No-Bake Apricot Chia Seed Bars

4.73 from 18 votes
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Homemade energy bars are a great road trip or after-school snack for kids and adults! No-Bake Apricot Chia Bars are sweet, chewy, and have only six ingredients. Plus this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, peanut- and tree nut-free making them the perfect healthy no-bake snacks to pack in a lunch box as an allergy-safe snack for school or camp.

No-Bake Apricot Chia Homemade Energy Bars Recipe

I seriously hate driving. Not just driving. I don’t even like being in the car. 

My first long drive on my own was about five hours from Central New Jersey to visit my friend in Syracuse. Every time I went, I’d drive as long as I possibly could before I stopped. I would run into Subway, and then somehow eat a sub while driving, just to minimize my time in the car. A few days later when I was ready to head home, we would usually go get a big breakfast, and then I’d try to make it all the way without so much as a bathroom break.

When it was just The Hubby and me, I always made him drive. I still do, except when I take the boys on my own to make the trek to my mom’s.

And let me tell you, that’s always such a joy. Especially when the 3 1/2 hour trek takes 5 or 6 hours. When it was just the older one, I kind of lucked out because I could easily time our trips around nap time, and he would crash and sleep almost the entire way.

And now it’s even more fun and exciting. The little guy clearly inherited my feelings about being in the car, and The Bug no longer naps unless he is super exhausted. So basically he spends the entire time nagging me.

Ten minutes into the ride he wants a snack. Twenty minutes later he wants to know if we are almost there. Thirty minutes later he has shut his mouth just long enough for his brother to finally fall asleep.

And thirty minutes after that I’m doing 70 mph on the interstate with a million other cars around, and he has to have a snack NNNOOOOOOWWWW. And BAM, the little guy is up and whining for the next 2 1/2 hours.

Luckily, to calm the natives, food usually works. Even speeding down the highway, I can just toss them one of these no-bake apricot chia energy bars!

Stacks of Apricot Chia Homeamade Energy Bars

Apricot Chia No-Bake Energy Bars Recipe

Fast, easy, and healthy, these snack bars are portable and packable. Or keep them in the fridge for when the afternoon hunger pangs start. I know this may seem like a random combination, but out of all of the healthy energy bars, balls and bites I’ve made, this no-bake apricot chia energy bar recipe might be my absolute favorite. OK, maybe the Funky Monkey Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls rank pretty high because I’m a sucker for peanut butter and chocolate. They are sweet and tangy with just a hint of crunch, but are free from peanuts, tree nuts, dairy (if you get dairy-free chips), and gluten.

But there are a few keys to perfect homemade energy bars. Keep the ingredient list short, simple, and nutrient dense. I like to stick with dried fruit, some sort of nut or seed, a superfood like chia seeds or flax seeds, and yes, I do like to sneak in a bit of chocolate for a hint of sweetness. Just grab the six ingredients, your food processor, and a pan, then make these easy bars. 

 

Ingredients

  • Dried dates – provide the sweetness and sticky factor to keep the bars together.
  • Dried apricots – the tangy flavor keeps these sweet bars from being too sweet.
  • Pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) – add crunch and protein but keep these bars peanut-free and nut-free.
  • Chia seeds – most of the time you see chia in overnight oats like Hummingbird Cake Overnight Oats or smoothies or chia pudding where it swells up and gets gel-ish, but here it’s like little bits of crunch. Plus, superfoods for the win!
  • White chocolate chips – provide a creamy bit to balance the fruit, but if you don’t want the added sugar (though it is only a bit), you could leave them out.

Overview

  1. Combine the ingredients (except the chocolate) in a food processor and pulse until it forms almost a thick paste, but where you can still see individual bits of each of the separate ingredients. You might need to stop the processor a few times to scrape it down with a spatula.
  2. Add your chocolate chunks or chips at the end and pulse just a couple of times so the chocolate doesn’t melt.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a square pan lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Press it down firmly. One trick is to use another pan of the same size and place it on top to press the mixture tightly into the pan.
  4. Refrigerate until firm before cutting into squares.
  5. These healthy energy bars will keep for several days at room temperature and a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

Apricot Chia Energy Bars on wax paper squares

How can kids help make energy bars?

They are so quick and easy that the kids can definitely help you make them. They can measure out the ingredients and dump them into the food processor.

I’d suggest an adult run the food processor until everything comes together in a ball and scrape down the sides as needed because the blades can be quite sharp.

Let the kids press it all down firmly in a pan and pop the no-bake energy bars in the refrigerator.

M a batch of these to bring along when you are in the car, at the park, anywhere on-the-go, because they are super portable, super tasty, but not super messy. Always a good thing when you are stuck in a car with two cranky kids.

No-Bake Apricot Chia Healthy Energy Bars

So now that you’ve bought that big bag of chia seeds to make these Apricot Chia Bars, I know you are wondering…

What can I make with chia seeds?

What are more energy bar recipes?

No-Bake Apricot Chia Homemade Energy Bars Recipe

I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

Apricot Chia Energy Bars
4.7 from 18 votes

No-Bake Apricot Chia Energy Bars

It only takes minutes to make this sweet and chewy snack with just a bit of crunch. Perfectly portable, plus they are gluten free, vegan, and nut-free.
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chilling Time 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 16

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Line a 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with wax or paper.
  • Place dates, apricots, chia seeds and cinnamon in a food processor, and process until the mixture forms a large mass.
  • Break up slightly with a spatula, add pepitas to the mixture in the food processor, and pulse until there are small chunks of pepitas.
  • Break up the mixture one more time, add white chocolate chips and pulse a few times to slightly break and distribute the chips.
  • Press the mixture into the prepared pan. You can cover the top with more paper and press an equal sized pan to roll the top with a glass to flatten completely.
  • Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes, then slice into bars or squares.
Nutrition Facts
No-Bake Apricot Chia Energy Bars
Amount Per Serving (1 bar)
Calories 84 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Sodium 3mg0%
Potassium 202mg6%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 305IU6%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 25mg3%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Enjoy!

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61 Comments
  1. Patricia Nordeen

    Hi–these look fantastic! I am allergic to practically everything: nuts, peanuts, some seeds–notably sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Do you think I could use some protein powder and oats? or flax seeds? I know oatmeal won’t give me the kind of crunch flax would give. Any thoughts are much appreciated! xo Patricia

    1. The seeds really do just add some crunch and protein versus really doing a lot to hold it together. If you add protein powder, it might make it more crumbly, you might need to add a few teaspoons of water at a time to get it sticky. So I can’t make any guarantees, but I think you could experiment. Let me know how it goes!

  2. Lucia

    Tried your recipe yesterday and it was perfect. Tasted delicious, Taking it into work today , I’m sure they’ll disappear really quickly. Should have made another batch. Thank you.

  3. These look fantastic, and I’ve been trying to find more ways to fit chia seeds into our diet. My husband has been putting them in his scrambled eggs lately, which I find REALLY odd, but he wants to get them into his breakfast. I think this will be a better way to do that. 🙂

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Thank you, Suzanne. Incidentally, the fact that your husband will eat chia seeds at ALL is a great thing! 🙂

  4. Kay

    5 stars
    Finally made these tonight. Used cashews instead of pumpkin seeds…forgot the cinnamon. They were still delish! My 21 month old ate it up. Will definitely make these again.

  5. Diane Chambers

    5 stars
    I’ve just made this, with a few modifications. Only had baking dates, also added cashews, and walnuts. Will definitely be making this again and again.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the energy bars, Diane. Thank you for your comment and for rating the recipe!

  6. CarolynHR

    Serious question for all bloggers and readers of recipe blogs: does anyone read all the writing and personal stories, and look at all the close up photos, endless sometimes, while scrolling to find the recipe? I never do. Just curious.

    1. Some people do. Blogs are more personal than recipe websites, and some readers and bloggers do form a personal connection. There are a lot of really boring technical reasons for making blog content a certain length too, besides just connecting with the audience, and I am trying to update my posts to include additional recipe tips, some recommended products for making it, related recipes you might like, etc. But if you really don’t want to read, just below the title there is a “Jump to Recipe” button on all of my posts that will bring you right down to the recipe.

  7. Bett Roberts

    I don’t have a food processor, only a blender and a 2 cup chopper. Your recipes sound yummy. I don’t suppose my appliances will work? I hate to buy a processor as there is only hubby and I.

  8. Shirley

    Hi! This recipe sounds delicious but the White chocolate chips are not vegan. I’ll leave them out or maybe sub vegan chocolate chips! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Thank you for noting that, Shirley! I do believe that Enjoy Foods brand sells vegan white chocolate chips.

  9. Debra

    3 stars
    I just made this exactactly to the recipe and it was too crumbly when I tried to cut it so made it into balls and they have worked out fine. Delicious taste!, thanks for recipe.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Debra, I’m sorry to hear that the energy bars didn’t turn out well for you, but I’m glad that you thought to make them into balls so that you could still enjoy them. Tips for next time: You can add a bit of water at a time to make it more sticky. Perhaps your dates or apricots were a bit drier than mine, since sometimes it can vary by brand or how long the package has been open. Also, don’t be afraid to keep running it in the food processor, scraping down as needed. Sometimes the warmth can make it stickier, then you can pop the bars in the fridge to harden again.

  10. 5 stars
    I’m a chef here in Portland and made these for my client today. I added a few scoops of vanilla bone broth protein powder (because my client is trying to boost collagen and protein in his diet) so when the mixture never came together I know its all my fault! 🙂 But I’m a professional – lol – so I added a few tbsp of coconut oil, water and a dash of maple syrup and kept processing until it did. The bars are still a bit crumbly, but delicious!

    I’m really enjoying your recipes! Thank you and keep it up.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Chef Heather, I’m thrilled that you are enjoying my recipes and am so glad you were able to make the necessary adjustments to get the recipe to work for you. Thank you for your comment and recipe rating!

  11. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made a few ingredient adjustments to make it allergy friendly and substituted dried apples for the apricots. I hope you don’t mind that I added it to my lifestyle blog and I made sure to give a link back and credit you for this wonderful recipe.

  12. Totally delicious! Worked like a charm. I didnt have any problems putting it together, made them into energy balls instead of bars. I don’t cut very straight…haha! Used 1 cup of mixed seed (pumpkin/flax/sesame/sunflower). Will make again! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Thank you, Maryam. Haha, energy balls are perfect and a little quicker to make, too. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  13. Hi Brianne, I’ve only recently come across your blog and I love it. I can’t wait to see more. I recently tried out your apricot, chia bars and we absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. Christine

    Hi,
    I want to make these for a class party for my granddaughter. I want to make them ahead of time. How long would they keep in the fridge? Or can they be frozen? Thank you.

  15. Arielle Cohen

    Ummmmm. This did not work for me at all. I followed everything perfectly, with a brand new top of the line breville food processor and it’s not blending at all…. I’m a little unhappy considering how expensive Medjool dates and apricots are…

    1. So sorry to hear it didn’t work out. You do have to blend for awhile to get it to really break down. Also, sometimes certain brands or packaged of dried fruit have a little more or a little less moisture. If if looks to dry, you can try adding a few teaspoons of water at a time.

  16. Allison

    I am always on the look out for this kind of snack since my younger son has nut allergies. He can not eat many of the off the shelf snack bar products or even the high energy backpacking snacks. I am going to try this and see what he thinks. Thanks.

  17. These look awesome. I was just thinking recently that I need to find a good recipe for snack type bars. I LOVE dried apricots, so this might be the recipe I was looking for 🙂

    By the way, one of my coworkers remembers you from back in your chemical engineering days (I work in Rahway)… she came across your blog and realized that she knows you and told me to check it out!

  18. Gayle

    4 stars
    I hear you on the driving with kids thing, though I have 5 instead of 2 but….. I think that my 12 yo son makes as much, if not, more fuss than my 1 yo daughter. On a recent trip to see my dying father, they ALL drove me nuts! Maybe next time, I’ll have a few of these bars on hand and their mouths will be silent for a few minutes! 😉

    Thanks for the recipe, I’m excited to try it out!!

    =) Gayle

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