These chewy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal bars come together in 1 mixing bowl. They’re egg free, vegan if using dairy free chocolate chips, and gluten free if using certified gluten free oats. The addition of chocolate chips makes them taste like dessert—a delicious & healthy way to satisfy your pumpkin cravings!
Though my website focuses on traditional baking and dessert recipes, I test and bake healthy recipes all the time. It’s usually what we eat/snack on during the week, then we save the indulgent goodies for the weekend like apple cinnamon babka—I just made another loaf. Cannot get enough!
A version of today’s recipe has lived on my website for years, but it was never a favorite. These pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal bars are new and improved. They’re vegan, gluten free, and flavored with pumpkin, spices, maple, and vanilla. And best of all, by pulsing the oats into a finer cut, they hold their shape MUCH better than the previous version.
Here’s Why You’ll Love Them
- Healthy way to get your pumpkin spice fix
- Soft-baked and extra chewy
- No added refined sugar (excludes the chocolate chips)
- A great place to use your homemade pumpkin pie spice
- Everything comes together in 1 bowl
- Customizable—instead of chocolate chips, use nuts or dried cranberries
- Freeze beautifully
Plus, they’re adult and toddler approved. They’re like a bar version of my healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies or pumpkin baked oatmeal cups, both of which are equally flavorful and wholesome. (And delicious!)
Overview: How to Make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars
- Whether you use whole oats or quick oats, pulse them in a food processor first. Gently breaking the oats down helps guarantee the bars hold together. I do this with my healthy berry streusel bars and it makes all the difference– tight, compact bars.
- Place the oats in a big mixing bowl, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Yes, it’s that easy. The recipe below is a careful mix of ingredients to ensure best taste and texture. I don’t recommend making any substitutions other than the options listed.
- Press tightly into a lined 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan.
- Cool, then cut into squares.
The bars take about 25-30 minutes to bake. Remove them from the oven, then cool completely. I usually cool them on the counter for 30 minutes, then place the whole pan in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to speed it up.
What’s the Texture Like?
Following the recipe, bake time, and cooling instructions below, the bars are like a soft oatmeal bar—a firmer version of baked oatmeal.
On another note, do you like KIND bars? I have a homemade pumpkin spice version on my website called Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Snack Bars. I LOVE them because of all the varying textures: chewy, crunchy, chunky!
Are These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars Healthy?
“Healthy” is a relative term. In my eyes, these are perfectly healthy pumpkin bars. They’re made with whole foods like pumpkin, applesauce, and fiber-filled oats, plus there’s no white flour or butter. However, they may be too sugary for someone who needs to watch their sugar intake and they’re obviously not ideal for anyone allergic to oats.
When it comes to labeling recipes as healthy, use the best judgement for YOU.
- I’m unsure of the nutritional information for these, but feel free to calculate it yourself using an online calculator and the exact products/brands you use.
More Healthy Favorites
- Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars
- Breakfast Cookies
- Healthy Banana Bread
- Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Cups
- Maple Vanilla Baked Pears
These pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal bars are soft and chewy with satisfying pumpkin flavor. Using a food processor or blender to break down the oats (step 2) ensures the bars hold their shape. I don’t recommend any ingredient substitutions other than those listed in the recipe & recipe notes.
- 3 cups (240g) old-fashioned whole oats or quick oats (not instant)*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice*
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (225g) fresh or canned pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup (56g) unsweetened applesauce*
- 1/3 cup (80ml) melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (45g) coconut sugar (or packed light or dark brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (135g) semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus a few to press into the top
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
- Pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until they’re slightly broken up. (For whole oats, about 10 pulses. For quick oats, about 5-6 pulses.) Pour into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, stir together until combined. Mixture/dough will be very heavy and thick.
- Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Using the back of a flat spatula or a spoon, spread and press it tightly down into the pan. Make sure it’s flat and very compact, which helps guarantee the bars hold their shape. Dot a few chocolate chips into the top– this is optional and only for looks! I usually use about 1-2 Tablespoons on top.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned and the center appears set. Avoid over-baking, which dries the bars out.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. After that, place the pan in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours until chilled.
- Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides then cut into squares.
- Cover leftover bars tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Freeze squares in single layers between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Oats: If needed, use certified gluten free oats to ensure the bars are gluten free.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can find pumpkin pie spice in the baking aisle of most grocery stores or make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t have either and want to use individual spices, use 1/4 teaspoon each: ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice. This is in addition to the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon—you will still add that to the dough.
- Applesauce: If needed, you can replace the applesauce with the same amount of mashed banana. Or you can use 1 egg or even use a flax egg substitute. 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 applesauce/egg.
- Chocolate Chips: You can skip the chocolate chips or replace with white chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried cranberries. Or use a combination of any of those add-ins.
- Vegan: Use dairy-free chocolate chips to ensure the bars are vegan.
Keywords: pumpkin oatmeal bars