Recipe: Healthy Protein Bars with Peanut Butter

Snack and Appetizer Recipes

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Need a healthy snack to keep on hand at home? We make these healthy cereal bars with peanut butter on the regular because our family gobbles them up! Packed with fiber and healthy fats – these are sure to keep you fueled.

These healthy cereal bars with chocolate are our new favorite snack – a sweet treat made with simple ingredients that makes the perfect mid-afternoon pick me up. Made from natural ingredients that taste amazing you will really taste the homemade difference from those high priced bars you buy in the store. 

Perfect for an on the go healthy snack for school, the office, or even in the car.

The oats, peanut butter, and seeds provide protein and sustained energy so they can be ideal for pre- or post-workout. We know the whole family is going to love these!


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    What is a Cereal Protein Bar?

    What’s the difference between a cereal bar and a granola bar? They are both cereal based, but instead of using granola – these bars are made from puffed wheat cereal. We like to think of them as a healthier alternative to rice krispie treats.

    Instead of marshmallows, these are held together with peanut butter, agave nectar, and ground flaxseeds.

    Ingredients You’ll Need

    raw ingredients in bowls ready to make healthy protein bar recipe
    • Puffed Wheat Cereal: use any puffed wheat or puffed whole grain cereal that you prefer. We usually make this healthy cereal bars recipe with puffed wheat cereal, but you can also use puffed rice or puffed kamut.
    • Rolled Oats: we like to add some old-fashioned oats to our cereal bars to increase the fiber content. Use old fashioned rolled oats for these as steel cut oats are too chewy.
    • Nuts & Seeds: add lots of crunch as well as protein and healthy fats by adding a variety of nuts and seeds to these bars. We like to add walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. However, you can mix it up and use other nuts like pistachios, pecans, or chopped peanuts.
    • Flaxseeds: these mighty little seeds help bind these bars together as well as provide extra fiber and healthy fats. 
    • Chocolate Chips: who doesn’t love the class1ic combination of chocolate and peanut butter? We add a few chocolate chips to these bars for some chocolatey flavor. Want to switch it up? Use peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips instead.
    • Peanut Butter: we recommend a creamy, no-stir peanut butter for this recipe. However, you can still use crunchy peanut butter if that is what you have on hand. Don’t like peanut butter? You can use almond butter or sunflower seed butter instead.
    • Agave Nectar: add natural sweetness and help these bars stick together by using agave nectar. You can substitute with maple syrup or brown rice syrup if you don’t have agave. 
    • Brown Sugar: agave nectar adds most of the sweetness for these bars, but we also add a little bit of brown sugar too.

    Healthy Protein Bar Variations

    • Can I make these vegan? These easy homemade cereal bars are easy to make vegan-friendly – just use vegan chocolate chips. 
    • Can I make these gluten free? To make these bars gluten free, use gluten free certified rolled oats and a gluten free puffed cereal like puffed rice.

    How to Make No Bake Protein Bars

    four step photos showing the process of making this healthy protein bar recipe

    Mix the dry ingredients together: start by mixing all of the dry ingredients (oats, puffed cereal, almonds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and chocolate chips) together in a large bowl. 

    Make the Filling: add the butter, peanut butter, agave syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. 

    Mix the Base: add the melted peanut butter mixture to the large mixing bowl with the cereal mixture and stir well. The chocolate chips should melt as you stir everything together. 

    Press into Pan: Use a spatula or wet your hands (to prevent them from sticking) to firmly press the bars in an even layer into the prepared 9×13 inch baking dish lined with parchment paper. Make sure that there are no loose pieces around the edges. 

    Chill & Serve: Allow the bars to chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before cutting. They should be firm when you try to cut them. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Tools You’ll Need for this Recipe

    • Small saucepan
    • 9×13 inch baking dish 
    • Parchment paper
    • Airtight storage container

    How to Store these Easy Homemade Healthy Protein Bars

    • In the Fridge: store cut bars in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Wrap each bar in parchment paper or plastic wrap to make them easy for kids to grab and go.
    • In the Freezer: you can also store these bars in the freezer for up to 6 months. Store bars in an airtight container wrapped with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. Allow to thaw for a couple minutes out of the freezer to allow them to soften.
    up close shot of healthy protein bars on cooking sheet with sea salt

    Are Protein Bars Healthy?

    Yes! Making cereal bars or granola bars at home rather than buying them at the store allows you to control the added sugar content. We love that these are naturally sweetened with agave nectar and loaded with healthy nuts and fiber.

    There are loads of health benefits associated with incorporating more whole grains and nuts into your diet – and these cereal bars have both!

    Other Protein Packed Recipes to Try

    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Yield: 18 serving(s)


    • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
    • 2 1/2 cups puffed wheat cereal
    • 1/2 cup almond slivers
    • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (you can also use pepitas)
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup agave nectar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla


    1. Combine oats, puffed cereal, almonds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
    2. In a small saucepan, combine butter, peanut butter, agave nectar, brown sugar, and salt. Bring mixture to a slight boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
    3. Pour mixture quickly over the dry ingredients (like Rice Krispies treats). Stir to combine. (The chocolate chips will melt as you stir.)
    4. With wet fingers, press mixture VERY FIRMLY into a 9x13 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Let them harden. (I put them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden quickly before cutting.) Cut into approximately 18 pieces.
    5. Store in the fridge or freezer.

    Nutrition Information Per Serving

    Serving Size: 1 bar

    Calories: 235

    Protein: 5 gram(s)

    Fat: 14 gram(s)

    Carbohydrates: 24 gram(s)

    Fiber: 3 gram(s)

    Sugar: 14 gram(s)

    Sodium: 587 milligram(s)

    *You can use honey but I prefer Agave Nectar which has a low glycemic index; is less sticky than honey; and has all the useful properties of real sugars when baking.

    From the kitchen of:

    Rate this Recipe

    1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.06 out of 5)


    on Reply

    Can these bars stay at room temperature for a while? They sound delicious but my husband has sensitive teeth to cold.

      on Reply

      Yes - You will want to freeze them at first to make sure they harden. However, after they are made I am sure you could keep at room temperature! If you do try it at room temperature let me know how it works!

    on Reply

    Do you know what the saturated fat amount is? Looking forward to trying them!

      on Reply

      Saturated fat = 3 grams. Enjoy!

    on Reply

    What about another nut butter or seed butter?

      on Reply

      yes you can use whatever 'butter' you love.

    on Reply

    These bars are AMAZING!!! Way better than anything you buy in the store. My husband and I love them. I use dark chocolate chips and rice krispies for the cereal. These are a staple in our freezer every week. I have also given this recipe along with your name to several of my friends.

      on Reply

      Judy - I am so happy to hear that you and your husband are a fan of these bars! This recipe is definitely a family favorite, as I used to make these weekly for my kids when they were growing up! Thank you for passing this recipe along to friends and family!! Enjoy!

    on Reply

    I made these with a little variation...I used Kashi (original) cereal (even more nutritious) instead of the wheat puff cereal and mini chocolate chips. They turned out great! Added more protein and fiber to the recipe!

    on Reply

    I love this recipe! So much better than store bought.

    on Reply

    Hi. I think it is unique that I am making these for a group of friends that is climbing Mt. Ranier in July.

    on Reply

    LOVING all of your recipes! I've used this one a few times and cut the agave and brown sugar to 1/2 cup each. I also use rice krispies instead of puffed wheat. My kids and clients LOVE THEM! We also LOVE all the balls! Keep em coming!!

    on Reply

    Can you use Rice Krispies instead of puffed wheat for people needing gluten free?

      on Reply

      You can use substitutions. Try it and let me know how it works!

    on Reply

    can you omit the peanut butter?

      on Reply

      Well, it’s one of the main ingredients, so I wouldn’t recommend it. You could try it and see how it comes out?

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