Homemade Clif Bars (No-Bake!)

I had been in the dark about Clif Bars until just a couple of months ago. I had heard of them, but I typically don’t buy bars like that, so I had never tried one. I met a good friend for dinner one night, and she was giving me the details about her relatively new job. Among the perks were free, healthy snacks in the cafeteria area. She said that there were bins of Clif Bars, and when I mentioned that I’d never tried them, she pulled one out of her purse and gave it to me. A few days later I was spending the bulk of the morning running errands and without fail, found myself starving. I didn’t want to get fast food or hit a vending machine and then remembered that I had the Clif Bar in my purse. I dug it out and gave it a try. It took approximately 2.2 seconds for me to realize why so many people are such big fans of these bars. It only took another 10 seconds to start brainstorming ideas for a homemade version. Through some trial and error, I came up with an awesome replication of the Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch variety.

Even though there isn’t anything inherently “bad” for you in these bars and they are certainly a step above your typical processed granola bars, but I still relish making anything I can from scratch in my own kitchen. I grabbed the wrapper to study the ingredients, did some Googling and finally came up with these bars. I absolutely love them – they’re sweet, chewy, a little crisp and packed with flavor. These are sweetened with brown rice syrup, don’t include any sugar and are gluten-free. These make an awesome snack, and are a perfect substitution for breakfast or lunch if you’re running late or on the go.

If you’ve had them, what’s your favorite Clif Bar flavor?

One year ago: Maple-Walnut Fudge
Two years ago: Pancake Cupcakes with Maple-Bacon Frosting
Three years ago: Chewy, Fudgy Triple-Chocolate Brownies
Five years ago: Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

Homemade Clif Bars

Yield: 9 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup dates (pitted)
1¼ cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup quick-cooking oats
¼ cup coarsely chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
½ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Spray an 8x8-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Place the dates in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Combine the pureed dates with the cereal, oats, peanuts, flaxseed, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

3. Combine the peanut butter and brown rice syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and completely blended. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly to pack the mixture into the pan. Let the mixture sit until completely cool and set, at least 1 hour. Cut into bars, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

(Recipe adapted from Enlightened Cooking)

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97 Responses to “Homemade Clif Bars (No-Bake!)”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. amanda @ fake ginger on September 18, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Yum, I love Clif bars! I would have one everyday if they weren’t a buck a pop! These look delicious! I have a bag of dates in my pantry that I wasn’t sure what to do with – I guess I know now!

    Reply

  2. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on September 18, 2012 at 1:01 am

    I love Clif Bars! The Chocolate Chip Peanut, Carrot Cake, and Peanut Toffee Buzz flavors are my favorites. Great idea to make a homemade version!

    Reply

  3. Averie @ Averie Cooks on September 18, 2012 at 3:31 am

    I love making homemade bars with dates and oats – so many ways to go from there and yours look great!

    Reply

  4. Keisha on September 18, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I’ve had the mint chocolate cliff bar and it tasted great but these look even better. I love that they’re homemade so you know exactly what’s going into them and you can kind of customize the flavors to your own taste.

    Reply

  5. Jen @ Savory Simple on September 18, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Beautiful photo, Michelle! My issue with Cliff Bars is that they’re way to sweet for me, especially in the morning (I say this with a mega sweet tooth). But your version looks perfect to me! Brown rice syrup is a great addition.

    Reply

  6. AuntieBetty on September 18, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Any suggestions where to purchase brown rice syrup in southern California?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 25th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      I purchase brown rice syrup in the organic/health food section of my regular grocery store.

      Reply

      • Julie on May 25th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

        Recipe sounds great I live in the UK and would like to know where I can get brown rice syrup from?

        Reply

        • Michelle on May 27th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

          Hi Julie, Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the UK and where certain ingredients are available. If you can’t find it locally, you might try ordering it online, or you can substitute agave nectar.

          Reply

          • Daniel on January 6th, 2014 at 11:00 pm

            I used honey and it came out great! Love the recipe makes a great breakfast!

            Reply

    • Heather S. on September 26th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      I’m in San Diego, and Sprouts has it in their baking aisle near the maple syrup and other sweeteners

      Reply

  7. Shaina on September 18, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I love Clif bars!!! Cool mint is probably my absolute favorite…but there are a lot of great flavors! I really like the Clif Builders Bars for after a work out.

    Reply

  8. Megan on September 18, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Our whole family loves Clif bars!! Especially my younger brother. Our favorites are the Maple Nut, the Banana Bread and their seasonal flavors! (Pumpkin and Gingerbread)

    Reply

  9. Brittany on September 18, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I have so many friends and family members with food sensitivities/allergies/restrictions (vegan, gluten free, dairy free, no eggs, no sugar, etc) that this tasty sounding recipe is a godsend. I can’t wait to make it and hope it is as tasty as it sounds!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  10. Rodzilla on September 18, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I don’t know if you planned for this, but the nutrition and serving size for your bars comes out really close…and I like even better because you don’t use soy.

    The originals are here: http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_clif_bar/

    Brown Eyed Better Bars
    Serving Size 72 g
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 285
    Total Fat 12.3g 19%
    Saturated Fat 3.1g 15%
    Trans Fat 0.0g
    Cholesterol 0mg 0%
    Sodium 127mg 5%
    Total Carbohydrates 41.5g 14%
    Dietary Fiber 4.5g 18%
    Sugars 25.5g
    Protein 7.1g

    I hope you’ll replicate some of the other flavors!

    Reply

  11. Deauna on September 18, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I love Clif bars, but they get to be a little expensive. Thanks for doing this recipe!

    Reply

  12. Ali | Gimme Some Oven on September 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Mmm…these look delicious! I’ve always wanted to try making Clif bars homemade!!

    Reply

  13. Becca H. on September 18, 2012 at 9:01 am

    These look amazing, Michelle! Unfortunately, however, I just calculated the nutritional information per your recipe and serving size. 8 Weight Watcher Plus points for one bar. UGH :( That’s a bit steep to do anything but have the occasional indulgence of these yummy looking treats.

    Reply

    • Marcy on September 20th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      I get the same WW point calculations Becca H……

      I don’t mean to be critical but I would not label this recipe as a Homemade Clif bar….while similar….they have more calories, more sugar, more carbs and less protein than the original. Kind of misleading for folks that are looking for a homemade less expensive alternative.

      Reply

      • Michelle on September 25th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        Hi Becca and Marcy, I’m sorry you’re disappointed in the WW points calculation; I don’t follow the program so I’m not sure what affects the point levels. These are slightly larger portions than a traditional Clif bar; if you’d like to reduce the calories, carbs, etc. you could cut them into smaller bars. That being said, the actual ingredients are very, very similar, and of course the nutritional stats aren’t going to be exact (that would be nearly impossible), but they are in the same ballpark. Store-bought Clif bars aren’t low-calorie, low-carb or low-fat.

        Reply

      • For Marcy on June 13th, 2013 at 11:42 am

        @ Marcy, I don’t think you understand the definition of HOMEMADE. I don’t understand how this was misleading in any way. Michelle never claimed that this was lower anything. Just an alternative to buying it at the store. Do your homework/research and make a clif bar that meets your expectations.

        Reply

  14. Brooke on September 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

    I am SO excited about your homemade Clif Bars. I LOVE them. My favorite is the white chocolate macadamia nut ones (best with a skinny vanilla latte :).

    Reply

  15. RavieNomNoms on September 18, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Nicely done!! I love Clif bars, they are great on the days that I work out 2 times

    Reply

  16. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on September 18, 2012 at 9:29 am

    These look really great! Love homemade versions of store-bought foods!

    Reply

  17. Living The Sweet Life on September 18, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I’ve actually never had a Clif bar, but your recipe looks amazing … and anything with peanut butter is a win for me!! I think there will be some bar making very very soon.

    Reply

  18. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on September 18, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Omg, these are so perfect. I love Clif bars for the convenience but I also hate the idea of processed ingredients. Yours a totally worth whipping up. Thanks!

    Reply

  19. Kim Whitbeck on September 18, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Such a good idea to recreate these! I LOVE the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif bars :)

    Reply

  20. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on September 18, 2012 at 10:06 am

    These are a great snack to have on hand whether it’s before/after exercising or a long morning of errands. Definitely need to try!

    Reply

  21. icakepops on September 18, 2012 at 10:14 am

    What a great idea! I’m excited to try these.

    Reply

  22. Pennie D on September 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

    These sound delish. I have not ever tried a Clif bar, did not like to think about eating to much processed food, but I can’t wait to try these.

    Reply

  23. Taylor on September 18, 2012 at 11:30 am

    You NEED to try the white chocolate macadamia kind, it is my favorite. I hate when people say “so and so healthy treat tastes like cake, brownie, etc..” but this one actually tastes like cookie dough to me! These look soooo good. I think I need to make a batch asap.

    Reply

  24. Jocelyn on September 18, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I’m afraid our family doesn’t care for the traditional Cliff bars, but my husband really likes the Cliff Mojo bars, and I eat a Luna bar every day. Is there any chance you might take up the challenge of making these bars? I would be thrilled if you did!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 25th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Jocelyn, I haven’t tried those, but I will definitely check them out!

      Reply

  25. Chilewheel on September 18, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I recognized the basics of this recipe, (the flax seed was a tip off) and being the amateur food anthropologist that I am, checked out when your source published their recipe. That was 2008. I’ve been making these since finding a recipe on Epicurious a couple years ago, which was sourced to a contest winner at the Plains Peanut Festival in Georgia, back in 2001. I have a feeling there are variations going back a lot farther than that. And btw, I’ve found many Asian food stores are a good source for brown rice syrup, particularly H-Mart, a Korean owned company which literally, has stores on both coasts. It’s pretty cheap there. Enjoy your work!

    Reply

  26. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on September 18, 2012 at 11:55 am

    OMG I LOVE clif bars!! I live off them sometimes when I’m in a rush! haha

    Reply

  27. Kathi on September 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Those look so good–but I don’t have a food processor (hint hint)

    Reply

  28. Jane on September 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Really want to try these! Any suggestion for substitute for the brown rice syrup?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 25th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Jane, If you can’t find brown rice syrup, you could substitute honey.

      Reply

  29. Suzanne on September 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I’ve been making something like this and playing with the recipe, love the addition of brown rice syrup. so much better for you than something that has been on the shelf for who knows how long. Nice work.
    ww.saltyfig.com

    Reply

  30. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on September 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I love Luna bars (the ‘For Women’ Clif bar) and pretty much depended on them to be my breakfast in college! These look so similar to the real thing — the rice cereal is really the key!

    Reply

  31. Roxanne on September 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Wow another great thing to take to work… midnight is a “trap” if you don’t plan what you are having during the night,,, you end up eating too much junk… thank you… never used brown rice syrup… hmmm …. health food store???

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 25th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Roxanne, I actually get brown rice syrup at my regular grocery store, in the “healthy” section where there are a few short rows of organic, gluten-free, etc. products.

      Reply

  32. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on September 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I love the chocolate mint cliff bars – so might have to try that one! These look great. Now if I just knew where to get brown rice syrup….

    Reply

  33. Mandy Lindsey on September 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Does anyone know how long these will keep in the refrigerator? And what section of the grocery store would I find brown rice syrup? I’ve never used it so I have no idea.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 25th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Mandy, These will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. You could also store them in the freezer for an even longer shelf life. I actually ate one straight from the freezer last week (I let it sit out for about 15-20 minutes) and it was great!

      Reply

  34. Patricia on September 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    These look super yummy! I tried making granola bars last year and that ended terribly. I’m definitely gonna try this soon :)

    Reply

  35. Christie on September 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    This would be perfect for my daughter who has gluten allergy. What can I substitute the peanuts/peanut butter. She is allergic to that too.

    Reply

    • WW on August 15th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Try sunflower seeds and sun butter. It tastes very similar to Peanut Butter.

      Reply

  36. Samantha Warren on September 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Yeah, gotta try these. My son has an allergy to eggs, wheat, and dairy. I hope he likes these. It is so hard to find things he is willing to eat, but he loves peanut butter and chocolate, so we shall see.

    Reply

  37. Sues on September 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    These are beautiful! And I’m sure you can save a bundle of money making your own Clif Bars :)

    Reply

  38. Jennifer Akridge on September 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    My husband eats at least one a day, so this is great. I will have to leave the chocolate out and may play with some spices. Thanks for the great idea.

    Reply

  39. Chelsea Rose on September 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    the white chocolate macadamia nut are out of this world!!! target will occassionally have them on sale for $5 for a box of 6 so i stock up!

    Reply

  40. chelsea @ serves two on September 18, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    the white chocolate macadamia nut are out of this world!!! target occassionally has them on sale for $5 for a box of six so i stock up!

    Reply

  41. Peggy on September 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I’m a fan of Clif products – their granola bars (more geared toward children, but the child in me just had to have them) are always a winner in my house! Definitely going to have to give these guys a try!

    Reply

  42. Cece on September 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    the cool mint flavor is my favorite!

    Reply

  43. Denise on September 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Also following you on twitter now – yum!

    Reply

  44. hellosugar on September 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I’m definitely going to try these! just slightly sad that they aren’t nutritionally adequate to real Cliff bars :( Here in Canada, Cliff bars are $2.50 a piece! Granted I’m obsessed with them and will pay whatever the cost, but these will be my guilty version of cliff bars when I’m craving something sweet. Thanks for creating these and sharing with everyone!

    Reply

  45. ashley on September 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I love the blueberry ones of the clif Z Bars (they are the kids version) but they are mega delicious

    Reply

  46. Heather S. on September 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    The Coconut Chocolate Chip Clif bars are by far my favorite – they taste just like an Almond Joy!

    Reply

  47. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride on September 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    This would be great as a post-workout snack! Must try.

    Reply

  48. Jen on September 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I eat Clif bars like a crazy person and probably could not make them frequently enough to fuel my habit! But I wanted to make these to get a little variety into my rotation. I love the flavors. But I have one suggestion that worked out well for me: my dates became a firm puree instead of pieces and were difficult to mix with the oats/cereal, so I threw everything back in the food processor (oat, cereal, dates, nuts, and all) and they mixed well and I think the texture is even better! So if anyone is having trouble mixing, give this a shot! Next time I might pour the PB/rice syrup into the food processor, too. Thanks for the fun recipe!

    Reply

  49. Wendy D on October 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    I found your recipe tonight and had to try it. It is quick, easy, and delicious. I had to substitute a few ingredients but it was still great. This recipe is already a hit at my house.
    Thank you..
    Wendy

    Reply

  50. DessertForTwo on October 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Yum!! Love a homemade version of anything, plus no-bake?! Win-win!

    Reply

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