Kind Bar meets Krispy Treat meets Granola Bar in these delicious trail mix cereal bars! And what makes them so friendly? They’re allergy-friendly (naturally free of top allergens), kid-friendly, adult-friendly, gluten-free-friendly, vegan-friendly, and just plain perfect for sharing with loved ones, schoolmates, fitness buddies, and co-workers. Anywhere you could use a sweet, nutrient-rich snack, these trail mix cereal bars have got you covered.
You might be wondering what makes these trail mix cereal bars so different from other recipes. Unlike Kind Bars, there are no nuts, and these aren’t quite as heavy, either. Krispy Treats are loaded with refined sugars and marshmallows to make them sticky, neither of which are required in these trail mix cereal bars. And finally, most chewy natural Granola Bar recipes simply fall apart or must be chilled to stay cohesive. Not these! They can be stored at room temperature and are totally packable into lunchboxes without crumbles!
What are my secrets? For the “friendly” nature, I use allergen-safe ingredients, including Enjoy Life’s Seed & Fruit Mix (aka nut-free trail mix!) and Chocolate Chips. Both are naturally vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and totally approved for school-safe policies! I also use sunflower seed butter rather than nut butter, but as noted, this recipe is so simple that it’s easy to modify with your favorite ingredients or whatever wholesome goodies you have on hand. I just recommend against adding a bunch of soft grains, like oats, or ground seeds, like flax or chia, as they will soak up all of the moisture very quickly!
And for the amazing cohesiveness you see above, the answer is simple: a candy thermometer (I use this one). These cheap little tools are found in most grocery stores and will pay for themselves in countless batches of wonderful granola bars. Most recipes tell you to simply heat the wet ingredients together, but this does nothing for helping to bind those bars. To make these trail mix cereal bars, I heat liquid sweetener to a temperature range (it’s easy and foolproof!) to create a chewy, gluey consistency that’s just like store-bought!
This post is sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods, but I certainly won’t stop making these trail mix cereal bars or loving their products – I use their Enjoy Life goodies in my kitchen nearly every week!
Special Diet Notes: Chewy Trail Mix Cereal Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan / plant-based (choose the sweetener that works for you), vegetarian, and generally top food allergy-friendly.
- 2½ cups crispy rice cereal
- ½ cup honey (can sub maple syrup, agave nectar or brown rice syrup)
- ¼ cup unsweetened, lightly salted sunflower seed butter*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 6-ounce package (about 1⅓ cups) Enjoy Life Not Nuts! Seed & Fruit Mix (I use Mountain Mambo)
- Place the cereal in a large bowl and grease or line a 7x11-inch (or similar size) pan with parchment paper.
- Pour the honey into a very dry small saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a bubble, insert a candy thermometer, and let it bubble until it reaches about 250ºF (give or take 5 degrees) - this takes just a few minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the seed butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Immediately pour the mixture over the cereal and stir to combine. Stir in the seed and fruit mix until just combined - any chocolate chips may melt a little, but I'm okay with that if you are.
- Firmly press the mixture into your prepared pan and let it set (you can put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes).
- Remove the mixture to a cutting board, peeling off the parchment if used. Cut into quarters each way to create 16 bars.
- Melt the chocolate chips and oil / shortening together (I do this in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds until JUST melted - do not overheat).
- Dip or drizzle the chocolate over the bars as desired.