Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

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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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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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. Mmm, I can almost taste these through the screen. Pumpkin season has arrived!! I love that you use whole wheat flour here, between that and the pumpkin and oats, it totally offsets the chocolate chips. 😉

  2. I am so happy to see pumpkin everywhere…it is making me so happy and ready for fall to be here!!! Pumpkin is my muse for now!! These granola bars have my name all over them!!! And I actually like that you didn’t use a ton of chocolate (did I really just say that?) that way the pumpkin shines through:-)

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  4. Hooray for pumpkin season! I love adding pumpkin to everything, and these bars look amazing!

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  7. I absolutely Love baked goods that have pumpkin in them and when you add chocolate, it makes them just that much better! I made these only minutes after you posted and couldn’t get enough of them <3 Definitely making these again soon. Probably tomorrow.

    • hi again nichole! SO GLAD you enjoyed these. they are, absolutely 100% one of my FAVORITE granola bar recipes. love pumpkin & chocolate 🙂

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  11. Hi Sally,

    What could I substitute the milk with (I want to make these for some friends but one is allergic to most, if not all, dairy)? Would water work or would that not add the right texture or flavor? Thanks!

    • Hi NG – Do not use water. Instead, use almond milk or soy milk. In fact, I used vanilla almond milk here. You can find small cartons of each. Don’t use water though – you need something with a slightly creamy/milky consistency.

  12. Just finished making these and sampling. I used Blackstrap Molasses and skim milk b.c it was what I had in my cupboard/fridge, and I found them too molasses-y and not sweet enough. Must be a preference thing though because my 3 year old just gobbled it down in about 4 seconds! 🙂 Good to know it will be eaten and appreciated and that it has good stuff I can actually pronounce in it. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Maybe I’ll try tweaking it and try it again. Would honey work in place of molasses? Hmm . . .

    • Hi there! Yes, honey would work well too. I liked the molasses b/c it gave the oatmeal bar a more traditional autumn flavor taste. I’m making them this weekend, actually and I might try honey!

      • I think I’ll try them again with the honey. Of course . . . I don’t have any honey. Must add to the list. 😉

      • Oh – also, I don’t know if I came back and commented on it, but I’ve made the pumpkin cinnamon sugar mini muffins several times now and they are crazy delicious. That one is a new classic in our house now!

  13. Oh my goodness… I just happened to come across your website, and I now have at least 20 new recipes to try! These Pumpkin bars will most defiantly be first on my list! I love baking, and find it ironic that my name is Sallie too! Thanks so much for these wonderful recipes. Happy Baking! 🙂

    • Hi Sallie! I love that we share a name. You don’t find too many Sallys these days anymore! I’m so glad you are enjoying my site and the recipes! Let me know what you make! These bars are a good place to start 🙂

      • These bars where absolutely incredible…. and I love how I didn’t feel completely guilty after eating them either, since I knew everything that was going into them! They where a huge hit in my family, and I know I’ll make them again during the holidays!

      • Hi Sallie! 🙂 SO SO glad you enjoyed the bars – they are one of my favorite “bar” recipes! I plan to make them again around thanksgiving 🙂

  14. I just made these last night. The flavor is really good but the texture is not what i expected. I used a flax “egg”, maple syrup instead of molasses, and cooked my own pumpkin instead of using canned, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. They came out kinda floppy. They were not chewey or crunchy like a granola bar. I assume, that is not how they are supposed to be based on your pictures. Any idea what happened here?

    • Hi Mari! So sorry they didn’t turn out. The bars are not crunchy – they are soft oatmeal bars. Molasses is much much thicker than maple syrup and held the bars together very well. They weren’t crumby in the slightest. Could you explain more what you mean by floppy? Like falling apart? Was the flax egg fully gelled?

      • Not sure how to tell if a flax egg has fully gelled – b/c that was the first time i have done it, but i did follow your instructions. They are not crumby or falling apart. They are sort of like a crepe texture but thicker.

      • The flax egg must not have been in “gel” form – the egg is the structural binder holding the bars together. The molasses is thick and supplements the eggs’ binding properties. Are you vegan? If not, try it with an egg. I’ve made this with a flax egg, canned pumpkin, and molasses and they’ve turned out perfectly. So sorry Mari!

  15. Making these as we speak for my thanksgiving weekend out of town 🙂

  16. is it possible to substitute anything for the molasses? i’m not sure where to buy it. i never see it in stores and i have busloads of maple syrup in the house 😛

    • thick molasses is a binder and accentuates the pumpkin’s flavor. I have *not* tried substituting it for anyhting, but you could try honey, maple syrup, or dark corn syrup.

  17. Found your site recently and I’ve been clicking around like crazy. There are so many recipes I want to try! This is the first recipe I made – sorry, but I couldn’t eat them – they were way too molassesy for me. However, I remade them with honey instead and they are amazing!!! My new favorite bar that I will for sure be making again and again.

    • Hey Erika! I love the flavor of molasses, so I don’t mind how pungent it is. But I will offer the suggestion of honey to my readers when I test that option. Thank you so much for reporting back! I’m so glad you found my website. Let me know what else you make. thank you!

  18. Been waiting for the right moment to make these bars (they’ve been on my Pinterest board for a while now). I’ve decided to freeze them and include them in my kid’s lunches. I used maple syrup instead of molasses (because I didn’t have molasses) and halfed the cloves/nutmeg. Turned out lovely. Almost cake-like. Hopefully the freezing goes well!

    • Hi Chandra! That is great to hear! I’m glad the bars work wel with maple syrup. I’ve never tried to make them with it. Good to know. 🙂 Thanks for reporting back!I’ve been craving pumpkin these days, maybe I should make another batch soon. Thanks Chandra!

      • Hi Sally – just reporting back that freezing them worked out very well. My girls love having them in their lunches! In fact, I need to make some more!

      • PERFECT! Great to know. Thanks for the report back Chandra. 🙂

  19. The same thing happened to me this morning. It was alright since it was like oatmeal but I couldn’t get my kids to try it. Why do you think they didn’t firm up? I will go make some of your granola now- it is a huge hit in this house.

    • Sorry about that Linda! I appreciate everyone’s feedback. The bars were baked through at my recommended time, but I can try a few more test rounds to see if it should be adjusted on my recipe card. I hope you enjoy my granola, which kind is your favorite? Thanks Linda!

      • Actually the longer they sit the more they are firming up. So far my boys like the Almond clusters the best- even the 1 yr old. Hubby wants me to make them ALL and always have them in the house for snacking. Today is apple cinnamon and perhaps peanut butter cup!

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe Sally! I like to make healthy baked goods for my 3 year old daughter, but unfortunately, some of them she won’t even try. These bars she gobbled up! Yay!

    • That’s so wonderful to hear Heather!! I love these pumpkin oatmeal bars so much. Definitely a favorite!

  21. I forgot to ask you this. My daughter’s 4th birthday is coming up soon and I’m making your funfetti cupcakes for her. I’m so overwhelmed by all your delicious recipes that i can’t decide on another treat to make for her. What do you suggest?

  22. Another recipe to add to my list. Both of my kids LOVE granola bars and I’ve been looking for a recipe that uses pumpkin because I like how it a) makes it moist and allows me to avoid adding oil and B) gives them vitamin A.

    Alas, 100 degree weather is returning so my oven might be quiet for a while, but this will be bookmarked for the next cool spell.

    Oh, my 6.5 year old loves your peanut butter chocolate energy balls (and I love the no baking required). Three-and-half year old hasn’t weighed in yet. I’ll comment later on that recipe when she does. 🙂

    • Kelly, so happy that you all love these bars. They truly are one of my very favorites! Along with those chocolate energy balls.

  23. I am SO excited to see how these turn out. They are in the oven right now. My home is flourishing with the pumpkin aroma. I hope they taste as decadent as they look. Don’t you just love the sweet taste of pumpkin, especially in this hot August humidity. My kids will be sure to enjoy this, getting ready for the Halloween season. They usually are picky and hate my cooking, but these mouth-watering treats will be sure to thrill their taste buds!! BRB (LOL! i love using texting language as a mom, my kids make fun of me) the timer just rang, let see how they turned out! I’ll be back with my results.

    • Hi Ursula! I hope you enjoy them. And I love your texting language use. My mom enjoys using it too. It makes me smile to read 🙂

  24. Oh my gosh these look so good! I’m not quite ready to make those Fall recipes. I guess I feel like it will make the cold weather come quicker. Lol. Definitely pinning to make soon!

  25. These look incredible! Could I omit the molasses or use something else in it’s place by chance? And do you think a gluten free all purpose flour would work?

    • Hi Brittany! You may use honey or agave instead of the molasses, but the bars won’t have that typical “spice” flavor using a more mild liquid sweetener. A GF flour should work, yes.

  26. Thanks so much for this recipe. It is the only way my three year old will eat oats! Since I discovered this recipe a couple weeks ago, I’ve made these every few days so that we won’t run out.. Everyone in the family loves them!

    • Monica, that is so great! I make these easy oatmeal bars all the time too. Maybe not as often as you! I’m happy that your little one loves them too.

  27. Gonna try these bars without the oatmeal just pumpkin choc chip bars my daughter who is super picky and allergic to everything will love these as she loves pumpkin and chocolate. She loves the puppy chow all varieties

  28. Could this be done with almond or coconut flour? Would it be Ii heavy?

    • Replacing the WW flour with either of the flours you mentioned would be just fine. I say this because only 1/4 cup of either will not make a huge difference to the overall taste and texture of your oatmeal bars.

  29. Okay, I just made these this evening and was so excited. Now, I’ve made thick granola bars before (from Smitten Kitchen blog), and they were the best granola bars I’ve ever had. They however had a good amount of fat in them, so thought yours would be a good alternative. But, I just bit into one and almost couldn’t swallow. They don’t have a nice and chewy, granola bar texture..instead, they taste like rubbery, over-cooked oatmeal :/. The texture is so off-putting, their flavor doesn’t redeem them. I followed your recipe exactly..is this the texture they’re supposed to have? I’ll probably throw the whole pan out..I’m so sad.

    • Oh goodness, I’m so sorry you don’t like the texture of these granola bars, Leslie. They aren’t supposed to have a rubbery texture, but they will taste like baked oatmeal. Did you change anything at all (even the slightest thing) about the recipe? Granola bars can be rubbery when there is a lack of sugar.

  30. Nope..aside from adding some dried cherries, I didn’t change a thing. They’re supposed to taste like baked oatmeal? I guess I was assuming they’d taste like a thick and chewy granola bar, since they’re touted as granola bars :). I suppose if that’s what you’re expecting, they’re okay. Ah well, unfortunately, a little bit of fat does make things taste so much better :)..perhaps I’ll try them again with a little less pumpkin and add a couple tbsp of butter.

    • Well they aren’t hard and sticky like most granola bars. Sorry to have disappointed you Leslie. Maybe you can crumble them up on top of ice cream or something?!And top with caramel? Anyway, yes – a little more fat does make everything better. You could add 2 Tbsp of melted butter or oil if you’d like. Thanks for your feedback.

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