These oatmeal raisin bars are soft & chewy, filled with nutritious ingredients and packed with so much flavor and texture. They make for a super healthy (but not boring) and gluten-free quick breakfast that is easy to grab on the go.
I’m so glad you are here. Chances are that if you ended up on this post is because you love raisins. Good-for-you. Raisins are so underrated, right? Sad raisin cookies left behind on the cookie platter hiding in the shadow of the glorious chocolate chunk buttery cookies… I mean, we need to get raisins back in the spotlight!
But this is hard work. I have been trying to sneak in raisins since forever in my I-hate-raisins-husband’s food, just as a personal food nerd challenge. But, not much luck so far. I even managed once to hide a few raisins inside his chocolate chips cookies, but instantly got a dead look after his first bite (no one was hurt during the testing of these bars).
So, as I am desperately still trying to include raisins more often in our household meals (I will not give up), I came up with these delishhhhhhh bars. They are not too sweet, super tender and they will make you feel full for so long!
What’s to love about these oatmeal raisin bars
- Packed with good-for-you ingredients
- So tasty, especially with the creamy sweet pear layer
- Super filling, you won’t be hungry anymore!
- Soft and chewy
Ingredients you will need to make these oatmeal raisin bars
You will mostly need common pantry ingredients to make this recipe. So, even though you will need a few ingredients, I bet you already have most of them in your house.
- Base: raw oats, raisins, vegan milk, pumpkin seeds.
- Sweetener: mashed bananas, maple syrup.
- Binder: peanut butter, chia seeds, corn starch.
- Flavoring: cinnamon, pear.
What is the best type of oats to use for this recipe
I recommend you to use old-fashioned rolled oats (also simply called rolled oats) when making these bars. They are thicker and keep their shape even after cooking, which helps create a pleasant texture to the bars. I love the rolled oats from the brand 365 (good ratio of quality/price).
You could also use the quick cooking oats type if that’s all you have. The texture of the bars might be different, but they will still be really good though.
Do not use instant oats (not robust enough) nor steel cut oats (won’t be cooked enough) for this recipe!
Also, if you are following a gluten-free diet, then be sure to choose a certified gluten-free raw oats! I like these gluten-free rolled oats from Bob’s Red mill.
How to make these oatmeal raisin bars
There are 2 blends to prepare to make these bars: the basic oatmeal mixture and the pear filling.
1- Oatmeal mixture:
Start by combining the dry ingredients: raw oats, raisins, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and cinnamon.
Then, combine the wet ingredients: mashed bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup and vegan milk.
Then combine the dry + wet together. This is the oatmeal mixture.
2- Pear filling:
Simply dice the pears in small pieces and combine with the corn starch, cinnamon and maple syrup.
Once the 2 preparations are ready, then build the bars:
Start by transferring half of the oatmeal mixture to the bottom of a 9 inches square cake pan covered in parchment paper. Press to make sure it is a solid base. I love using my hand to do this. Don’t be shy on the pressing!
Then, add the pear filling over and distribute evenly. With a spoon, press to gently squeeze the fruit just slightly in the oatmeal base.
Then add the rest of the oatmeal preparation and give it another good press, you don’t want any area with loose mixture. Pressing enough will make sure that everything holds well together after cooked!
Oh, did I mentioned you have to press enough on the mixture?!
Watch how to make it
The recipe for these bars can be modified a few different ways, as long as you keep the right ratios of dry vs liquid ingredients to maintain final consistency.
- Swap the raisins for other dried fruits, such as cranberries, chopped apricot or even cherries!
- Swap the pears for apples.
- Swap the pumpkin seeds for other nuts. Keep them on the small side by roughly chopping them first, if necessary.
- Make them nut-free by swapping the peanut butter for sunflower or pumpkin seed butter (and choosing nut-free vegan milk, such as oat milk).
(My husband wanted me to add: swap the darn raisins for dark chocolate chips. You can do this, it’s fine, no judging.)
You can keep the whole dish, covered, in the fridge and cut the bars as you go. Keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
What’s even easier is to cut them ahead of time and store them in a air-tight container so they are easier to grab-and-go.
Also, you can freeze individually cut bars. You can keep them in a air-tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. After taking them out, just thaw them for a few seconds in the microwave or let them thaw at room temperature.
Other oat recipe you might like
- Cinnamon oatmeal cookies
- Pumpkin overnight oats
- Strawberry and chocolate baked oatmeal
- Sweet potato granola
- Oat flour pancakes
- Barley and oat breakfast bowl
- Black bean brownies
- Creamy Matcha Oatmeal
I hope you enjoy these oatmeal raisin bars as much as we do! If you try them, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how they were. Your feedback is so helpful!
Oatmeal Raisin Bars with a pear filling
For the oat mixture:
- 3 1/2 cup old fashioned oat certified gluten-free, if necessary
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup raisin
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup bananas mashed
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 1/2 cup vegan plain milk unsweetened
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
For the pear filling:
- 2 pears (about 2 cups) unpeeled and diced in small cubes
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Pre-heat the oven at 375°. Cover a 9 inches square cake pan parchment paper.
Make the oat mixture:
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, raisins, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the mashed banana and peanut butter until smooth (it will get nice and creamy), then add the vegan milk, maple syrup and stir to combine.
- Transfer the banana mixture to the oats mixture and combine. Set aside.
Make the pear filling:
- In a medium bowl, combine all the pear filling ingredients. Set aside.
Build the bars:
- Transfer half of the wet oat mixture (about 2-2 1/2 cups) in the bottom of the prepared dish and press well to make it an even base (I like to use my hands for this step). You want to press enough so the bars will hold well together after cooking.
- Then, scatter the pear mixture on top, spread it evenly and press with a spoon so the pear mixture slightly squeeze inside the oat mixture underneath.
- Finally, top with the rest of the oat mixture by first scattering small amount over, then spread it evenly and press with your hands. Press enough to make sure everything is tight and make sure there are no loose corners! This will ensure that the bars are holding well after being cooked.
- Cook in the oven uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until the top is browned. Let cool completely before removing the preparation from the baking dish, this will help set the bars before cutting them.
- Cut in bars and enjoy!
- I like these rolled oats from the brand 365 for their good quality/price ratio, but these gluten-free certified rolled oats from Bob’s Red Mill are a better choice if you are following a gluten-free diet. Anyhow, make sure to choose rolled oats (or quick cooking) for this recipe and avoid both instant oat or steel-cut oats.
- As already mentioned, make sure you press enough and that there are no loose corners. This is essential for the bars to hold well together.
- Recipe variations:
– You can use other dried fruits in place of the raisins. Try using dried cranberries, cherries or chopped apricots. I have not tried using chocolate chips for this recipe, but it would also be a delicious variation. If doing so, then use 1/2-3/4 cup of chocolate chips instead of the full one cup of raisins (the chocolate chips will melt and if there are too many, it might prevent the bars from holding well together). – You can use apples instead of pears. – You can use other seeds and nuts in place of the pumpkin seeds. Try using sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts, almond or hazelnut. Make sure the nuts are chopped small enough.
- Storage: The bars can be kept in a air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. I like to cut them before storage so they are easy to grab-and-go. After storing in the fridge, I like to slightly warm them in the microwave for a few seconds before eating them.
- For nut-free recipe: choose oat milk and sunflower or pumpkin seed butter instead of peanut-butter.