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Healthy whole-grain Apple Quinoa Bars are a protein-packed breakfast you can make ahead and grab on the go. With apples, cinnamon, and crunchy walnuts, they are seriously yummy and naturally gluten free. Perfect for meal prep because you can keep them in the fridge or freezer to enjoy anytime.
If you love these, you have to try the Pumpkin Breakfast Bars and Banana Breakfast Bars!
Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Bars – Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast
I love to keep my freezer stockpiled with wholesome and nutritious breakfast and snack items. Along with things like Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins and energy balls, these healthy breakfast bars also fit the bill. are simple to make in advance.
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 they are naturally gluten free and dairy free.
These breakfast bars are so simple to make in advance. They also store well in the fridge or freezer. So you can keep them on hand for a portable breakfast on busy mornings or quick and easy after-school snacks.
Breakfast Bar Ingredients
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details. Here is a quick overview to get you started, with some helpful information and tips to make your bars gluten free.
- Maple Syrup. Use the REAL stuff, not pancake syrup.
- Unsweetened Applesauce. Sweetened is fine too, but will add extra sugar.
- 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. If you are highly sensitive to gluten, be sure there are no additives that may contain gluten (like caramel coloring)
- 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. If you are gluten free, be sure to buy certified gluten free quick oats.
- Quinoa. Cooked as per package instructions and cooled to room temperature.
- Baking Powder.
- Ground Flax Seed Also called flax meal or flax seed meal. It can occasionally be processed in a facility with wheat-containing ingredients, so read the labels if you are highly sensitive or have celiac.
- Apples. Peeled and chopped into about 1/4-inch pieces
- Pecans. You can substitute walnuts or pumpkin seeds, or omit them entirely.
How to Make Apple Breakfast Bars
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients in a small bowl.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a laerge bowl and stir until evenly distributed.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.
- Mix in the apples and pecans.
- Press firmly into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until browned and firm to the touch.
- Cool completely and cut into squares.
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, 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.
These oatmeal quinoa bars are 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 alongside a fruit salad.
You can also round out your meal by adding one of these breakfast dishes:
- Broccoli Ham and Cheese Egg Muffins
- Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Yogurt Parfaits
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.
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 causing 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 it in the microwave for a few seconds if you take it out at the last minute.
Things You’ll Need
- 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.
Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Breakfast Bars
- 1½ 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 8×8 in. square glass 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.
Can I use peanut butter?
Yes, you can!
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)
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.
Has anyone made these in mini muffin tins instead? Less baking time for sure but would they be ok?
I have not tried it, but it’s a great idea. They are more dense than a muffin though, so don’t expect the same texture.
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.
Yes, a pinch of salt never hurts and I will try that next time. Ginger is a great complement to these flavors. I really wanted to keep it just apple and cinnamon, but I am sure ginger or even nutmeg would be great too!
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.
Honey would be fine. I don’t think it is critical for binding, but you’ll have to see if it is sweet enough for your taste. You could try a bit of sweetener like Swerve or Stevia.
[…] – muffins, pancakes, and even some protein-packed apple breakfast bars can ensure you get your apple a day first thing in the […]
[…] – muffins, pancakes, and even some protein-packed apple breakfast bars can ensure you get your apple a day first thing in the […]
we have nut allergies in our house. Any suggestion for a substitute for the nut butter?
I have not tested this, but I’m sure you could use sunflower seed butter. In fact, the purpose is just to add some fat, so even softened butter or coconut oil might work.
Just wondering how many eggs I would need to use in place of the AllWhites.
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.
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!
Thank you, Jeannette! This post was published in 2016 so I’m happy to report that things are MUCH better now. 🙂
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.
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.
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Do you have nutritional info on this?
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 MyFitnessPal.com. I hope that helps you to determine the information based on the ingredients you are using.
This is a wonderful recipe. I am glad I was still able to eat it while I was doing my Country Heat dance workout for months. It was hard to find good food that was also healthy.
I don’t have liquid egg whites. How many whole eggs would be the equivalent?
This would be the equivalent of two egg whites (you can always save the yolks for lemon curd or ice cream). One whole egg might work, but I have not tried so can’t guarantee it.
Healthy and delicious!
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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!
I love to make frittatas ahead, slice into individual servings and freeze for a quick breakfast.
We like to make a big batch of breakfast burritos and freeze them! I’ll need to try this recipe! Looks yummy!
I’m glad I’m not the only one who despises two (sometimes three) breakfasts a day! Looks delicious!
It’s so frustrating!
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 🙂
I love having a stash of homemade breakfast burritos in the freezer.
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!
YUM! These look incredible, I love anything with apple and cinnamon, what a great but healthy treat!
ACK!!!! I was sitting here thinking I need to do something with my apples, maybe breakfast bars. lol!! And I’m totally not kidding. Love this!
I wish I had one of these bars right now – I love ALL things apple!
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 🙂
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.
A fried egg sandwich with cheese
9:30 is such a late start time! I hope they eventually adjust that for you. These breakfast bars sound like the perfect thing to have on hand for busy mornings.
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.
Great Fall breakfast! Making these soon!
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.