Budget Recipes: Chocolate Sunbutter Granola Energy Bars

A Delicious Spin on a Classic Fuel Source

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I'm no food-blog photographer, but if those bars don't look delicious, what does??

A spin on a classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate, I came up with this recipe by combining my favorite ingredients with the most delicious-looking recipes I could find. And then I put a unique spin on it by using sunflower butter instead of peanut butter. I was introduced to sunbutter through friends of mine with serious peanut and tree nut allergies – and now I actually prefer it over peanut butter because of its milder taste!

This recipe is also HUGELY customizable – replace the chocolate chips, almonds, and pecans with your favorite nuts, dried fruits, or baking chip flavors. Or, replace the sunbutter with peanut buttter or almond butter if you prefer! You can also try honey instead of maple syrup. BONUS: This recipe is gluten free and (with proper substitutions) can be made vegan as well!

The best part – the mixture of almonds, pecans, and plenty of chocolate chips!


  • 1.5 cups Rolled Oats ($0.32)
  • 1/2 cup Natural Sunbutter ($1.33)
  • 3 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup ($0.66)
  • 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds ($1.12)
  • 1/2 cup Crushed Pecans ($1.95)
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips ($0.69)

Total Cost: $6.07

If you as going real budget here, the best place to cut back is by using peanut butter instead of sunbutter, and using cheaper alternatives to the almonds and pecans. Additionally, it should be noted that the prices listed for each ingredient were calculated based on the amount used from a larger package of said ingredient. In total, I spent $36.54 on ingredients including the maple syrup, but only $22.55 without. And so far, I’ve made three batches of this recipe, with plenty of chocolate chips, oats, and nearly the entire jug of maple syrup left over!

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Melting and mixing the sunbutter with the maple syrup… smells SO good!


  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Sauce Pan
  • Mixing Spoon
  • ~8″x8″ pan (or just some tupperware!)
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Measuring cups
  • Knife & cutting board (for chopping nuts and cutting bars)


  1. Toast the oats in a pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Not necessary – but recommended!
  2. Combine oats, almonds, pecans, and chocolate chips (or whatever your add-ins are) in a large bowl.
  3. Combine sunbutter and maple syrup in a small sauce pan and heat slowly until smooth and melty. Use mixing spoon to mix it well. While it’s melting, line the bottom and sides of your pan or tupperware with plastic wrap.
  4. Quickly pour sunbutter mixture over the dry ingredients in the large bowl, and using a spatula, mix to coat and melt the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the mixture into your pan or tupperware, cover the top with a sheet of plastic wrap, and pack as tightly as possible. Put a little elbow grease into it! You don’t want these falling apart in your jersey pocket.
  6. Throw it in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. I like to leave mine to set for longer, but will move them to the fridge after awhile.
  7. Once the slab has set, carefully slice them up into bars. If you would rather, you can also crumble the bars into granola bites! Regardless, there are always some crumbly bits that don’t stick to the bars. Don’t waste ’em, scrape them into a ziploc bag for later!
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I leave it all in the fridge because I like the texture when it’s cool, but all the ingredients are shelf stable and so the bars should be fine to be kept in a sealed container non-refrigerated. Before I head out on a long ride where I know I’ll need a serious caloric bang for my buck, I wrap a bar in aluminum foil. More often, I leave it in the fridge for a post-ride refuel snack!


The following numbers are for the whole batch – divide by the number of same-sized bars you cut it into! For instance, I usually cut these into 6 thick bars which I’ll break in half for a total of 12 small, snack-sized pieces. The number in parenthesis below is what would be in each of the 12 mini-bars.

The final yield! Half bite-sized bars, half crumbled granola.
The final yield! Half bite-sized bars, half crumbled granola.
  • Calories: 2405 (200)
  • Carbs: 253 g (21 g)
    • Fiber: 46 g (3.8 g)
    • Sugars: 120 g (10 g)
  • Fat: 170 g (14.2 g)
  • Protein: 58 g (4.8 g)

What would you put in these bars? And what would you like to see me make next? Comment below! I’m thinking rice cakes….

About Ellie 6 Articles
Former varsity rower turned cyclist, Ellie is in her second and last year of collegiate racing before going on to explore new roads. She hopes there are nice views and cute dogs there. Currently, she primarily rides in the farmlands of Pennsylvania and along the beaches of California.

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