This Steel Cut Oatmeal Bar Recipe features a chewy and sweet oatmeal crust and a tangy strawberry filling that is perfect for a summertime dessert or snack!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This is the oatmeal bar recipe to beat all oatmeal recipes! These steel cut oatmeal bars are more like a dessert bar than a homemade granola bar. When I was developing this recipe, I was wondering if I should go the healthy route or the indulgence route... Well, guess which one I decided! That's right. Indulge. You can probably tell from the nutritional information in the recipe that these are not a health food, but they are a delicious dessert that has high fiber!
The chewy oatmeal crust has both rolled oats and steel cut oats for an extra chewy texture. It is held together with honey and butter and has a tangy strawberry layer in the middle for some fruity goodness! You can eat these bars on their own, or top them with a scoop of ice cream just like you would eat a strawberry cobbler!
My steel cut oatmeal bar recipe uses easy to find ingredients that you can grab at grocery stores or you might already have everything on hand! Here's what you'll need:
For the Strawberry Filling
- Strawberries: I used fresh strawberries which are a good choice when they are in season, but you can use a variety of different fruits like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or even peaches. Fresh fruit is great when they are in season, but frozen fruits can also be used here at any time of year!
- Sugar: Regular, granulated sugar is added to sweeten up this mixture.
- Lemon: The juice and zest of one lemon are both added for extra flavor and tang.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch whisked with a bit of water creates a cornstarch slurry that you add to the strawberry mixture to thicken it up!
For the Oatmeal Mixture
- Rolled Oats & Steel Cut Oats: Both old fashioned oats and steel-cut oats are the base of these oatmeal bars. While I wasn't aiming for a health food with these bars, the steel cut oats are full of protein and fiber! I would avoid quick oats since they are not as sturdy and won't hold up in the oven as well.
- Flour: All-purpose flour works great here. For gluten-free bars, use a gluten-free replacement flour like King Arthur Measure for Measure.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar gets slightly caramelized in the oven and adds a depth of flavor!
- Granulated Sugar: Some regular sugar is also added for just the right amount of sweetness.
- Cinnamon: I like adding a little cinnamon for extra flavor but you can omit this if preferred!
- Salt: Salt is important to balance all of the flavors out.
- Honey: Runny honey works best, so if your honey is a little bit older you might want to zap it in the microwave for a few seconds. You can substitute the honey for pure maple syrup if preferred! Honey or maple syrup adds a touch of natural sweetness and helps the bars to stick together!
- Butter: Melted butter will make everything a cohesive mixture. As a healthier option, you can use half butter and half coconut oil instead! Coconut oil is still high in calories, but it has healthy fats too.
How to Make This Recipe
This steel cut oatmeal bar recipe can be made in just a few simple steps! For the full recipe, scroll down to the bottom of the post.
- Preheat & Prep: The first thing you will want to do is preheat the oven to 350 F and line an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper, making sure to leave some parchment paper hanging out of the sides like handles, to make getting the bars out of the pan more easy.
- Make the Strawberry Filling: In a small saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest and heat to medium heat. Cook strawberry mixture down for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is a bit thicker and the strawberries are tender. You can smash the strawberries with the edge of a wooden spoon to make them into smaller pieces.
- Add Cornstarch: Add the cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water) and stir well. Keep on the heat for about 2-3 more minutes to cook the cornstarch and allow the mixture to thicken up. Take off heat and set aside.
- Mix Oat Mixture: In a medium bowl, let's mix the dry ingredients. Combine the rolled oats, steel cut oats, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Then, pour in the melted butter and honey. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
- Assemble: Pour 2/3 of the oat mixture into the prepared pan and spread in an even layer on the bottom of the baking pan. Pour the strawberry mixture on top of the oat mixture and spread into an even layer. Then, top with the rest of the oat mixture.
- Bake: Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let the oatmeal bars cool before cutting into them!
Tips & Tricks
- If you want neat, square oat bars, I recommend popping them into the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cutting into them. If you don't mind the rustic bar look (like I did...oopsies), then you can just let them cool a bit at room temperature and cut into them. If serving with ice cream, I would serve them warm!
- Oats are naturally gluten-free, however, if you are strictly gluten-free, make sure your oats are certified gluten-free and use a gluten-free flour for totally gluten-free baked oatmeal bars!
- You can make these in either an 8 inch or 9 inch square pan!
- When making a fruit filling like this one, you can opt to thicken it with chia seeds instead of cornstarch! You can follow this recipe for the chia seed jam filling. Or simply use a jar of your favorite store bought jam!
Frequently Asked Questions
Different types of oats are just processed in different ways. Both steel cut oats and rolled oats are a whole grain, but steel cut oats are less processed than rolled oats. They are coarser and chewier than rolled oats, so they take longer to cook, and they have a slightly nutty flavor. Rolled oats have gone through a steaming and flattening process and therefore cook more quickly! Instant oats are processed even further, so they aren't as hearty!
Store any leftover strawberry oatmeal bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 6 days! You can also freeze any leftover bars by wrapping them in plastic wrap, then a layer of foil and freezing them for up to 3 months. Simply thaw them in the fridge overnight when you are ready to eat them.
To reheat these bars, just pop them into the microwave for 20-30 seconds! You can eat these at any temperature, but they are pretty tasty when they are warm!
More Recipes to Try
Steel Cut Oatmeal Bar Recipe
- 2 cups strawberries frozen or fresh. If fresh, dice up and remove stem.
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- 1 tbsp cornstarch whisked well with 2 tablespoons water
For the Steel Cut Oatmeal Mixture
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup steel cut oats
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 cup butter melted
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper, making sure to leave some parchment paper hanging out of the sides like handles, to make getting the bars out of the pan easy.
- In a small saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest and heat to medium heat. Cook strawberry mixture down for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is a bit thicker and the strawberries are tender. You can smash the strawberries with the edge of a wooden spoon to make them into smaller pieces.
- Add the cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water whisked together) and stir well. Keep on the heat for about 2-3 more minutes to cook the cornstarch and allow the mixture to thicken up. Take off heat and set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, steel cut oats, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Then pour in the melted butter and honey. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
- Pour ⅔ of the oat mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the strawberry mixture on top of the oat mixture in the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Then, top with the rest of the oat mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let the oatmeal bars cool completely before cutting into them!