Gluten Free Muesli Bars (Oat Free)
These gluten free muesli bars are equal parts chewy and crunchy and can be flavoured however you like with your choice of mix-ins. They’re oat, dairy and egg free, with options to also make them nut free, seed free, fruit free, low-FODMAP and vegan, so this is the most versatile gluten free muesli bar recipe you’ll find!
When I started creating this recipe, it quickly became an all-or-nothing project for me. I wanted this to be the best gluten-free muesli bar recipe ever.
I knew what I wanted them to be (chewy, sweet, not crumbly) but I also wanted them to be easily adaptable to what other people wanted in their perfect gf muesli bar.
So I tested and swapped and tested some more (and ate muesli bars for breakfast for weeks) and came up with this base recipe, that can be tweaked to suit other dietary requirements, too.
The recipe is already gluten free, oat free, egg-free and dairy-free, and it can easily be made nut free, seed free, fruit free, low-FODMAP and vegan 🎉
Why oat free? Because oats contain avenin, a protein that in those with Coeliac disease can cause a similar reaction to gluten. Oats are also high risk for cross-contamination with gluten in the growing and processing stages. In New Zealand and Australia, it is recommended for Coeliacs to avoid oats in addition to wheat, rye and barley.
So I wanted to create a muesli bar recipe that doesn’t contain oats as the main ingredient, to make it safe for Coeliacs.
As always, if you’re in need of more information, Coeliac NZ is an absolute treasure trove of knowledge, so definitely head over there for a look around, and consider joining their membership if you can.
I’ve flavoured these gluten free muesli bars with pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds and dried apricots, but there are so many options for changing the flavours to suit your own tastes.
These are the base ingredients for the gluten free muesli bar recipe. Below this, you’ll find substitutions for most of these ingredients.
Gluten free Weet-Bix – While they still have “Weet” in the name, gf weet-bix are made with sorghum. These are the best replacement I’ve found for oats in muesli bars! Once they’re crushed, they become a similar texture. I use the plain gf Weetbix but you can also use the coconut and cinnamon flavour, just keep in mind that those ones have extra sugar, and also have little rice puffs in them, so it’s a slightly different texture.
Gluten free rice bubbles/pops – Make sure you buy gluten free rice bubbles, as regular rice bubbles contain barley extract and so aren’t gluten free. I use Hubbards gluten free rice pops.
Desiccated coconut – The coconut doesn’t give much of a coconut flavour to the bars, but it does add nice texture.
Gluten free flour – I use my homemade gf flour blend but any gluten free flour blend is will work here.
Coconut oil – This helps bind the ingredients and adds fat to help keep you full for longer.
Honey – Honey is a great binder, and adds nice flavour and chew to the bars.
Brown Sugar – Adds a depth of flavour and more chewiness.
Vanilla – I like vanilla in everything, because it just makes everything taste better, but if you don’t have it or don’t want to use it, then just skip it.
Salt – Offsets a little of the sweetness in the bars, but again you can leave it out if you like.
For the muesli bars pictured in this post, I used pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds and dried apricots as mix-ins (more about mix-ins below👇🏻).
Base Recipe Substitutions
The great thing about this recipe is that most of the ingredients can be swapped for ingredients that are similar in texture and function.
Some of these ingredients should only be swapped using weight measurements, and some can be swapped using cup measurements too. However, I always recommend substituting by weight as it is more accurate and will give you more consistent results.
Please note, that I have not tested every single combination/variation here, so I can’t guarantee that every combination will give you the same result, however, muesli bars are pretty forgiving, so you shouldn’t have too many problems. You may need to adjust the amounts slightly though, and be willing to experiment.
If you’ve tried a combination that you really loved, please let us know in the comments!
Gluten free Weetbix – I have to be honest, the Weet-bix are what gives these muesli bars the best texture, so if you don’t need to replace these then I wouldn’t. But if you do need to, you can use an equal weight of rice flakes plus increase the gluten free flour to 1/4 cup* or use 50g crushed gf cornflakes + 50g crushed gf rice bubbles (crush the 50g of rice bubbles, but leave the other rice bubbles in the recipe whole).
*Please note, rice flakes do have quite a different texture to Weet-bix in this recipe, they’re firmer and chewier. Adding the extra flour helps hold the bars together, as the rice flakes don’t help bind the mixture the way the crushed weet-bix does.
If you aren’t Coeliac and can have oats, I suspect you could just replace the Weet-Bix with regular rolled oats, but we currently don’t have oats in the house so I can’t test this one. Rolled quinoa (quinoa flakes) may also work, however it does have a very strong quinoa flavour so keep that in mind.
Gluten free rice bubbles – Equal weight of crushed gf cornflakes, gf coco-pops, puffed quinoa or puffed amaranth.
Desiccated coconut – Equal weight of ground almonds or LSA mix (ground linseed/sunflower seed/almond), or equal weight of extra Weet-bix or crushed rice bubbles. If you have shredded coconut, you can also use that.
Gluten free flour – This helps to bind the rest of the ingredients together, however, if you’re out of flour you could use an equal weight of ground almonds (for bulk rather than to bind, as almonds don’t do that) or just leave it out.
Coconut oil – This one is tricky as the coconut oil is particularly good in this recipe due to the fact that it’s solid (usually) at room temperature and doesn’t have a strong flavour. You can likely swap it for an equal weight of butter or a non-dairy alternative, but the results may be a little softer/moister. Liquid vegetable oil is not a suitable substitution.
Honey – For a lower FODMAP and vegan muesli bar, you can use an equal weight or measurement of rice syrup (also known as rice malt syrup – but it does not contain barley malt). Rice syrup makes for a slightly crunchier muesli bar than honey.
Maple syrup does not work as an alternative to honey in this recipe, as it’s not sticky enough to hold the mixture together (if you follow me over on Instagram, you may have seen the crumbly mess it made when I tested it and shared the result in my Stories 😂)
Brown sugar – In a pinch, you could probably use white sugar, although it will give the muesli bars less flavour and they will be less chewy. You could experiment with less refined sugars such as coconut sugar, but I don’t have enough experience with those to comment on how well that will work.
Muesli Bar Mix-Ins
This is the fun bit, choosing mix-ins to flavour your muesli bars!
The recipe calls for one and a half cups of mix-ins (around 200g), and you can make up that amount with any combination you like.
Almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias – name a nut, and you can probably chop it up and add it to these bars.
Pumpkin seeds are my favourite, but sunflower seeds will also work. If you want to use smaller seeds such as sesame seeds, hemp seeds or flaxseeds (linseed) I would suggest using a small amount of these in addition to other mix-ins, as their small size may change the consistency of the mixture.
Pretty much any dried fruit will work in this recipe – apricots, sultanas, raisins, currants, dates, pear, apple, cranberries, mango. The only ones I would probably avoid are prunes, because they’re pretty wet and sticky.
Freeze-dried fruit should also work, just crumble it into the mixture.
I’m not saying that as a child I would only eat muesli bars that had chocolate on them, but, well yeah I guess I am saying that. If you would like to have chocolate on your gluten free muesli bars, you have a few options. For this, you can use dark, milk or white chocolate.
- Sprinkle some chocolate chips onto the warm muesli bars. Wait a little while after it comes out of the oven so the surface is not super hot, but just warm enough to slightly melt the chocolate chips and allow them to stick.
- You can melt some chocolate and drizzle it over the cooled muesli bars (before or after cutting). Put the melted chocolate into a piping bag or a snaplock bag with the corner cut off and drizzle it over the top (as pictured below), or just drizzle it from a spoon.
- You can dip the bottoms of the individual muesli bars in chocolate. Melt the chocolate and place it into a shallow bowl or dish. Dip each bar into the chocolate and place them onto a sheet of baking paper to set.
Other Dietary Restrictions
Many homemade muesli bars use peanut butter as part of the liquid ingredients to help bind the rest of the ingredients together. In this recipe, I intentionally didn’t use peanut butter, so that these will be very easy to make nut free, whether you have a nut-free person in the house or if you have children who attend a nut-free school or daycare.
To make the muesli bars nut free – simply use seeds instead of nuts. If you can’t use seeds either due to possible cross-contamination, leave them out, or use extra dried fruit instead. Check the packaging of all ingredients for nut allergen warnings and adjust as necessary. While coconut isn’t technically a nut in terms of allergies, if you have issues with coconut, use the substitutions listed above to replace the coconut oil.
Seed free – Choose nuts and/or fruit as mix-ins instead of seeds.
Vegan – Use rice syrup instead of honey.
Low FODMAP – Choose rice syrup instead of honey, and nuts and/or seeds as mix-ins instead of fruit (honey and dried fruit are high fructose, and therefore high FODMAP). Some dried fruits can be eaten in specific small amounts on a low FODMAP diet, I recommend downloading the Monash University FODMAP app, as it can tell you possible safe serving sizes for FODMAP-containing foods. Keep in mind that the amount of fruit you add will be split between 12 bars, so adjust accordingly.
Lower Sugar Muesli Bars
I know I’ll get questions regarding reducing/eliminating sugar in these bars. When talking about this, we need to keep in mind that the honey and brown sugar are part of what holds muesli bars together and gives them their chewy texture, so swapping/reducing these can have an effect on the overall bar texture.
I have given two amounts for the honey in the recipe. The lower amount will give you less sweet, crunchier, slightly more crumbly bars. The higher amount will give you sweeter, chewier, less crumbly bars.
If you want to reduce the brown sugar slightly, you can do so, but the bar will be slightly crumblier and drier.
If you are able to have nuts, then adding some nut butter (or seed butter if you can’t have nuts) may help to bind the ingredients better. Adding an egg will also help bind it, although it will make the bars cakier. You could also add a couple of chopped dates to the wet ingredients, and blitz them with a stick mixer to make a puree.
However, my priority here was to create a base recipe that can be easily adjusted to cater for food allergies, so that’s why I haven’t used any of those options here.
Please note that while I have tried to keep the sugar content in this recipe lower than comparable recipes available online, I’m not a health food or low-sugar blogger. Those things just aren’t my jam (pun intended), and I’m an everything-in-moderation girl, so low-sugar recipes aren’t something you’ll see regularly here.
How to Make the Gluten Free Muesli Bars
We’ll start with the dry ingredients. Crumble the gluten free Weet-Bix into a large bowl. Use your hands, or crush them with the end of a rolling pin. You’re aiming for them to be a similar texture to rolled oats. Add in the gluten free rice bubbles, desiccated coconut and gluten free flour.
Next you’ll need to prepare your mix-ins. Nuts and seeds should be chopped – the size is up to you, but the smaller they’re chopped, the less crumbly your bars will be, so keep that in mind.
Chop dried fruit into small pieces. Spraying or rubbing your knife with oil will stop the fruit from sticking to it.
You can crush the Weet-bix and chop the nuts/seeds/fruit in a small food processor if you prefer.
Add your mix-ins to the rest of the dry ingredients. I like to rub the fruit into the dry ingredients with my hands, this stops it from clumping together and makes sure it’s evenly distributed.
Then the coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt are heated together in a small saucepan until melted and smooth and just come to a boil. You do need to keep whisking until the oil is well combined with the rest of the ingredients, this can take a few minutes.
Now it just needs to all be mixed together, and pressed into a baking paper lined cake pan. Like all of the slice recipes on GFKF, this is made in an 8″ square pan.
Once it has baked until lightly golden, you can gently press it down again using the back of a spoon – this helps compact the mixture down again and help it hold together once it’s cut.
Allow it to cool completely, and then use your biggest, sharpest knife to cut the square into bars. The bigger and sharper the knife, the cleaner and less crumbly the cuts will be.
If you want to pop these into kids’ lunchboxes, I recommend putting them into a small container, or wrapping the bar in baking paper, a beeswax wrap or plastic wrap, as moisture from other lunchbox items can make the bars sticky.
For younger children, you can cut the bars into smaller pieces, if you like.
Gluten Free Muesli Bar Recipe
Are you new to gluten-free baking?
Or just need some tips on how to make the most of the recipes on GFKF? Check out my start guide to learn how to bake safely and successfully gluten free.
Allergen safety ✔️ Gluten free flour info ✔️
Accurate measuring ✔️ Tools + Equipment ✔️
Gluten Free Muesli Bars (Oat Free)
- 85 g gluten free Weet-Bix (5 Weet-Bix)
- 50 g gluten free rice bubbles/pops (1 ¼ cup)
- 50 g desiccated coconut (½ cup)
- 1 Tablespoon gluten free flour
- 100 g coconut oil (scant ½ cup)
- 70-110 g honey (¼ – ⅓ cup)
- 80 g brown sugar (⅓ cup, firmly packed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt optional
- ~200 g your choice of nuts/seeds/dried fruit (approx. 1 ½ cups combined)
Mix-Ins I Used
- 60 g slivered almonds (½ cup)
- 75 g pumpkin seeds (½ cup)
- 85 g dried apricots (½ cup chopped)
- Heat oven to 160°C (140°-150°C fan-forced).
- Prepare an 8" (20cm) square cake pan by lining it with two strips of criss-crossed baking paper. Leave the edges overhanging, this will allow you to lift the bars out easily.
- In a large bowl, crush the gluten free Weet-Bix. You can crumble them up with your hands, or crush them with the end of a rolling pin.
- Stir in the rice bubbles, desiccated coconut and gluten free flour.
- Prepare your chosen mix-ins by chopping them into small pieces. The size is up to you, but keep in mind that the smaller you cut them, the easier the muesli bars will be to cut into pieces. For these bars, I roughly ran the knife through the slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds, and chopped the dried apricots into ½ cm pieces.
- Add the mix-ins into the bowl and stir to combine. To avoid clumps of sticky dried fruit, I like to rub the mixture between my (clean!) hands to coat the pieces of fruit with the dry ingredients to stop them from sticking together.
- Place the coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt into a small saucepan and whisk gently over medium heat until melted and dissolved. Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth and well combined, this may take a few minutes.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then pour it into the dry ingredients, and mix to combine. It may take a minute for all of the dry ingredients to be coated with the wet. Make sure you mix it well to avoid dry spots, which will then crumble when the bars are cut.
- Tip the mixture into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Press the mixture down firmly using the back of a spoon or the bottom of a glass.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just lightly browned on top. Keep a close eye on it towards the end of the cooking time, as it can start to burn quickly.As soon as it comes out of the oven, use the back of a spoon or a spatula to gently press the mixture down – this will help compact it and make it less crumbly once cool.
- Allow to cool completely in the tin, then use a large sharp knife to cut it into 12 bars. (Cut in half vertically, then cut in half horizontally, and cut each of those halves into three, for 12 even bars). For younger kids' lunchboxes, you can cut them into smaller pieces if you like.
- The muesli bars will keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature for at least a week. In summer you may need to pop them into the fridge.If popping into lunchboxes, it's helpful to wrap the bars in baking paper, a beeswax wrap or plastic wrap to avoid them becoming sticky with moisture from other lunchbox items.
Dietary swapsPlease see the recipe post for a full list of ingredient substitutions that can be used in this recipe. Nut free – Choose seeds and/or fruit as mix-ins rather than nuts, and check the packaging of all ingredients for nut allergen warnings. Seed free – Choose nuts and/or fruit as mix-ins instead of seeds. Vegan – Use rice syrup instead of honey. Rice syrup is also known as rice malt syrup, however it does not contain barley malt, and is gluten free. Rice syrup makes for a slightly crunchier muesli bar. Low FODMAP – Choose rice syrup instead of honey, and nuts and/or seeds as mix-ins instead of fruit. Some dried fruits can be eaten in specific small amounts on a low FODMAP diet, I recommend downloading the Monash University FODMAP app, as it can tell you possible safe serving sizes for FODMAP-containing foods.
In New Zealand and Australia, muesli bars containing oats cannot be labelled as gluten free, because oats are not considered to be suitable for a gluten free diet. This is due to possible cross-contamination during growing and processing, and the presence of a protein called avenin, which is similar to gluten. Some bars also contain barley malt extract for flavouring, which is not gluten free.
This one depends on your view of a healthy snack. As part of a balanced diet, there is nothing in a muesli bar that is inherently unhealthy. Muesli bars are generally considered to be a high-energy snack, designed to give a quick burst of energy, in a compact, easy-to-grab form. A homemade recipe like this that contains mix-ins like nuts, seeds and fruit, can help to keep you feeling full for longer.