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Recipes & Tips – SimpleFrugal Solutions

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Do Granola Bars Contain Gluten and Other Granola Bar Hacks

Arguments abound on the Internet and in my inbox to the effect of, “do granola bars contain gluten?” Because I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic of granola bars, I want to put an end to the argument with today’s post.

The answer is… it depends. No, that isn’t a lame answer. It does depend on who makes it and what is in the bar. If you were to look at the label of any store-bought bar, you might find a bar that has no gluten-containing ingredients in it. It makes sense, too, as most traditional granola bars are made with oats and oats are gluten-free. Yes. Oats do not contain gluten.


Oftentimes oats are processed in a plant which also processes wheat and is therefore classified as possibly containing gluten. Read the label. It can read, “processed in a plant that processes wheat”. If you are a severe celiac sufferer, you know that even a hint of gluten can cause you problems.

This is ultimately why I decided to make my own granola bars. My daughter needed to know that her food was clean – didn’t contain any gluten at all. But we wanted something that would work for a sturdier snack than a cookie.

Enter the Easy Granola Bar Recipe – my own granola bar recipe book. Actually, it’s a recipe template. X amount of sticky plus X amount of dry equals designer granola bar. That way I made sure that the oats I purchased were processed in a certified gluten-free facility. 

That way if we wanted chocolate with almonds we could personalize it the way we wanted it. Oooo, and if you like white chocolate and cranberries – it’s in there. Or just nuts – it’s in there. I make one that has ginger and white chocolate that is to die for.

"But, Cheryl, I like a hard, crunchy granola bar"

I hear you. My recipe template results in a chewier bar – kinda like a rice crispy treat. So that is how I designed my basic recipe. But you can definitely make a crunchy bar if you like that. Just cook the honey for longer. Or, I have even baked my bars on low heat to continue drying out the sticky binder.

(Just be warned that if you have layered in chocolate chips they might go smooshy, depending on the kind.) When I wanted a hard bar, what I did was save the chocolate till the bars were done, then sprinkled them on top. After a few minutes, the chocolate was melty and I could spread it.

So, do granola bars contain gluten? Now you know the answer!

How about dairy-free granola bars?

There again, because the basic recipe is so flexible, you can add or subtract ingredients. To be dairy-free, you'd just make sure that if you are adding chocolate to your bars, that they don't contain dairy.

Try the basic recipe for free? 

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cake

In a Hurry? Click Here to download this post as a PDF

This is almost like cheating… The day I introduced this to my kiddos, they were shocked to smell what they thought was chocolate chip cookies – on Sunday morning – as if, somehow, eating chocolate on a Sunday was a sin!! Continue reading

Whole Wheat Baking Tips

Do you know – I or someone in my family has baked bread for over 20 years. I can’t even remember when we ate exclusively store-bought bread. At the time we explored the idea of baking our own bread, I was one of those moms who intended to feed my family the best I could afford (which was pretty tight for us). Continue reading

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