spread on a cookie sheet, cut ‘em with a pizza cutter, wrap ‘em up individually, put a sticker on the front with an inspirational message, and then ditribute to folks on the street with my kids and whoever else I can get to help out!

    It won’t replace a meal – but it’s better than nothing.

    [Reply]

    linda Reply:

    Chris,
    What an excellent idea to give those bars to homeless people…I’m sure it will benefit them…

    [Reply]

    Kathy Reply:

    What a great idea Chris! I haven’t made this recipe yet but I can’t wait to do it this weekend – it’s exactly what I’ve been searching for (thank you very much Kevin!). In response to your query about B12, the non-fat dry milk powder is also a good source of this vitamin,. Here’s a quote I found on livestrong.com:

    “Significant amounts of the daily recommended values of essential vitamins are available from non-fat dry milk: vitamin B12 at 4.8 mcg, or 200 percent; riboflavin at 1.9 mg, or around 160 percent; and pantothenic acid at 4.3 mg, or 86 percent. Other significant amounts of vitamins within non-fat dry milk include vitamin C, thiamin, niacin and folate”.

    Hope that helps!

    [Reply]

  85. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I love being able to make my own cliff bars since I eat them so often! I do have one question though, Is there something you recommend replacing the dry milk with? I am lactose intolerant and I have found that they have been upsetting my stomach a little. I looked all around my grocery store for a dry soy milk and could not find it :( I was thinking about using some whole wheat flour but wanted to see if you had a better suggestion. Thanks! Rachel

    [Reply]

  86. Mary says:

    Kevin, ground flax seed will gel like egg whites do and could be

    used as a substitute for egg whites. Good luck I plan on

    trying this recipe with some modifications, of course

    I wonder if marshmallows could be used instead of the

    sugars. M

    [Reply]

  87. Fernando says:

    Thanks for such a great recipe. I will try it immediately.
    I prepare boiled tapioca with oatmeal and either I mix chocolate powder, or make these with salty spices. These are somewhat bland and dry, but kill my hunger fast. I am ready to try your recipe instead, and will vary them with salty spices. Thanks again!

    [Reply]

  88. Thanks for the guidelines– tastes delicious – Now the real test to see if it works well my training.In really non-fat dry milk powder is also a good source of this vitamin.

    [Reply]

  89. Gary says:

    Delicious!

    Made a few changes:

    1) Substituted 3/4 C raw honey in place of the corn syrup.

    2) Used chocolate-flavored protein powder (note: the scooper from the powder was labeled 80cc, which = 80 ml, or about 5.4 tablespoons).

    3) Used Orange/Mango juice.

    4) Used dried cranberries.

    To avoid the bar mess, I just put the whole thing in an 8 x 8 metal pan and increased the cooking time from 15 minutes to 23 minutes (toothpick comes out clean). The bars are about 1.5 inches thick and you can get about twenty-five 1.5 inch cubes out of a pan.

    [Reply]

  90. Jordan says:

    Have you ever heard of hemp hearts? (shelled hemp seeds) I was contemplating making energy bars with those as an added ingredient. What would you recommend I subsidize for this to allow the recipe to still turn out?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Jordan,

    The recipe is crazy flexible. Just cut back on one of the dry ingredients – perhaps cut back on the oats a bit. Let me know how you make out. Thanks for visiting!

    [Reply]

    Jordan Reply:

    what liquid ingredient would you advise to increase if i left the oat portion the way it is?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    The juice (or agave nectar) would work. Another option would be to add a little applesauce.

  91. Geert says:

    Dear Sir,

    I just received all the ingredients (I live in Holland, some are hard to come by!) and have a quaestion regarding the mixing. Have you ever tried mashing the dry parts up with a kitchen machine? So that you get a really smooth mixture.
    I dont doubt it is physically possible, but I wonder if the nutritional values might change.

    Thank you!

    Geert

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Geert,

    No. I never tried that, and I find the texture one of the appealing things about these bars. As to whether that would change the nutritional value, I don’t know, but imagine that it would not. But I’m guessing.

    [Reply]

    Geert Reply:

    Hey Kevin, thanks for the reply. I think I’ll just go and make two separate batches, one ground and one whole. I’ll post my experiences!

    Cheers, Geert

    [Reply]

  92. Andy says:

    I made some, but used some silicone muffin forms to make “muffin cookies” out of these. We’ll see how they hold up to the “can it pack well” test!

    https://picasaweb.google.com/squidlyman/HomeMadeEnergyBars?authuser=0&feat=directlink

    [Reply]

  93. Sam says:

    What can you substitute for dry milk powder? Is it possible to just use flour?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Sam,

    Please scan (or search) the comments on the post – there are 2 or 3 suggestions in the comments. Good luck.

    [Reply]

  94. Jamie says:

    This was fun and easy to make. I did have to make many substitutions because I didn’t have stuff on hand, and it looked so good I wanted to cook it now. From the original recipe I changed

    protein powder – to peanut butter
    nonfat dry milk- to regular Vitamin D milk(liquid..)
    2 egg whites- to nothing.
    juice – I used orange
    1 cup chopped dates – raisins
    bananas, mashed- nothing

    The reason I took out egg whites and bananas, not just because I didn’t have the ingredients, but because I cut the recipe in 1/12(trying to make just one bar to make sure I like it before making 12-16 of them). Although this was hard, because I had to change all of the portions from cups to tablespoons, or tablespoons to teaspoons.The hardest was with the vanilla. How do you cut 1/2 tsp by 1/12 and find a measuring utensil for that? so i just threw in some. They smell soooo good, and look like a cookie, so I could make them for the family, and everybody would think they were fattening junk liike what they like to eat(If I made them round instead of a bar shape)… MUY DELICIOSO. A little too moist, but I think that was because of the portion changes.

    [Reply]

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