Oatmeal To-Go Bars (Vegan and Gluten-free)

Want a cozy, nutritious bowl of oatmeal, but as a portable breakfast or snack? These Oatmeal To-Go Bars are hearty, packed with protein and fiber, and quickly stirred together in one bowl. They are also really easy to customize for a nutritious toddler snack or a nut-free school option.

Kids in the Kitchen:

  • Measure: Things like oats and other dry ingredients are great for having toddlers and young kids practice their measuring skills.
  • Dump and stir! To make things easy, you can also measure all/most of the ingredients ahead of time. Then have your child help dump them into a large bowl. Also, using an extra big bowl will help reduce any messes from stirring.
  • Let them choose: Does your little one like raisins or chocolate chips? Let them add them to the batter and sprinkle them on the top after spreading the mixture in the pan.

Tips and Subs for Oatmeal To-Go Bars:

  • Toddler friendly: Avoid choking hazards from large pieces of nuts/seeds. Make sure to finely chop or even grind them in a food processor. Nuts and seeds can be super nutritious for toddlers and young kids, but it’s safer and easier for them to chew if you make them very small. Also, for pickier eaters and toddler, you can simply mix the ground seeds/nuts into the batter and leave the top plain (or add a few mini chocolate chips to add extra interest!).
  • Nut-free?: Although I love using nuts and nut butter in this recipe, it is also totally easy to make the Oatmeal To-Go Bars completely nut-free. You can use sunflower butter, tahini, or any nut-free peanut butter alternative. Seeds like hemp, sunflower, and pumpkin work well in the bars and are very nutritious.
  • Oats: I use a combinations of whole rolled oats and “quick-cooking” oats in this recipe. The whole oats add texture and the quick oats help the bars stay together when baked. However, if you only have rolled oats, there are instructions for making them into a quick oat texture in the recipe notes below.
  • Gluten-free: Make sure to use oats that say “gluten-free” on the package to ensure the bars are gluten-free.
  • Dried fruit: If your dried fruit is very hard and not at all easy to squish, soaking in hot water can be helpful and make the fruit easier to eat in the bars. Just cover the dried fruit in very hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. After soaking, drain and use in the recipe.
  • Helpful equipment: For favorite baking pan, parchment paper, and more, check out my Baking Essentials page on Amazon.

Oatmeal To-Go Bars

All the goodness of a bowl of oatmeal but in a hearty bar that you can take on the go. Easy to customize and stirred together in one bowl.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8 large bars


  • 1 8-inch baking pan


  • 1/2 cup applesauce or mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter, peanut butter, or any nut/seed butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2/3 cup milk (any kind) I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats see note for using all rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax meal
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds optional but adds protein
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup seeds and/or chopped nuts See note below for details
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit chopped if needed


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or grease with oil spray.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the applesauce, almond butter, and maple syrup. Once combined, whisk in the milk.
  • With a rubber spatula or large spoon, stir in the oats, quick oats, flax, hemp seeds, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Once combined, stir in any additional seeds, nuts, and dried fruit.
  • Dump the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  • Bake until golden brown around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Let cool for at least an hour then cut into bars. I usually cut them into 8 large rectangular bars, but you can also cut them into smaller squares if you'd like.
  • Store bars in an airtight container at room temp for one day or in the fridge for 5 days. Individually wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. To defrost, leave in the fridge for a day or on the counter for an hour. Also good if you microwave until warm.


If you don't have quick oats, you can pulse a 1 1/4 cups of rolled oats in a food processor until they are broken up into smaller bits then measure and use in the recipe. Do not over process into a flour. 
For toddlers or young kids, make sure to finely chop or grind up and nuts or seeds you are using in the bars to avoid choking hazards.
For add-ins, I love using pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and sliced almonds, but you can really use anything you like. For dried fruit, I like raisins or dried cranberries. Chopped dried apricots, dates, or prunes are also great options.
You can also add chocolate chips if you'd like. (Makes the bars extra kid-friendly.)
Keyword easy breakfast, granola bar, healthy snack, oatmeal, protein bar

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More Nutritious Baked Goods:

Homemade School Snacks

Banana Protein Muffins (with lentils)

Cottage Cheese Blueberry Muffins

Sweet Potato Snack Bars



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