Dark Chocolate Cherry and Chia Energy Bars

A recipe for easy energy bars packed with chia seeds, dried tart cherries, dark chocolate, nut butters, and oats for a quick snack to keep you going.
Dark Chocolate Cherry and Chia Energy Bars #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com

Each morning begins the same. Pushing back the down comforter that radiates warmth, I face the cold winter light and slip my feet into woolen socks and slippers. Wrapping myself in a thick sweater, I head towards the kitchen. As water for coffee starts to warm, the butter hits the pan, melting instantly on the warming metal. A light tapping against the stovetop sends a soft crackle through the air and the eggs drop softly, sizzling as they meet the hot surface.

While breakfast cooks, I stare into the contents of my refrigerator and tick off the revolving list of lunch items that could be packed in their boxes. With four lunches to prepare each morning, the contents ever changing, it is easy to fall into a rut, especially in the winter months when the market is shuttered, its bountiful stalls not overflowing with lunchtime inspiration until spring.

Even when I’ve packed the lunchbox with the necessary items – grain, protein, dairy, fruit, vegetable – I still sometimes struggle with that final piece of the puzzle: the midday snack. Eaten at their desks, I need something that will carry them through their class work and morning schedule until the lunch bell rings. It needs to be packed with goodness but also entice them to consume it in the midst of friends and distractions.
Dark Chocolate Cherry and Chia Energy Bars #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com
My standby for the last two years in this space has been homemade trail mix: seeds, dried fruit, a bit of chocolate every now and then, coconut flakes. I keep the ingredients on hand, and I mix it together as I need it, pouring off small portions into small tins and silicone sleeves. Regardless of the activity – school, snowboarding, swimming – this has become my crutch that I lean hard on when I need a quick fix to go.

Sure, I have wonderful intentions of baking up a few granola bars, of tossing together a tiny cooler filled with yogurt and other snacks, but when it really comes down to it, in the midst of everything else going on, I need something that’s quick to fix and easy to have ready to grab and go and pack a punch.

Chia seeds have been an “it” food for a while, with everyone lauding their ability to boost energy, provide minerals like iron, omega-3s, help stabilize blood sugar, and more. They find a home here with rolled oats, dried tart cherries, dark chocolate, raw pumpkin seeds, and a binder of honey and peanut butter (or any other nut/seed butter to make them school-friendly). Whipped together in a matter of minutes, these keep in the refrigerator and are easy to grab as you head out the door. Add a banana or a Clementine, and you’re set for a few hours of snowboarding, a hike through the woods, to make it through a long day at a swim meet, or simply for an everyday school snack.
Dark Chocolate Cherry and Chia Energy Bars #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com

Dark Chocolate Cherry and Chia Energy Bars



  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup raw pepitas
  • 1 cup peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, or other nut butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup dried tart cherries


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, chia seeds, dark chocolate, and pepitas. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the nut/seed butter, honey, vanilla, and the salt. Stir until smooth. Pour the butter and honey mixture over the oat mix and stir until evenly coated. Then stir in the cherries.
  3. On a baking sheet using a 2-3" cookie cutter, press the energy bar mix into the cutter and press firmly. Continue until the mixture is gone.
  4. Place the energy bars in the refrigerator until firm and then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
Recipe type: snack, school lunch
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 20

Adam’s Natural Peanut Butter has teamed up with the National Parks Conservation Association to encourage you to make a difference and stay active. Simple snacks like these energy bars are part of that, making winter outdoor activities easy and enjoyable.

Disclosure: The Adams and JM Smucker brands provided me with a gift pack as part of this campaign.


  1. I love this! Gorgeous snacking is in my future!

  2. Megan Phillips says:

    I love homemade granola bars!

  3. homemade granola bars or nut bread, apples, string cheese.

  4. Melissa Weatherford says:

    We eat a lot of fruit and nuts. Also a ton of bread as I make it a couple of times a week. I am experimenting with making my own granola and granola bars now, and this recipe looks amazing!

  5. My go to snack is a mixture of fruit, granola and yogurt.

  6. I can’t wait to try these!

  7. Mine are trail mix bars and dried prunes! I also love bananas:)

  8. Colleen Boudreau says:

    I like nuts and granola.

  9. I’ve been getting board with my snacks, and these look like a great way to switch things up. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. I would have loved to have one of these in my lunchbox as a kid!

  11. This looks so good! And it has all my favorite ingredients.

  12. Mmm, I would wait all day for snack time for these. 🙂 Love the flavors.

  13. Loves these flavors and all those seeds! Perfect for snack or breakfast!

  14. Excited to try these out.

  15. so pretty!!

  16. Seriously gorgeous.

  17. I think I will be making these today! They look yummy!

  18. These look great! I make my own granola bars quite a bit (the ingredient lists on most store bought ones are a little scary) and I love your idea of forming individual round bars. Super clever!

  19. Thomas Murphy says:

    Looks good! Thanks for the giveaway.

  20. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    These look yummy and very healthy!

  21. This is such a great easy healthy recipe.

  22. These sound amazing!

  23. Love these power pucks! Fun shape Shaina full of goodness!

  24. These look wonderful. I have all but the chia seeds on hand – I am definitely going to be making these this weekend. What a delicious sounding, quick and easy snack.

  25. I am looking forward to trying these

  26. Dawn Monroe says:

    They look healthy and delicious but I have to admit I have no idea what a raw pepita is.

    • They are from inside a pumpkin seed. You can buy them in bulk food section – they are green and oblong.

  27. Those look really good as well as healthy.

  28. G’day and looks very healthy indeed! Love the combination!
    Cheers! Joanne

  29. Kalynn Carter says:


  30. Jeannette Laframboise says:

    Wow, this is definitely something I have never seen. Sounds delicious and great for an energy boost. I have always had issues around 1-2 in the afternoon with energy. I am fine until then but during that 1-2 time period I find myself feeling groggy and wishing for a nap. I will have to try this recipe out and see if it helps me get rid of the afternoon “blahs.”

  31. These sounds delicious! I have to try them. I have never thought about making a snack like this before but it looks and sounds yummy.

  32. Love the idea of using a cookie cutter to shape.

  33. I can’t wait to make these for my family. What. Great recipe. Thankd

  34. Oh goodness do these ever look wonderful!

  35. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I love the combination of ingredients

  36. Terri Quick says:

    It looks good 🙂

  37. This energy bars look packed full of yumminess! Pinning!

  38. These bars look yummy!

  39. Looks delicious!

  40. These look amazing! Great breakfast idea.

  41. My husband would love these to take to work and it would be such a great lunch box snack for my son, not to mention I’d be happy to eat the remainders. 🙂

  42. This recipe looks so good and nutritious!

  43. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    These look like a great snack after a workout.

  44. these look great. always looking for a new healthy snack.

  45. Using a cookie cutter? Huh?

  46. Julie E Cothren says:

    seems interesting…

  47. Looking so delicious! Can’t wait to try!

  48. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    This is the direction I need to be headed with my food.

  49. I love that these are round! And the flavours are so great. A perfect healthy snack!

  50. I can think of so many uses for these. They look delicious – making them this weekend! Thanks.

  51. Chris Mckenzie says:

    These look tasty indeed.

  52. Excellent recipe – love this for an easy on-the-go snack!

  53. This is my kind of snack!

  54. Planning to make these snack bars ASAP! They look so good.

  55. Brandy Davis says:

    These look so good, Im going to make these.

  56. I always like seeing new ideas for energy/granola bars! These look tasty.

  57. Can’t wait to try this!

  58. Yum! These look amazing and what great looking prize pack.

  59. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I really need to try these!

  60. This looks like the perfect afternoon snack!

  61. Delicious! I’m not that into snack bars with chocolate, but this could be a base for a lot of delicious things!

  62. Can’t wait to give this a whirl!

  63. These look really tasty. They’re on my list!!

  64. Thomas Murphy says:

    looks good!

  65. Looks like a snack we’ll be taking with us on our upcoming Spring Break mini-vacation to Joshua Tree!

    Thanks for sharing.

  66. I love homemade granola, granola balls and granola bars. Granola sprinkled over yogurt is a to to breakfast in our family. These look great, will have to give it a try sometime.

  67. I’m so glad I started eating healthier and also making almost all of my own food at home this past year. Now I get to try delicious recipes like this one!

  68. Cherie Buchanan-Kaech says:

    I am always looking for new recipes to try.

  69. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I definitely need to switch up snacks and these would be great.

  70. I’m just starting to make my own bars- tired of spending money on Lara bars! love the shape and the whole bits.

  71. Thanks for this great and easy recipe!

  72. Thomas Murphy says:

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  73. Just bought chia seeds…this looks great

  74. Lacey Dellinger says:

    This is by far the best give away ever! I will definitely try the bars – chia seeds are a great filler. Do these get crunchy or stay moist?

  75. These are exactly what I need. Thanks for sharing!

  76. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    looks like such a fun recipe!

  77. Thomas Murphy says:

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  78. this looks so delicious, and I love making my own food

  79. Maria Dollar says:

    This sounds delicious!

  80. Can’t wait to try this! We are in a big time snack rut over here. Thanks!

  81. I would love to try this

  82. This makes an AWESOME post workout snack!!

  83. Shaina,

    Thanks for the GORGEOUS photos and recipe of these lovely lil treats!! Do you have the nutrition facts of these?? Very curious!!

    Thank you!!


  84. These look yummy. How do they keep? Can I make some up, and keep them in the fridge for an impromptu outing, or should they stay in the freezer?

  85. I have been making these for my athlete for college. Only problem is they get gooey and she would like to take on road trips. Is there a way to maybe put in oven and make them a little crispier or ale to stay out of fridge?

    • AlyssaBug says:

      Hi. I know it’s been quite a while since you may have made this recipe, but I was wondering if you had ever found it effective to put the bars in the oven? I just don’t want them to get soft.

  86. Thank you for this delicious recipe! I’m a preschool teacher and am always looking for healthier, yet tasty cooking projects. My kids loved these! And they are now a staple in my home as well (my husband would eat the whole tray if I let him!)


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