Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Soft & chewy pumpkin spice oatmeal bars loaded with chocolate chips. Perfect for “on the go” on those chilly fall days.

Photos updated September 2015!

Soft & chewy pumpkin spice oatmeal bars loaded with chocolate chips. Perfect for "on the go" on those chilly fall days.

I dream about my Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars every time I gobble the last one up from the batch. So soft, moist, wholesome, and chock-full of banana and peanut butter flavor. The chocolate chips are dreamy too.

I’ve had an itch to remake the bars with a little fall-ish makeover. Sub some pumpkin for the bananas, some molasses for the peanut butter, and fill them with pumpkin spice and everything nice.  Love love love.

Soft & chewy pumpkin spice oatmeal bars loaded with chocolate chips. Perfect for "on the go" on those chilly fall days.

I’m in a pumpkin-state-of-mind these days and there’s no turning back.

Until, of course, it’s time to roll out the green & red Christmas sprinkles.

Pumpkin-chocolate-oatmeal was my regular breakfast some years ago. A sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of cocoa powder, a spoonful of honey, a smothering of pure pumpkin, and chewy, buttery oats were the start of my fall days.

It’s been a few years since I made my pumpkiny oats, but the taste and texture comes to my mind whenever the air begins to cool. Pumpkin and oats go hand-in-hand for me, so I knew this recipe would turn out perfectly. Plus, there’s chocolate.

The pumpkin leaves these bars soft and moist, exactly like my original recipe with bananas. The oats give each bite a chewy texture.  I use old-fashioned whole rolled oats in my recipe, not quick oats. Quick oats are finely ground up whole oats, and would leave these bars with little texture.

Soft & chewy pumpkin spice oatmeal bars loaded with chocolate chips. Perfect for "on the go" on those chilly fall days.

The molasses & brown sugar blend give the bars a rich sweetness and depth of flavor. You could use any type of molasses in these, just go by your taste preference. I used dark molasses, which is less sweet than light molasses but slightly sweeter and easier to handle than black-strap molasses.

I also didn’t use too many chocolate chips in these. I opted for mini chips and only used 1/2 cup. I didn’t want the chocolate to overpower the pumpkin.

The bars are dense, but not heavy. They’re low in fat, but NOT in flavor. I love that I didn’t have to clog these bars with any extra fats like oil or butter. There was simply no need for it!  Healthy AND tasty recipes do exist.

Perfect as quick pre-workout fuel or a wholesome mid-afternoon snack.

Serving suggestion: warm up in the microwave for 15 seconds. Eat. Grab a napkin. (I was left with melty chocolate on my face and pumpkin on my fingers.)

Soft & chewy pumpkin spice oatmeal bars loaded with chocolate chips. Perfect for "on the go" on those chilly fall days.

 1  bowl. 1 pan.  Easy clean-up. 20 minutes. Healthy. Low-fat. Quick. Chocolate.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Soft & chewy pumpkin spice oatmeal bars loaded with chocolate chips. Perfect for "on the go" on those chilly fall days.

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick oats)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk1
  • 1 large egg2
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly spray 8 x 8 square baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin, milk, egg, and molasses. Mix together until evenly combined. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Do NOT overmix.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes-30 minutes, or until baked through in the center. Allow to cool and cut into bars.
  4. Make ahead tip: Bars stay fresh for up to one week in a covered container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Bars freeze well, up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Or any milk you prefer.
  2. You can choose to leave out the egg by using a “flax egg” instead of a regular egg. Flax egg = mix 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes while it “gels” up. Use the "flax gel" as a replacement for the egg. To make vegan, use this flax egg as well as dairy free milk and chocolate chips.

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Soft & chewy pumpkin spice oatmeal bars loaded with chocolate chips. Perfect for on the go!

Soft & chewy pumpkin spice oatmeal bars loaded with chocolate chips. Perfect for on the go!

148 comments

  1. Go to the Smitten Kitchen blog and make her thick and chewy granola bars. They’re not hard or sticky..they’re exactly what I expect from a hearty and yummy granola bar from a coffee shop or something. But, they do have 6 tbsp of butter :)..and corn syrup, but as she says, the corn syrup is necessary to make them glue a bit. Shrug, not as healthy as yours, but they have nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal and flax seed, so I don’t consider them UNhealthy either, lol. No worries, it’s just different expectations and preferences..obviously others liked this recipe.

  2. Found this recipe after googling chewy chocolate chip pumpkin oatmeal cookies. Love the spice, the molasses and the pumpkin–and that there’s no butter or oil. I made it just as written with the exception of adding some dried cranberries in addition to the chocolate. Maybe next time I’ll add some toasted pecans to the bars?

    • Yeah! These are great with pecans, toasted or not. I always prefer toasted though. I just made these the other week. Always a favorite this time of year. Thanks Alyssa!

  3. I finally got around to making these last week. Yum! Very good. I am a really big fan of your peanut butter banana chocolate chip oatmeal bars, too. I wonder if an Almond Joy flavor would be do-able? 😉

  4. I’ve been reading the blog for over a year (I love the photography and down-to-earth attitude!), but this is the first thing I’ve baked from it, and it was awesome. Next on my list to try in the peanut butter banana bars. Any suggestions on quick, healthy uses for the half a can of pumpkin I have left over?

  5. I adore your website- I have tried so many recipes and I must say, they are all fantastic. Just made these tonight-they’re wonderful.

  6. Hey Sally…I decided it was my moral duty to share my experience with these bars. I made them the other day, (and the day before that I made the healthy oatmeal pumpkin cookies YUM). Anyway I followed the recipe perfectly including the baking time and they came out gooey and really off-putting. I was so disappointed and read through the comments and found a few other readers with the same problem. I almost figured this recipe was a dud. NO. I refused to throw them out so I just rebaked them. Completely changed everything. I know you mentioned to another blogger that oven times vary but if you ever post this recipe again I would elaborate on how this recipe must be baked enough, even up to 35 minutes for some ovens. I’m not a newbie to your page (I’m baking about 3 more of your cookies recipes this weekend) so I had let you know so that no one thinks this recipe is anything less than delicious. I had never baked any kind of oatmeal bar before so I had no intuition of over/under baking. Now I know. Sorry for the long comment! <3 Thanks for everything you do, Sally!

    • Hey Hayley! Thanks so much for the comment, I’m so happy you made these oatmeal bars work. You are so kind to leave such a thoughtful comment. I will go ahead and add a note to the recipe about extending the bake time if need be. Thank you very much and hope you are having a happy holiday season!

  7. Hey Sally, I’ve made the bars before using the egg and they were REALLY good but I was wondering if leaving the egg out would make a huge difference.

    • The ingredients won’t bind together as nicely. The egg’s purpose is to prevent the bars from falling apart. Let me know if you try it though!

  8. Even though spring is here I couldn’t resist using my last can of pumpkin to make these and they were AMAZING! Thanks for sharing, I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

  9. Can I use honey instead of molasses? Is that weird??

  10. I just had to say that I am now addicted to these little healthy bars! I have already made them twice in one week. I love the fact that they have no oil or butter & very little fat, yet they are so tasty & moist! I will continue making them in the future. Thank you for such a great low-fat recipe!

  11. These are great! I just made them, they’ll be a perfect breakfast for the week. The only change I made is that I used regular sized dark chocolate chips.

  12. Can i freeze these or the mixture?

  13. I couldn’t wait any longer–had to make these today. So delicious! I substituted honey for the brown sugar and they are just wonderful! Love your website. Thanks for sharing! 

  14. These were NOT good! No one in my family would eat them. They had a horrible texture and the flavor was just ok. Chocolate makes anything bearable, but none of us could choke these down. Poor recipe, in my opinion.

  15. I  made these and your pumpkin cupcakes over the weekend and we loved them. Great healthy treat. Compared to those cupcakes that is! The texture is soft and chewy and the pumpkin flavor is spot on. Thanks for sharing these pumpkin recipes Sally.

  16. Some of the comments here had me scared to try this recipe even though I was excited to find it. Oh well, decided to make my own opinion, and man was that a good choice. These are DELICIOUS. Of course, my version used all brown sugar since I had no molasses, whole milk since that’s what I drink, and I added two tablespoons of unsalted butter. So not as ‘healthy’ if you’re averse to saturated fats/dairy in any amount, but I was just looking for an excuse to use up my excess pumpkin puree while incorporating oatmeal. Thanks Sally! 🙂

  17. Made these today. Yummy! I meted white chocolate chips and spread them on top and added a few butterscotch chips. Divine! 

  18. Found this recipe so gonna try it.. however,  I forgot the baking powder.  So we’ll see how they turn out w/out it. 

  19. I really loved this recipe ! May I feature it on my blog (of course with full credits given to you, and a link to your website)? ~ let me know 🙂

  20. I should have gone with my gut after reading the consistent bad reviews.  Oddly flavorless, with the worst texture.  The mouthfeel was rubbery and weird, as if they’d been pre chewed then mashed back together.  Bad senior center “treats”.  I followed the recipe to a T.
    This is a bad recipe.  It needs to be reworked or thrown out.  When bad reviews all say nearly the exact same thing, it’s usually true.  The “raves” are usually friends, family or “blog groupies”.  Don’t waste good ingredients and time on this recipe.
    I’ve used this blog for other recipes, which have been fine.  This one is not.

    • Callie, I appreciate your feedback and will certainly see what I can do about a recipe rework. I’ve never tasted a rubbery texture in these pumpkin oatmeal bars, but am happy to continue testing to see if there are improvements to be made.

  21. Thanks for another great recipe, Sally–though I’m commenting to report more successful deviations. I wanted to use a whole can of organic pumpkin puree (instead of having to figure out what else to make with remaining puree), so doubled the recipe and used a bigger pan. I only had four and a half cups of oats on hand, however, so I increased the flour to 3/4 cups (and used King Arthur’s organic all-purpose). Instead of a 1/2 cup of molasses (and to reduce sugar content), I used 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Instead of regular brown sugar, I used dark muscovado sugar (which has more molasses flavor). Instead of chocolate chips in the bars, I added 1/2 cup of raw cocoa nibs and 1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds–and then, after I’d removed the baked bars from the oven, sprinkled a cup of chocolate chunks (72% cocoa content) on top. I used 2% cow’s milk instead of almond milk. The baking time ended up being 45 minutes in my oven. The result: bars that are attractive, chewy (not rubbery), and not overly sweet, with pronounced pumpkin flavor. My family is enjoying eating them, but agree that they are more healthy-tasting (because of the reduced sweetness) than treat-like–definitely more like baked oatmeal-style “breakfast” bars than cookies, which is fine. I will make these again. It’s great to have a recipe which calls for no oil or butter.

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