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When you need a road trip or after-school snack for kids and adults, you can’t go wrong with homemade energy bars. These 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 allergy-safe and healthy no-bake snacks to pack in a lunch box for school or camp.
The Best Homemade Energy Bars
Fast, easy, and healthy, snack bars are portable and packable. It’s also great to keep them in the fridge for when the afternoon hunger pangs start. But what are the keys to perfect homemade energy bars?
Keep the ingredient list short, simple, and nutrient dense. Make them easy to prepare and relatively mess-free to grab on the go. And, if course, they have to be delicious!
These Apricot Chia Energy Bars tick all of those boxes. They are sweet and tangy with just a hint of crunch. You just have to grab the six ingredients, your food processor, and a pan. And all you have to do is pulse everything together, press it into a pan, chill, and cut into squares.
In no time you’ll be ready to calm the kiddos, whether you toss them into the back seat during a road trip or when they run in the house after school saying they are starving!
Energy Bar Ingredients
Yes, you only need 6 ingredients to make these easy no-bake bars! Be sure to read the labels for cross-contamination risks so that you can ensure they are gluten free, if needed. And you can also make them without nuts or dairy, too!
- 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.
- Cinnamon – adds a hint of warm spice.
- 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.
How to Make Homemade Energy Bars
These healthy snack bars come together in no time.
Make the mixture: Combine the dried fruit, cinnamon, and chia seeds 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.
Add the seeds and chips: Add the pepitas and pulse a few times tp incorporate them, followed by the white chocolate. Only pulled a couple of times to mix it in so the chocolate doesn’t melt.
Press into the pan. Transfer the mixture to a square pan lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Press it down firmly.
Cool and cut. Refrigerate until firm before cutting into squares.
Storing Apricot Chia Bars
Transfer your bars to a container with a lid and seal them well. They will keep at room temperature for several days, and a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. You can even individually wrap them or place them in plastic baggies and freeze them for up to two months. Pull out as many as you need the night before, or pop a frozen bar into a lunchbox – it’ll thaw by lunchtime!
Tips for Success
- Get the kids involved. 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 – keep their fingers away when you are pulsing it. Then let the kids press it into the pan.
- Don’t over-process. You want to leave some texture, which is why I like to add the pumpkin seeds after getting the dried fruit worked into apaste. Also, you don’t want to run the food processor too long after adding the chocolate because the warmth it generates will melt it.
- Line the pan. You’ll need a layer of wax or parchment paper or even plastic wrap to be able to lift the bars out of the pan.
- Try the double pan trick. One thing I do every time is to use another pan of the same size and place it on top to press the mixture tightly into the pan. That packs it in tightly and gives it a nice, even surface.
- Make variations. You can use roughly the same ratio of dried fruits, seeds, and mix-ins to make all kinds of homemade energy bars with your favorite flavor combinations.
More energy bar recipes
- Mango Coconut Energy Bars bring in the tropical flavors.
- Cherry Lime Energy Bars are sweet and tangy.
- Cherry Chocolate Energy Bars combine two amazing flavors into one snack bar.
- Caramel Banana Energy Bars taste totally ooey gooey, but are still good for you.
- Banana Nut Energy Bars are a no-bake way to enjoy the flavor of banana bread.
Shop the Recipe
FOOD PROCESSOR: I use the Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor.
MINI SPATULAS: These are my favorite for getting into nooks and crannies.
SQUARE PANS: Remember, I like to have two so I can use one to press down the bars that are in the other one.
PARCHMENT PAPER: Don’t forget to line your pan so you can get the bars out easily.
No-Bake Apricot Chia Energy Bars
- 1 cup Medjool dates pitted
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds/pepitas
- 2 Tablespoons white chocolate chips (use vegan, if desired)
- Line a 8×8 or 9×9 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.
We loved these. We’ve made bars and balls. They travelled well but I would suggest putting balls in a sturdy container if you want to keep the shape. Mine got squished but we didn’t care – we ate them anyway.
I substituted prunes for half of the dates last time and they were good too. I’ve had several requests to share the recipe. Thank you!
Yes, I love how portable these are, and rolling balls is a great idea!
Your bars look so good!
My problem is diverticulitis. I cannot have seeds or nuts.
Do you have any energy bars, low sugar that have no nuts or seeds?
Hi Charlie, I’m sorry, I am pretty sure all of my bars use some sort of nuts or seeds to get the right texture to stick together.
That has been debunked. You can eat nuts and seeds
That is probably something each person should discuss individually with their own doctor.
Great Recipe!! Used it on my assignment and it was fantastic!!!
Thanks for the rating! So glad you enjoyed it!
I made these , but into balls instead . Yummy
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
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!
Can u freeze them?
Yes, they keep great in the freezer!
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.
Oh yay, I hope they were a hit!
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. 🙂
Thank you, Suzanne. Incidentally, the fact that your husband will eat chia seeds at ALL is a great thing! 🙂
Will they still work without the chia seeds…..they get caught between my teeth
Absolutely, Silvie. Leave the chia seeds out if you don’t care for them.
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.
I’m so glad to hear that the energy bars are a hit at your house, Kay. Thanks for rating the recipe, too!
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.
I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the energy bars, Diane. Thank you for your comment and for rating the recipe!
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.
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.
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.
I know some people who have made these in blenders, particularly the high-powered ones like a Blendtec. You will have to stop it more often to smush everything down, but you might get it to work depending on how powerful your blender is.
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!
Thank you for noting that, Shirley! I do believe that Enjoy Foods brand sells vegan white chocolate chips.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I have made a lot of bars. These are hands down our family favourite, thank you so much!
I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the energy bars, Amie!
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.
Do they have to be kept refrigerated?
If you will eat them within several days they will be fine at room temperature. If you think you will keep them longer, it’s best to stick them in the fridge.
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.
Thank you, Maryam. Haha, energy balls are perfect and a little quicker to make, too. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!
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.
I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying my recipes, Trisha. Thank you!
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.
They can be kept in the fridge for at least a week. I haven’t tried freezing them, but I don’t see why not.
Just wondering if you tried to freeze them yet and if so how well it went?
I did not, but since they are made from dried fruit, they will keep for quite a long time at room temperature or just in the refrigerator.
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…
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.
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.
I hope he enjoys it! These kinds of snack bars are so easy and sunflower seed can often substitute for the nuts in many recipes.
Do you have the nutritional breakdown of these apricot chia energy bars?
No, I’m sorry, but there are some online calulcators you can use.
Do the have to be stored in the ice box? I would like to send them in the mail as a gift but I don’t know if they would keep.
How far are you sending them? They should be fine for a couple days.
These bars are super easy and super delicious! My son loves them. Thank you for this great recipe!
Oh great! So glad you are enjoying them!
These look so delicious and easy! I bet it’s hard to stop at just one! Pinned and tweeted. 🙂
They are pretty satisfying, though, but yes, really yummy! Thanks!
What can I substitute for the dates? Anything?
You might be able to use raisins or another chewy dried fruit to make them stick together.
I’m obsessed with adding Chia seeds to granola bars. Such a unique texture and great nutrition!
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!
Oh my gosh, too funny!
These would be great for my picky eater. They look great. I need to get some pumpkin seeds now.
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!!