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 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.
- Spices: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground allspice, and ground ginger. (You will still want to use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in the recipe, in addition to these spices.)
- 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, granola bars