Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

By March 8, 2024March 13th, 2024Recipes, The Power of Cooking

This lower-sugar recipe is packed with flavor and TSC-student approved, the kids often commenting they taste just like Pop Tarts–but without all the high fructose corn syrup that appears in the store-bought treat’s ingredients list. These bars are loaded with fiber-filled oats and fruit, and are perfect for an occasional breakfast treat or a midday pick-me-up. If you don’t like strawberries, you can substitute your favorite berries, and if you’re not able to find fresh berries, simply use frozen (and thawed) berries instead. We use this recipe in our Cooks for Health classes to teach students about added sweeteners, and how different kinds of sugars affect baked products–and our health. 

Let us know if you try to make these at home + tag us @sylviacenter


Prep Time: 1 hour | Makes: 12



1 ½ C flaked coconut

1 ¼ C all-purpose flour

½ C (packed) light brown sugar

¼ C granulated sugar

½ tsp salt

¾ C chilled butter, cut into cubes

1 ½ C old-fashioned oats

1 pt strawberries, finely diced (approx 1 C final yield)

1 tsp Maldon sea salt



  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Spread ¾ C coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the middle of the oven, stirring once, until golden, about 8 mins (setting aside the remaining untoasted coconut until later). Allow to cool.
  3. Combine the flour, sugars, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your hands to mix until a dough begins to form. Knead in the oats and toasted coconut until well-combined.
  4. Set ¾ C of the dough aside. Press the remainder of the dough evenly into the bottom of a greased 13×9-inch baking pan, pressing well into the corners. Spread the diced strawberries over the dough layer evenly, making sure it gets into the corners and close to the edges.
  5. Retrieve the ¾ C of reserved dough, and using your hands, crumble it evenly over the strawberry layer. Sprinkle the top with the remaining ¾ C (untoasted) coconut.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden, 20–25 mins. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once cool, run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it. Carefully lift out the bake in one piece and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle with sea salt, then cut into 12 bars and serve.



Ingredient Substitutions
All-purpose flour Gluten-free flour blend (for GF version)
Old-fashioned oats Gluten-free oats (for GF version)
Strawberries Raspberries, blackberries or blueberries


Recipe Notes

Replacing strawberries with other berries will work well, though keep in mind that it’s harder to dice other berries and you may find it easier to simply cut the fruit pieces in half or mash them in a bowl with a fork until you have a spreadable consistency. If you do this, the berry liquid may leach into the base and color it slightly. 


Old-fashioned oats will work better in this recipe, but in a pinch you could substitute quick oats. Please note, however, that the resulting texture will be slightly different (more cakey, less chewy), and quick oats are more processed and have a higher glycemic index than old-fashioned oats.