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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

The Wonder of No-Bake Fruit and Nut Bars

By America’s Test Kitchen

There are all kinds of raw fruit and nut bars packaged in bright colors and sold at the supermarket. They are simple and delicious, packed with protein from the nuts and sweetness from the dried fruit. The best part? They require no cooking to make. All you need is a food processor to finely chop the ingredients. Then you press the mixture into a pan, chill it, and slice it into bars. Done!

Cranberry-Almond Energy Bars
Makes 12 bars | Total Time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling time

Prepare Ingredients
2 cups whole almonds
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 ½ cups chopped pitted dates
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Gather Cooking Equipment
8‑inch square metal baking pan
Plastic wrap
Food processor
Rubber spatula
Cutting board
Chef’s knife

Start Cooking!

1. Line 8‑inch square metal baking pan with plastic wrap, letting excess hang over sides of pan.

2. Add almonds and salt to food processor and lock lid into place. Turn on processor and process until almonds are finely ground, 20 to 30 seconds. Stop processor and remove lid.

3. Add cranberries, dates, water, and vanilla to processor and lock lid back into place. Hold down pulse button for 1 second, then release. Repeat until fruit is finely chopped and mixture starts to clump together, about 15 1-second pulses. Stop processor, remove lid, and carefully remove processor blade (ask an adult for help).

4. Use rubber spatula to transfer mixture to plastic-lined baking pan and spread into even layer. Fold excess plastic over top and use your hands to press mixture firmly to flatten.

5. Place baking pan in refrigerator and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

6. Transfer chilled mixture to cutting board and discard plastic. Slice in half, then cut each half crosswise into 6 pieces (you should have 12 bars). Serve. (Bars can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

Recipe and photo originally published in The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs (America’s Test Kitchen, 2020) and printed with permission from America’s Test Kitchen. Find more information at