Vanilla Almond Snack Bars

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

Here’s a healthy recipe I made for our camping trip last weekend. Along with these not-so-healthy cookies and these flourless cookies, there wasn’t a homemade treat left by the time we left on Sunday. I personally could not stop snacking on these vanilla almond bars.

By the way, as I type this post– I keep laughing every time I type snack bar. You know that I worked as a waitress at Chili’s years ago, but before that I worked at a snack bar at a swim club in the summertime. Not long after I started, I was dubbed the name “Snack Bar Sally.” Kevin loved learning about that nickname when I ran into friends a few months ago. And he had a heyday when I made these snack bars for the trip.

Snack Bar Sally’s Vanilla Almond Snack Bars, everyone.

vanilla almond snack bars

I loved these feel-good snack bars. I nearly ate the entire batch myself. I’ve already been brainstorming different flavor variations– maybe even one with coconut? Stay tuned. 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 sugars, 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? One of my favorite recipes from last year? No, really… it was. That simple recipe blew my mind. Just like it, today’s recipe is not just “really good for a gluten free recipe.” It’s just plain REALLY GOOD. Also like that recipe? The addition of almond meal. For anyone not familiar with almond meal, don’t get nervous. Almond meal is just ground almonds– ground almonds before reaching the stage of almond butter.

Almond meal (also known as almond flour, if using blanched almonds and grinding a little more fine) is so easy to make at home; cheaper than buying pre-made almond meal or almond flour, trust me. Simply pulse them until they reach a gritty and rough flour-like consistency. Like so:

almond meal in a bowl

Almond meal helps bind the snack bar’s ingredients. There are also whole almonds, chopped roughly, in the bars as well. You will love their crunchy texture. 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.

Speaking of… for a little sweetness, use honey. I do not recommend thinner liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or agave. Rather, you want a thick liquid sweetener. Brown rice syrup works too. You don’t need much, only 1/3 cup for the entire batch of bars. For flavor? Well, we have the honey. Also: almonds, dates, and vanilla extract. The pairing of dates and vanilla is blissfully good– the same irresistible duo that make up my popular chocolate truffle energy bites. (I make those energy bites at least once a month.)

The snack bars are baked for only around 20 minutes, just until they are relatively set and the ingredients bind together properly.

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

vanilla almond snack bars

They’re sweet ‘n salty, simple, wholesome, flavorful, chewy, grain-free, and do not contain a trace of refined sugar. Not only this, the snack bars are much cheaper than store-bought “healthy” snack bars. Aren’t those things like $2.50 per bar? Insane. You can also control the ingredients packed inside. I sorta like knowing what I’m eating. Snack on!

– Snack Bar Sally

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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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
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 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*

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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.

Keywords: vanilla almond snack bars, almond snack bars

vanilla almond snack bars

These copycat KIND bars are GF, made with easy, healthy ingredients and pack a HUGE flavor punch!

35 Comments

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

  2. Bet @ Bet On Dinner says:

    Oh man – I just cut into these and they are GOOD. I buy KIND bars regularly even though the price tag hurts, and I’m so excited at how similar these are! I had seen another copycat version that involved a candy thermometer, so I also loved that this was a one-bowler! :o) I love them as-is but I know my family will request a chocolate chip version, so I’ll be experimenting, too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Sarah Bradley says:

    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.

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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!

  7. Allyson Rogers says:

    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!

    1. All your suggestions sound AMAZING! Thanks Allyson.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. contabilidade says:

    This recipe is amazing! I’m so happy =)

  11. 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.

  12. i don’t have almond butter. What could I use in its place? Take care

  13. Maureen, you’re making the most of my recipes! I love it. Hope you enjoy the pizza. It’s one of my very favorites… ever!

  14. 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) 

    1. You can absolutely use Biscoff instead!

  15. 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.

  16. Hi Sally. Did u bake in 8 or 9 inch pan cos   I like the thickness of your bars. Can I sub the almond butter with peanut butter? Hope to make it this weekend. Thanks and appreciate. .

    1. 8 inches– and yes you can use peanut butter!

  17. Helen Sigcha says:

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

    1. See my recipe note. Enjoy!

  18. Could you use another but besides almonds? I’m not a huge fan.

  19. 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,
    Kylie

  20. Jodie Lynn Smith says:

    Awesome! So excited to try these

  21. 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!

  22. Love the recipe. Great combination.

  23. Do you know the calorie content of the bars. I’ve made the recipe and they are wonderful, stating WW diet and would like to how much would be acceptable to eat.

    1. Hi Pat! I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  24. Neerah Camilleri says:

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

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

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