Soft Oat & Nut Bars

$3.53 recipe / $0.39 recipe

The first thing I saw when I turned on the TV today was a commercial for some sort of breakfast-oat-cookie-thing. I wanted one. So, I made some.

I have made baked oatmeals, granola, and granola bar-like things before, but this time I wanted to create something soft and almost cake-like. The texture of these bars is somewhere between a soft oatmeal cookie and a piece of cake. They have all the goodness of oats and whole wheat flour, plus tons of nutty goodness, all of which makes them surprisingly filling.

Unlike cake or cookies, I didn’t make these bars very sweet. They have just a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar and sweetened shredded coconut, but they’re definitely not dessert-like. You could easily add more sugar to make them into a sort-of-healthy type dessert or even add some dried fruit for extra sweetness. I happened to use plain soy milk to make these bars because that’s all I had in my fridge at the moment. You could definitely use dairy milk, although I think it’s slightly less sweet than soy milk, so you may want to add an extra tablespoon of sugar if you do so.

So, if you need breakfast on the go, try making these deliciously Soft Oat & Nut Bars to take with you on the road!

Soft Oat & Nut Bars

Soft Oat & Nut Bars

4.9 from 15 reviews
Soft Oat & Nut Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $3.53
Cost Per Serving: $0.39
Serves: 9
  • 1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats $0.30
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour $0.38
  • 1 tsp baking powder $0.09
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 tsp cinnamon $0.05
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar $0.11
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) room temperature butter $0.58
  • 1 large egg $0.17
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.28
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla soy milk $0.41
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts $0.88
  • ⅓ cup sweetened shredded coconut $0.26
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until well combined.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the brown sugar and butter until the mixture is light and creamy (about 2 minutes, medium speed). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until light and creamy again (30 seconds to one minute).
  3. Add half of the oat and flour mixture and beat briefly, just until combined. Start on low speed to prevent the flour from flying out of the bowl.
  4. Add the soy milk and beat briefly again until smooth. Always start on low speed to prevent splashing. Add the rest of the flour and oat mixture, and beat until combined (only about 30 seconds).
  5. Add the chopped walnuts and coconut. Stir them into the batter. Pour the batter into a 9x9 inch greased casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow the bars to cool and then cut into 9 pieces. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days, or freeze for extended storage.
Dairy milk can be used in place of the soy milk, although it tends to be slightly less sweet than sweetened soy milk. Adjust the sugar if desired.


Soft Oat & Nut Bars

Step by Step Photos

Dry IngredientsFirst, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until well combined.

Wet IngredientsIn a larger bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and creamy. Then, add the egg and vanilla (pictured) and beat again until creamy.

Wet Ingredients WhippedSee how light, creamy, and whipped it looks after the egg and vanilla have been mixed in? The tiny bits of trapped air will help the end product be light and cake-like.

Add Half Flour OatsAdd half of the flour and oat mixture. Beat them briefly, only about 30 seconds, until they are mixed together. Always start on low speed so that you don’t get a sudden cloud of flour spraying up in your face.

Add MilkAdd the milk and beat briefly again… (you REALLY want to start on low speeds with liquids)

Add Rest of Flour OatsAdd the rest of the flour and oat mixture. Beat it again briefly until they are combined.

NutsFinally, stir in the chopped walnuts and coconut.

Ready to BakePour the batter into a 9×9 inch greased casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes.

Cool and CutAllow the bars to cool and then cut them into 9 equal sized pieces.

Soft Oat & Nut Bars

And then enjoy the heck out of them!


  1. Cindi says:

    We have an athlete in the house who needs healthy home-baked “power bars” but can’t handle crunchy granola bars b/c of braces. :D These soft bars worked out perfectly for us. Thank you!

  2. Alicia says:

    This was really tasty and my family loved it! I didn’t have whole wheat flour so I used AP. I am sure the consistency was different, but we loved it anyway. Also didn’t have walnuts and used pecans. I will definitely pick up some wheat flour next time and add flax meal like another commenter did. Thanks!

  3. Liana says:

    Mmm, these were really good. I upped the sugar to 1/2 cup, because I wanted something that could also serve as dessert. I didn’t have any walnuts, so I doubled the coconut and used vanilla soymilk. The texture is almost like a bread pudding, moist and chewy. I’d love to experiment with these…nuts, chocolate chips, fresh fruit…pretty much anything would be good in these!

  4. Michelle says:

    These are yummy!

  5. Oh, I’m headed to the kitchen to make these RIGHT. NOW. ;)

    I’m allergic to walnuts so I’m subbing in almonds, and I think I’d love them with raisins.

    I’m so glad to have found your blog!

  6. This may be a dumb question, but do you need to refrigerate these? Thanks!

    • It’s not a stupid question. :) I would, just to be on the safe side. Make sure it’s in an air-tight container to keep them from drying out or absorbing odors. They can also be frozen for longer storage.

  7. Celina says:

    Do you think almond milk would be ok to use?

  8. Maria says:

    Hi Beth,
    Congrats on this great blog, I love it!. I just did this bars and they are so soft and healthy. I added some honey and it was great too.

  9. Gabby says:

    Made these with olive oil because butter is pretty expensive where I live and they turned out pretty good. These are so filling in the morning, will surely make this recipe again.

  10. EMILY says:

    Hi Beth,
    Can I sub the butter with coconut oil? Also maybe use a GF flour? I’m trying to make it vegan

    • You can definitely sub coconut oil for the butter, but I’ve never cooked with gluten free flour, so I’m not sure how that would affect it. :P

  11. Karen says:

    Thanks for this delicious recipe! I added a bit more nutrition by reducing the oats and whole wheat flour by 1/4 cup each, then adding 1/4 cup of teff flour and 1/4 cup of flax meal. I used 2/3 cup applesauce and 1/3 apple cider instead of the soy milk. I added 1 shredded carrot, about 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and used 1/3 cup raisins instead of coconut. These were plenty sweet and a wonderful dessert!

  12. Laura Kathryn says:

    Hey Beth! HUGE fan of your food. Seriously I make 2-3 different recipes per week & have yet to find one I don’t LOVE. (Ill be at the bookstore on the 4th to grab your cookbook…cant wait!!) Question though, do you think coconut oil would work in place of the Butter? I’m not a huge dairy kid but these look amazing. Keep it up girl, you got talent.

    • I do think that would work. They have a very similar consistency (solid at room temp), so I think they are easily swapped. Butter has a higher water content, but that shouldn’t be a problem here.

  13. Enybe says:

    We liked this recipe. Not too sweet, so much helathier than store bought granola bars. One batch was good for the whole week.

    thank you

  14. Lisa says:

    Hi Beth,

    Just found your website/blog, and really like it. :) I like the slant towards economy and health. I like your adventurous mind-set that allows for substitutions and creativity, and just using whatever you have on hand. Personally, I think that’s what makes a good cook and what I strive for. That said, sometimes it works out, sometimes not. So if you ever see an error in my thought process, please feel free to enlighten me!

    I also really appreciate the time you take to document the process. Although I know how to cook, this is very helpful, and immeasureably helpful those just learning. And your pictures look so yummy!! So, thank you!

    So far I’ve tried the Thai Peanut Sauce and also the Rice Veg Salad with Thai Sauce. I just made the bars above this morning with the following substitutions: used apple/peach sauce in place of butter (usually substitute for oil in a recipe, but figured this was about the same thing), added some date chips, used almonds instead of walnuts, and used 2% milk for soy.

    Result: I’m sure they are denser than yours, but still good. Could have been a little sweeter for my taste, but I was concerned about making them too sweet (with the applesauce, coconut and date chips). For those that want just a touch of sweetness, it was perfect.

    Anyway, thanks for the work you do. It’s great! I’m now trying to decide what to make for a weekend get-away in the mountains. :) Lisa

  15. Ashley says:

    These are delicious! I left out the nuts and coconut, added chocolate chips and subbed plain almond milk for the soy milk. Seriously good!
    Also, I’m using an oval shaped pan because I don’t have a 9 x 9. Do you think they would turn out ok in a 9 x 13 with a shorter cook time? Thanks!!!!

  16. Jean says:

    So excited for this recipe. My 14 y/o requested I make these after having the store bought ones at a friends. Schools starting and she leaves home at 8am with no lunch till 1:40, these are perfect for taking along and eating between class to keep her going.

  17. Erica says:

    These were delicious! Perfect to grab on my way to work. The batch I made has been lasting me all week. SO happy I found a replacement to gross store bought granola bars. They are nice and filling too and seem pretty healthy.
    I don’t have an electric mixer so I beat everything by hand but it was still easy and came out good. Also used white flour instead of wheat because that’s what I had.

  18. Tara says:

    Beth, could you replace the sugar with maple syrup or honey? If so, what amount would you suggest?

    • Tara, I’m sure you could sub those in, although I can only guess at the amount without trying it first. I think I would start with 1/4 cup because they may be slightly sweeter and you don’t want to add too much more moisture to the batter. Hopefully that will work out for you!

      • Thanks so much! Oops, one more question. :) Can i use regular ole dairy milk or does it really need to be almond milk? What about coconut milk?

        • Hmm, well, I haven’t ever cooked with coconut milk, so I don’t know if it acts similarly to the others or not. I think trying it is the only way we’ll know! :) If you do, please let me know how it turned out.

      • NEVERMIND! I just saw the answer to this under “Notes.” But what do you think about the coconut milk possibility?

  19. Beth, could you replace the sugar with maple syrup or honey? If so, what amount would you suggest?

  20. Janet says:

    Love your recipes and blog. Also love your readers/commenters – such a practical group. I saw this and thought, “well, I don’t have coconut but maybe it would work …”. Several people had already provided the reassurance I needed, and confirmed for me that this would be a good place to use up the extra dried cranberries I do have. Thanks!!!

  21. So I ended up making two batches of these yesterday, and they are awesome! First batch was dried apple and cinnamon, and the second batch was peach nutmeg (I’m going on holidays and I needed to use up the peaches in the fridge).

    Unfortunately, my 14 year old had used all the eggs and not said anything to me, so I had to use a mashed banana for the 2nd batch – tasty, but should have baked a bit longer. These are so easy! I can easily see them becoming a staple in our house.

  22. sara says:

    These were good and even better for breakfast on the go. I substituted raisins and almonds because that’s what I had on hand. I put a little cream cheese on top this am too -yummy-

  23. I made these last night–so good! Next time I think I’ll add some chopped apple too. Yum!

  24. Rebecca B says:

    These bars are delicious! I did, however, make a few successful substitutions. I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of sweetened soy, a “flax egg” instead of a real one, and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of coconut. They are so cakey and delicious it feels like dessert. I may even try these with half of the sugar! It just seems too decadent for breakfast…

  25. Tomas Herman says:

    Made this yesterday and it tasted real good. (I didin’t use vanilla extract, though, coz i didn’t have any)

  26. Literally was reading this in bed, realized it sounded delish, and got out of bed to make it. Took very little hands-on time, and came out great!

  27. janmaus says:

    Yum–made these, too, and added all that coconut because we love it. Tossed in nuts and raisins, too. I like this a lot, in part because it has all the taste and less fat than oatmeal cookies

  28. You just had to make something else awesome I have to try…

    I think I shall add chocolate chips and try to get the picky child to try this.

  29. katie says:

    Is there a way to calculate calories?

  30. Audrey says:

    Is it ok to replace the butter with coconut oil or vegetable oil?? I want to make it more healthier!:)

    • Yep, I would use coconut oil because it is closer in consistency to butter, plus I bet it will add a really great flavor! You might want to add a touch more salt, though, because my butter was salted.

    • If you want to make it healthier, definitely dont use vegetable oil. That stuff is terrible for you!

  31. AmyG says:

    I also saw the commercial for the soft baked oat bars you are referring to and also wanted to make some. School is starting soon and breakfast has to be fast and on-the-go. I can’t wait to try this recipe. And just for the record, I love coconut!

  32. Trudy says:

    I just wanted you to know that you inspire me with every e-mail. I want to make or do make a majority of the things you make. The recipes have always been successful and tasty! I think we are soul sisters with the cooking because our tastes are so similar. Thank you thank you! Can’t wait to make this recipe!

  33. Jenn says:

    I made these for breakfast this morning! They were very soft and chewy. I did use 2% milk, because that is what I had on hand, and added about a teaspoon more sugar. That was plenty. I will make these again!! Thanks!

  34. Joanna says:

    These look great! Perfect for a grab and go breakfast. I’m going to add dried cranberries since I have some on hand.

  35. You are amazing. I was just thinking that I needed to find a recipe for something like this for our 14-hour road trip next week. And here it is!

    (for the record, I love coconut!)

  36. Funny that the first few comments are from coconut haters, myself included. It’s a testament to how awesome these bars look that I’m still going to make them!

    • Oh yeah, feel free to use any nut or dried fruit you like! Coconut is not at all integral to the structure :)

  37. As soon as I get an oven, I am making *these.* Yes, ma’am!

    I agree with the above question: how integral is coconut to the structure of the bar? I really can’t stand that texture.

  38. I’m confident I can replace the walnuts with any other kind of nut (I don’t care for walnuts), but what about the coconut? I *REEEEEEALLY* don’t like the texture of coconut. How integral is it to the structure of the bar?

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