Sara's "Puffed Rice Granola Bars" Recipe on Food52 (2024)

Make Ahead

by: Merrill Stubbs



6 Ratings

  • Makes about 30 2-inch bars

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Author Notes

My friend Sara is a great cook, and she's forever amazing me with her deftness at making something transcendent out of a few simple ingredients. She doesn't tend to favor elaborate, cloying desserts -- more than once she's ended a dinner party with a plate of her homemade "granola bars." They're chewy and rich, a jumble of nuts, cereal, seeds and dried fruit barely held together with almond butter and honey (no baking involved). She's not shy with the salt, which I think really sets these bars apart. Last week, she shared the recipe with me, and now I'm sharing it with you. These are great to have around, as a dessert or a snack. —Merrill Stubbs

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cupsold fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cupraw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cupraw sliced almonds
  • 1 cupraw pumpkin seeds
  • 3 cupsbrown rice crispies (you can substitute regular rice crispies or puffed rice)
  • 1 cupdried apricots, sliced thinly
  • 1 cupdried cranberries
  • 1 cupalmond butter
  • 1 cuphoney
  • 1 tablespoonsea salt
  • 2 teaspoonscinnamon
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds. (Sara recommends toasting them all separately because of different burn rates -- I found that the pumpkin seeds took the least amount of time, at 7 minutes, and the sunflower seeds the most, at about 15 minutes.)
  2. When all the items are sufficiently toasted, toss them with the brown rice crispies, sliced apricot and cranberries in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the almond butter and honey just to get melty, not cooked. (This is your glue and if it boils or even comes close, it gets hard and yucky.) Stir in the salt and cinnamon, then pour over the oat and nut mixture and stir. You want to get everything incorporated and 'glued' together without crushing the tender crispies.
  4. Turn into a 9x13 baking dish lined with parchment and press the mixture evenly and firmly -- again, try not crush the crispies too much. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. Cut into 2-inch squares before serving.


  • American
  • Apricot
  • Honey
  • Granola
  • Grains
  • Oat
  • Make Ahead
  • Breakfast

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton

  • Julie Cunningham

  • Rocios A. Vazquez

  • Maud Kelley

  • Kathryn Porterfield 1

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72 Reviews

Taylor S. May 29, 2016

I used cornflakes instead of the brown rice crispies. This is a really awesome granola bar! The almond butter+honey binder is a delicious combination. I will definitely be making these again.

Julie C. January 21, 2016

Delicious! I press the mixture into a large rimmed baking sheet so that they are thinner. I wish I could get them to be a bit firmer. After a day or two they don't remain as firm as I'd like. But I will certainly make these over and over again.

Rocios A. September 22, 2015

Can I replace almond butter with peanut butter?

Merrill S. September 22, 2015


Rocios A. September 23, 2015

Great! So happy

Maud K. September 12, 2015

I wish I had read the comments to confirm my suspicions about too much salt. They are so salty I have to make another batch with no salt to work into this one. I can taste the potential in the recipe.

charlotte C. February 24, 2015

Delish!!! A bit to sweet for me as a snack, but a yummy treat. Will try with less honey next time! Thanks

Jes A. February 7, 2015

Any suggestions to replace the oats and rice crisps? Do I just add more nuts?

Kathryn P. January 4, 2015

I freeze them in airtight plastic containers and take out when I want them. Even good frozen, but defrost easily in my lunch bag.

Jes A. January 4, 2015

Also, has anyone had any experience in freezing these for later?

Jes A. January 4, 2015

WOW. These are incredible. Will be making these forever. They are a bit sweet for me though, so I think I will substitute some of the honey for some coconut oil. I know it will alter the flavor, but I am hoping in a good way.

WHB September 8, 2014

Made these over the weekend. Deliciously addictive! Because of allergies in the house, I made some substitutions: soynut butter for almond butter, more seeds and fruit to compensate for the almonds. Since I didn't have honey, I used 1/2 cup brown rice syrup and 1/2 cup date syrup. And since I love dates with cardamom, I used 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ground cardamom. Such a great master recipe. Thanks, Merrill!

Kathryn P. June 21, 2014

I cut back to 2 tsp of salt but it was still too salty, so next time I will use just one. I have substituted 1/2 the nut butter with coconut butter or coconut manna and it is delicious! Also maple syrup or agave for 1/2 the honey. I press them into a jelly roll pan so they are thinner and easier to cut. Using them for healthy munchies in our upcoming wedding welcome bags.

sticksnscones May 27, 2014

I think I've finally found the quintessential granola bar! I added large flaked coconut & toasted flax seeds to mine. I cut back the cinnamon to 1 t. & added 1 t. vanilla.
I was low on honey so used 1/4 brown rice syrup.

fmacmac March 24, 2014

I've made these several times now and always cut way back on the salt - they still taste great.

Mickey0627 March 24, 2014

I made these exactly as the recipes states. They are very good, but a bit too salty. I used 1 tablespoon FINE sea salt. Would it have been better with COARSE sea salt? The almond butter I used was also salted. Besides making them with less salt next time, are there any other suggestions?

Merrill S. March 24, 2014

I would definitely use unsalted almond butter, and maybe cut back 1/2 the salt?

Kgiersch March 15, 2014


BONGO March 3, 2014

These are the best bars ever - and I agree, the salt adds an extra "hhmmph" factor. My first batch (a huge one by the way) was with puffed quinoa instead of rice crispies, cashew nuts, peanuts, pistachios, dried banana, dried mango and cranberry - the cement was peanut butter + a little tahini + a mix of honey/maple syrup/rice syrup. Everything went perfectly, from toasting to binding to fridge and cut. Next time, I might stick to less exotic dried fruits as I thought they didn't fit perfectly in. Also I kept the bars in the fridge all the time, so no crumbling at all and my boyfriend even said they were getting better with time. Now I just want to do them again and experiment with nuts and such... Thank you very much for this great & easy recipe !

Molly C. February 19, 2014

Any ideas to replace the almond butter? Maybe sunflower butter? Nut allergy, sadly.

mammabear1015 April 11, 2014

try tahini paste has kind of a nutty flavor and is made with sesame seeds

mammabear1015 April 11, 2014

You can actually make your own Tahini Paste, it's rather easy. Here is a good recipe:

Use is 1 cup sesame seeds to anywhere from 2 tablespoons of olive oil to 1/2 cup depending on how thick or thin you want it. 1 cup sesame seeds makes about 2/3 of a cup of Tahini, depending on how much olive oil is used.

Lightly toast the sesame seeds over low heat about ten minutes, stirring often, don’t worry about getting a lot of color on them, like you would if toasting nuts. They’re fragile and burn easily, so watch them carefully.

Allow to cool off and then add them to the bowl of a food processor along with a 2 tablespoons of oil to start. You can also use a mortar and pestle.

Pulse until a paste forms, scraping down sides as needed and adding more olive oil to reach a consistency you like.

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Assonta W. January 15, 2014

Made these today, SO SO good plain, but my kids and I decided to spread a little chocolatey goodness over the top and it turned into ridiculous good! If I could add a picture, I would!

Yazoolulu January 6, 2014

I finally made these and they are so delicious. I cut the salt in half, but could have increased it with no problem - I guess it depends on the salt. I had no almond butter, so subbed tahini, and they taste a bit like halvah. These will be on regular rotation from now on.

LeeLeeBee September 19, 2013

These granola bars are great! I toasted everything over the stove instead of in the oven, so it was easier to keep an eye on everything. I did decrease salt to 2 tsp, which I found sufficient. I don't like super sweet things, but I didn't find these too sweet at all. My coworkers gobbled them down!

Sara's "Puffed Rice Granola Bars" Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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