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It’s no secret that I love baking with oatmeal! Whether in overnight oats form, in a hearty oat bake, or soft baked like these pumpkin oat bars!
And even more so, I love making multiple servings in batch so I can have healthy, easy-to-grab food prepared for the week. These M&M protein oat bars are some of my favorite to make because they are so tasty and fun!
Looking for more easy and delicious pumpkin recipes? Try one of my 15+ Healthy Pumpkin Recipes like my Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake, Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats or Healthy Pumpkin Brownies (Flourless).
Why You’ll Love These Soft Baked M&M Pumpkin Protein Oat Bars
- They will fill you up. Unlike some oat bars without protein, these M&M protein oat bars are packed with enough protein and fiber to keep you satisfied until your next meal time.
- They are delicious. The texture of these are one of my favorite parts about this recipe! Soft-baked, chewy, with a hint of spice GOOD! And when you add mini M&M’s to that… YUM!
- The macros are amazing. They are low-calorie, low-fat, and with moderate carbs and protein. Balanced in macros and easy to fit in your day.
- They are easy to make. JUST MIX INGREDIENTS AND BAKE!
- They are great for breakfast, snack, pre-workout, dessert, any time of the day! Each time I make these I go through them so fast because I will eat them multiple times a day 😂 I’ll snack on one pre or post workout, grab one to curve my sweet tooth after lunch or if I just need something to hold me over until dinner!
- Oat flour – I love oat flavor the best because of the flavor it brings. But if you don’t have any, you can either make your own by blending whole rolled oats (not steel cut or quick oats) in the blender of food processor until a flour is formed, or you can use almond or all-purpose flour
- Protein powder – I used PEScience protein powder as per usual (code LaurenFitFoodie to save). If using another, I would recommend a similar whey + casein blend. A plant based protein powder would also work! Any type of vanilla, cinnamon, snickerdoodle or peanut butter flavor would go best with these.
- Spices – Grab some cinnamon + nutmeg to give this a slight pumpkin spice flavor!
- Vanilla extract
- Sweetener – Any type of sweetener works! Truvia, Swerve, monk fruit sweetener, sugar, whatever your preference!
- Pumpkin – I used Libby canned pumpkin. Not to be confused with canned pumpkin pie filling! You could also use homemade pumpkin puree.
- Applesauce – I used unsweetened applesauce.
- Egg whites- use a flax egg is vegan.
- Milk – I used almond milk but you could also use coconut milk, oat milk, or any non-dairy or regular milk of choice.
- Mini Baking M&M’s – I used the special baking kind because they hold the color of the M&M’s better. But you can also use chocolate chips here!
To make dairy-free: use dairy-free milk and sub M&M’s for dairy-free chocolate chips, like Enjoy Life!
How To Make
1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except M&M’s) together until completely mixed. If you need to make your own oat powder, do this part in the blender first.
2. In a larger bowl, using a hand mixer or blender, blend egg whites for 10 seconds.
3. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Blend until completely combined.
5. Add the whole mixture into the baking dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with M&M’s.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Keep stored in an air tight container in the fridge for 5-6 days or in the freezer for 4-6 months.
To freeze: Cut pumpkin protein oat bars into bars and wrap the bars individually in wax paper, parchment paper or aluminum foil. Store in a freezer-safe ziplock bag and freeze up to 6 months.
What if don’t want to use protein powder?
Then you don’t have to! Just add an extra 1/2 cup of oat flour, or whatever flour of your choice!
How to store these pumpkin oat bars?
Keep stored in an air tight container in the fridge for 5-6 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.
My M&M’s lost their color, how do I preserve the color for next time?
That is normal! I like to use mini M&M’s for baking because they preserve the color better than normal mini M&M’s. Also, if you go ahead and freeze them (versus putting them in the fridge), they will hold the color better. But even if they lose the color, they still taste just as good! But if it bothers you, just use mini chocolate chips instead!
Can I use something in place of the applesauce ?
I haven’t tried, but I would think using mashed banana or a little more pumpkin would work just fine! Greek yogurt could work too.
Can I use something in place of the pumpkin?
The pumpkin makes up a huge part of this recipe, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you can help it because I’m not sure how replacing that much of it would turn out. But if you don’t have pumpkin and want to try these, I would recommend mashed banana first, then maybe a mixture of mashed banana and more applesauce. I haven’t tried, but I would think using all applesauce would make these oat bars taste more like a cake, so I wouldn’t recommend using just applesauce!
More Delicious Dessert Bar Recipes You Should Try
- 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (62g) or more flour
- 2 cups oat flour (240g) or all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp sweetener of choice
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (425g) I used Libby
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (122g)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup egg whites (120g)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (60g)
- 2 Tbsp mini baking M&M's (28g) can also use chocolate chips
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- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except M&M's) together until completely mixed. If you need to make your own oat powder, do this part in the blender first.
- In a larger bowl, using a hand mixer or blender, blend egg whites for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Blend until completely combined.
- Add the whole mixture into the baking dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with M&M's.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Nutrition is hand-calculated and accurate. No autocalulations! However, note that values can vary based on the brands you use and if you substitute ingredients.