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These Carrot Oatmeal Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze are a sweet breakfast, snack, or satisfying dessert. With warm spices, whole grain oats, freshly-grated carrots and plump raisins, the easy oatmeal bars are a perfect cross between baked oatmeal, muffins, and a classic carrot cake. Pair the slightly-sweet squares with a cup of coffee or tea for a delicious treat at any time of day!

Close up side shot of homemade carrot cake baked oatmeal bars with a cream cheese glaze.
Table of Contents
  1. Easy Oatmeal Bars
  2. Ingredients for Homemade Oatmeal Bars
  3. How to Make Oatmeal Bars
  4. Storage
  5. Recipe Variations
  6. Tips for the Best Oatmeal Bars Recipe
  7. Carrot Oatmeal Bars Recipe

If you’re looking for more recipes with carrots, try this carrot bread, a bowl of carrot salad, this easy carrot cake recipe, and these brown sugar glazed carrots, too!

Easy Oatmeal Bars

I found this easy recipe for carrot oatmeal bars in my mom’s old recipe box. She wrote it on her friend’s letterhead, so I assume that the idea originally came from our neighbor, Miss Joyce. These baked oatmeal bars go back to at least the 1980’s, if not earlier! I’ve tweaked them a bit to give them more flavor — including the addition of warm spices reminiscent of a classic carrot cake and a sweet cream cheese glaze — but the base recipe remains the same. They’re hearty, satisfying, and slightly sweet. I had a hard time categorizing them, because the bars are equally appropriate for a grab-and-go breakfast, a quick snack, or even a healthier dessert.

What are Oatmeal Bars?

These slightly-sweet squares are similar to baked oatmeal (which we traditionally enjoy for breakfast), but are packaged in convenient bars that remind me of store-bought granola bars or those Nature Valley Soft Baked Oatmeal Squares. They’re thick, soft, slightly chewy, and a little bit sweet. Cinnamon and other warm spices, and rich brown sugar perfectly balance the soft-baked, hearty whole grain oats. Grated carrots and raisins add moisture, a little bit of sweetness, and extra nutrients to the bars, while a cream cheese glaze adds something special!

With all of the traditional flavors of a decadent carrot cake, these healthy oatmeal bars are a nice make-ahead breakfast or brunch, a simple and filling snack, or even a light dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth. That drizzle of cream cheese glaze is optional, but highly recommended!

Overhead shot of baked oatmeal bars on a table drizzled with cream cheese glaze.

Ingredients for Homemade Oatmeal Bars

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to prepare a batch of the easy oatmeal bars. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Light brown sugar: adds just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Butter: for flavor and moisture.
  • Egg: gives the bars structure.
  • Carrots: freshly-grated are best (not pre-shredded in a package).
  • Vanilla extract: for extra flavor.
  • All-purpose flour and quick oats: form the base of the bars. Old-fashioned rolled oats will also work — they just have a chewier texture.
  • Baking powder: the leavening agent that helps the bars rise.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves: warm spices that remind me of a classic carrot cake.
  • Salt: to enhance the flavors and sweetness in the bars.
  • Raisins: plump, tender, sweet bits that add flavor, texture, and nutrients to the bars. You can omit the raisins if you don’t care for them.
Overhead shot of ingredients for baked oatmeal bars.

How to Make Oatmeal Bars

These simple oatmeal breakfast bars come together with about 15 minutes of prep! Make them ahead to enjoy them throughout the week.

  1. Cream together brown sugar, butter and egg.
  2. Add carrots and vanilla extract; mix well.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture; combine.
  5. Stir in oats and raisins.
  6. Spread batter in an 8-inch square baking dish.
  7. Bake in a 350° F oven for about 30 minutes, or just until the middle is set.
  8. Cool completely before drizzling with optional cream cheese glaze.
Process shot showing how to make baked oatmeal bars.
Easy oatmeal bars in a dish before baking.
Baked oatmeal bars in a green dish cut into squares.
Overhead process shot showing how to make glaze for homemade oatmeal bars.
Overhead shot of drizzling glaze on top of oatmeal breakfast bars.

Storage

These bars are a great make-ahead option if you’re prepping meals in advance. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy them cold, at room temperature, or even warmed in the microwave.

Can I freeze baked oatmeal bars?

Yes, you can freeze the baked bars. I recommend freezing them before adding the cream cheese glaze, since the glaze will get smooshed and won’t look as good when it’s thawed. Allow the baked bars to cool completely, slice into 9 squares, then wrap tightly and store in freezer-safe bags or containers for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before enjoying.

Squares of homemade oatmeal bars with carrots and raisins on a wooden cutting board.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.
  • You can use either quick oats or regular old-fashioned rolled oats. The rolled oats have a chewier texture, but both options will work in this recipe.
  • Swap out the raisins for other dried fruit, such as diced, dried apricots, currants, dried cherries or sweetened cranberries.
  • Add nuts! I love the addition of crunchy, chopped pecans or walnuts in carrot cake, which would also be delicious here. You’ll need about ½ cup of chopped nuts.
  • Omit the cream cheese glaze for less-sweet, slightly healthier bars.
  • Double the ingredients and bake the bars in a 9 x 13-inch dish. You will likely need to add about 5 minutes to the total baking time.

Can I add apples to oatmeal bars?

Yes! Grated apple would be a great substitute for the carrots in this recipe. You do not need to peel the apples before grating.

Square shot of carrot oatmeal bars on a plate and cutting board with milk

Tips for the Best Oatmeal Bars Recipe

  • Grease the pan well or spray with baking spray so that the bars come out of the pan easily. You can also line the pan with parchment paper, if desired.
  • Let the bars cool completely before slicing — otherwise they will crumble and fall apart. They also need to be cool before you add the cream cheese glaze on top.
  • Don’t over-bake the bars. Pull them out of the oven when the edges are lightly browned and the inside is set. Cooking them too long can dry them out and the texture won’t be quite as soft and chewy.
  • Always use freshly grated carrots that you grate yourself at home. These will be wet, which is a great way to keep your bars moist. Do not use packaged pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store.
Front shot of a carrot oatmeal bar on a plate with a fork.

More Oatmeal Recipes to Try

Close up side shot of homemade carrot cake baked oatmeal bars with a cream cheese glaze.

Carrot Oatmeal Bars

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 9 bars
Calories 284 kcal
These easy baked Carrot Oatmeal Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze are a sweet breakfast, snack, or satisfying dessert!

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon allspice
  • teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup uncooked quick oats (or sub with old-fashioned rolled oats)
  • ½ cup raisins

Optional Cream Cheese Glaze:

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together brown sugar, butter and egg until light and fluffy. Add carrots and vanilla; mix well.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture; mix just until combined.
  • Stir in oats and raisins.
  • Spread batter in prepared baking dish.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Once the bars are cool, prepare the cream cheese glaze by stirring together cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Add milk, stirring to combine. Drizzle over the bars; slice and serve.

Notes

  • Grease the pan well or spray with baking spray so that the bars come out of the pan easily. You can also line the pan with parchment paper, if desired.
  • Let the bars cool completely before slicing — otherwise they will crumble and fall apart. They also need to be cool before you add the cream cheese glaze on top.
  • Don’t over-bake the bars. Pull them out of the oven when the edges are lightly browned and the inside is set. Cooking them too long can dry them out and the texture won’t be quite as soft and chewy.
  • Always use freshly grated carrots that you grate yourself at home. These will be very wet, which is a great way to keep your bars moist. Do not use packaged pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar with cream cheese glazeCalories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 230mgPotassium: 287mgFiber: 3gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 5023IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: baked oatmeal bars, oatmeal bars, oatmeal breakfast bars
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snacks
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Oh man! These are so tasty! I made them for a quick breakfast and they are so moist and just sweet enough. I didn’t do the frosting but I can see how that would be great also. My toddler loved them them, which is always a plus. Great recipe.