Easy No-Bake Dried Fruit
and Nut Bars Recipe

If you're looking for an easy no-bake dried fruit and nut bars recipe, I'll happily share mine with you!

Great news: You don't need a food processor, parchment paper, or baking tins because you don't need to bake these bars.

No-Bake Dried Fruit and Nut Bars on a plate

Most "granola bars" are a type of snack bar that typically consists of rolled oats, nuts, dried fruits, and a sweetener such as honey or sugar. The ingredients are usually mixed together and baked until crispy and golden brown. Granola bars are a convenient and portable snack option, providing us with a mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fiber.

However, this Easy No-Bake Dried Fruit and Nut Bars recipe offers a simple alternative to traditional granola bars. By using just five ingredients—dates, dried apricots, mixed salted nuts, dried cranberries, and honey—you can create a delicious and nutritious snack without the need for baking.

The combination of dates and honey acts as a natural sweetener and binding agent, holding the bars together. Dried apricots and cranberries provide additional sweet and tart flavors, while the mixed salted nuts add a savory crunch and a boost of healthy fats and protein.

Make Easy No-Bake Dried Fruit and Nut Bars Recipe

Ingredients For a Perfect Snack Bar: 

  • 25 dates
  • 15 dried apricots
  • 4 oz. mixed salted nuts
  • 1-1/2 oz. dried cranberries
  • 3 oz. (approximately) room temperature honey 

How to Make No-Bake Dried Fruit and Nut Bars:

  1. Cut the dates and apricots into similar-sized pieces.
  2. Grab a sandwich bag, add the nuts, zip it closed - and gently pound the nuts with a rolling pin to break up the bigger nuts.
  3. Add the cranberries, and mix everything well in a large glass bowl.
  4. Add the honey and bind the ingredients until they clump together.
  5. Chill for at least two hours in the freezer.

Nutritional Value per half bar (1/16 of the recipe):

  • 114 calories
  • 1.8g protein
  • 3.7g fat
  • 20.8g net carbs

Check out Susan's Video!

Fruit Variations and Adding Rice Krispies, or Natural Peanut Butter

You may wish to add golden raisins (made from green grapes), or regular raisins (made from red or black grapes).

Another popular "binder" is Kellogg's Rice Krispies™. Instead of using honey, try using natural peanut butter! The variations are truly endless!

NOTE: To make my no-bake bars, all you need is a big glass bowl and a good stirring utensil. Mix well until they form a sticky mixture that can be easily pressed into these awesome silicone fruit bar molds (from Amazon).

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases with no price increase to you. Read disclosure here.

Using a spoon, press the mixture into the mold cavities with a fair amount of pressure with the back of the spoon so that you get the goodies into the corners!

This simple process makes this easy no-bake dried fruit and nut bars recipe an excellent choice for those looking for a quick snack option with wholesome ingredients that don't require heating the oven. Be warned: They are sticky, though. They are the total opposite of a dry hard commercial granola bar, IMHO.

Overall, my great recipe offers a unique twist on the traditional granola bar, providing a wholesome and satisfying snack that can be prepared in minutes and is full of good stuff from nature.

Vacuum Sealer SURPRISE:

What's In a Traditional Granola Bar Anyway?

granola bars

Granola is a breakfast and snack food consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until it is crisp, toasted, and golden brown.

During the commercial baking process, the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose breakfast cereal consistency. Dried fruit, such as raisins and dates, and confections such as regular chocolate (or dark chocolate) are sometimes added.

Bear in mind when using chips and the no-bake method, the chips won't melt! They'll retain their shape. When making homemade granola bars all you need is a large mixing bowl and a strong arm to mix the dry ingredients, oh, and the silicone fruit bar mold shown above - or roll the mix into balls.

The name "granola" comes from the word "granula," which was the name of a similar food invented in the United States in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson, operator of the Jackson Sanitarium in Dansville, New York. Jackson's granula was made from graham flour and was similar to an oversized form of Grape-Nuts™.

In the 1960s, granola was revived as a health food by various health food advocates, including Layton Gentry, CALS Wellness Committee ECALS College of Agricultural & Life Sciences and Adelle Davis

It became popular in the 1970s, especially among hippies who had an interest in natural and organic foods.

Granola bars have become popular as a convenient, on-the-go snack that provides energy and nutrients from the oats, nuts, and dried fruits used in granola.

Why Bake Granola Bars?

Rolled oats are the most commonly used oats in granola bars and do not need to be baked - but often are. The main reason for baking dried fruit bars or granola bars is to achieve a specific texture and to help the ingredients bind together more effectively. Baking serves several purposes:

  1. Texture enhancement: Baking granola bars helps to create a firmer, chewier texture. The heat from the oven toasts the oats, nuts, and other ingredients, giving them a pleasant crunch and a more complex flavor profile. This toasted, crispy texture is a defining characteristic of many granola bar recipes.
  2. Improved binding: Baking helps to melt and caramelize the sweeteners in the recipe, such as honey or sugar. As the bars cool, these sweeteners solidify, acting as a glue that holds the ingredients together more effectively. This results in bars that are less crumbly and easier to slice and handle.
  3. Flavor development: The high heat of baking can cause the sugars in the recipe to caramelize, creating deeper, more complex flavors. The Maillard reaction, which occurs between amino acids and sugars under high heat, also contributes to the development of rich, toasty flavors in baked granola bars.
  4. Extended shelf life: Baking helps to reduce the moisture content in the bars, which can extend their shelf life. The lower moisture content inhibits the growth of mold and bacteria, allowing the bars to stay fresh for longer.

The first time I baked my dried fruit bars I didn't see much improvement in them keeping their shape. See that recipe and bonus variations here, it's still easy to make and tasty! I also used my dehydrator to aid in drying them out, per point #4 above. What should have been a great snack turned into a bitty mess. Lesson learned. Which is? Don't smash the nuts to smithereens. Just break up the bigger nuts. Consider using sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (pepita seeds) as they're pretty small to begin with and don't need breaking up.

Which brings me to this point: Store your bars in an airtight container. I use my FoodSaver food vacuum sealer and store my bars that way. I cut a 6" x 10" vacuum sealer bag in half. Seal the end of the cut-off part, et voilà! Two bags from one. You can see me doing all that LIVE in the video at the top of the page.

I then put the vacuum-sealed bars in the fridge (because they are ooey gooey sticky!). You may store the vacuum-sealed bars in a freezer bag in the freezer too. 

What About Steel-Cut Oats?

Rolled oats and steel-cut oats are not the same, although they are both derived from whole oat groats. A groat is another name for a grain kernel. Whole oat groats are the result of simply harvesting oats, cleaning them, and removing their inedible hulls. You can most often find these in health food stores. They take the longest to cook, though.

  1. Rolled oats: Also known as old-fashioned oats, these are made by steaming and rolling whole oat groats into flat flakes. This process stabilizes the oils in the oats, which extends their shelf life and makes them cook faster. Rolled oats are commonly used in granola recipes and can be eaten raw or cooked.
  2. Steel-cut oats: Also called Irish oats or pinhead oats, these are made by chopping whole oat groats into smaller pieces using steel blades. They have a chewier texture and take longer to cook than rolled oats. Steel-cut oats are not typically used in granola recipes because of their dense texture and longer cooking time.

In granola recipes, rolled oats are often baked to achieve a crispy, toasted texture and to help bind the ingredients together. Baking also enhances the flavor of the oats and nuts in the mixture. As mentioned earlier, it's not always necessary to bake the oats in a granola recipe.

Some recipes, like raw granola or no-bake granola bars, use rolled oats without baking them. In these cases, the oats are often combined with sticky ingredients like honey, nut butter, or dates to help bind the mixture together. While the texture may be different from baked granola, these no-bake variations can still be tasty and nutritious.

Can I Use Quick Oats?

quick oats

Quick oats, also known as "instant oats" or "one-minute oats," are a type of processed oat that has been pre-cooked, dried, and rolled even thinner than rolled oats. This process allows them to cook much faster than regular rolled oats, hence the name "quick oats."

While quick oats can be a convenient option for some recipes, they may not be the best choice for your no-bake dried fruit and nut bar recipe. Here's why:

  1. Texture: Quick oats have a finer, mushier texture when combined with liquids because they have been processed more than regular rolled oats. This can result in a softer, less chewy texture in your no-bake bars, which may not be as appealing.
  2. Binding: The finer texture of quick oats may not bind as well with the other ingredients in your no-bake recipe compared to regular rolled oats. This could lead to bars that are more crumbly and less likely to hold their shape.
  3. Nutritional content: Due to the additional processing, quick oats may have slightly less fiber and protein compared to rolled oats.

Substitute Brown Rice Syrup or Maple Syrup for Honey: Here's Why

Consider substituting brown rice syrup and maple syrup for honey. They make great alternatives to honey in your no-bake dried fruit and nut bar recipe.

  1. Brown rice syrup: This is a natural sweetener made from cooked rice that has been treated with enzymes to break down the starches into simpler sugars. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor and is less sweet than honey. Brown rice syrup is an excellent binding agent due to its sticky texture, making it ideal for no-bake bars. It's also considered a vegan alternative to honey.
  2. Maple syrup: Made from the sap of maple trees, maple syrup is another natural sweetener that can be used in place of honey. It has a distinctive flavor that can complement the taste of dried fruits and nuts in your bar recipe. Maple syrup contains antioxidants and minerals like zinc and manganese, which may offer some health benefits. However, it is thinner in consistency compared to honey or brown rice syrup, so you may need to adjust the amount used to achieve the desired texture.

Both brown rice syrup and maple syrup can be used as substitutes for honey in your no-bake bar recipe for various reasons:

  1. Vegan-friendly: If you want to make your bars vegan-friendly, using these plant-based sweeteners instead of honey is a suitable option.
  2. Flavor variation: Using different sweeteners can subtly change the flavor profile of your bars, adding depth and complexity to their taste.
  3. Availability: If you don't have honey on hand or prefer not to use it, brown rice syrup and maple syrup are readily available alternatives.

When substituting these sweeteners for honey, keep in mind that you may need to adjust the quantities slightly to achieve the desired consistency and sweetness level in no-bake dried fruit bars.

Can I Use Coconut Oil or Almond Butter to Aid in Binding?

In my other dried fruit and nut bars recipe, I did indeed add some MCT oil (coconut oil). To be honest, I didn't notice any benefit in binding the mix. Using something "stiff" like almond butter would have been better. Read more about how to make almond butter here.

When looking to make healthy granola bars, or energy balls shown below, just know they are similar in some ways but have a few key differences:

energy balls - CANVA


  1. Ingredients: Both energy balls and granola bars often include ingredients like oats, nuts, dried fruits, and a sweetener such as honey or maple syrup.
  2. Nutritional content: Both are typically designed to provide a balanced mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein for a quick burst of energy.
  3. Convenience: Energy balls and granola bars are both portable, making them convenient snacks for on-the-go or pre/post-workout.


  1. Shape and size: Energy balls are typically smaller and round, while granola bars are larger and rectangular or square-shaped.
  2. Preparation: Energy balls are often no-bake and can be made by mixing ingredients in a bowl and then rolling them into balls. Granola bars, on the other hand, are usually baked or pressed into a pan and then cut into bars.
  3. Texture: Energy balls tend to have a softer, more malleable texture due to their no-bake preparation and smaller size. Granola bars are often chewier or crunchier, depending on the recipe and preparation method.
  4. Customization: Energy balls can be easily customized by rolling them in various toppings like shredded coconut, cocoa powder, or finely chopped nuts. Granola bars are typically less customizable in terms of individual servings but can be made with a wide variety of mix-ins.

What If I Suffer From Nut Allergies?

For those with nut allergies, simply skip adding the nuts. I would add oats to take their place. They are still scrummy yummy!