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These No Bake Gluten-Free Chocolate Cereal Bars are the perfect pick-me-up. Packed with protein these energy bars use only natural ingredients with no refined sugar in the chewy cereal filling, no gluten and no dairy for the ultimate salty-sweet treat.
These naturally vegan No-Bake Gluten-Free Chocolate Cereal Bars are perfectly designed for exhausted parents, busy careerists, post work-out keep fitters and demanding children/teenagers of any age and if none of the above apply and you just need a little chocolate pick-me-up then these bars will suit your needs perfectly too.
I first developed this recipe when my eldest child was a toddler. They were my lifeline during 3am night-feeds and they are so quick and easy to make that it was easy to whip up batches of them during naptimes to stash in the freezer for emergencies. I seemed to find an excuse most days to treat myself to one.
Now I have four children and these chewy gluten-free protein bars with their naturally healthy ingredients are just as essential, seeing us all through long stretches between meals, as breakfast bars or perfect energy boosting after school snacks. They are an essential recipe for our household, enjoyed at all times of the day (or night!)
Watch the video to see how to make them
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s a no-bake recipe, so a total breeze to make.
- Effort-free. Just a minimal amount of chopping, a dash of soaking, a quick blend followed by stirring and setting.
- Vegan and naturally dairy-free.
- Gluten-free goodness. We use crisped rice with lots of nuts and seeds for the perfect chewy energy bar.
- Mostly sugar-free. All our sweetness is achieved from medjool dates and of course the bit in the dark chocolate.
- Versatile. You can switch out the ingredients in these nut bars for your favourite nuts or seeds.
- Chewy. The cereal filling is gorgeously chewy, and a perfect texture contrast to the crisp chocolate topping.
If you love chewy gluten-free granola bars then I also recommend this recipe for a perfect snacking choice >>> Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars
Full list of ingredients
- Dark chocolate. Choose a vegan chocolate if you need your energy bars to be dairy-free. Any percentage is fine but I use 72% dark chocolate.
- Medjool dates. The soft caramelly texture of medjool dates are hard to beat. Their sticky texture holds the cereal filling together.
- Gluten-free crisped rice. They lose their crispy texture in this recipe instead adding to the delicious chew of the bar. Be warned many brands of crisped rice often contain wheat so make sure the one you choose is gluten-free.
- Nuts. It’s up to you which nuts you choose but cashews and pistachios work particularly well.
- Seeds. Again, choose your favourites but I recommend sesame seeds, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
- Almond butter. Adding gorgeous flavour and helps bind our cereals together.
- Coconut oil. This not only helps to hold the ingredients together once you chill the bars, but is also added to the chocolate topping for a glossy crisp finish.
- Vanilla extract. Here you must use a good quality vanilla extract. I like Nielsen Massey.
- Salt. Using flaked sea salt in the bars themselves and a little bit sprinkled over the top is absolutely essential.
For full recipe instructions go to the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Dates. Soak the dates in just boiled water for half an hour.
- Dry ingredients. Mix the crisped rice, nuts and seeds in a large bowl.
- Wet ingredients. Pour coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla and salt into the soaked dates and blend.
- Mix and set. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix and pour into baking tin lined with parchment. Chill.
- Chocolate. Melt the chocolate with coconut oil and salt then pour over the set cereal bar mixture and spread out evenly with a rubber spatula.
- Chill again then cut into bars.
Tips for best results
- Use a small-medium bowl to soak your dates in so that they will be submerged by the water as much as possible.
- It’s easiest to use an immersion blender for mixing the wet ingredients as you can do it straight into the bowl with the soaked dates but if you don’t have one then you can pour your ingredients into a stand blender or use a food processor (the latter is what I used in the images above).
- So that your cereal bars don’t stick to the side of your tin, cut two long strips of baking parchment so you can line the tin along the bottom and up both sides of the tin. Clip the overhang of the parchment to the tin with foldback clips to secure (see video above for example).
- The recipe recommends chilling the bars to let the layers set. If I’m honest I usually pop them straight into the freezer for 15 minutes so they set quicker.
How to store
These Cereal Bars keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They don’t do so well at room temperature as they go a little soft and crumbly.
How to freeze
When I make a batch of these protein bars I usually cut them and place them straight into the freezer, stacked between baking parchment, in an airtight container.
You can eat these bars directly from the freezer. The chocolate is a little crisper but the chewy cereal part of the bar remains exactly the same.
You can keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Variations to try
There are all sorts of add ins you can make to your Chocolate Cereal Bars. Here are some options..
- Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I like them roughly chopped and added into the cereal filling or scattered whole over the melted chocolate topping.
- Chocolate chips. If you want to make the bars quicker then add chocolate chips directly into the chewy cereal bar rather than melting the chocolate into a topping.
- Peanut butter. Switch out the almond butter for peanut butter for a change in flavour.
- Quick oats. Add a couple of tablespoons to the cereal filling.
More great recipes like this that are totally gluten-free
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Green Banana Flour Chocolate Protein Balls
- Healthy Banana Flapjacks
- Healthy Coconut and Blueberry Bars
- Raw Cranberry Energy Bars
I urge you to give these Gluten-Free Chocolate Cereal Bars a try. If you do then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating which helps others find the recipe on Google. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cereal Bars
- 10 medjool dates - pitted and roughly chopped
- 50 g cashews - roughly chopped
- 50 g pistachios - roughly chopped
- 50 g gluten-free crisped rice
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon flaxseeds
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil - melted
- 50 g almond butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 175 g dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt + extra for sprinkling
- Use two long strips of baking parchment to line a 20cm square tin. Cross them over in the middle and line them along the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Secure the overhang to the edges of the tin with foldback clips and grease the parchment.
- Place the dates in a small bowl with 75ml boiling water, pushing them down to make sure they are evenly submerged. Leave for half an hour to soak.
- Mix the crisped rice, cashews, pistachios, sesame seeds, chia seeds and ground flaxseed in a large bowl.
- Pour the coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla extract and salt into the bowl with the soaked dates and blend using a handheld blender until smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well until everything is evenly combined.
- Press the mixture into the lined tin and flatten the surface with a rubber spatula so that it is nice and even then place in the fridge for at least an hour to set.
- Melt the chocolate, coconut oil and salt in a bain marie or bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the set cereal mixture and spread out evenly with a palette knife.
- Place back in the fridge for at least an hour to set.
- Remove from the fridge, sprinkle over extra sea salt and cut into bars.
- Switch out the nuts and seeds suggested in the recipe for your favourite nuts and seeds. See the post above for suggestions.
- If you don’t have a handheld blender then you can pour the wet ingredients into a stand blender instead.
How to storeI recommend storing these bars in the freezer, stacked between baking parchment, in an airtight container. You can eat these bars directly from the freezer and they will keep well for up to 2 months. Or store in the fridge where they will keep for up to 5 days.
Ingredient measurementsPlease note when you see ‘grams’ listed as opposed to ‘millilitres,’ or any other term of measurement, that is not incorrect. I weigh all of my ingredients, including liquids, for accuracy. US customary measurements for the ingredients provided are based on a conversion calculator. This recipe was tested with metric measurements and I recommend using a digital scale to weigh ingredients for the most accurate results. READ MORE >>> Why you should always weigh vs measuring with cups
- Please note that the nutrition information provided below is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use. Please seek a professional nutritionist’s advice for further clarification.
- The nutrition serving is for 1 cereal bar, assuming you portion the recipe into 12.