Cereal Bar Recipe (naturally gluten free)

This healthy cereal bar recipe makes a homemade version of KIND bars, but you customize them, and you control the amount of honey!

Two rectangular light colored bars with cereal and nuts and a drizzle of chocolate on a white platter and striped cloth in background

Snacking between meals

Snacking happens. It just does. If you're my kid, you're not going to eat candy right before dinner, but you are going to eat in between meals. Let's do it right.

Healthy Cereal Bars

When my kids were super little, I was soooo focused on keeping them on a plan for two things: sleeping and eating. They napped in their own beds, and they went to sleep at a very reasonable hour.

And they ate 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. That's it. The snacks were things like fresh fruit, maybe some cheese and crackers.

When my kids got older, I became less obsessed with their eating between meals. They played sports, and they were always hungry. At least I could try to get something good into them.

Why you'll love this cereal bar recipe

A homemade cereal bar recipe offers numerous advantages that make the bars an easy-to-love snack option. They are customizable and versatile, allowing you to adapt the recipe to your personal taste and dietary needs. Swap out nuts, add dried fruits and seeds, or adjust the sweetness level to create the perfect snack for you and your family.

These cereal bars are also a healthier alternative to store-bought bars, as you can control the ingredients and avoid unhealthy additives, excess sugar, and artificial preservatives. This ensures you're providing a wholesome and nutritious snack for your loved ones.

In addition to their health benefits, homemade cereal bars are budget-friendly and cost-effective. Making your own bars allows you to save money while still enjoying a delicious and healthy snack.

These cereal bars are perfect for those with busy schedules, as they can be made ahead of time and served as a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. This keeps you fueled and satisfied throughout the day.

Lastly, involving your kids in making a cereal bar recipe can be a fun and educational experience. It teaches them about healthy eating habits, ingredients, and cooking techniques while encouraging creativity and independence in the kitchen.

Honey drizzling into large glass mixing bowl and metal baking sheet with light brown cereal and nuts and pieces of chopped chocolate

What sort of cereal is best for this cereal bar recipe?

Most cereals are full of extra sugar, and don't satisfy anyone for very long. Not to mention how incredibly expensive breakfast cereals are.

For so many years, I got up extra early and made them eggs for breakfast every single school morning. Whether they liked it or not. Eggs pack so much more bang for your breakfast buck than cereal.

But sometimes, the cupboards are bare… except for some cereal and milk. So cereal it is. We buy mostly Chex cereals, and I'm glad to have them when we need them.

My personal favorite gluten free cereal is puffed rice. You know, Rice Krispies-style cereal. There are a number of companies that make gluten free puffed rice.

I used to buy Erewhon crisp rice cereal, but it's no longer available. If I can find it on sale, I'll also buy Nature's Path Organic Crispy Rice. Here are 4 brands of GF crisp rice cereal to try (excluding discontinued Erewhon cereals, sadly), to help you make an informed choice.

Rules for customizing these simple homemade cereal bars

If you're willing to make a batch or two of your own bars, a gluten free cereal bars recipe like this one can really save the day. It's so easy to swap out one nut for another, or even some of the nuts for some dried fruit.

There are a few rules to follow if you want to make cereal bars that actually hold together, instead of crumbling into a weepy mess in your hands. But you can still customize them in plenty of ways, and even cut back on the honey quite a bit.

Here are the rules:

#1 Use raw, unsalted nuts.

If you add a lot of really processed nuts, like salted this and roasted that, you'll pay more for the nuts and you'll be stuck with that flavor profile. Raw nuts provide healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients, without the added sodium and potentially unhealthy oils found in salted and roasted nuts.

#2 Don't skimp on the honey and/or golden syrup.

You need a thick, sticky sugar to hold these bars together. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup, and you can use as little as 1/2 cup, but don't use less. The bars just won't hold together. Trust me, I've tried.

The honey or golden syrup you choose can make a significant difference in the flavor and texture of your cereal bars. Opt for high-quality, pure honey or golden syrup for a rich, natural sweetness that isn't overly sweet or processed. This ensures your bars have a delicious taste and the right consistency to hold everything together.

#3 Use softer nuts.

Your nuts must be easy to break, like pecans, cashews and peanuts. If you want to use other nuts, like almonds, buy them slivered or sliced. I've used whole or chopped almonds, and they are just too large to hold together in the bar without using a metric ton of honey.

#4 Make it count.

And remember, if you're going to ruin my kid's appetite for a meal, you'd better really ruin it. Like, don't send them back to me feeling a little hungry. A kid who is a little hungry is going to be really picky. And nobody enjoys that experience.

White paper with light brown bars with a melted chocolate drizzle

Tips for perfect homemade cereal bars

Making your own cereal bars is an art, and there are a few tricks to ensure they turn out perfect every time.

Mixing and combining ingredients effectively

For evenly distributed flavors and textures, make sure to mix your ingredients thoroughly. Break up any large pieces of nuts or chocolate to ensure each bite has a balanced taste.

How to prevent the bars from falling apart

To keep your cereal bars from crumbling, use enough honey or golden syrup as a binder. Don't skip or reduce this ingredient too much, as it's essential for holding the bars together. Softer nuts, like pecans, cashews, and peanuts, also help create a cohesive texture.

Storing and serving suggestions

Store your homemade cereal bars in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain their shape and freshness. Serve them chilled, as they may become too soft at warm room temperature.

Nutritional benefits of homemade cereal bars

Homemade cereal bars offer several nutritional advantages over store-bought varieties.

Healthier snacking options for kids

By making your own cereal bars, you can control the ingredients and ensure your kids are enjoying a nutritious snack without preservatives or excess sugar.

Comparing homemade cereal bars to store-bought bars

When made from a homemade cereal bar recipe, the bars often contain less sugar, fewer additives, and more wholesome ingredients than their store-bought counterparts. Plus, you can tailor the ingredients to your family's preferences and dietary needs.

Boosting energy levels with nutrient-rich ingredients

Homemade cereal bars packed with nuts, seeds, and whole grains provide a healthy energy boost to keep you and your kids going throughout the day.

Customizing your cereal bars

One of the best things about making your own cereal bars is the endless customization possibilities. And, whatever you go for, this is still a ridiculously easy recipe.

Adding dried fruits and seeds

Add dried fruits, like raisins or cranberries, and seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds, to your cereal bars for extra flavor, texture, and nutrients.

Incorporating different types of nuts

Experiment with various nuts, like walnuts or macadamia nuts, to create unique flavor combinations and textures.

Switching out the fat

Coconut oil works really well in these, but, theoretically, for a different flavor profile and a bigger protein hit, you could use half coconut oil and half melted butter or any nut or seed butter that you like. You can also leave all the coconut oil in the mixture, but add the nut butter to the drizzle.

Making a lighter flavor profile

If you want a lighter, summery cereal bar, how about using white chocolate chips and freeze-dried strawberries? You could even add in a few mini marshmallows, although that will up the processed sugar content.

Closeup image of 2 light colored bars with cereal and nuts and a drizzle of chocolate on a white platter

Allergy-friendly alternatives

If you or your family members have dietary restrictions, don't worry! There are plenty of options for creating an allergy-friendly cereal bar recipe.

Swapping out ingredients for dietary restrictions

You can easily substitute ingredients to accommodate various dietary needs. For instance, use nut-free cereal and seeds instead of nuts for those with nut allergies, or replace honey with a vegan sweetener like Lyle's Golden Syrup for a vegan cereal bar recipe.

How to make vegan cereal bars

Create vegan cereal bars by using a plant-based sweetener, such as agave nectar, or brown rice syrup, and replacing any non-vegan ingredients with vegan alternatives. For example, use dairy-free chocolate (there are some really delicious vegan-friendly mini chocolate chips out there) and vegan-friendly cereal.

Tips for creating nut-free bars

For nut-free cereal bars, use seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and choose cereals that don't contain nuts. You can also experiment with other ingredients, like coconut flakes or dried fruits, to add texture and flavor.

Expanding your homemade snack repertoire

Once you've mastered homemade cereal bars, you can explore some of my other gluten free snack options for you and your family. Most of these are customizable to some degree to satisfy your unique flavor preferences and to cater to special dietary requirements.

For example, switching the whey protein for plant-based protein in everyone's favorite healthy protein bars. Here are some of my top picks:


Cereal Bar Recipe: naturally gluten free

This easy cereal bar recipe is made by mixing chopped nuts, small cereal pieces, and honey into the perfect on-the-go, nutritious breakfast bar to enjoy on busy mornings or just as a snack.
Course Bars, Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword cereal bar recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chilling time 30 minutes
Servings 14 bars
Calories 298kcal
Author Nicole Hunn


  • 3 cups raw unsalted nuts (I recommend a combination of cashews pecans, peanuts and slivered almonds)
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • 2 cups gluten free crisp rice cereal (unsweetened)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil melted and cooled
  • ¾ cup honey you can use a mix of honey and/or Lyle’s Golden Syrup, or all one or the other
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate chopped and melted (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a quarter sheet pan (a shallow rimmed 9 x 13-inch baking sheet) with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
  • In a large bowl, place the raw nuts, chopped chocolate, rice cereal, and salt, and mix to combine. Break up any large pieces of nuts or chocolate.
  • Add the oil, and the honey and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and mix to combine well. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, and spread it into an even layer. Cover with another sheet of unbleached parchment paper, and press firmly to compress the mixture into an even layer.
  • Remove the top sheet of parchment, and place the pan in the center of the preheated oven.
  • Bake until the mixture is lightly browned and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Without removing the bars from the baking sheet and using a bench scraper or butter knife, slice into bars by cutting down the length in the center, and then across into two rows of 7 bars each.
  • Place the bars in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until completely chilled.
  • Remove the bars from the refrigerator or freezer, and separate them along the scored lines. Drizzle with the optional melted dark chocolate and allow to set. Serve or store the bars in the refrigerator or freezer.



Originally published in 2017. In 2023, more text resources added.
Nutrition information is approximate (using cashews as only nut) and should not be relied upon.


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 274mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 4mg
These healthy cereal bars are just like KIND bars, but you customize them and you control the amount of honey!

The post Cereal Bar Recipe (naturally gluten free) appeared first on Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

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