Looking for a baked oatmeal bar recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth but still deliver healthy, nutritious ingredients? Look no further than these Chocolate Cherry Chia Oatmeal Bars!
Sweet and salty Chocolate Cherry Chia Oatmeal Bars for those times when you want something sweet!
These healthy baked oatmeal bars are chock full of dark chocolate pieces, sweet dried cherries, chia seeds and creamy peanut butter. They're soft and a little chewy and they're topped with chocolate and a touch of flaky sea salt.
And with 5 grams of protein in one small square, you know these are more than just a sweet treat.
What's better than peanut butter and chocolate? Peanut butter, chocolate and cherries in a healthy oatmeal bar!
Even though these chia oatmeal bars are made without oil, they have a soft tender texture. They still hold together beautifully. They are easy to cut into squares without crumbling, something that is often a fault of gluten-free baked goods.
These peanut butter oatmeal bars are made with a generous amount of chia seeds, oat flour and sorghum flour. Honey adds a touch of sweetness. I added rich dark chocolate chips for texture and dried cherries to keep them interesting. And because chocolate and cherry go well with cardamom, I added a little of that, too.
And then to top them off? A generous drizzle of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt!
Sorghum flour: What is it and why should I use it?
I used part oat flour and part sorghum flour in this recipe. Sorghum flour helps to add stability and structure to baked goods. It tastes almost like wheat flour. Sorghum is easy to find in supermarkets and you'll love it in your gluten-free baking! You can read more about the healthy benefits of sorghum flour in 5 Reasons Why You'll Love Baking with Sorghum Flour.
Ready to dive in and make this chewy oat bar recipe?
Ingredients you'll need to make Chocolate Cherry Chia Oatmeal Bars
peanut butter: or almond butter
brown sugar or coconut sugar: I've also made these with Monkfruit sweetener if you're cutting back on sugar.
oat flour: grind rolled oats in a blender to make oat flour
sorghum flour: don't substitute another flour for sorghum. It gives the bars a tender texture, much like a bar made with wheat flour
baking powder and baking soda
quick-cooking rolled oats: pulse rolled oats in a blender if you don't have old-fashioned oats
dried cherries: or other dried fruit. See the suggestions below.
chocolate: chocolate chips or chocolate chunks or white chocolate. I often use stevia-sweetened chocolate chips to reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe.
flaky sea salt: for that sweet and salty flavour we love!
How to Make Chocolate Cherry Chia Oatmeal Bars
Here's a quick overview of what you'll do. Complete instructions are in the recipe card below.
First, combine chia seeds with boiling water to soften and make a gel.
Next, combine the peanut butter, honey, sugar, egg, and water. Add the softened chia seeds.
Stir thoroughly to combine, making sure there are no lumps of chia.
Next, in a large bowl, whisk the oat flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, baking soda, rolled oats and cardamom (if using). Add the cherries and most of the chocolate and stir to combine. Save a few chocolate chips for sprinkling on top before baking.
And finally, spread in a lined pan, sprinkle with a few chocolate chips and bake.
Vary the add-ins to these Chocolate Cherry Chia Oatmeal Bars
You can change the mix-ins for these chewy oat bars to whatever you happen to have in your pantry. With a reliable base like these bars have, you can be creative, switch the add-ins and still have a delicious result!
- Substitute raisins, dried cranberries, or snipped dried apricots for the dried cherries.
- Use any type of chocolate chips or even white chocolate chunks. I've made these with a chopped bar of 85 % dark chocolate, with stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and with regular chocolate chips. Your choice.
- Change the peanut butter to almond butter or other nut butter, if you prefer.
- Leave out the cardamom if it's not a spice you like.
These gluten-free chia oatmeal bars are a healthy choice when you're on the hunt for something sweet but don't want empty calories. They're great for morning coffee, afternoon tea, or to take care of that after-dinner craving for something sweet.
How to store these baked Oatmeal Bars
Cool the bars completely before cutting and storing. These oatmeal bars will stay fresh at room temperature for 2 - 3 days.
For longer storage you can keep them in the refrigerator or freezer. I line an airtight container with a sheet of paper towel, then add the bars on top, adding a sheet of paper towel or parchment paper between layers. Freeze them for 3 to 4 months. They're great to have in the freezer to save for hiking snacks and camping trips.
Are oats gluten-free?
Oats are naturally gluten-free. However, if they are processed in a facility that also processes wheat or other grains containing gluten, celiac sufferers are advised to choose certified gluten-free oats instead.
You don't need to buy oat flour if you have a high-speed blender. Simply grind rolled oats into a fine flour!
Love that chocolate cherry combination?
Apparently I do, too. A quick search here on the blog turned up more!
For more recipe ideas for using rolled oats, see 30 Healthy Oatmeal Recipes.
Chocolate Cherry Chia Oatmeal Bars
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- ¾ cup boiling water
- ½ cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
- ⅓ cup liquid honey
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, lightly packed, or coconut sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ cup oat flour, certified gf, if necessary
- ¼ cup sorghum flour
- 2 tsp baking powder gf, if necessary
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats certified gf, if necessary
- ½ to 1 tsp ground cardamom optional
- ½ cup dried cherries chopped
- ⅓ cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp milk, any plant-based milk
- flaky sea salt
- Heat oven to 350°F. and grease either an 8-inch square baking pan or a 9-inch square pan. Alternatively, line it with parchment paper. I find parchment paper works best when baking gluten-free products.
- Combine chia seeds and boiling water. Stir to ensure it is evenly mixed, as the seeds sometimes tend to clump together. Set aside. It will form a gel-like mass.
- In a medium bowl combine the peanut butter, honey, sugar, egg, and water. Add the softened chia seeds and stir thoroughly to combine. Check to make sure there are no lumps of chia seeds.
- In a large bowl, whisk the oat flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, baking soda, rolled oats and cardamom (if using). Add the cherries and most of the chocolate and stir to combine. Save a few chocolate chips for sprinkling on top before baking.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to blend. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350°F. A 9-inch square pan will take 27 - 29 minutes, and an 8-inch square pan may take a minute or two longer.Do not overbake or bars will be dry. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick. The toothpick should come out clean at the edges of the bars, but be slightly moist in the middle of the pan.
- Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If desired, add a drizzle of melted chocolate and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt to the bars. Melt ¼ cup chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of milk (any kind). Stir thoroughly to combine, then drizzle on cooled bars. Add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
This recipe was originally published in 2018. I have tweaked and updated it with new information and photos.
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I adapted this recipe from Chocolate Chip and Raisin Oatmeal Squares found in Grain Power by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.