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Chewy and wholesome snack bars that are sweet and salty, packed with whole foods, and are made without grains or refined sugars. 

vanilla almond snack bars

These vanilla almond snack bars are simple and wholesome with a sweet taste that won’t give you a sugar crash. They’re an easy fruit and nut bar, similar to a KIND bar. They’re grain free, gluten free, have no refined sugar, and are packed with whole, natural ingredients like almonds, dates, and seeds. Usually I add a little oats to energy/granola bars but I wanted to keep the main ingredients purely nuts and dried fruit.

Do you remember my recipe for Gluten Free Apple Crisp? Just like it, today’s recipe is not just “really good for a gluten free recipe.” It’s just plain REALLY GOOD. We’re using almond meal in today’s recipe again too. For anyone not familiar with almond meal, don’t get nervous. Almond meal is just ground almonds before reaching the stage of almond butter.

While you can purchase it at the store, almond meal (also known as almond flour if using blanched almonds and grinding a little more fine) is easy to make at home. Simply pulse almonds until they reach a gritty and rough flour-like consistency like this:

almond meal in a bowl

Almond meal helps bind the snack bar’s ingredients. We’ll also add roughly chopped almonds, too. You will love their crunchy texture. For a little sweetness, use honey. I do not recommend thinner liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or agave. Brown rice syrup works too. Salted sunflower seeds bulk the bars up and, when paired with the dates and honey, supply that satisfying sweet and salty flavor we all know and love.

Baked the vanilla almond snack bars for only around 20 minutes, or just until they are relatively set.

side by side photo of vanilla almond snack bars in a pan
vanilla almond snack bars

They’re sweet and simple, wholesome, flavorful, chewy, grain-free, and do not contain refined sugar.

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vanilla almond snack bars

Vanilla Almond Snack Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 bars 1x
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Chewy and wholesome snack bars that are slightly sweet ‘n salty, packed with whole foods, and are made without grains or refined sugars.


  • 1/3 cup (114g) honey or brown rice syrup*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (30g) almond meal*
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) almond butter
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (187g) whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 5 Medjool dates, coarsely chopped*
  • 3/4 cup (105g) salted sunflower seeds*


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix the honey, vanilla, almond meal, salt, and almond butter together until combined. Fold in the almonds, chopped dates, and sunflower seeds until combined.
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You really want it packed in tight- as tight as possible. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour. This helps firm up the bars which makes them stay compact. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I find they get a little sticky at room temperature over a few days, so I prefer the refrigerator.


  1. Freezing Instructions: These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw before enjoying.
  2. Special Tools: Glass mixing bowls, Cuisinart food processor, Ninja master prep, Mariani pitted dates, Square glass baking dish
  3. Sweetener: I do not suggest a thinner sweetener like maple syrup or agave– honey or brown rice syrup is perfect.
  4. Almond Meal: You can use store-bought almond meal or almond flour, or you can make your own. Start with 1/4 cup of slivered, sliced, or whole almonds. Pulse them in a food processor until a crumbly meal has formed. Do not run the food processor continuously; you may end up with almond butter. Little pulses are best. You will end up with around 1/4 cup almond meal.
  5. Dates: Instead of dates, try 1/2 cup (75g) raisins or dried cranberries.
  6. Sunflower Seeds: I like to use salted sunflower seeds because they add a little salt to the sweet dates/honey. I love the salty sweet taste and I think you will too. If using unsalted, add another 1/8 teaspoon salt to the recipe. Instead of sunflower seeds, try using chopped peanuts, cashews, or almonds.
  7. Cashew Coconut Version: I also love using this recipe as a base for Cashew Coconut flavor with chia seeds. Swap almonds for the same amount of raw unsalted cashews. Replace sunflower seeds with 3/4 cup (60g) unsweetened shredded coconut, and add 1 Tablespoon chia seeds. Everything else remains the same.

Keywords: vanilla almond snack bars, almond snack bars

Here is the cashew coconut version mentioned in the Note above. Another favorite!

cashew coconut snack bars

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made these this morning and I’m already obsessed! They will not last long! As always, your recipes do not fail!

  2. Hi Sally! I love the idea of these since I’m always looking for snack bars that don’t have tons of flour and/oats for a change. I was wondering if you knew anything about using ground flaxseed in place of the almond meal…I have just enough nuts for the bars, but no extra to make almond meal with. Seems like the flaxseed might be a similar texture? Or would you just use regular flour instead as a substitute. I know you’d lose a little of the almond flavor. Just curious! Thanks!

    1. Either ground flaxseed or flour would work in place of the almond flour, Sarah. You really just need a little something “powdery” to bind the ingredients together.

  3. These were awesome. My room mate liked them even better than the original KIND bars. The do get a little sticky and soft if kept outside but they still taste great. I’m gonna have to try a version with apricots and coconut flakes soon.
    Best part, the recipe is super simple.

  4. These bars are to die for! They are so chewy, sticky, easy, and just perfection. A repeat for sure.

  5. Made these as written (using agave) and they are excellent! Will definitely make them again and am looking forward to trying the cashew coconut version.  Keep ’em coming Snack Bar Sally!

  6. I tried adding dark chocolate the first time around, but it masked the vanilla almond flavor. White chocolate would be okay I think, but honestly, the vanilla almond flavor is so delicious I want it on its own. I hope there is a peanut butter/dark chocolate version in the works! And salted caramel… Also, I had some leftover graham cracker crumbs in my food processor when I was making almond meal, and that gave me the idea of a cinnamon version!

  7. Just made these today with my 3 year old. We loved them! I subbed cashews for sunflower seeds since we didn’t have them and added coconut to it. Any ideas on ways to make them less sticky so they’re easily portable for 2 kids to take around with them without getting sticky hands? 

    I’ve tried several of your recipes- you never let me down! 🙂 thank you!

    1. Perhaps leave out the almond butter? Or add a little more almond meal.

  8. These bars are AMAZING! I ate the entire batch in three days. And they’re so easy to make. I’d love to see a version of this that can be stored at room temperature, it’d make a great snack to store in my office draw.

  9. Any way to adapt your mocha granola to be a granola bar? That would be straight up amazing. 

    1. That sounds incredible. I’ve never tried it out myself. Would definitely take some testing, but if I were to try it– I would add an egg, reduce the oats to 2.5 cups, then press it all into a 9-inch pan and bake. Maybe 20-ish minutes at 350.

  10. Would it be a very good idea to substitute Biscoff spread for the almond butter…? Healthy, well no, but I do looovvveeee some Biscoff! (Which is totally your fault, btw. I hadn’t discovered it until your chocolate chip cookie granola bars! :P) 

  11. I love KIND bars and I have loved every recipe of yours I’ve made so I’m going to give this a try!  I have salted almonds at home- do you think it’s okay to use them or will they create too salty a snack bar?  

    1. I don’t think they will be too salty at all! But I’d leave out the added salt.

  12. Do you have to use dates, me and my family don’t like them.

  13. I made this for our daughter’s school snacks and they are absolutely beautiful.  Making another lot today to get through the weekend.  I will be making these a lot.  Thanks for a great recipe,

  14. Do they have to be wrapped individually before freezing? I’m thinking of just putting them all together in a freezer bag.

    1. Hi Sara! The bars will stick together in the freezer and don’t thaw out as nicely. You can pry them apart after thawing, though!

  15. Hi Sally, can I pulse the almonds instead of roughly chop? Will the bars still hold together?

    1. That should work as long as you leave some larger pieces!

  16. Hi there. Going to make these tonight. Do you know how many calories are in this recipe

    1. Hi Shona! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful:

  17. Hi everyone. I’ve been quadrupling / x8ing this recipe and making it about once a month for a little over a year now, so I thought I should leave a comment to let everyone know how great it is. I had never made granola bars before this recipe, and after making these, I never went looking for another variation. They are a staple in my diet and cooking schedule.

    For my *quadrupled* version, I replace the dates and sunflower seeds with:
    – 1 cup dried cranberries (this would be 1/4 cup for original recipe)
    – 1 cup chocolate chips (this would be 1/4 cup for original recipe)

    Some tips:
    – For making these in bulk: Buy the giant bag of almonds and giant bottle of honey at Costco. These bars are basically pure almond, which are expensive unless you can get the bulk discount.
    – They freeze well; I regularly store a half-batch in the freezer for about a month at a time.
    – Chop the almonds to relatively fine pieces in your food processor or blender if you want your final bars to really stick together (trade-off: the finer the pieces, the more difficult to cut at the end).
    – Leave the almonds in bigger pieces if you want to make it easier to stir the final batch, which is the most labor-intensive component of this recipe (trade-off: the bars may not stick together as well).
    – As already mentioned, they get sticky if left at room temperature. Wrap them individually in parchment paper and put them in a large storage bag in the fridge for best results.

    1. Wow, this is so helpful ❤️ Thanks for sharing your experience and this made my calculations so easy ❣️

  18. I was wondering if I could replace the almond butter with peanut butter? Almond butter is more expensive than peanut butter and I don’t want to use up my savings, since almonds already cost a lot on their own

    1. Hi Johana! Yes, peanut butter will work in the place of almond butter here – natural peanut butter will work best. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Erin, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful:

  19. This recipe is awesome! I’ve been making a batch (with honey) pretty much every week for the past 6 months. They seem to hold together a little better with raw honey compared to regular honey. I’ve also tried lots of substitutions of different fruits and nuts, and as long as the weights are about the same as the recipe calls for, they all consistently turn out perfect.