DNX FOOD Recipes Crunchy muesli bars (granola bars)

Crunchy muesli bars (granola bars)

Crunchy muesli bars (granola bars) post thumbnail image

Adapted from my chewy muesli bars, this is a recipe for crunchy muesli bars that stay crunchy for over 3 weeks! I munch on these as a sweet-treat fix, yet they’re healthy enough for breakfast because they’re sugar-free. Endlessly customisable!

Freshly made Crunchy muesli bars

In pursuit of crunchy muesli bars

Chewy muesli bars are so easy to make. They don’t even need to be baked!

Crunchy muesli bars, however, were irritatingly difficult to crack. At least, without using sugar. Wildly popular crunchy muesli bars from my school playground days (mysteriously difficult to find these days – if at all?) had a frightening amount of sugar in them for something marketed as “healthy”.

While I am not one to shy away from sugar in my baking, I just always feel that some things should be a little more wholesome. Muesli bars being one such thing!

Stack of Crunchy muesli bars

Cracking the crunchy muesli bar code

In a nutshell – if you bake a basic muesli bar recipe, it will come out crunchy but doesn’t stay that way for very long. Sometimes a few hours, or the day at best. The next day they are chewy/sticky/sweaty.

For stay-crunchy muesli bars, I found I had to do a double-bake situation:

  • toast the oats and nuts

  • mix with glue (peanut butter and honey)

  • press in pan, chill to firm

  • cut, then bake.

Lots of iterations of the above were tried in pursuit of this final recipe! I hope you love and munch on these crunchy muesli bars for many years to come. 🙂

Crunchy muesli bars ready to be eaten

Ingredients in crunchy muesli bars

Excellent recipe to cater to nut allergies! Just use 2 3/4 cups of “anything you want” though I’d use at least 3/4 cup of oats (my recipe uses 1 1/2 cups) for muesli-bar density. Any less and you will start moving into nut-bar territory (chunkier) and the glue (peanut butter + honey) may be insufficient to hold the bar together.

Express pass: Just use 2 3/4 cups of your favourite muesli mix!

Crunchy muesli bars ingredients
  • Natural peanut butter – This recipe calls for natural peanut butter which is just pure peanuts without sugar and salt added. It’s runnier than commercial peanut butter spread (Bega/Kraft, Skippy, Jif) so it’s easier to mix through. I fear if you try this with commercial peanut butter spread, you will be cursing me with a thick doughy mixture! (Also, pure peanut butter is healthier – no palm oil, no sugar etc).

    I use smooth but crunchy is fine too.

    Non-peanut alternatives – Hazelnut, almond and cashew butter work great! While tahini would be an option I think the sesame flavour would dominate a little too much.

  • Honey – The sweetener for the glue and also what makes the muesli bar crunchy once baked. Maple syrup also works but they are not quite as crunchy and don’t hold together quite as well. But a good alternative.

  • Rolled oats – Just plain rolled oats, like we use for recipes like oatmeal cookies and Anzac biscuits. Not quick oats, not a ready-made porridge mix, not steel cut oats.

  • Almonds – I like chunky bits of almonds in my muesli bars. It’s best to give them a rough chop else you end up with giant pieces of almonds throughout which can make it more difficult to get clean cuts.

  • Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – These always make an appearance in my muesli bars for a nice splash of green colour.

  • Sultanas – My nostalgic dried fruit of choice, though you can absolutely substitute with anything you want.

  • Cinnamon – For flavour. Pumpkin spice mix is also lovely, as is a dab of vanilla extract (mix into the glue). Other spices I like to dabble with include: all spice, mixed spice and ginger.

  • Salt – Don’t skip this! Just a touch makes a difference. It does not make it salty.

  • Mini chocolate chips (optional) – The choc chips in store bought choc chip muesli bars are mini ones which are smaller than regular choc chips used in cookies. Mini ones are about 5mm / 0.2″ wide. I found them at my local Scoop Wholefoods (one of those places where you help yourself and pay by weight) but since deciding to publish this recipe, they have become strangely hard to find! So don’t fret if you can’t find them, just use regular ones.

    Alternative – Chocolate drizzle across the top. Do this after baking! I just pop a small handful of chocolate chips or chocolate melts in a small ziplock bag. Microwave until melted, snip the corner off then drizzle across the muesli bars.

How to make crunchy muesli bars

The order of the steps matter for long-lasting crunchiness!!! And cutting the muesli bars before baking to lock in crunchiness is key. 🙂

How to make Crunchy muesli bars
  1. Toast the oats and nuts in the oven for just 10 minutes. Drying out the oats a bit is a crunchiness insurance step, and toasting the nuts brings out the flavour.

  2. Muesli glue – Warm the peanut butter and honey in the microwave (just 30 seconds) then give it a good mix to combine. The mixture is thinner when it’s warm which makes it easier to mix through.

How to make Crunchy muesli bars
  1. Mix – Put the warm oats/nuts into a heatproof bowl and add everything else: dried fruit, cinnamon powder and salt. Pour over the warm glue then mix until thoroughly combined. It might seem like there’s not enough glue, but there is! Persist, use a cutting motion if needed. If it gets too hard to mix, microwave the bowl for 20 seconds which will loosen the mixture up and make it easier to mix.

  2. Press – Put a sheet of paper over a 20 cm / 8″ square pan (no need to grease and create more washing up for yourself). Then press the mixture evenly into the pan. Hands is easiest, I find.

How to make Crunchy muesli bars

Optional choc chips

  1. Cool then press – If you are topping your muesli bars with choc chips, let the mixture cool a bit first else the choc chips will melt! Then sprinkle across the surface and press in by covering with another sheet of paper (to prevent melting on contact with your hands).

  2. Choc chips – post press!

How to make Crunchy muesli bars
  1. Fridge – Put the pan in the fridge for 1 hour or until it is firm enough to lift the whole slab out without it sagging. At this stage, these are chewy muesli bars so you can eat them as is. But if you are in pursuit of crunchy, plough on!

  2. Cut into 10 bars.

How to make Crunchy muesli bars
  1. Bake for 25 minutes in a moderate oven (160°C/325°F (140°C fan-forced) until they are quite golden. You need to be brave here because pale = not as crunchy as they could be, but burnt = bitter! Check at 22 minutes to be cautious.

  2. Cool for crunch! You will be able to feel that the muesli bars are crunchy but touching them. But don’t try to move or pick them up until they are fully cool so they will set and harden.

How to store Crunchy muesli bars so they stay crunchy

Storing crunchy muesli bars

Once fully cool, store them in an airtight container to preserve crunch. In “normal” weather, they will stay crunchy for up to 5 days just keeping them in the pantry. This also means you can pop them in a lunchbox and they’ll stay crunchy!

But to prolong the crunchy-life of these muesli bars and most especially in hot, humid weather (ie Sydney right now!), store the muesli bars in the fridge. This keeps them crunchy for well over a fortnight. I’m up to three weeks and they are still fine!

And actually, in warm weather, munching on cool muesli bars straight out of the fridge is actually very appealing.

Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

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Freshly made Crunchy muesli bars

Crunchy muesli bars (granola bars)

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5 from 9 votes
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Recipe video above. I’ve never come across a crunchy muesli bar recipe that stayed crunchy beyond a day. So I decided to make my own – and these stay crunchy for 3+ weeks! Adapted from my chewy muesli bars, I found the key to be lightly toasting the oats then cutting the bars before baking. The chewy muesli bars also have a higher ratio of honey and peanut butter which is what makes them chewy!PS Even though they’re sugar free, I munch on these when I need a sweet-treat fix, yet they’re healthy enough for breakfast.


The glue:

  • 1/4cuphoney(Note 1)
  • 1/4cupnatural peanut butter, smooth(or crunchy!) (Note 2)

Muesli bars (Note 3):

  • 1 1/2cupsrolled oats*(not steel cut)
  • 1/2cupalmonds*, roughly chopped
  • 1/4cuppepitas*(pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2cupsultanas*
  • 3/4tspcinnamon powder(or other, like pumpkin spice)
  • 1/4tspcooking / kosher salt
  • 2tbspsmall chocolate chipsor 3 tbsp regular dark choc chips, optional (Note 4)


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F (140°C fan-forced). Place a sheet of baking paper over a 20 cm / 8″ square tin with overhang so it’s easy to lift out later (no greasing needed).
  • Toast: Spread the oats, chopped almonds and pepitas on a tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Tip into a heatproof bowl. (Note 5) Add the sultanas, cinnamon and salt.
  • Muesli mixture: Microwave the honey and peanut butter in a heatproof jug for 30 seconds on high. Mix to combine. (Note 6) Pour over the oat mixture and mix through. It might seem like it won’t mix in, but persist, it will! Use a cutting motion if needed. Last resort – Note 7
  • Press: Tip the muesli mixture into the pan then press firmly into the pan. Once cooled, scatter the choc chips across surface (if using). Cover with a sheet of paper then press down firmly with your hands to push the choc chips in.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm enough to lift out without bending.
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F (140°C fan-forced).
  • Cut: Use the paper overhang to lift the muesli slab onto a cutting board. Cut in half, then each into 5 (10 bars). Transfer onto a tray using the paper, then space the muesli bars out.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until quite golden on the surface and golden brown on the edges but not burnt.
  • Cool & crunchy: Remove from the oven and cool on the tray – it will become crunchy! Store in an airtight container once cooled, in the fridge if it’s warm where you are. It will still be crunchy 3 weeks later!

Recipe Notes:

* Switch these with whatever you want, use 2 3/4 cups total. See Note 3 for more info.1. Honey – Maple syrup can be substituted but it doesn’t have quite the same glueing strength as honey. But it will still work, the muesli bars just crumble a little more easily when you bite into them.2. Peanut butter – Natural, pure peanut butter that is 100% peanuts with no sugar, salt etc added is best here, for flavour and thickness (commercial spread is much thicker so it’s harder to mix through).Non-peanut alternatives – almond, cashew or hazelnut butter. Tahini has been suggested which I haven’t tried because I feel the sesame flavour would overwhelm.3. Stuff – You can basically use 2 3/4 cups of any “stuff” you want (I’ve made this using just a budget muesli mix) though you need at least 3/4 cup oats for the mixture to have the right density to glue together. I like the ratio I’ve listed above – sufficient dried fruit for natural sweetness, right amount of nuts for crunch!4. Choc chips used in commercial muesli bars are smaller than the baking chips used for chocolate chip cookies. I found them at Scoop Wholefoods (those places where you help yourself and pay by weight). Else, just use regular choc chips OR drizzle the muesli bars with melted chocolate (like store bought ones).5. Use a heatproof bowl for mixing in case you need to rewarm the mixture to loosen it up.6. Heating makes it thinner so easier to mix through.7. Last resort – microwave for 20 seconds to loosen the mixture up.If the mixture gets too thick to mix the “glue” through evenly, microwave for 20 seconds to loosen the mixture up then mix again.Storage – They will stay fresher and crunchier for longer if they are stored in the fridge in an airtight container. They are actually really nice eaten cold, straight from the fridge! But if it’s not hot and humid where you are, they can even be stored for around 5 days just in the pantry. Nutrition per bar. I find that one bar makes a good breakfast – and I have a hearty appetite!

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 183cal (9%)Carbohydrates: 24g (8%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.002gSodium: 89mg (4%)Potassium: 211mg (6%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 8g (9%)Vitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 0.5mg (1%)Calcium: 34mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Life of Dozer

Early morning at his second favourite place on earth – Bayview dog beach. (I like to think his first favourite is wherever I am!)

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