Mix-in-the-Pan Fruit & Oat Bars
Looking for an easy real food dessert? These mix-in-the-pan fruit and oat bars are easy to make, budget-friendly, and allergy-friendly! Try them with ice cream or eat them for breakfast the next day – if there are any left, of course.
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.
Fruit & Oat Bars
It’s hard to find real food desserts that are budget-friendly, easy to make, and allergy-friendly. But these Fruit and Oat bars are it. They’re sweet enough to serve with ice cream, but clean enough to eat for breakfast the next day – if there are any left, of course.
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 I make these bars with berries in spring, peaches in summer, and apples in fall.
Real Food Dessert
Fruit and oat bars are made with real food we can feel good about. They are naturally-sweetened and use ingredients like this:
- Maple Syrup
- Flour (use white, whole grain, oat, or almond!)
- Butter (or coconut oil)
- Fruit (berries, peaches, apples, pears)
- Lemon juice
Rather than using white sugar – which most of us know we’re better off without – these fruit and oat bars use maple syrup or honey. You can also use coconut sugar, sucanat, or another granulated sweetener.
Or just use sugar. No judging here. I’m only saying you could definitely eat these for breakfast because they’re like, healthy.
You can mix these bars in the pan and use one small bowl for the berries. Or just mix them all in the pan. If that’s not a reason to go ahead and make these oat bars for breakfast – I mean, dessert – I don’t know what is.
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. I guess the fifth most common food allergen isn’t too much of a risk during dessert.
Regardless, these bars are looking out for you.
Simple Real Food Oat Bars
These fruit and oat bars are:
- Easy to make
- Real food
- Perfect dessert
- Or breakfast
- Low mess (mix-in-the-pan)
- No weird ingredients
- Gluten-free option
- Dairy-free option
- Vegan option
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #cheapskatecook and @cheapskatecook on Instagram.
Adapted from this gem by Smitten Kitchen
- 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)
In an 8×8-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.
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.
In a small bowl, combine chopped fruit, lemon juice, and tapioca flour.
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.
Sprinkle reserved oat mixture across the top of the pan and gently press it into the fruit.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
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.
- 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.
More Real Food Desserts:
- Real Food Fruit Tart
- Egg-Free Brownies (No Weird Ingredients!)
- Strawberry Breakfast Cake
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Hummus
- 3-Ingredient Frozen Berry Whip
- Apple Crisp Bars
- Real Food Apple Crisp
- Dark Chocolate Hummus
- Peppermint Freezer Fudge
Break your oats out of the oatmeal bowl and try something new! Mix-in-the-pan fruit and oat bars are delicious, easy to make, real food, and perfect for dessert or that rogue breakfast.
What You Can Do Now:
What’s your favorite real food dessert?
Slash your grocery budget and feed your family real food! Get simple, frugal, real food menu plans every month for FREE in the Cheapskate Cooks’ 1-Min Email. Get your first one here.