Amy Keyishian

Granola Bars: Buy It vs. Make It

granola bar recipesI’m in deep mourning this week because I thought for sure I had come up with a money-saver that would revolutionize my family’s finances. We go through a lot of granola bars in this house. A lot. Basically, when I start to worry that there should be more to my daughters’ diets than unspecified-berry-flavored live-active culture served in a tube, granola bars are often the only other food they’ll accept. (This is a curse that was laid upon me by an old crone who heard me making fun of my picky nieces back when I was kid-free. It will only be lifted by a true love’s kiss. Hershey’s Kiss.)


The point is, we go through a lot of granola bars in my house. If they were plentiful and free, I could finally start that college fund. I figured if that Quaker guy can make them, how hard could it be?


Well. Harder than I thought. I went through a couple of different recipes: a standard granola bar (flaxseeds? seriously?), and a much more fun version with marshmallows and cereal. They were both sort of tasty to me, but didn’t get anywhere with my kids. They also didn’t hold together in bar form, and I couldn’t figure out how to make them as portable and long-lasting as the Power Bar that’s been fermenting in my glove compartment.


I think we can all see where this is going.



Making granola bars isn’t difficult, but you have to come up with a lot of weird ingredients and touch mushy things. I’d rather not. Also, most recipes include store-bought granola, and I feel compelled to make my own, which adds to the effort. It’s still not onerous.



I guess these were fine. It’s not like granola bars are transcendent in the first place. But I wasn’t making these for me: they were for the very small people who ask for sandwiches and then cry because they hate sandwiches and why am I making them eat sandwiches. Those people were not interested. Their moms were! I brought my homemade bars on a hike, and the other moms finished off everything in my baggie. But they’d have been just as happy with trail mix, which is essentially these granola bars without the marshmallows.



I’m not doing math this time. There are too many weird ingredients in these granola bars, and they didn’t work anyway. Plus, part of the joy of snack bars is that you throw them in your purse and have them for an emergency. Which means you will end up using a precious snack-sized baggie for each one, and that’s a massive money-suck. Meanwhile, if you buy granola bars, in bulk they can be as cheap as $.50 a bar and they last longer than Wall-E.



If you’re buying snack bars for yourself — to put in your lunch — you should make it, because you’ll be able to fine-tune the taste, add protein powder or subtract sweetener as desired, and probably save some money. If you’re buying them for picky eaters, you’re out of luck. Buy it!




What’s the verdict? Check out all our Buy It vs. Make It comparisons!



18 Responses to “Granola Bars: Buy It vs. Make It”

  • Shaniqua says:

    I totally dig this idea, but . . . who writes the first letters you guys or us? (above says, you guys, even so the email I got just said we write them.) What is the subject matter? Can we write about anything? I’m able to imagine this is a lot cheaper than therapy or medication for some persons. Can we include pictures of our cats? How about recipes for vegan cupcakes? There is actually a chance I might have interesting things to write about. What is the statistical probability that the reader will treatment? Good idea! You are all great. Please advise.

  • Kathy Johnson says:

    Granola bar recipe please

  • Nancy says:

    I would love your granola bar recipe, Leaving on a trip by airplane and these would be perfect to avoid 3 diabetic high school friends=now all 73 years young to have on hand for keeping us energized to shop. Thank You,

  • Nadell Davis says:

    My husband loves granola bars and I want to learn how to make good ones. Saw the commets and wondered of o might have your recipe also. Thank you very much.

  • Gayle DenBeste says:

    I’d love to compare your granola bar recipe with the one I have been using a lot using any variety of puffed cereal, i.e. millet, kasha, rice, etc. These bars are a hit with family and friends, easy to do, and great to carry in the car or purse for when you are stuck and need a snack quickly.

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  • Charlene says:

    Dear Lynn
    I would love your recipe for granola bars, I have been making them but mine always turn out to be just granola. I don’t know how to get them to stick together to make bars. please help.

  • Irene Torley says:

    I would love to have your recipe for granola bars. I like them and I have a ton of family who also like them.

    Thank you, Irene :o )

  • Grace Kim says:

    can I get your recipe if you wouldn’t mind???

  • Lynn Plahmer says:

    You are missing the point about making granola bars from scratch versus buying from the store. I have been making my own granola bars for several years now. The point is that you are not ingesting food that has more preservatives than real ingredients. And if you go through them as you say then you don’t have to worry about spoilage. I have a recipe that is fairly simple and basic ingredients. It has been perfected. If you would like my recipe you can email me.

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