Mix-in-the-Pan Fruit & Oat Bars

Mix-in-the-Pan Berry Oats Bars - Easy, frugal, allergy-friendly, and healthy enough for breakfast. From CheapskateCook.com

Oats are awesome. They are cheap, naturally gluten-free, and oh-so versatile. They’re one of my favorite frugal grains. I know if you let oatmeal sit out too long it turns to cement, but hear me out. You can make other great things with oats. Like these Oat & Fruit Bars.

Four reasons why making these bars can improve your whole day.


The most expensive part of these bars is the fruit, which, if you buy in season, is still a great price. For my area that means berries in spring, peaches in summer, and apples in fall.


Rather than using white sugar – which most of us know we’re better off without – these bars use maple syrup or honey. You can also use coconut sugar, sucanat or another granulated sweetener. Or just sugar. No judging here. I’m only saying you could definitely eat these for breakfast because they’re like, healthy.

Mix-in-the-Pan Berry Oats Bars - Easy, frugal, allergy-friendly, and healthy enough for breakfast. From CheapskateCook.com

No Mess

You can mix these bars in the pan and use one small bowl for the berries. No mess, no fuss, all yum.


If you have food allergies, these are the bomb. You can make them without any of the top 5 allergens – nuts, eggs, gluten, dairy, or… shellfish.

Mix-in-the-Pan Fruit & Oat Bars

Adapted from this gem by Smitten Kitchen 

Author: Steph Jenkins
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup flour (spelt, whole grain, oat, gluten-free, and almond all work great)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted (coconut oil or palm shortening work great)
  • 2 cups fruit, diced (fresh or frozen works here - I used strawberries and blueberries for these photos)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch/flour (or corn starch)
  1. In an 8x8-inch pan, stir together oats, flour, maple syrup, salt, and melted butter. If mixture seems overly wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time, but no more than a few tablespoons.

  2. Use your hands to press half the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Reserve the other half (you can just push it off to the side in the pan to avoid dirtying another dish.

  3. In a small bowl, combine chopped fruit, lemon juice, and tapioca flour.

  4. Pour the fruit over the oat crust in the pan (scooping reserved oat mixture into the bowl once it is emptied of fruit), then spread it evenly across the crust.  

  5. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture across the top of the pan and gently press it into the fruit.

  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  7. Cool for about 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate until completely cooled (this helps the crust firm up really well). When cooled, cut into squares and enjoy for breakfast, dessert, snack, or whenever.

Recipe Notes
  • I like this best with oat flour (rolled oats I just ground up - you can use a coffee grinder, food processor, or I used my Nutribullet dry blade), because they are such an inexpensive whole grain and they are gluten-free.
  • If using granulated sweetener (brown sugar, coconut sugar, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, rapadura, etc.), use 1/2 cup.
  • If using coconut oil, don't place in refrigerator to cool. They will become too hard to cut.
  • If you want the fruit to maintain a little more umph and shape after baking, add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar to the fruit/starch/lemon juice mixture. I want to use the least amount of sugar, so I don't.
  • Speaking of which, feel free to decrease the amount of sweetener. These are quite sweet in my opinion, and a little less won't hurt them if you want to try. 
  • Whipped cream (or coconut cream!) sounds amazing with these.


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