Growing up, Honey Nut Cheerios were a pantry and breakfast table staple.
I recently bought an economy-sized box that was on sale and needed to make something with them or else we were going to be eating them until Christmas.
These fast, easy, bars cost just a fraction of storebought bars to make, they’re healthier, and they’ve got fun, bright colors.
I have many other microwave and no-bake granola bar recipes. See the Related Recipes below. These Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (no-bake, vegan, GF) are my favorites for something that has the texture of a Quaker Chewy Granola Bar and are a cinch to make, while still staying in the healthy realm.
I wanted these to be a snack bar or breakfast bar, on the healthier side, while branching out from recipes I’ve already made or tried.
Normally I use corn syrup in my microwave bars because it’s cheap, and it makes an excellent glue to bind ingredients. Very little can escape it’s tacky grip.
However, for these I used honey to play up the honey flavor from the cereal. I will be honest, honey does not make as good of a glue as corn syrup. If I were to remake them, I’d use corn syrup.
At room temperature, the bars do get soft and loose, and you’ll need to store them in the fridge.
I stirred in raisins for extra texture, flavor, fiber, chewiness, and oomph. I know some people don’t like raisins, so feel free to omit them or use dried cranberries, apricots, or another dried fruit.
The recipe is very flexible and you could also stir in honey-roasted peanuts, sliced almonds, or a handful of your favorite trail mix.
I topped them with chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, don’t buy them unless you have really good self-control. They’re crunchy, chocolaty, and one step away from eating chocolate candy-coated sprinkles. So good.
They give a fun, bright pop of color to otherwise boring brown bars, and since I knew I was putting these in my 6 year old’s lunch box, I wanted them to be cheery. If you can’t find them in your area, no biggie. Just use another small seed, nut, or omit.
Between the honey, cereal, raisins, and chocolate-covered seeds, the are were on the sweet side. A sprinkling of Kosher salt cuts that and plays up the salty-and-sweet aspect.
I wish the Cheerios I ate as a kid were this fun to look at.
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- 1/4 cup creamy unsalted butter (half of one stick)
- 1/4 cup honey (light-colored corn syrup may be substituted and will keep the bars firmer at room temp than using honey)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
- 1 cup raisins, optional (1 cup honey-roasted peanuts, 1 cup chopped almonds, or 1 cup trail mix may be substituted)
- about 1/2 cup chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, optional (I used Trader Joe’s)
- pinch sea salt or Kosher salt for sprinkling, optional
- Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, honey, brown sugar, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
- Stop to stir. Mixture will be on the granular side, this is okay.
- Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power. Stop to stir
- Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power. Stop to stir. On this third and final burst, mixture will become quite bubbly and foamy; use caution when removing from micro because this is boiling hot caramel and can cause burns.
- Stir in the vanilla using caution because mixture could bubble up.
- Stir in the cereal.
- Stir in the optional raisins (or nuts).
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan, packing it down firmly with a spatula and smoothing the top.
- Optionally, sprinkle evenly with sunflower seeds and salt (the salt cuts some of the sweetness and I recommend it).
- Cover pan with a sheet of foil (to prevent fridge smells), and place pan in fridge to set up for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, or until bars are completely set before lifting out with foil overhang, slicing, and serving.
- Bars will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I recommend storing them in the fridge rather than room temp because they soften and get loose.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 411Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 801mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 4gSugar: 23gProtein: 10g
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Are you a Cheerios or cereal fun?