Busy Morning Breakfast Bars

Mornings can be a hectic time for parents and kids alike. Busy routines and waking up early can make anyone grumpy, but skipping breakfast? Forget about it!

These make-ahead cereal bars feature whole grains blended with protein-packed mix-ins and just the right amount of sweetness to make them a family favorite. Best of all, the recipe can easily be tweaked for variety week after week by changing the type of syrup, extract, and mix-in ingredients.


  • 5 cups Cheerios, Kix, or Chex
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. extract (vanilla, almond, orange, etc.)
  • 2 cups firm mix-ins (coconut flakes, raisins, almonds, cashews, low-sugar dried cranberries, or other dried fruit)


1. Bring butter and syrup to a boil in a saucepan and hold until mixture approaches “soft ball” stage or around 200-210 degrees.

Tip: If you don’t have a candy thermometer, start with boiling five minutes and adjust as needed in future batches. More boil time makes firmer bars and less time results in chewier bars. If the mixture boils too long, it will reach the “hard crack” stage, but that’s ok too! The recipe is just as yummy as a snack mix.

2. Turn off heat and stir in the extract.

3. Stir the liquid mixture into your dry ingredients and press into a parchment-lined 9×13 dish. If you have no parchment, butter the dish to ensure bars can be removed later. Do not use plastic wrap.

4. Let cool and then slice into bars for a portable breakfast with staying power.

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