Inspired by the classic combination of PB&J these no bake oat bars are so simple to make and taste great! Perfect for a lazy breakfast, road trip snack or tea time treat.
These PBJ Bars are made with just 4 ingredients you probably already have at home. (You've no doubt guessed at least 3 of them from the title!) So naturally, they are very quick and easy to make.
Plus as they’re no bake you can whip up a batch without needing an oven. Which is ideal for us when we are travelling in our oven-less van or on a camping trip.
With four simple ingredients these jam filled peanut butter oat bars are so easy to make. Here’s our helpful tips for choosing your ingredients:
We’ve tried this recipe with both jumbo rolled oats and smaller oats like porridge oats or instant oats. You can use either.
Larger oats will have a more crumbly, slightly crunchy texture. And smaller oats are a bit more chewy.
We like to use smooth organic peanut butter. If you can, opt for a peanut butter that contains just peanuts, and salt if desired. You can also easily make your own peanut butter at home.
Stir your peanut butter well before measuring it out. This will get the oils that come to surface of the jar to mix evenly throughout the butter.
You can of course try other kinds of nut butter for this recipe!
If you can't have nuts, then sunflower seed butter or tahini are excellent alternatives.
Maple syrup adds a delicate sweetness to the oat bars and helps them stick together. You don't need that much (which is is good as it can be so expensive!)
Our family buys a big bottle of organic Grade A maple syrup from Canada to benefit from the bulk saving.
If you don't have maple syrup, you could try with other liquid sweeteners like golden syrup, date syrup or agave, but we haven't tested it.
We recommend jam over jelly, as it has more texture and fruity flavour.
We really love homemade jam. We actually counted how many jars of jam we had in our tiny campervan kitchen last year and it came to an incredible 37 jars! Making jam is such a good way to preserve and use up excess fruit from the summer. Our personal favourite is this Austrian Apricot Jam.
For this recipe you can choose your favourite jam, whether it’s store bought or homemade. The key is that it’s not too runny so it sticks together well in the bars.
For a more tangy taste use a more sour jam like blackcurrant, redcurrant, lingonberry or cherry. For a sweeter bar you could use strawberry, blueberry, apricot. You can even do half one jam, and half another, whatever takes your fancy!
If you don’t have any jam, or would like a refined sugar free option, then why not make your own fresh chia jam:
- In a small saucepan gently heat 2 cups of berries (fresh or frozen) until they start to give off their juice
- Then stir in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and around 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (adjust to taste)
- Cook gently for 5 minutes, and stir regularly as it thickens
Step by step
First mix the oats, peanut butter and maple syrup in a large bowl. Then you are ready to assemble your PBJ bars!
Choose a square tin that's around 18cm x 18cm or 7 inches. We used our silicone cake pan. You can also use a metal tin lined with baking parchment paper. We've also made half and quarter batches in the base of a tupperware container.
- STEP 1 Spoon slightly less than half of the oat mix onto your container. Press it down firmly to cover the base.
- STEP 2 Spread on your chosen jam
- STEP 3 Spoon on the remaining oat mix evenly over the top. Then press gently to cover the jam layer in oats. Press more firmly when you have sealed the jam layer.
- STEP 4 Leave to set for around an hour, or until it feels firm enough to slice into pieces.
TOP TIP: When adding the top layer of the oat mixture, lightly press down with your fingertips to cover the whole surface without any holes. Then you can press more firmly with your palms without creating any mini jam volcanos!
Like how easy these vegan no bake oat bars are to make? Then you’ll love these other simple no bake recipes too:
Sophie & Paul
Peanut Butter Jelly Oat Bars
- 3 cups (240 g) oats
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- ¾ cup (180 g) natural peanut butter
- ½ cup (160 g) jam
- Prepare a 18cm (7 inch) square container. Use a silicone cake pan or metal tin lined with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the oats, maple syrup and peanut butter until they are well combined. Some peanut butters are a bit drier, so if your mix seems a bit too dry/crumbly when you press it together, add a bit more peanut butter and syrup.
- Spoon slightly under half of the oat mixture into your container. Use your hands to press the mix firmly down to cover the base.
- Next, spread a layer of jam on top.
- Then spoon the remaining oat mix over the top, being sure to cover the jam evenly. Starting gently, press the mixture down to cover the jam. When the jam layer is fully covered, you can press down more firmly with the palms of your hands.
- Leave the bars in the fridge to set for an hour, or until they have firmed up enough to cut them into 16 pieces.