Thick and chewy, these Soft Baked Carrot Cake Oat Bars are filled with all the classic flavors of carrot cake while being whole grain, refined sugar-free, and filled with protein! Perfect for a quick breakfast or satisfying snack, these protein oat bars are a wholesome option that you can feel good about enjoying!
While going to make a batch of Banana Nut Breakfast Bars one day, I realized we were out of a couple of ingredients.
However, I saw all of the spices for carrot cake staring at me and knew that a Soft Baked Carrot Cake Oat Bars variation needed to happen!
Oats, white whole wheat flour, and vanilla protein powder provide the base to these healthy bars while honey acts as the sweetener.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and, of course, shredded carrot add the classic carrot cake flavor and make these bars irresistible!
For a bit of creamy sweetness, an optional honey cream cheese drizzle tops them off.
Since we wanted to keep the bars from being too sugary, the drizzle is simply cream cheese and honey. It’s just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess to make it reminiscent of cream cheese frosting.
With all this flavor, you’d never guess that these bars are a healthy option!
Whether you enjoy them for a quick, easy breakfast or a satisfying snack, these soft baked carrot cake protein oat bars are sure to disappear fast!
How to Make Healthy Soft Baked Carrot Cake Protein Oat Bars
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper a 9×9 inch baking dish.
For thin bars, you can use a 9×13 inch baking dish. I do not recommend using an 8×8 inch baking dish as the bars will end up pretty thick.
In a large bowl, whisk together the quick cooking oats, white whole wheat flour, vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, honey, egg, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Whisk in melted coconut oil.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir just until everything is combined. Fold in shredded carrot with a spatula.
Stir in any additional add-ins at this time. We prefer to skip the extras, but nuts, raisins, or coconut would all make great additions.
Spread mixture evenly into the bottom of prepared baking dish.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. The center of the bars may look “wet” compared to the edges but should be set.
Remove baking dish to a wire rack to cool.
If you want to make the optional glaze: Stir together the softened cream cheese and honey until smooth. Place cream cheese mixture in a sandwich bag, snip the corner.
Drizzle glaze over the tops of the cooled bars. Allow the glaze to set, and serve.
Store leftovers in an airtight container.
Tips for Making Soft Baked Carrot Cake Oat Bars
- The nutrition information will vary based on the type of protein powder used, since protein, sugar, and fat content can vary greatly between brands.
- The way the protein powder reacts in the mix will also vary among brands. The brand I used for these bars pictured has a tendency to make things lighter and a bit airier. You may find that your bars aren’t as thick as the ones pictured because of this.
- The honey cream cheese drizzle isn’t meant to be as sweet and creamy as a cream cheese frosting. It’s just a lightly sweetened drizzle to keep things on the healthier side. Feel free to use your favorite cream cheese frosting if you want more of a frosting.
- Want some extra flavor and texture? Try one or more of the add-ins below!
- 1/2 Cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1/2 Cup raisins
- 1/2 Cup toasted coconut
For the Oat Bars
- 1 1/4 Cups quick cooking oats
- 1 Cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 Cup vanilla protein powder (try to use a no sugar added variety)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Cup milk
- 1/2 Cup honey
- 1/3 Cup melted coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Cup shredded carrot
For the Honey Cream Cheese Drizzle, optional
- 2 ounces 1/3 of the fat (neufchatel) cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together quick cooking oats, white whole wheat flour, vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, honey, egg, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Whisk in melted coconut oil.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Fold in shredded carrot. Stir in optional add-ins at this time.
- Spread mixture into the bottom of prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Center may appear "wet" compared to the edges, but will set up as the bars cool.
- Remove baking dish to a wire rack to cool.
- If desired, prepare honey cream cheese drizzle. Stir together softened cream cheese and honey until smooth.
- Drizzle over the tops of the oat bars. Putting the glaze in a plastic bag and snipping off the corner works well to drizzle the glaze.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container.
**Optional add-ins: 1/2 Cup toasted walnuts or pecans, 1/2 Cup raisins, 1/2 Cup flaked coconut
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 137mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 7.5g
Nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and may not always be accurate. Nutrition values can vary greatly based on brand used. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.