Appetizers and Snacks/ Holidays/ Valentine's Day

No-Bake M&M Pretzel Granola Bars

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No-bake M&M pretzel granola bars are a delicious, simple snack, endlessly adaptable, and a great way to involve young kids in the kitchen!

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Getting kids involved in the kitchen is great, no doubt about it. Obviously it’s good for them to help out and learn what goes into preparing the food that everyone eats.

What’s more, I’ve been consistently impressed by how much my son and his friends can do with basic instruction and supervision – even at two years old, I think most kids can help pour in ingredients, stir, whisk, etc.

For me, I’m sure it helps that my son was genuinely interested in what I do in the kitchen and in “play” cooking, right from the start. Even at his daycare and now preschool, they observe the same thing I do at home – his favorite things are the play kitchen, plus all the trucks. 🙂 And, lucky me, he’s the type to try earnestly not to make a mess – which helps a lot!

After all, look at all this goodness – M&Ms, rolled oats, Rice Krispies, and chopped up pretzels. We don’t want too much of that good stuff landing on the floor!

The dry ingredients for M&M pretzel granola bars, in a white mixing bowl ready to be stirred.

Granola bar mix all combined and ready to be pressed into the pan.

Still, there are limits to what I’m willing to attempt in the kitchen with him helping or near at hand. Because, let’s be honest, even if he is engaged in another toy or project, it’s only a matter of minutes until he appears with pleading eyes and says “do together, mama?”

So, easy recipes are the best. Easy no-bake recipes are even better.

Easy no-bake recipes with M&Ms, pretzels, and peanut butter? Better still.

Flat-lay of freshly-cut M&M pretzel granola bars.

This is such a sweet little project for you and your little, I just had to share it here, even though the recipe is SO simple. Since Valentine’s Day happens to be this week, and my mom was kind enough to send us a bag of red, pink, and white M&Ms (thanks, Mom!) we made this batch cutesy pink for the holiday.

Obviously, you could use regular multi-colored M&Ms or any other combo as you desire. Green and white for St. Patrick’s Day … red and green for Christmas … black and orange for Halloween … team colors for a post-game snack … you get the idea.

A slate tray filled with M&M pretzel granola bars.

So, without further ado, here is the recipe! Enjoy!

A slate tray filled with M&M pretzel granola bars.

6 votes

Print

No-Bake M&M Pretzel Granola Bars

Prep

Inactive

Total

Yield 12-16 snack bars

No-bake M&M pretzel granola bars are a delicious, simple snack, endlessly adaptable, and a great way to involve young kids in the kitchen!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (198 grams) old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup (28 grams) puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies or similar)
  • 1/2 cup (20 grams) pretzels, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) M&Ms, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1-2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 57 grams) butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup (68 grams) peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (53 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Line an 8x8 or 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, rice cereal, pretzels, 1/4 cup of the M&Ms, and flax seeds, if using. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt together the butter, honey, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequenty. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Everything should be evenly coated and well-combined.
  5. Scrape mixture into the prepared pan, and press firmly to pack it evenly across the bottom. When the bars still have a little give to them, sprinkle the remaining M&Ms on top, then press  again lightly to help the M&Ms adhere and pack everything else in very tight.
  6. For the best consistency, refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes before lifting out the parchment, cutting, and serving. Bars keep best stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Confections of a Confectionista.

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More Kid-Friendly Snack Ideas…

Whole Zucchini Chocolate Chip MuffinsPumpkin Peanut Butter Oat Breakfast BarsNaturally-Sweetened Key Lime Pie PopsiclesCrunchy Honey Mustard PretzelsWhite Bean Sun-Dried Tomato DipClassic Hummus

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashley Nicole
    February 21, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Excited making these with my kids! Never tried granolas with M&M’s and I bet they’d love additional crisp and sweets in these treats!

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 23, 2018 at 8:22 am

      Hi Ashley, thanks for stopping by – I bet your kids will love them, too! Please let me know how they turn out!

  • Reply
    Agness of Run Agness Run
    February 16, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I am a big fan of quick, easy, and tasty treats. Hence, this is the perfect recipe for me, especially because it is very healthy and I can even have it for breakfast. Can I use maple syrup instead of honey, Monica?

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 17, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Agness – yes, I’m pretty confident you could swap maple syrup for honey with no problem! Hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Nicky Corbishley
    February 12, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Half term next week here and this is a great recipe to get the kids making some treats for the holiday. I love getting the kids involved with cooking.

  • Reply
    Ginny
    February 12, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    What a great way to make life easier. The kids can absolutely make these. I have a feeling some m&m’s will be disappearing along the way though 😀

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 12, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Haha — that would be 100% accurate!

  • Reply
    Allison - Celebrating Sweets
    February 12, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    My kids would go crazy for these. I love getting them into the kitchen. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 12, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      Me too! Thanks for stopping by, Allison!

  • Reply
    Silvia
    February 12, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    I love granola bars, I’ve made them quite a few times before but I haven’t tried a granola bar with m&ms. It’s so unusual. I’m sure it tastes really good.

    • Reply
      Monica
      February 12, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Silvia – these are definitely worth trying! It does add an extra sweet element. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pam Greer
    February 12, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    I love how easy this is and that it’s no bake! I also love that you could easily change out the m&m’s and customize it for any holiday!

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