No Bake Fruit and Nut Bars

These healthy, chewy no-bake fruit and nut bars are packed with wholesome ingredients like nuts, fruit, and nut butter, AND they have no added sugar. They come together in minutes, so you can always keep a batch in your refrigerator or freezer.

Enjoy one of these energy bars after a workout, during a hike, as a guilt-free afternoon sweet treat.

I love to keep a healthy, sweet snack in my refrigerator or freezer for an afternoon snack or after-dinner treat — and energy bars or balls are my go-to snack.

When my lemon tree is overflowing, I make my Lemon Coconut Flaxseed Protein Balls. And when I'm craving something sweet and dessert-like (but healthy), I'll whip up a batch of my German Chocolate Protein Bars. These no-bake bars are another favorite recipe.

Why This Recipe Works

  • HEALTHY - It's packed with wholesome ingredients like dried fruit, nuts, almond butter, and pumpkin seeds. They're high in protein and have no added sugar.
  • CUSTOMIZABLE - Add any fruits, nuts, or flavors you have on hand.
  • NO BAKE - Chill the dough in the refrigerator and cut it into squares.
  • INEXPENSIVE - You'll save tons of money on packaged fruit and nut bars.

Recipe Ingredients

Here's what I use for these bars. I've included some substitutions and variations in the section below.

Be sure to check out the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients with measurements.

Ingredients for no bake fruit and nut bars.

Dried dates: These provide lots of natural sweetness and hold the ingredients together. Make sure you use fresh dates, though. Old dates (while still edible) tend to dry out on the outside, and they don't process as smoothly. If your dates are a little on the dry side, put them in a bowl, cover them with warm water, and soak them for 15 minutes to soften.

Oats: Use Old Fashioned oats. Steel-cut oats are too hard and won't soften in this recipe. Also, I advise against using quick oats because they don't add much body. Plus, they're more processed and have a higher glycemic index.

Nut butter: I like the healthy fats it provides, and it also helps bind the ingredients together.

Nuts and seeds: These add more healthy fat and a little bit of protein. I recommend slivered or sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds, but any nuts or seeds will work.

Dried fruit: Tart cherries are tasty, and they're natural inflammation-fighters if you eat them as a post-workout snack.

Protein powder: Add it if you want to balance the macros. I usually use chocolate protein powder in this recipe, but vanilla works too. Or if you just want the fruit and nut flavor to come through, use unflavored protein powder.

Regardless of which type of protein powder you use, choose one with minimal ingredients. It should have some type of protein, stevia or monk fruit as a sweetener, and cocoa powder or vanilla as a flavor.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Swap peanut butter or any other nut butter for almond butter. For a nut-free option, try sunflower butter.
  • Instead of dried cherries (or in addition to them), try chopped, dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries, or strawberries. They're all packed with antioxidants.
  • Add chopped dark chocolate, mini chocolate chips, or coconut.
  • Experiment with different types of protein. To keep this recipe vegan, use a plant-based protein powder. For more muscle-building power, use whey protein (learn the major differences between plant and animal-based protein powder in this article). And for a yummy way to get your glow on for healthy skin and nails, try collagen.
Fruit and nut bars on a sheet of parchment paper. A spatula is lifting one bar away from the rest.

How to Make Fruit and Nut Bars

1. Add the dates and nut butter to the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth — about 30 seconds. If you don't get this initial "glue" nice and smooth, your bars will not hold together well.

fruit and nut bar ingredients. Dried dates and nut butter in a food processor.

2. Add the protein powder and pulse until it's incorporated. Then, add the oats and process for another 30 seconds. The oats will break down, but you'll still see some pieces.

fruit and nut bar ingredients in a food processor.

3. Add water or oats as needed to achieve the right consistency. Feel the dough. It if seems too crumbly (it probably will), add water, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Pulse and check the dough again. It should be sticky and hold together when you squeeze it in your hands. If it gets too wet, add more oats.

4. Add the nuts and seeds and pulse about 10 times to combine everything. It should look like this:

Dough for fruit and nut bars in a food processor.

5. Add the dried, chopped fruit. Add it to the bowl of the food processor and pulse another 10 times if you want very small fruit pieces. Or, if you prefer larger chunks of fruit, transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and stir the fruit in by hand. You might need to get your hands in there to really combine it.

6. Press the dough into an 8x8 baking pan and chill it in the refrigerator. Once it's firm, cut it into squares.

A person holding a white spatula spreading fruit and nut bar dough into a baking pan.

Expert Tip!

Line your pan with parchment paper and leave enough hanging over the sides of the pan so you can lift the dough out before cutting it. The bars are much easier to cut when you remove them from the pan.

Recipe FAQs

Are fruit and nut bars healthy?

It depends on the ingredients, which is why I prefer to make my own. Bars with added sweeteners (even honey) will probably be higher in calories. Bars with no protein might be too high in carbohydrates for someone on a low- or moderate-carbohydrate diet.

How long do homemade energy bars last?

Store these bars tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for about two months (although they won't last that long!). If stored too long, they tend to dry out.

Other Related Fruit and Nut Recipes

Fruit and nuts are always a smart choice for healthy snacking. Try these related recipes.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

Recipe

No Bake Fruit and Nut Bars

Chewy and delicious energy bars for a healthy snack.
4.80 from 15 votes
Print Pin
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Diet: Lower Carb, Heart Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
chill time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 204kcal

Equipment

  • food processor
  • baking pan
  • measuring cups
  • spatula

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup almond butter or other nut butter if you prefer
  • ½ cup chocolate protein powder or vanilla or plain if you prefer
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • cup salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • cup dried cherries chopped
  • ½ cup dried apricots chopped

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, combine the dates and almond butter. Process the mixture for about 30 seconds or until the dates are smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the protein powder and process for another 30 seconds or until everything is smooth and a dough forms.
  • Add the oats to the food processor and process for another 30 seconds to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Add the almonds and pumpkin seeds to the food processor and pulse about 10 times until they are evenly dispersed.
  • Check the dough with your fingers or a spoon. If the mixture is too dry, add 2 tablespoons of water and process again. Add another tablespoon of water if needed. The dough should be smooth and sticky but stiff. If the dough gets too wet, add extra oats, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Add the chopped apricots and cherries and pulse about 10 more times until the fruit is dispersed.
  • Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined 8x8 baking pan and press the dough in place using your fingers or a spatula.
  • Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour, or the freezer for 30 minutes, and then slice it into bars.
  • Wrap each bar in plastic wrap, and store them in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Notes

If your dates are dry, soak them in about 1 cup of water for 15 minutes before processing. 
I like to get 12 bars from this recipe, but you can cut them smaller or larger.
To freeze, wrap each bar in plastic wrap and keep them in a freezer bag or air-tight container. They'll last for two months. Let them soften at room temperature for 5 minutes before eating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 465IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy!

SaveSave

9 Comments

    1. Hi Lynda, yes you can leave out the protein powder but they'll be lower in protein and higher in carbs. Add more oats to replace the protein so the dough isn't too sticky. You can also add about 1/4 cup of flax meal. It's got protein and healthy fat and should help them stick together. Let me know how it works. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Rose, If you cut this into 14 bars, each one should be 223 calories, 16 grams carb, 7 grams protein and 15 grams fat (from the coconut). If you skip the coconut you'll cut down the calories under 200 calories each. Thanks for visiting!

    1. Oh my goodness! Thanks for catching that. It should be 1/2 cup and I just edited it. You can certainly use more almonds if you like, but 12 cups is a bit much 🙂

  1. These looks super simple and filling! Love the addition of some protein powder for some extra staying power too!

4.80 from 15 votes (14 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.