Gluten-Free Breakfast Bars

Gluten-free breakfast bars with quinoa flakes.

Tired of gnawing on gluten-free toast or slurping down a bowl of gluten-free cereal for breakfast? Me too. I'm in a rut. An almond butter on toast rut. And though I hate to complain (the simple truth is, I adore almond butter with the white hot passion of a thousand suns, so chowing down on it daily does not qualify as drudgery or sacrifice), I used to start my day a little sexier. I used to indulge in these rich and dense Quinoa Breakfast Bars or this orange infused Quinoa Breakfast Cake. Both are beyond delish.

But alas they contain sugar.

And me? I'm still on the sugar-free train. Life just tastes sweeter without added sugar (my taste buds have come alive going sugar-free). After two solid months of strictly all-sugars-free, my one make that two indulgences are an occasional nibble of dark chocolate. The darker the better. And a drizzle of pure maple syrup once in a blue moon, when the mood strikes me.

So I started thinking about a gluten-free breakfast treat using pure maple syrup as the sweetener. And I dreamed up these little beauties studded with dried cherries and yes, a few dark chocolate chips (which you are free to leave out if you prefer). The result is a light and delicately flavored cereal style breakfast bar with the triple proteins of quinoa, hazelnuts, and brown rice. No starches. No xanthan gum. No sugar. No dairy. But Darling, big on taste and texture- due to the pleasant chewiness of hazelnut meal and quinoa flakes.

I hope you like them.

I add dark chocolate chips to mine. Just sayin'.

Gluten-Free Breakfast Bars Recipe with Quinoa Flakes, Hazelnuts and Cherries

Recipe posted August 2011.

These delicately flavored breakfast bars have zero xanthan gum. Baking without xanthan gum makes the bars a bit more fragile- but for those of you shunning gums, the happy tummy pay off is worth it, right? Freezing the bars helps bind the texture. Served cold they are really quite tasty.


1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup hazelnut flour, packed
1 cup Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 organic free-range eggs or egg replacer
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup organic coconut oil
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 tablespoons almond milk, as needed
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- brown rice flour, hazelnut flour, quinoa flakes, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and ginger.

Add in the eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and almond extracts, and beat to combine. The batter should be thickish, clumpy and sticky. Add in the almond milk one tablespoon at a time, until the batter becomes smooth.

Add in the dried cherries and dark chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the surface evenly. Place the pan into the center of a pre-heated oven and bake until golden and set - about 20 to 23 minutes until the top and the center are firm. Insert a thin knife to check if you are unsure to make certain the center has baked thoroughly.

Cool on a wire rack. Using a thin sharp knife, cut into squares; wrap them in foil; bag in a freezer storage bag. Freeze. Delicious warm from the oven, or slightly chilled. Great to keep on hand for on-the-go breakfast treats and snacks.

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yield: 15 bars

Recipe Source:

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These maple sweetened cereal bars are gently sweet, and they are lovely with coffee or tea.

Instead of almond milk, any non-dairy milk will work. Use a vanilla flavored milk for a touch of extra flavor.

If you prefer using almond flour to hazelnut flour, go ahead Darling. It will work.

If you prefer, leave out the dark chocolate chips and add chopped walnuts instead.

Instead of dried cherries, dried blueberries or chopped dried apricots would be fab.

For egg free, an egg replacer such as Ener-G egg replacer works like a charm.

If xanthan gum is not an issue for you, feel free to add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum, as you prefer).

For nut-free, you'll need to experiment with your own whole grain high protein gluten-free flour mix.

xox Karina


  1. Mara20:28

    Wow this is great! My son needs stuff for his lunchbox for kindergarten and I think this would be fantastic to add to my list.

  2. Karina, this looks like a wonderful recipe and I am looking for a good tasting breakfast bar. But, alas, I am allergic to Hazelnuts. Do you think that almond flour would work?

  3. Thanks! Yes, almond meal will work as well. Cheers! Karina

  4. Hi Karina, these look lovely. I know you have a few other ingredient challenges aside from gluten, so I don't know if this recipe would work for you, but the scone recipe at the link below makes some pretty good and healthy scones. They contain no sugar at all, which I didn't even realize until after they were in the oven. The raisins I subbed for the currants were all the sweetener they needed.

  5. Can you recommend a substitute for nut flour for nut-free baking?

  6. Summer MacDonald20:57

    when you say fragile, what do you mean? my daughter (4) is gluten-free and am wondering if she could handle these or if they would be too crumbly?

  7. I love scones- thanks. I can't handle oats, unfortunately.

    As for fragile- what I mean is, without xanthan gum these are more tender and fragile than if it was added. Slightly more delicate. Certainly not objectionably so. If xanthan gum is not an issue for you, feel free to add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum, as you prefer).

    For nut-free, you'll need to experiment with your own whole grain high protein gluten-free flour mix. Or try one of my other quinoa bar recipes without nut flours.

    xox Karina

  8. This looks perfect for our road trip next week! I can't wait to try it.

  9. Anonymous23:12

    Perfect timing...we are off on a road trip next weekend (will actually be in your neck of the woods/coast) and these will be great to take on the road, individually wrapped and all. I'm sure they will save my day as I watch everyone chow down on IHOP food : )
    Thanks Karina!

  10. Those look delicious and great for busy mornings. I bet my son would grab them on the go. I'll be trying these when school starts again. Thanks, Karina!

  11. Anonymous23:38

    This sounds amazing, Karina! I'm gluten-free and sugar-free and have issues with oatmeal and xanthum gum, so this is just what I've been looking for! Thanks so much for sharing it!

  12. Oh, I totally understand the breakfast rut. I'm in it, often. But you always come through. And this recipe is no exception - can't wait to try my hand at it! Thank you Karina, for giving us yet another GF and DF and SF option!

  13. sounds great Karina . will definately try the recipe.

  14. Anonymous10:01

    Looks wonderful...what do you use for substitute for quinoa flakes? I am just thinking of variations.

  15. Brenda Will10:42

    These are most delicious. I made two batches, on the second batch I substituted chopped pecans for the dried cherries and added pumpkin pie spice instead of the ginger.(keeps the 8 yr. old happy) All set to travel on a road trip.... This recipe is going to be a keeper because you can mix and match well.

  16. These look delicious! Do you think I could substitute quinoa flour for quinoa flakes though?

  17. The quinoa flakes are a hot cereal flake. They add lightness and texture in a sugar-free structure. Substituting them with a heavy flour like quinoa flour will change the recipe- more toward dense, less chewy, more crumbly. Would I recommend it? Probably not. If anything, I'd use certified gluten-free rolled oats. And even that will change the texture (oats are heavier). Karina

  18. I love using quinoa flakes in granola bars, Karina. These other ingredients make for a wonderful mix. And chocolate chips and cherries? A match made in heaven! ;-) You've just saved tons of folks from those ubiquitous "not so great" gf protein bars on the market! :-)


  19. Looks more like dessert to me!

  20. I made these this morning and they were heavenly!
    I also added in 1/4 cup natural peanut butter and used dried cranberries.
    I'm contemplating a sugar cleanse starting Monday and these definitely gave me hope that it might not be as bad as I'm thinking! I think I may try dried apricots and add a bit of honey to the next batch.

  21. Thank you for all the variations you give at the end. I'm going to try with honey, hemp milk, walnuts & raisins!

  22. No way. This is AMAZING! Oh my gosh these sound so good!

  23. Oooh cherries and chocolate for a healthy breakfast, wow! Great idea :)

  24. Thanks for a great recipe Karina. Everyone needs a feel good start to the morning. These are perfect!

  25. Jessica03:02

    These look great! Can I use dairy free spread instead of coconut oil? I don't have any at the moment
    Thanks Karina!

  26. These look awesome! I must try them, as soon as I buy some hazelnut or almond flour, and quinoa flakes.

  27. These sound lovely. If you enjoy maple syrup be sure to try #3Dark - "Grade B" is the USA. The flavour is intense so you don't need to use as much. It also has the highest mineral properties. Better taste better for you!
    I can't wait to try your breakfast bars. I've been desperate for a refresh on my usual breakfast smoothie.
    Thank you

  28. Thank you so much Karina, these sound wonderful! The substitute suggestions are wonderful, and I'm so glad someone else asked about quinoa flour as a substitute...I ran out of the flakes over the weekend and was thinking of them to use instead! :-o Whole Foods here I come! lol

  29. Oh hazelnuts! I love them, and this sure looks really delicious.

  30. This would be great to pack in a kids lunch box. It should travel well! School time is here already :)

  31. Anonymous15:32

    Thank you for having fun approach to lifestyle changes. I grew up with a German "baking" mother and am looking forward to re-stocking my baking shelves with Gluten-Free ingredients :-) It's a hard thing to deal with when you're out of the house though! Getting better, but still such a rarity to find a nice selection of treats!

  32. Just made these and let me just say... I wish they would cool faster! Every recipe you make turns out delicious.. I'm so thankful I found your blog :)

  33. Anonymous17:01

    I was totally sucked in by the photo of these, and just took a stab at making them without eggs, so thought I'd post the results in case it helps anyone else. I actually messed up by subbing the eggs in two different ways, and it altered the structure quite a bit, I think. But maybe a happy accident? I subbed almond meal for the hazelnut, subbed 1/2 cup applesauce + 1 T tapioca starch for the 3 eggs (and then, in a moment of total spacing out, I added 2 flaxseed eggs). I left out the almond milk (the batter was plenty wet without it). The bars came out with texture more like a muffin or coffee cake than a cookie bar or granola bar, but they did turn out moist with a pretty nice crumb (they took longer in the oven to firm up). Anyway, next time I'll try this with just ONE egg sub and see if I can get closer to Karina's great-looking bar. This was my first time using almond meal, by the way, and I can see why people love it -- the texture does not seem gluten free. Thanks another inspiring recipe, Karina!


  34. Anonymous17:09

    Oh, one more quick comment on using flax eggs -- this may be obvious, but when I adapt recipes with the flax egg sub, I find it often works better to blend the wet ingredients in a separate bowl first, and then add in the blended dry ingredients -- I get a more even distribution of the flax without worrying that I'm over-mixing. When I've not done it this way, I've sometimes ended up with unpleasant pockets of flax egg in the final product.


  35. Anonymous12:51

    I made a batch of these bars yesterday. My husband and I both love them. Pretty quick and easy to make. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Karina.

  36. "Served cold they are really quite tasty." ... assuming they're around long enough of course, which is highly unlikely!

  37. Kate22:40

    I'm curious -- I am not a big fan of maple syrup - and I'm a bit challenged with ideas of substitution. can you suggest something that would do well as a substitute? Agave? I can't wait to try this-I have to find the quinoa flakes now! Thank you so much!

  38. Hi Karina - loving your site. I am in Croatia and GF well out of reach here, so I am relying on some pretty dim stores aboard (I am a chef on a yacht). I have a special guest for this week and I'd love to impress her with some of your dazzling ideas, but I am a little out of my scope. What is the Coconut oil for? can I use applesauce, sesame, or olive or just butter? What about the quinoa flakes - can I use quinoa or polenta? I am assuming brown rice flour is just the healthier option, but I have white rice flour - will it do? or corn flour? I'm really looking forward to your response!

  39. I would stick to some simpler recipes that rely less on these particular flours, then; because no, white rice flour or cornstarch is not a good substitute (inferior texture that will not impress). My Dark Chocolate Brownies and Flourless Chocolate Cake would be two wonderful recipes for you. Butter works beautifully. Olive oil, too.

    No- quinoa flakes cannot be replaced with polenta or regular quinoa- wrong texture (flakes are feather light). Just skip this recipe and do one of my cornbreads or my polenta recipes (I have a fab Pumpkin Polenta with a fresh salsa, and a lovely polenta cake- see cakes). Karina

  40. thank you so much for your input - i found the banana polenta and the flourless choc cake, and will certainly give them a go. keep up the excellent blog!

  41. Thank you for these I decided to buy the Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes and flour to make this recipe. My little girl said they smelled funny at first I won't lie I did too. Since this was the first time making them I was hoping for them to turn out good. They did the smelt good and tasted wonderful. Both children ate them and even me just to make sure they tasted good. I can mark one more thing off my list that he will eat. Thanks so much.

  42. Anonymous17:20

    Very tasty, thank you! Quick and easy too!