These easy Fruit and Nut Bars made with cereal, mixed nuts, and dried fruit are an easy snack that is nutritious, healthy, and fun to make.
You know those little bags of leftover nuts, dried fruit, and cereal that collect in your pantry? These Fruit and Nut Bars are the perfect way to use them all up. In fact, I affectionately refer to these bars as “Everything But the Kitchen Sink Bars” because I use just about anything I can find in them.
This recipe is so versatile, it is virtually impossible for these things to go wrong. What have you got in your cupboard? Dark chocolate, dried cherries, cheerios? Go for it! Prefer peanuts, apricots and raisins? No problem! The only limit to the potential of this recipe is your imagination. You should never have to hit up the store to prepare this delicious snack, just use what you have on hand! I like to add a variety of spices to the mix too, anything from turmeric to curry powder!
There are also a variety of ways you can prepare these bars. We love them in bar form, but if I don’t have time for that, I just toss them together in a bowl and use as a snack or yogurt topping. I also like to toss some in a baggie for a great snack to go. If you are restricting calories try to use a large portion of Cheerios or other unsweetened cereal, since they are much lighter and lower in calories than the nuts. I love the texture that the cereal adds.
In this particular variety, I used light corn syrup. But you can also use brown rice syrup (maple syrup isn’t quite thick enough though, so I would avoid that).
I hope you will have as much fun with these Fruit and Nut Bars as I have! Such a fun way to use up the little odds and ends you have laying around the kitchen.
What is in Fruit and Nut Bars?
What goes into fruit and nut bars? Well… fruits and nuts, of course!
However, there is also some cereal, corn syrup, and a little bit of (purely optional) salt; the fruits, nuts, and cereals you use in this recipe are entirely up to you. Use what you have on hand, or pick out a few of your favorites and try a few different combinations.
The important thing in this recipe is to be sure that you have a good variety of flavor and texture; I like to use 2 types of nuts, a fruit, and one variety of seeds. Below I’ve made a list of some of the dried fruit, seeds, nuts, and other things that I’ve put in my fruit and nut bars before.
Fruit, Nuts, and Cereal Ideas
One of the amazing things about this recipe is how easily you can customize it to be anything you want. When it comes to fruit, nuts, and cereals you have a wide variety to pick from.
Here are just a few of each type that work well:
- Dried fruit: apricots, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, Goji berries, mango, papaya, pineapple, prunes, and raisins
- Cereal options: Cheerios, Chex cereal, oatmeal squares, pretzel sticks, rice crispies, brown rice crisps, and granola
- Seeds and nuts: almonds, cashews, chia seeds, flax seeds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts
- Fun additions: Chocolate chips, carob chips, dark chocolate, peanut butter chips, white chocolate, dark chocolate, marhsmallows
How to Store Fruit and Nut Bars
Although everything that goes into these fruit and nut bars comes from the cupboard, I actually like to keep them in the fridge, since it helps the corn syrup keep from getting too soft on a warm day. I also sometimes like to use fresh fruit if I know I’m going to get through the bars quickly, so I make sure to store them in the fridge.
What kind of containers can you use? Well, I’m glad you asked.
First, off it should be an airtight container – just wrapping them up in paper towels won’t do the job.
Even then you have options: Ziploc bags, plastic storage containers, and glass containers all work well. I prefer to use glass containers or the plastic ones since you can’t really reuse Ziploc bags after you’ve had these bars sticking to them.
Ideal for Meal Prep
The bars are great to make in large batches to have whenever you want during the week. You can eat them as they are or crumble them up to add to yogurt, ice cream, or even your morning oatmeal. They also make a great treat while you’re out on a hike, as they are packed full of foods that will fuel your body without any risk of a sugar crash – and they aren’t individually wrapped which makes it easier to observe Leave No Trace.
Corn Syrup Alternatives
The corn syrup in this recipe is there to help hold everything together and while there are other things you can use the end result will have a slightly different texture and may not be what you were looking for.
Here are a few substitutes you can use, with the first one being the best:
- Brown rice syrup
- Honey or maple syrup (may not hold quote as well)
- Glucose syrup
However, before you go for an alternative, you should know that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are very different things. Corn syrup is that gooey, sticky stuff you use in pecan pie, and high fructose corn syrup is…
Well, it’s in everything these days, it seems like. High fructose corn syrup has had some of its glucose converted to fructose. Be aware that it's important to read your labels, since some brands will put high fructose corn syrup in their corn syrup. This will be listed in the ingredients though, so it is easy to spot.
It’s important to note that Maple Syrup will not work for this recipe as it is too runny and won’t properly hold anything together.
Other Snack Bar Ideas
Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars
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- 1.5 cups chopped assorted raw or toasted nuts and/or seeds
- 1/3 cup chopped unsweetened cereal (I used Cheerios)
- 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup (or brown rice syrup)
- 1/16 tsp. salt (optional)
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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