It’s a great idea to make your own granola bars, but sometimes, you just want to skip the oats.
They’re heavy and filling—and they’re not actually all that healthy.
They’re rich in fiber and protein, sure, but they can also make you gain weight if you eat too many of them.
So, what’s the best substitute for oats in granola bars?
The best substitute for oats in granola bars is chia seeds. Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber; they also absorb water easily, which makes them a great texture replacement for oats in granola bars. When using chia seeds as a substitute for oats, use 1/2 cup of chia to replace 1 cup of oats.
13 Substitutes for Oats in Granola Bars
Need a quick and easy way to make your granola bars gluten-free?
Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to switch up your breakfast routine.
Here are 13 easy substitutes for oats in granola bars:
1. Chia seeds
My favorite substitute for oats in granola bars is chia seeds.
These little guys are packed with protein and essential nutrients, not to mention they taste amazing.
They’re also incredibly easy to work with—I like to grind mine into a coarse powder with my Vitamix blender.
I then just add them to the rest of my ingredients and proceed as usual.
I get all the benefits of using chia seeds without having to change anything about the granola bar recipe.
These are great for anyone who is looking for a gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free option that’s still packed with protein and essential nutrients, but tastes great and is easy to work with!
2. Buckwheat groats
I call this one “the chameleon of the bunch” because it takes on whatever flavor you add to it.
On top of that, it has a pretty neutral taste.
It also doesn’t break down very easily when you chew it!
So no more granola shirt stains.
And… best of all… buckwheat groats are a great source of fiber and protein!
3. Quinoa flakes
Quinoa flakes are a perfect substitute for oats in granola bars.
While oats are a great source of protein, the gluten in oats can be an issue for some people.
This is why quinoa flakes work so well as a substitute.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, and it’s higher in protein than oats!
Not only that, but quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids (which are known to increase muscle mass).
I like to mix almond milk with quinoa flakes for a low-sugar cereal option.
I also incorporate quinoa flakes into my homemade granola bars.
The combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips never fails to satisfy my sweet tooth!
4. Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are often used as a substitute for oats because they have almost the same nutritional profile as oats (including protein and fat content).
Hemp seeds also contain important amino acids that your body doesn’t produce on its own, so it’s a great way to get them into your diet.
And the best part?
Hemp seeds don’t taste anything like oats! So you can still enjoy the amazing flavor of your favorite granola bar without worrying about whether you’re eating too many carbs.
5. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are insanely underrated.
They’re packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals—and they’re super versatile.
You can put them in just about anything for a bit of extra nutrition and flavor.
Plus, sunflower seeds make the perfect substitute for oats in granola bars because they provide a nice crunch without being too big or bulky in your mouth.
Plus, you can use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter if you want to switch up your flavors from time to time!
Flaxseeds are another great option.
This means that when you substitute flaxseeds for oats you’ll not only keep the same great taste but also increase the health benefits of your granola bar!
My recommendation is to look for golden flaxseeds instead of brown ones because they have more nutritional value and have a milder flavor that’s easier on your tastebuds.
7. Coconut flakes
Coconut flakes are loaded with fiber and antioxidants, and they taste great!
Unlike oats, you don’t need to cook coconut flakes before adding them to your granola bar recipe.
You can just mix them in with the rest of your ingredients as is.
You’ll also want to add a bit more liquid than you would if you were using oats to keep everything from drying out.
8. Corn flakes
Corn flakes are one of the most commonly used substitutes for oats.
They’re crunchy and come in a variety of flavors, including chocolate and honey nut.
To use corn flakes as a substitute, simply replace the oats with an equal amount of corn flakes – no other changes to the recipe are necessary!
9. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds have the same texture as oats, but they also have the same health benefits.
I personally like to crush them and mix them together with peanut butter and honey to make a delicious snack.
It tastes just like a granola bar! You can use sesame seeds as a replacement for oats in any recipe that calls for it.
10. Rice Chex cereal
Rice Chex cereal is something that you’ve probably eaten before, but you may not have used it as an ingredient in baking.
That’s because it’s usually thought of as a breakfast cereal, and not as an ingredient.
But it’s actually really great for making granola bars! It doesn’t taste super sweet like some other cereals, so it won’t overwhelm the flavor of the granola bars.
It also breaks down into small pieces, so you get the crunch that you’re looking for in a granola bar.
11. Almond flour or almond meal
You can use these two interchangeably, but almond meal is generally more coarsely ground and gives a heartier texture.
Either way, it’s a fantastic substitute for oats because of its finely ground texture, which allows it to absorb moisture very well.
It also adds a hearty flavor to your granola bars which comes from the almonds themselves, giving your granola bars more complexity of flavor than if you used simple oats!
If you’re looking for a substitute that’s a little healthier than corn flakes, try using granola instead!
Granola is packed with protein and fiber which will help keep you full throughout the day without feeling too heavy on your stomach like some other cereals can do.
13. Poppy seeds
Poppy seeds are not commonly used in granola bars, but they have a kind of nutty flavor that works really well with dried fruits and other granola bar ingredients like nuts, chocolate chips, and raisins.
They also add a great crunchy texture that’s similar to what you’d get from using nuts!
And finally, poppy seeds are very high in fat so they’ll help bind everything together better than oats would on their own!
13 Substitutes for Oats in Granola Bars
- Chia seeds
- Buckwheat groats
- Quinoa flakes
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Coconut flakes
- Corn flakes
- Sesame seeds
- Rice Chex cereal
- Almond flour or almond meal
- Poppy seeds
- Pick your favorite alternative from this list to use in your tasty bars.
- Prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Be ready to munch in no time!