Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

4.20 from 10 votes
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Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bars are a healthy whole grain and protein-packed breakfast you can make ahead and grab on the go. Packed with oatmeal and quinoa, plus tons of tender apples and crunchy walnuts, this easy recipe is also naturally gluten free. Perfect for meal prep because you can make a batch or two and keep these apple breakfast bars in the fridge or freezer to grab anytime.

If you love these, you’ve gotta try variations like Pumpkin Breakfast Bars and Banana Breakfast Bars!

Originally published on Sep 22, 2016

Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Breakfast Bars Recipe

These healthy breakfast bars are simple to make ahead. The kids love the sweet, soft, chewy goodness, and the classic irresistible apple cinnamon flavor. You’ll love that they are packed with whole grains, fiber, and protein. And you can keep them on hand for a portable breakfast on busy mornings or quick and easy after school snacks. Plus they are naturally gluten free and dairy free.

Kids always seem to love apple cinnamon anything. And mine happily gobble up these apple bars, even though they don’t always like quinoa. In fact, they are always ready to devour them so quickly that I usually stash some in the freezer so I have a little stockpile for when life gets busy. 

Or, you know, since my kids wake up and eat breakfast so early that they require second breakfast before school. Yes, I am apparently raising Hobbits.

So it’s important that I’ve got some nutritious and satisfying options on hand that we can grab on our way to the bus stop, like Healthy Carrot Zucchini Muffins (or Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins, energy balls, trail mix, and these!

A stack of two Healthy Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Bars with apples and cinnamon

Ingredients for Healthy Breakfast Bars

  • Maple Syrup – use the REAL stuff, not pancake syrup.
  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Egg – you can also use two egg whites or 1/3 cup liquid egg white substitute 
  • Almond Butter – or any other nut butter or even a seed butter for a nut-free option
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Quick Cooking Oats – these are the ones that cook in about five minutes, NOT the packets of instant oats, and not old-fashioned oats that take longer to cook.
  • Quinoa – cooked as per package instructions and cooled to room temperature.
  • Baking Powder
  • Ground Flax Seed  – aka flax meal or flax seed meal
  • Cinnamon
  • Apples – peeled and chopped into about 1/4-inch pieces
  • Pecans – can substitute walnuts or pumpkin seeds, or omit entirely.

How to Make Apple Breakfast Bars

Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details. But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a laerge bowl and stir until evenly distributed.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.
  5. Mix in the apples and pecans.
  6. Press firmly into the prepared baking pan.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until browned and firm to the touch.
  8. Cool completely and cut into squares.
Process Shots for How to Make the breakfast bars

Tips for Success

Cook your quinoa in advance: This recipe uses cooked and cooled quinoa. Follow the package instructions, or check out how to cook quinoa using other methods like your Instant Pot or slow cooker.

Make them nut-free: You can substitute the almond butter with sunflower seed butter or another seed butter or even date paste. Then either omit the pecans or replace them with pumpkin seeds for crunch. You can even try white chocolate chips, if you like.

Lower the cholesterol: If you are concerned about the eggs, you can use an egg, egg whites, or liquid egg or egg white substitute in this recipe and it will turn out fine. Use the equivalent of one egg or two egg whites.

Don’t overbake: You’ll know they are done when they are browned on the top and feel firm when you press in the middle.

Serving ideas: It’s perfect for a portable breakfast on-the-go. But my kids actually like to eat them on a plate slightly warmed with a bit of butter or even a drizzle of maple syrup or a smear of almond butter.

Are these breakfast bars gluten free?

Yes, you can make these as gluten free breakfast bars as the ingredients are all naturally gluten free or are available that way. A few items to watch out for:

  • Oats – be sure to buy certified gluten free quick oats.
  • Flax seed – read the labels, as occasionally flax seed or flax seed meal is processed in a facility with wheat-containing ingredients, so if you are highly sensitive or have celiac, there may be a risk of cross-contamination.
  • Baking powder – again, most brands are gluten free, but read labels or use a brand you trust.
  • Vanilla Extract – if you are highly sensitive, be sure there are no additives that may contain gluten (like caramel coloring)
Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Breakfast Bar on a napkin with a glass of milk

Storing Apple Breakfast Bars

You can keep the bars at room temperature in an airtight container for a day or so, but I would recommend storing them in the refrigerator where they will last several days to a week.

Freezing Instructions

These bars freeze well in an airtight container or plastic freezer storage bag. For long-term storage, I’d recommend wrapping the container in plastic wrap, or the bars in plastic wrap before putting them in a plastic storage bag. If you wrap them individually, it’s easy to remove one at a time without cause frost or freezer burn on the others.

Then take one or more out the night before and thaw it overnight in the fridge. Or pop in the microwave for a few seconds if you take it out at the last minute. 

An Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bar on a Plate

Things You’ll Need

Brianne Recommends
  • You’ll use a 9-inch square baking pan for this recipe.
  • I definitely recommend lining your baking pan with parchment paper. It makes the bars much easier to remove once they are cooled so you can cut them into nice squares.
  • Using a serrated knife and cutting with a gentle sawing motion will give you the cleanest cut.
  • Remember, real maple syrup gives the best flavor.
4.2 from 10 votes

Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Breakfast Bars

An sweet and chewy easy make-ahead breakfast to grab on the go, packed with plenty of protein and whole grains to keep you satisfied till lunch.
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins


  • cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites or 1/3 cup liquid egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter or other nut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cups chopped apples, about 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 in. square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, quinoa, baking powder, flax seed, and cinnamon and stir until evenly distributed.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, applesauce, egg, almond butter, and vanilla.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until mixed thoroughly to form a thick batter.
  • Fold in the apples and pecans.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.
  • Bake on the center rack of the oven for 25 – 35 minutes until the bars are golden brown and firm to the touch.
  • Remove and cool completely in the pan. Slice into bars and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days, or freeze to keep longer.


Adapted from Simply Quinoa.
Nutrition Facts
Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Breakfast Bars
Amount Per Serving (1 bar)
Calories 129 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Sodium 12mg1%
Potassium 157mg4%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 45IU1%
Vitamin C 0.4mg0%
Calcium 44mg4%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


More gluten free meal-prep breakfast recipes

  1. B

    Oooh, I hate doing this, because I know you probably get so many of these…. but could you help me with a substitute? Eeep! Quinoa is super hard to get, where I am, and when I can get it, wow, it’s so expensive. Is there an easy swap, or is the quinoa one of these must-have ingredients? I’m racking my brain for a straight swap, but I’m not really coming up with any ideas! I don’t particularly need gluten free, if that helps, I’m just after hearty, healthy, and make ahead for the hungry hordes. (And me. Sincere apologies on behalf of your Hobbits, from a fellow Hobbit, lols)

    1. You know, I haven’t tried this with anything else. I would think any cooked grain would work, maybe even something like couscous. I think you could probably use more oats, but I wouldn’t use as much because the oat will absorb more moisture than already cooked quinoa.

  2. Jen

    4 stars
    These were really good, but I felt something was missing. I think a 1/2 tsp of salt would bring out the flavors. Next time I might try a little dried ginger too. Over all they were very good and nutritious . I will make them again.

    Also, I made them one day and covered and refrigerated them and then cut them into bars the next day. For me they were definitely a bar and not a baked oatmeal.

  3. Michelle

    If we wanted to use something else other than maple syrup, do you think honey would work? Is it necessary for binding or could I omit it all together? I’m supposed to have low glycemic index foods but I have a sweet tooth lol.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Cassandra.
      According to the AllWhites website, 1/4 cup of egg whites is equal to one large egg. Since the recipe calls for 1/3 cup egg whites, I would say you’ll need 1-2 eggs to get the right amount of whites.

  4. Jeannette

    These sound very good. Right up my alley too since 1) I have most of the ingredients and 2) although I’m not as busy as the rest, there are those unexpected times. I have to eat gluten free; can I use gluten free oatmeal in this recipe?
    PS) it is 2018, and I’m not sure when you wrote this, but I wanted to add that I hope the scheduling is better now!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Thank you, Jeannette! This post was published in 2016 so I’m happy to report that things are MUCH better now. 🙂

  5. Rebecca

    3 stars
    I enjoyed the cinnamon apple and what went in them, but they were less of a “bar” than I expected and more the texture of an oatmeal bake.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor. Yes, I call them bars because they are more firm than a typical oatmeal back that you wold eat on a plate with a fork, so you can carry them with you. But it’s more like a soft oatmeal bar than a harder granola bar.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Kelly, I don’t have exact nutritional information, because the information can vary depending on the products used. However, I know that a lot of people use the free nutritional calculator at I hope that helps you to determine the information based on the ingredients you are using.

  6. Amelia

    Those look really yummy! Sometimes I’ll make muffins or pancakes ahead of time for weekday breakfasts, but my kids are egg-lovers. Thank goodness for my breakfast sandwich maker!

  7. Francesca

    Grab and go would be a piece of fruit. Muffins or a yogurt are great, but they are not as forgiving if you really are in a rush, but an apple can be consumed whilst off somewhere in a hurry. Ideally though, even if it’s just five minutes, I try to have something before I leave, so that it is more substantial and satisfying. Thanks for this great recipe though; perhaps these will be my new grab and go recipe 🙂

  8. Shoshana Rose

    I love having a batch of protein muffins in the freezer for easy grab and go breakfasts. These bars would definitely find a good place in the rotation!

  9. Natalie R

    My favorite on-the-go breakfast.. I’m torn between overnight oats, chia seed pudding and scrambled egg muffin cups – all are in constant rotation in the morning and I love to experiment with flavors for each one! These bars are definitely next on my list 🙂

  10. Carly Williams

    My favorite make-ahead breakfast is a quiche filled with veggies! It’s so easy to slice a piece and reheat it in the morning.

  11. Marty Crosson

    My favorite grab-n-go breakfast is no-cook oat bites. I’ll make a bunch on weekends with whatever’s at hand (dried berries, sunflower seeds, nut butter, etc.) and stick them in the freezer. The kids can eat them in the car without requiring a complete change of clothing.

  12. Jennifer

    These look amazing! Making them today. I use the Clean & Delicious recipe for apple pie oats in the microwave most days. The egg white makes the oats fluffy. Excited to have a to-go bar that is healthy and tasty.

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