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Homemade Lara Bars

Homemade Lara Bars are incredibly easy and super delicious. Just four ingredients gives you a healthy and fast gluten-free treat.

homemade lara bars

Have you ever tried a Lara Bar?  They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan to boot.  But shockingly, they are not taste-free; they’re absolutely delicious.  I was dairy-free while nursing Jack, and I ate my fair share of Lara Bars, but at $1+ a pop, they’re not an everyday snack.

You know what is an everyday snack?  Homemade Lara Bars. Quick work with a food processor will give you a healthy and delicious treat using only four ingredients.

Making this recipe or others?

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homemade lara bars
5 from 3 votes
Homemade Lara Bars
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Homemade Lara Bars are incredibly easy and super delicious. Just four ingredients gives you a healthy and fast gluten-free treat.

Course: Snack
Servings: 20 balls
Calories: 140 kcal
Author: Sarah - Sustainable Cooks
  • 1 cup nuts cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, or a mixture
  • 15-18 dates pitted
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla try homemade
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut optional
  1. Pulse nuts in a food processor until they are in small pieces. Some larger pieces will remain, and some of the pieces will be very small.
  2. Add the pitted dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Process until the mixture comes together in one large ball. Depending on the size of the dates, you may need to add a few more to get the mixture to come together.

  3. Pinch off a small bit of mixture and roll it into a ball about the size of a small ping pong ball. If desired, roll the ball in unsweetened shredded coconut.

  4. Store in an air-tighter container on the counter. They will keep for weeks, but I guarantee you’ll eat them all prior to that.
Recipe Notes

Try this recipe on making your own homemade vanilla extract to make these extra special.

Ok, so how much do these cost?  Let’s run the numbers!

Dates- $8.39 for a package.  It will make 4 batches, so $2.09
Homemade vanilla – like $.04
Nuts – $.97 from the bulk section
Total: $3.10.  The recipe made 20 balls for a total of $.15 per ball.

My friend Anne requested homemade Lara Bars for her wedding present. They were off to an overseas honeymoon, and she knew that my homemade Lara Bars traveled well. I used the base recipe above and made Apple Pie Lara Bars, Cherry and Chocolate Lara Bars, and one other flavor that escapes me now. The Homemade Lara Bars were enjoyed on the plane, all over the Greek Islands, and were the perfect energy pick me up on their long hikes.

Homemade Lara Bars are stupidly easy and fast to make. Everyone loves them, they keep forever (but they’ll be gone within a few days), and they are free of refined sugar. The base recipes of dates + nuts + vanilla allow you to be super creative with new combinations.The possibilities are endless. The number of “balls in my mouth” jokes being made in the house?  Also endless.

Homemade Lara Bars are incredibly easy and super delicious. Just four ingredients gives you a healthy and fast gluten-free treat.

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28 comments on “Homemade Lara Bars”

  1. Great post, Jack and Sarah!! I think I have everything I need to make these, including the vanilla “booze”! 🙂

  2. Found this recipe via Real Food Wednesdays. I love Lara bars, so I’m definitely going to try these, thanks! –Shanon

  3. Please don’t laugh at my question…

    I HATE the taste/consistency of dried fruit. Does it taste like dried fruit and have the consistency?

  4. E,HA HA IDIOT. j/k

    The consistency and taste is like cake batter or fudge. You will NOT taste “just” dried fruit

  5. Wow, these sound great! Will try them soon.

  6. @ All About Us – link away! Glad to hear you enjoyed the “balls”.

  7. I made these this weekend and they are half gone. I have a huge sweet tooth and I love how “naughty” they taste, but know they aren’t! If you don’t care I am going to link this post up with my blog. Thanks for sharing this!!!

  8. Do I keep this in the freezer or fridge or just in a container on the counter? I don’t want it to go bad. How long will it be good for? Thanks!!

  9. Wow, sounds great, unless you’re diabetic! Those are barely more than cookies. The nuts help a little.

    That’s a LOT of sugar. Yes, it’s fruit, but fructose and sucrose will both spike your blood sugar levels, and leave you with a crash. Be moderate in your serving sizes, especially with the young’un.

    I would suggest adding some whey protein isolate to the mix, which will give your body something to hang onto as it processes all those carbs. This is pure protein, no lactose or any other stuff. If you are allergic, try soy, albumen, or another protein you are able to tolerate.

    You can also add a little inulin or psyllium husk powder. No taste or calories, lots of fiber. This will add bulk.

    Puffed grains, such as rice, barley, or wheat can also stretch the sugars out a bit.

  10. Ande,
    a) I never claim to be a nutritionist. If you’re looking for a blog with diabetic recipes, you’ll likely need to look elsewhere.

    b) puffed rice cereal is a simple carb which the body will process just the same as most sugars (yes, even dried fruit sugar). Plus it only has 2g of protein per serving. Why would you add a simple carb that will further spike your insulin, when the protein from the nuts is much much higher than cereal?

    c) whey protein seems like one of the biggest snake oil sells in history. Protein powder is a ripoff and only makes people think they’re making healthy choices.

  11. Great answer, Sarah.

  12. I can’t believe you called the dates cockroaches! I think the same and for the longest time, couldn’t eat them but just started too over the last few months! I was cracking up reading that! LOVE IT! and can’t wait to make some bars!

  13. These are amazing and I am officially addicted 😉 Great on-the-go/short-on-time breakfast. Great snack for after a run. So easy to make and my kids love them too! Thank you for sharing!

  14. I’ve had this post open in a tab for about 2 days and finally tried a date to see if I could stomach them again. I can and I actually *like* them. So I made a half batch of these. They are WONDERFUL! I may have to dial it down on the cocoa powder a bit, though, if I’m only making a half batch (I may have tripped and spilled a bit too much into my processor). I also used local pecans instead of walnuts/almonds. Still works out well, in my opinion 🙂

  15. I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago while looking for a healthy fruit dip. I’ve had your tab open on my browser for a couple days since, going back every time I have a minute to read a new recipe or post. They all look so great! I hope to try these soon and I hope my boys will eat them. I love the peanut butter cookie Larabars, um, YUM! Thanks so much for your blog. I am trying to make the move to real foods for my family and you have so many great tips to help get us there! So far we have cut out most processed foods and maybe I’m being naive, but if I want junk food, I at least try to grab the organic or all natural ones. We’re almost completely free of HFCS. Yay!

  16. So, these look awesome. As my hubby plows through 3 lara bars a day (yes, PER DAY), I really need to try making these. Do you keep them in the fridge or just on the counter?

    By the way, Target is the cheapest place we have been able to find real Lara Bars (usually $5 for a 5 pack). But still, I hate spending that much on a snack.

    Off to add these ingredients to the grocery list!

    • We keep them on the counter.

      Have you looked at Costco to see their cost? They also have TrioBars which are crazy good, and one day I will learn how to make them!

      • The closest Costco to us is over an hour away, and I was VERY disappointed with their selection after all the awesome things I had read from multiple blogs. I just think that Montana isn’t hip to the healthy eating thing.

        I don’t think I have heard of a TrioBar. I will have to look into this.

  17. How many balls does it take to equal a larabar? Like $0.15 times ___? 🙂 Haha I am also cheap! And do you think this would hold up if making a military goodie box or would heat make it melty? Thanks frugal mama!!

    • Depends on the size of your balls… 🙂 I would say 1.5-2 would equal a Lara Bar. I have shipped them from Seattle to Denver, and then the people in Denver flew to Portugal with them. They have also flown from Seattle to Denver, and Denver to Greece and held up well. The key would be to ship them in something with structure, like a cheap ziploc or rubbermaid plastic container.

  18. Looks amazing, I am planning to try them out soon for quick and easy snacks for my son who tends to get “hangry.” I tried pinning it, but the pinterest button did not work… not sure if it is an issue on their end or yours, but thought you would like to know.

    • Thanks for letting me know. I just tried it myself to double-check and it worked. Silly question, but were you already logged in to Pinterest? Hopefully, it is an isolated issue and not more widespread.

  19. Sarah — for the “flavor varieties,” you can add chocolate chips, that’s easy, but would you just _add_ cherries or substitute for anything like the dates? How about the apple pie ones, do you just add dried apples to the date recipe? Asking for a friend ; – ) . These look really good.

    • Please tell your “friend” that I add to the dates, not in lieu of. 🙂

      In some case, depending on how much additional dried fruit I am adding, I would up the cashews by a few tbsp.

  20. these are so good!

  21. I love your balls!

  22. They look like poop balls. Yummy poop balls, but poop balls just the same. 😉