Homemade KIND Bars

Homemade KIND bars are homemade granola bars that are actually healthy. They’re easy to make, too, with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and any other add-ins you fancy (coconut, anyone?). Gluten free. Low sugar. For breakfast or any other time of day.

Half of a homemade KIND bar with a piece broken off.

These homemade KIND bars are essentially homemade granola bars that are actually healthy for you with nothing but nuts, dried fruit, and a little syrup for sweetness and stickiness. You can also mix in any other add-ins you fancy (coconut, anyone?). They’re low sugar and easy as can be. Author Camilla V. Saulsbury refers to these homemade KIND bars as “Friend Bars,” which we admit initially confounded us. But one of our recipe testers clarified the connection for us in a note he wrote after making several batches. “You want lots of friends?” he said. “Make and share lots of these delicious bars, and you’ll soon have more friends than you can count.” Seems you can never have too many friends—or, apparently, too many homemade KIND Bars.

 –Renee Schettler

*Why You Can't Use Honey, Maple Syrup, or Agave Nectar In Homemade KIND Bars

“Before you start making plans to substitute your favorite brand of agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup for the specified syrups,” says the creative genius who created these homemade KIND bars, “it will not work. Instead of a stack of bars, you will have a pile of crumbles. I could go into a lengthy chemical discussion about the structure and properties of various sugars, but I won’t (which will simultaneously disappoint my retired chemist father and please my editor). Just trust me on this one.” That’s all the caution we need to hear.

Homemade KIND Bars

  • Quick Glance
  • (10)
  • 15 M
  • 35 M
  • Makes 10 bars
4.9/5 - 10 reviews
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Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the nuts or seeds, cereal, and dried fruit. Add the syrup and salt (if using) to the nut mixture and stir until evenly coated.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place a large piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap atop the bar mixture and use it to spread, flatten, and very firmly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Discard the paper or plastic.

Tester tip: To make the mixture even less likely to stick to the paper or plastic wrap, you can spray the bottom side of it with nonstick vegetable spray.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until slightly browned at the edges but still somewhat soft at the center. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Using the liner, lift the mixture from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 10 bars. Let cool completely. (You can tightly wrap the homemade KIND bars individually in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 1 month; if frozen, let thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour prior to biting into it.) Originally published January 3, 2014. 

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    Homemade KIND Bar Variations

    • Apple Pecan KIND Bars
    • Use chopped dried apples for the fruit, pecans for the nuts, and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon along with the syrup.

    • Very Nutty KIND Bars
    • Omit the dried fruit and increase the total amount of nuts to 2 cups.

    • Seeds KIND Bars
    • Omit the dried fruit and use 2 cups raw toasted seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds) in place of the nuts.

    • Almond Apricot KIND Bars
    • Use chopped dried apricots for the fruit, 1 1/4 cups almonds for the nuts, and 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut. Add 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest or lemon zest along with the syrup.

    • Coconut Almond KIND Bars
    • Use unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut for the fruit and almonds for the nuts. Add 3/4 teaspoon almond extract along with the syrup.

    • Ginger Sesame KIND Bars
    • Use 1 cup almonds or cashews and 1/3 cup sesame seeds for the nuts and seeds and chopped dates for the fruit. Add 1 teaspoon ground ginger along with the syrup.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    These homemade granola bars were awesome—not too sweet and loaded with crunchy-chewy goodness. Think KIND bars at just a fraction of the cost. The kids devoured my first batch as lunchbox snacks, so I'll be making more this week, trying a few new flavor combinations in the process.

    I love that this recipe is really just a ratio. Keep your nut to cereal to fruit ratios in check with the binder (in my case, brown rice syrup), and you can get as creative with these bars as you wish.

    I made mine pretty simply the first time with a combination of pecans and cashews, raisins and craisins, and puffed brown rice cereal. With the dried figs and apricots, hazelnuts, coconut, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) I have in the pantry, the possibilities are endless.

    We loved these homemade KIND bars and I know I'll be making these again and again in many variations. They're quite easy to make and so much better than the ones I've tried from the store.

    At first I thought the bars weren't going to hold together, but I let them cool just a little longer than 20 minutes before cutting and they did quite well. I think any longer and they would have crumbled, any shorter and they would have fallen apart. Using foil to line the pan worked perfectly to lift the cooled bars, and the plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray worked wonderfully to help press the bars into the baking dish.

    I used light corn syrup and toasted brown rice cereal; cashews, sunflower seeds, pecans, and almonds for the nuts; and for the dried fruit I used apricots and mango. I omitted the salt.


    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


    1. Hello, everybody: I’m psyched to try this, but I have no puffed cereal in the pantry and I wonder if it is necessary to this recipe? I didn’t think that the commercial Kind bars have cereal in them, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I’d like to try it without. Thoughts?

      1. Hi, Suzanne. Yes, KIND bars do include puffed rice. (Some newer varieties may not, but the classic bars which we were replicating when this recipe was published do–I know because I’m not crazy about puffed cereal so I’ve never bought KIND bars!) They are, though, mostly nuts and fruit and so you could easily modify to what you have on hand. You just may have a little extra syrup so perhaps up the amount of nuts and/or fruit just a smidgen…

        1. So, digging through the pantry, i found two types of Kind bars. Both included chicory root fiber and rice flour, but no cereal. The chicory root fiber i assume is the tiny pellets. 😜 I’ll try it, maybe with flaxseed meal, which I do have. Woohoo!

    2. So easy to make! I always have trouble with bars sticking together after they are baked…these stayed together for me. I followed times and temperature exactly, had fun with the dried fruit, and 1/4 cup of the nuts were salted so omitted adding extra salt. Can’t wait to try a coconut chocolate version.

      1. Magnificent, Heather! Thrilled to hear this! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Greatly appreciate you taking the time to let us know. Keep us in the loop if you try any new combos of fruits and nuts that you particularly love!

    3. I made these. I heated the brown rice syrup to make it pourable. The taste is great but the syrup is candy like and hard to bite. How do I make it chewy?

      1. Divina, I think heating the brown rice syrup may have resulted in it turning hard. I know brown rice syrup is super thick and slow to pour, but next time, try not pouring it and see how things turn out. That’s how we tested it in our kitchens, just as the recipe says, and it worked really well. Kindly let us know how it goes!

        1. Thank you for reply. I was thinking all the other possibilities because the brown rice syrup is also sticking on the teeth and get stuck up. I’ll try it again next week and see how it goes. Thank you.

            1. One month later, I made the bars again. It was better right now. What I did was placed the bottle of the brown rice syrup in hot water so it won’t be too sticky. The bars with the brown syrup doesn’t stick to my teeth anymore. Now, I’m finding ways to make it travel friendly so I can send it to my family. Any ideas would help.

            2. Divina, that’s magnificent to hear, thanks so much for taking the time to let us know! As for shipping, I would leave the entire slab of bars intact and not slice them before shipping. Simply wrap the slab in wax or parchment paper and then in a resealable plastic bag or with several layers of plastic wrap. And wait until the weather is cool wherever you’re shipping them to so that the bars aren’t sitting in some sweltering warehouse somewhere and collecting moisture. Good luck!

    4. Is there any way to make caramel without using dairy? My son can not have it, but I’d love to try to use it on one of the bar adaptations. Maybe a different milk and plant based butter? Thank you!

      1. Hi Caycee, you can easily make a dairy free caramel by swapping coconut milk for milk, and either a vegan butter or ghee (depending on your son’s sensitivity to dairy proteins like casein). I would use your favorite recipe for caramel as a starting point for substitutions. You can also play around with the sugars by using coconut or maple sugar. Have fun experimenting!

    5. Wow, SO good, SO easy! Thank you! I especially appreciate skipping the stovetop and candy thermometer step that’s found in other similar recipes. The second time I made this recipe (today – the first time was yesterday, lol), I doubled it, used a cookie sheet instead, and on about a quarter of the sheet lined it with Perugina milk chocolate bar (it’s a thin one) before laying down the recipe mix on top. Same time n temp etc. Wasn’t sure how it would go, but boy am I glad of the attempt. Turned out ay-may-zing with that thin layer of chocolate underneath! I’ll stick with the basic recipe usually, but this is great for an extra rich treat now and then; might like using a dark chocolate even more. These bars are sure to be a staple treat in my family, so so glad to find your post!

      1. Happy Reader, you’re so very welcome for the recipe! And thank YOU for such a brilliant chocolate variation! We SO appreciate you sharing that with us. I can see how that would be exactly what these bars need to take them a little more on the indulgent side of the spectrum. Many thanks!

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