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Ditch the store-bought snacks and make your own homemade energy bars with this easy pressed fruit bars recipe! They only require 10 minutes of prep time and your kids will absolutely love them (and you will too)!

A stack of four homemade pressed fruit bars tied with ribbon.

Healthy Pressed Fruit Bars With No Added Sugar

Do your kids love fruit snacks, fruit leather, and those chewy snack bars? You’re not alone!

While some options are healthier, many are still full of preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and excess sodium.

Fortunately, it’s easy to make dried fruit bars at home! This pressed fruit bars recipe only requires 4 simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Win win!

Four homemade pressed fruit bars wrapped in parchment paper and string.

Pressed Fruit bars

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Why We Love This Recipe

  • Soft & chewy: These healthy fruit bars have a delicious texture. They’re soft and chewy at the same time. My kids can’t get enough of them!
  • Healthy: Made with real cashews, coconut, dates, and dried fruit, these dehydrated fruit bars are the real deal. They’re loaded with fiber, healthy fats and flavor!
  • Kid-Friendly: My kids absolutely adore these healthy breakfast bars (although grown-ups love these too). Wrap them up and pack them in their lunch boxes for a healthy snack or breakfast on the go!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients for pressed fruit bars recipe.
  • Roasted unsalted cashews: Cashews have the perfect creamy, nutty flavor that taste perfect in these fruity nut bars. You can also use raw cashews if that’s what you have.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: To keep the sugar content lower, skip the sweetened coconut and grab some unsweetened shredded coconut from the grocery store instead.
  • Whole pitted dates: Sweet, sticky dates are the perfect glue for these no bake energy bars. If yours are dry or hard, you may need to soak them first to soften them up. 
  • Dried cranberries: For fruity flavor, use either dried cranberries or cherries. They’ll add a beautiful color and tangy flavor that makes these delicious bars so good! Looks for ones that are naturally sweetened if possible.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Line an 8×8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the edges. Set aside. You can also use a smaller pan if you prefer thicker bars.
  2. Fit a food processor with a metal blade. Add the cashews and coconut to the processor and pulse until they are uniformly finely chopped (think fresh bread crumb texture.) Pour the nut and coconut mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Next, add half of the dates to the food processor and process until a paste forms and clumps together. Add the remaining dates and dried cranberries and repeat.
  4. Next, add half of the nut mixture to the food processor with the dates and pulse until combined. Add the other half of the nut mixture and process until the mixture is incorporated and sticks together. If you find that the mixture is having trouble breaking down, add one tablespoon of water at a time until the fruit mixture adheres together but isn’t too sticky.
  5. When all of the ingredients have been processed, wet your hands or use a moistened spatula and press the mixture into an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan. Freeze for at least 20 minutes before cutting into bars.
  6. To slice: Use the excess parchment paper like a sling to transfer the firm bars from the pan to a large cutting board. Slice into 8 large bars or 16 smaller squares.
Keep scrolling to the recipe card below for the full printable recipe!
Close up image of a bit taken out of one of the stacked dehydrated fruit bars.

RECIPE TIPS

  • Use moist pitted dates if possible. If you find the dates that you have on hand are too hard, you can soak them in boiling water for about 5-10 minutes to help soften them and make them easier to blend.
  • Use roasted cashews. Raw will work too, but roasted brings out a nice flavor in the bars.
  • Adjust consistency accordingly. If the fruit bar mixture seems too dry, add a tablespoon or so of water. If it seems too wet, add some additional nuts and coconut.
  • When placing the bar mixture in the 8×8 dish, wet your hands to help prevent your hands from sticking to the mixture when pressing into the pan. You can also dampen a spatula and use that to press down on the mixture. To help smooth out the bars even further, fold the excess parchment over the bars to cover them and use something flat and heavy to press down firmly on the mixture until it is smooth.
  • To slice: Use the excess parchment paper like a sling to transfer the firm bars from the pan to a large cutting board. Slice into 8 large bars or 16 mini fruit bars.

Recipe FAQs

Are pressed fruit bars healthy?

The answer depends on the fruit bars you’re considering! Some of the options from the store have quite a bit of added sugar, additives, preservatives, and oils, that don’t always make them the most nutritious choice. These homemade fruit bars have healthy fats and fiber-rich carbohydrates to give your kids energy. They’d be a great snack to serve before a sports game or practice! 

Do pressed fruit bars have a lot of sugar?

They definitely can, especially the premade ones from the store. This recipe makes 16 small bars, each with approximately 12 grams of natural sugar and 2 grams of fiber. The natural sweetness comes from the dates and dried cranberries. Since most cranberries are dried with juice or sugar, you can reduce the sugar content even more by using unsweetened dried fruit like cherries. 

How do I keep my hands from sticking to the fruit bar mixture?

Just like making rice krispie treats, you need to wet your hands! Damp hands won’t stick to the fruit bar mixture. You can also spritz a flexible spatula with water or cooking spray to help as well.

A close up image of healthy fruit bars with no added sugar.

Storage Guidelines

  • I recommend individually wrapping each of these DIY lara bars in parchment paper, plastic wrap, or a piece of wax paper for best results.
  • They can be stored either at room temperature or in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. They’ll be firmer and last longer in the fridge.
  • You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.

Serving Suggestions

These pressed fruit bars are great as a snack on their own, or you can serve them with any of these options to help fill those tummies!

Other Fruit Bar Ideas

  • Sub in different dried fruit: Instead of dried cranberries, try dried apricots, dried blueberries, or dried apples. 
  • Try other nuts: Use peanuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, or whichever nut you like. You can even use almond butter!
  • To make nut-free: Instead of cashews, try using sunflower seeds instead. You can also check out these nut free breakfast bars!
  • Other add-ins: You have so many options to make these fruit bars your own. Mix in some chia seeds or flax seeds, add maple syrup for extra sweetness, and sprinkle in some pumpkin seeds or even chocolate chips. This is a great recipe you can adapt in many ways!
A hand holding up a homemade pressed fruit bar.

More Healthy Bar Recipes

Did you make this recipe? Scroll down to leave a star rating and review!
Pressed fruit bars stacked on top of each other and tied with string.
Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Homemade Healthy Pressed Fruit Bars Recipe {No-Bake}

Servings: 16 small bars or 8 large bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chilling 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Ditch the store-bought snacks and make your own homemade energy bars with this easy pressed fruit bars recipe! They only require 10 minutes of prep time and your kids will absolutely love them (and you will too)!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups whole pitted dates (moist ones work best)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries

Instructions
 

  • Line an 8×8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the edges. Set aside. You can also use a smaller pan if you prefer thicker bars.
  • Fit a food processor with a metal blade. Add the cashews and coconut to the processor and pulse until they are uniformly finely chopped (think fresh bread crumb texture.) Pour the nut and coconut mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Next, add half of the dates to the food processor and process until a paste forms and clumps together. Add the remaining dates and dried cranberries and repeat.
  • Next, add half of the nut mixture to the food processor with the dates and pulse until combined. Add the other half of the nut mixture and process until the mixture is incorporated and sticks together. If you find that the mixture is having trouble breaking down, add one tablespoon of water at a time until the mixture adheres together but isn't too sticky.
  • When all of the ingredients have been processed, wet your hands or use a moistened spatula and press the mixture as evenly as possible over the bottom of the prepared pan. Freeze for at least 20 minutes before cutting into bars.
  • To slice: Use the excess parchment paper like a sling to transfer the firm bars from the pan to a large cutting board. Slice into 8 large bars or 16 smaller squares.

Notes

  • Use moist pitted dates if possible. If you find the dates that you have on hand are too hard, you can soak them in boiling water for about 5-10 minutes to help soften them and make them easier to blend.
  • Use roasted cashews. Raw will work too, but roasted brings out a nice flavor in the bars.
  • Adjust consistency accordingly. If the fruit bar mixture seems too dry, add a tablespoon or so of water. If it seems too wet, add some additional nuts and coconut.
  • When placing the bar mixture in the 8×8 dish, wet your hands to help prevent your hands from sticking to the mixture when pressing into the pan. You can also dampen a spatula and use that to press down on the mixture. To help smooth out the bars even further, fold the excess parchment over the bars to cover them and use something flat and heavy to press down firmly on the mixture until it is smooth.
  • To slice: Use the excess parchment paper like a sling to transfer the firm bars from the pan to a large cutting board. Slice into 8 large bars or 16 mini fruit bars.

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Pressed fruit bars stacked on top of each other and tied with string.

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