Strawberry Oat Bars are made with steel cut oats, natural peanut butter and a strawberry chia jam filling. They’re gluten-free and vegan, and with just 10 ingredients, these wholesome breakfast bars are perfect for meal prepping. You can also enjoy them for a quick snack or dessert!
This post was originally published in April 2018. It has been updated with new photos and text, including helpful tips for readers and a few adjustments to make the recipe vegan. (An original photo is included at the end of this post so be sure to check out the before and after).
While our local strawberry season doesn’t usually start until July, it’s strawberry season in many other places, which means we’re getting imported juicy gems showing up at the grocery store. I stocked up during my last grocery run to test out a few new recipes, and to remake an oldie but a goodie – these strawberry oat bars.
This recipe is from the Crumb Top Baking archives, but given the season, I thought I would spruce up the photos and add some helpful tips for making these steel cut oat breakfast bars.
Why you’ll love these strawberry oatmeal bars
- They’re peanut butter and jammy goodness wrapped up in a healthy oat bar.
- You just need 10 ingredients and no special equipment to make them.
- They work for breakfast, dessert, or even for an afternoon snack.
- You can use fresh or frozen strawberries.
- They’re gluten-free and vegan.
- And one bar has almost 20 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, plus fibre and protein!
Details on a few ingredients to make strawberry oat bars
Strawberries: I used fresh strawberries to make the chia jam filling, but if strawberries aren’t in season where you are, you can just use frozen. You can also substitute other berries such as blueberries, raspberries or a mix of berries.
Oats: Steel cut oats and rolled oats are combined to form the crumbly base and topping for these bars. Steel cut oats add a chewy and nutty texture that makes these bars a little extra hearty. While rolled oats are just the whole oat groat pressed or rolled out, steel cut oats are groats that have been chopped into little pieces. That’s why the two oat varieties have different textures, and work perfectly in these bars.
Peanut butter: For that irresistible PB & J combo, I added natural peanut butter to the oat mixture. I recommend sticking with natural as it’s less processed, and this recipe hasn’t been tested with shelf stable peanut butter. If you need a substitute, try natural almond butter instead.
How to make steel cut oat bars with strawberry chia jam
- Step 1: Make the strawberry chia jam. This will come together in about 30 minutes in a small sauce pan on your stovetop (10 minutes to cook the strawberries and 20 minutes for the chia seeds to plump).
- Step 2: To make the oat base and topping, start by whisking together your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Step 3: Microwave your wet ingredients until they’re melted together and runny.
- Step 4: Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until a wet and crumbly oat mixture forms.
- Step 5: Press about two-thirds of the crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch square pan.
- Step 6: Spread on the chia jam filling.
- Step 7: Sprinkle on the remaining oat mixture and lightly press it into the strawberry layer.
- Step 8: Bake at 350F for 30-32 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack before transferring to the refrigerator for a few hours to firm up. Cut into squares.
Frequently asked questions
Can you make these bars nut-free? Yes, just replace the peanut butter with a seed butter such as sunflower seed butter.
How should you store these chia jam bars? These bars should be stored in the refrigerator. They maintain a firmer texture when cold, and strawberry chia jam, even when baked, keeps best in the refrigerator.
How long will these steel cut oat bars last? If stored properly, these bars should last for 5-6 days.
Can you freeze them? Yes! Just let them firm up in the refrigerator and then cut into bars. Place in an airtight container, either in a single layer or in between sheets of wax paper. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let them defrost in the refrigerator for a few hours before enjoying.
What’s the best way to reheat these bars? You can just pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Or for an extra crispy topping, reheat them in the oven at 300F for 8-10 minutes.
Additional recipe tips and substitutions
- This recipe calls for salted peanut butter and a bit of salt in the oat mix, just to enhance the sweet and salty combo. If you’re trying to cut back on sodium, you can use unsalted peanut butter and/or leave out the additional salt.
- Before cutting these bars, I highly recommend popping them in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm up. This will also help cut them into bars neatly.
- If you want to enjoy these bars for dessert, consider serving them warm with some dairy-free vanilla or strawberry ice cream.
- While oats are naturally gluten-free, there may be cross-contamination with wheat products, so just make sure your oats are certified gluten-free.
- If you don’t need these bars to be vegan, you can use honey in place of maple syrup.
- I’ve made this recipe in both an 8-inch and 9-inch square pan. If you like a thicker bar, go with the 8-inch pan.
Other strawberry recipes you might enjoy
If you make these strawberry oat bars, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below!Print
Strawberry Oat Bars (with Steel Cut Oats)
Strawberry Oat Bars are made with steel cut oats, natural peanut butter and a strawberry chia jam filling. They’re gluten-free and vegan, and with just 10 ingredients, these wholesome breakfast bars are perfect for meal prepping!
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours
- Yield: 16 bars 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
For the jam filling:
- 3 cups chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons chia seeds
For the oat mixture:
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup gluten-free steel cut oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, smooth and salted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup virgin, cold pressed coconut oil
- Prepare the jam filling: In a small sauce pan, add the strawberries and maple syrup. Bring to a low boil and let simmer until the strawberries have softened. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Remove from heat and stir in the chia seeds. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes to allow the chia seeds to plump.
- Prepare the oat mixture: Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch square pan and line it with over-hanging parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, sugar and salt. In a small microwaveable bowl, add the peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil. Microwave for two 30-second intervals, stirring in between and after until melted together and runny. Pour over oat mixture and stir until well combined. (The mixture will be wet).
- Assemble the bars: Add about two-thirds of the oat mixture to the prepared pan and press down to form a firm bottom layer. Spread the jam filling evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the jam and press down lightly. Bake for 30-32 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack before transferring to the refrigerator to firm up.
- Storage: Cut into squares and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
- This recipe hasn’t been tested with shelf stable peanut butter, so I recommend sticking with natural peanut butter. If you’re looking for a substitute, try natural almond butter, or for a nut-free version, try seed butter.
- If you don’t have salted nut or seed butter, you can just add an extra pinch of salt to the oat mixture.
- Be sure to check out the FAQ as well as the tips and substitutions section above the recipe for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.
Keywords: steel cut oat bars, oatmeal jam bars, strawberry oatmeal bars