Soft Oat and Nut Bars

$3.53 recipe / $0.39 recipe
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.82 from 32 votes
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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. Except mine are more like soft oat and nut bars instead of cookies.

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.

Three Soft Oat and Nut Bars stacked

Unlike cake or cookies, I didn’t make these soft oat and nut 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!

Close uo of Soft Oat and Nut Bars
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Soft Oat and Nut Bars

4.82 from 32 votes
These Soft Oat and Nut Bars are a great grab and go breakfast. Not too sweet and full of whole wheat flour, nutritious oats, and protein packed nuts.
These Soft Oat and Nut Bars are a great grab and go breakfast. Not too sweet and full of whole wheat flour, nutritious oats, and protein packed nuts.
Servings 9
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats ($0.30)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour ($0.38)
  • 1 tsp baking powder ($0.09)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ($0.05)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar ($0.11)
  • 1/4 cup 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)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts ($0.88)
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut ($0.26)
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  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until well combined.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Add the chopped walnuts and coconut. Stir them into the batter. Pour the batter into a 9×9 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.

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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.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 241.06kcalCarbohydrates: 30.79gProtein: 5.8gFat: 11.39gSodium: 178.82mgFiber: 3.46g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Soft Oat and Nut Bars cut into squares

How to Make Oat Bars – Step by Step Photos

Dry Ingredients in mixing bowl

First, 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 Ingredients in mixing bowl

In 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 Whipped with hand mixer

See 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.

Half of flour added to Oats

Add 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.

Milk added to ingredients in mixing bowl

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

Added Rest of Flour and Oats to mixture

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

Chopped walnuts and shredded coconut added to mixing bowl

Finally, stir in the chopped walnuts and coconut.

Batter poured into square casserole dish

Pour the batter into a 9×9 inch greased casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes.

Cooked and cooled bars cut into 9 squares in baking dish

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

Close up of bars

And then enjoy the heck out of them!

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  1. Could you substitute the shredded coconut with shredded carrot? Or would the moisture be too much?

  2. I love making these as an alternative to the Nature Valley soft baked ones I used to get out of the vending machine in college! Nature Valley also makes a dark chocolate banana bread version that my husband loves. Any suggestions for how I could use this recipe as a springboard to try the chocolate banana bread flavor?

    1. I’d try adding some cocoa powder and maybe chocolate chips as well?

  3. These are so good! Tastes like a healthier version of a coffee cake. I added 1 cup of diced peaches and sprinkled the top with a little turbinado sugar for some crunch and a touch more sweetness. I plan to try blueberries and apples, maybe with pecans or almonds, in the future. The possibilities are endless!

  4. Hi Beth. I don’t have an electric blender. If the ingredients to be blended are done so by hand, will the result suffer? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Susan! While you are welcome to try it out any way you please — since we haven’t tested this recipe without using an electric mixer, I can’t guarantee that you will achieve the same results. Creaming butter and sugar is an extremely important step in baking because it helps break down the sugar crystals (so the texture isn’t gritty) as well as adds air into the mixture, resulting in a lighter, fluffier bake. This will be difficult to achieve without a mixer.

      BUT, that being said, it is probably possible to achieve with the right amount of determination and elbow grease. I would start with a wooden spoon or spatula and then switch to a whisk. Keep going until it is visibly lighter and increases in volume (just like you see in the 3rd image of the step-by-step tutorial). Good luck! – Marion :)

      1. Sorry about my double comment. I missed that you responsed on my first comment. Please ignore me 😊

  5. Just made these with my daughter and they’re a great breakfast option! We did no nuts, and still lots of texture. I saw another comment about using chocolate milk and might have to try that next time!

  6. I make this for my kiddos for breakfast and call it oat cake. They love it and it helps when they get constipated too 😆

  7. I usually have a Clif bar for breakfast, but they’re very sweet and not that high in fiber, so I just made these as an alternative. Not being a big fan of soy milk or coconut, I used chocolate dairy milk and chocolate chips. They’re delicious, and I plan to make more while I have the milk and freeze them. Thanks for a good breakfast alternative. (I also love your banana and blueberry baked oatmeal!)

  8. Hi Beth! I wonder if I could chop up dried fruit instead of walnuts? My kids aren’t big on nuts.

  9. How much butter is called for? It looks like it says 1/4 and 1/2 cup but that doesn’t sound right… 

    1. Sorry about the confusion, I’m going to go fix that. It’s ¼ cup, which is ½ of a stick (one stick is ½ cup). I hope that helps!