Homemade Larabars

three homemade larabars

We real foodies love our homemade Larabars.  They are a wonderful, protein-packed snack made primarily of nuts and dried fruit.  The store-bought version comes in all sorts of delicious, decadent flavors like Coconut Cream Pie, Chocolate Chip Brownie, and Cherry Pie.  The only problem with these lovely little treats is that they cost a bundle.  The lowest shelf price for Larabars in my area is $1.25 per bar at Target.  If I were to stock these in my pantry and use them as a regular snack for my family, there wouldn’t be much money left in our snack budget.

I’m happy to report that you can make your own homemade Larabars without breaking a sweat or breaking the bank.  They are very easy to make.  The key ingredient in Larabars is dates, which sweeten the bars so much that they don’t need any added sugar.  I’m including three homemade Larabar recipes, but feel free to improvise with whatever fruit, nuts, and other flavors you like.

Three Homemade Larabars

chocolate larabars rfrd

Chocolate

Chocolate

1 ½ cups dates
1 cup cashews
½ cup sunflower seeds
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and whirl for 1 to 2 minutes. You want to see some small chunks of all the different ingredients, so don’t mix for so long that it becomes a uniform paste.  Transfer the mixture to an 8 x 8 pan and press down to make it level.  Refrigerate for an hour, and then cut into 12 bars.  Transfer the bars to an airtight container and refrigerate.

 

banana larabar

Banana

Banana (adapted from Oh She Glows)

2 bananas, sliced and dehydrated
½ cup dates
2/3 cup walnuts

This one takes a little more time, unless you want to buy dried banana chips.  Slice the bananas and put them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Put them in a 175 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.  When they are mostly dried out, remove them from the oven.  Place all three ingredients in a food processor and mix for 1 to 2 minutes.  You want to see some small chunks of all the different ingredients, so don’t mix for so long that it becomes a uniform paste.  Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan and press down to make it level.  Refrigerate for an hour, and then cut into 6 bars.  Transfer the bars to an airtight container and refrigerate.

 

Mango Lime Coconut

Mango Lime Coconut

Mango Lime Coconut (adapted from Ieatneat)

1 small mango, chopped and dehydrated
½ cup dates
¼ cup coconut flakes
2/3 cup almonds
Juice of one lime
1 tsp. lime zest

This one is my favorite.  The mango needs to be dehydrated before mixing, but leave a little moisture for flavor.  Place the chopped mango on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Put it in a 175 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.  When they are mostly dried out, remove the mangoes from the oven.  (Alternately, you can buy dried mango and use it for this recipe, but the mango flavor won’t be as prominent.)  Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix for 1 to 2 minutes.  You want to see some small chunks of all the different ingredients, so don’t mix for so long that it becomes a uniform paste.  If it seems too moist, add more nuts and coconut until you have a thick, paste-like consistency.  Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan and press down to make it level.  Refrigerate for an hour, and then cut into 6 bars.  Transfer the bars to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Cost Breakdown

Banana:  The banana bars are the least expensive by far.  The batch of 6 bars costs $2.24, which comes out to $.37 per bar.

Chocolate:  The chocolate bars come next, with the batch of 12 bars costing a total of $5.75, or $.48 per bar.

Mango Lime Coconut:  The mango lime coconut bars are my little splurge.  This batch costs $3.55 to make, or $.59 per bar.  This is still less than half the shelf price of a store-bought Larabar, and the Larabar company doesn’t actually make a mango flavor!

Let’s say my family of four goes through 48 of these bars a month (that’s 3 per person per week).  At Target I would pay $60 to support this habit.  With my homemade bars, I pay $23.08 to make a variety of the three recipes listed above.  That’s a savings of $36.92 per month that I can use to buy other food.  Over the course of a year, I would save $443.04 by making my own Larabars instead of buying them.  That is some serious cash!  It’s amazing how much money we can save by making homemade Larabars from scratch.

larabars

This post is part of Wellness Weekend, Simple Lives Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Make Your Own! Monday, Frugal Food Thursday, Fantastic Foods Friday.

 

Comments

  1. Awesome money-saver, and the mango lime coconut sounds really good!

  2. I’ve never tried a Larabar, but I’ve heard a lot about them, and have seen these homemade recipes floating around. I’ll have to give them a try!

  3. phoward336 says:

    I make these often – although I usually roll them into balls (my kids are little). I don’t measure, but my two favorites are: dates, peanuts, a few chocolate chips and a few drops of vanilla and the other favorite is just peanuts, dates and a bit of sea salt.

  4. Congrats! These were one of the top three most viewed on Fantastic Foods Friday! I had a feeling they might be and I was right! I just got done Facebooking, Tweeting and Pinning. No new party this week, things are starting to get busy around here but I’ll let you know when I have another one. :)

  5. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  6. Oh so good! I love those bars but having them made fresh at home is even better! Thanks!

  7. These are awesome! How long will they keep in the fridge?

    • Thanks! We’ve always eaten them within four or five days, but I think they’d last longer than that in the fridge because they don’t contain ingredients that spoil quickly.

      • Stored airtight (and I mean really airtight, tupperware or ziplock bags) they’ll last weeks in the fridge. I will sheepishly admit that I once found a tupperware container of Larabars that got pushed to the back of the fridge and hid out there for _at least_ three months. They were perfectly fine. I bought a box of those waxed-paper squares butchers use to separate hamburgers and use those to individually-wrap my bars, or sometimes I’ll roll them into balls (a cookie scoop works GREAT) and wrap them in the waxed-paper squares like one would candies, with the ends twisted. At room temperature mine go moldy within a week. :(

  8. Just made the Mango Lime Coconut bars and they’re a hit! We’ve never had Larabars, but these sounded wonderful so we had to try them. Now we have no reason to try Larabars since these are so easy & cheap to make! Thanks for the delicious, economical recipe.

  9. I am so glad that I found this! Not only are LARABARS not organic, but they are owned by General MIlls soI didn’t want to buy them anymore. Perfect timing. I can’t wait to try making them myself.

  10. If you are looking for a deal on Dates the best is at Sams Club/Costco! I’ve been making mine with flax seed (I grind those first to powder) almond butter unsalter cashews and a few chocolate chips. My 2 year old LOVES these rolled into little balls!

  11. Barbara Burley says:

    I could use advise on the Chocolate Larabar recipe. I made it exactly according to the directions, but the bars don’t hold together and are very crumbly. Any tips on how to prevent that? I even tried melting the choc thinking that might help bind things together, but that didn’t work either.

    • I’m guessing it’s your dates. They can vary in how sticky they are depending what kind you use. I recommend adding more dates, and that should help bind it together. Add a few at a time until you get the consistency that allows you to mold a tablespoon of the mixture into a cohesive ball.

  12. Have you tried freezing these? They’d make a great recovery snack after a run but I wouldn’t go through a whole pan in 4-5 days. I could make a smaller batch but if I’m going through the work to dehydrate and make the bars, it’d be nice to be able to pull one out of the freezer pre-run and eat it when I got back!

  13. caleymars says:

    What kind of dates do you use? I imagine dried dates might not be moist enough to hold the mixture together, or do you use fresh or mejool dates?

    • Annemarie says:

      I typically use Medjool dates, but sometimes I use regular dried dates. The mixture binds well for me, but if it’s too dry you can add a teaspoon or two of water to help it bind.

    • Plain old Sunmaid or Dole dates work best for me – I wait for sales and stock up. (Really confuses the checkout clerks to see me unloading ten or fifteen bags of dates onto the conveyor belt!) The dates from the health-food store tend to be too dry; if that’s all I have I add just enough warm water to coat them, cover tightly and leave overnight, giving the container a shake from time to time. You don’t want to soak them, they get too runny.

  14. Stephanie says:

    Can these bars be made without a food processor? I don’t have one and would love to make these!

    • Annemarie says:

      Stephanie, if you have a decent blender that would work too. Otherwise, chop everything as finely as possible and knead the mixture together. Either way they will taste delicious!

      • Stephanie says:

        Thank you so much! I bought all the ingredients today and I’m making the banana ones now. My kids have several food allergies so I’m always excited when I see a healthy snack recipe. Thanks! Can’t wait ’till they are done. =)

      • If you have an old-fashioned cranked meat grinder, put all the ingredients through on the finest blade and knead together by hand (I suggest wearing vinyl gloves such as are used in restaurants, it’s a stinker to get out from under your nails!)

  15. Love it! I’ve been trying to make a dark chocolate macadamia nut version but I seem to eat the dark chocolate before I get around to making them! :)

    • Annemarie says:

      Funny! That happens around here too. My poor daughter wanted to eat all our dried apples last week and I had to keep them away from her so I could make apple pie Larabars.

  16. Gardenia says:

    So excited to make these :) my oven doesn’t go below 200F can I still dehydrate the bananas or do I have to go the store route? If so how many cups of banana chips do I use?

    • Annemarie says:

      I hope you like them, Gardenia! You can dehydrate the bananas in your oven. I recommend putting them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees. Then turn the oven off, turn the oven light on, and leave the bananas to continue dehydrating overnight. Good luck!

    • If you have a Trader Joe’s store in your area, their “Just Bananas, Flattened” are THE BEST for making banana Larabars! They’re really hard to cut and stick together so I just use my kitchen scissors to snip off bits right into my food processor (I’ve been making these long enough that I just eyeball the measurements now). I like to add the mini chocolate chips from Ghirardelli to my banana Larabars.

  17. is there any way to make these and store them outside of the fridge for any length of time?

    • Annemarie says:

      Sandy, I typically store these in the fridge, but I think they’d be fine at room temperature for a few days too.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Cashew Cookie Larabars from 100 Days of Real Food. I have never had a real Larabar, and I’ve never had a medjool date, but I wanted to try it out. My husband ate his fair share of the results, so that’s a positive review. “Cookie” doesn’t seem like a good descriptor, though. Will probably make again, if for no other reason than that I have dates left over. [...]

  2. […] you make them, it’ll only cost you between $.37-$.59 per bar. Your savings adds up quickly. This blogger saved over $400 a year when she started making homemade Larabars rather than buying […]

Leave a Reply