I wanted to bring a church to the church youth group that I teach, but one of the sweet girls there has Celiac disease and I knew that I needed to bring something that was gluten free so that she didn’t miss out on having a treat.
I texted her mom and did a few Google searches and came across this recipe – so I had to put it to the test. Since this is the first gluten-free dessert recipe I have made, I was hoping that it would turn out! (Side note: it totally did!)
It didn’t have any flour, it looked delicious, and who would have thought that M & M’s are gluten free?!
[If you are on a gluten-free diet, be sure to check out our Weekly Gluten Free Meal Plan!]
We do have a couple more gluten-free desserts – be sure to check them out:
- White Chocolate Popcorn
- Chocolate Orange Truffles
- Peanut Butter Swirled Fudge
- Grandma’s 5 Cup Fruit Salad
Are all oats gluten free?
There is no flour in these bars, but there is oatmeal.
After searching all over online, I learned that YES – oats are gluten free.
BUT – most oats are processed in a facility that also processes wheat, barley and rye and sometimes the oats are contaminated.
To be sure that you are using gluten-free oats, you are going to want to be sure that it says “gluten-free” somewhere on the label or title (such as these Gluten Free Old Fashioned Oats from Quaker).
Ingredients needed for M & M Oatmeal Bars:
- unsalted butter – if you don’t have unsalted butter on hand, you can use salted butter and just omit the 1/4 teaspoon salt called for in the ingredients
- brown sugar and white sugar – the flavor of brown sugar + the creaminess that white sugar has when mixed with butter make this the perfect combo for these bars
- eggs – try to stick to using large sized eggs to make these bars work
- vanilla extract – I prefer to use pure vanilla extract, but because of all the other flavors being baked into these bars, imitation vanilla extract should work just fine
- old-fashioned oats – make sure that you aren’t using quick oats or instant oats – we want those old-fashioned rolled oats for the texture and chewiness that they will give these bars!
- baking soda – this is going to help make these bars nice and fluffy, so don’t leave it out!
- M & M’s – for this recipe, I used mini baking M & M’s, but any kind will work. If you don’t have M & M’s on hand, just add in more chocolate chips
- chocolate chips- use whatever kind of chocolate chips you like – mini, semi-sweet, milk chocolate. They will all be delicious in these bars! You could also add in peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips.
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Tips for making these bars:
Be sure not to overbake them! When they are done cooking, they might look a little underbaked, but they will continue to bake even after being removed from the oven, so don’t worry!
Use a pizza cutter to cut them up. They are so thick and chewy that sometimes dragging a knife to cut them can be difficult – a good pizza cutter makes it easy!
Use your hands to spread the batter in the pan. This dough batter is so thick that it’s nearly impossible to spread. Spray your hands with a little non-stick cooking spray and then push the dough to the edges of the pan. It will take a few minutes (be patient and just keep spreading!), but spraying your hands first will keep it from sticking to them.
Baker’s tip: save a few M & M’s to sprinkle on top. Have you ever wondered how bakeries get their cookies to have a perfect topping of M & M’s or chocolate chips? They reserve a few of the M & M’s/chips and hand-place them on each cookie or on the bars right before they go into the oven. True story! So, to make your cookies/bars look extra good, save a handful of M & M’s and sprinkle them on the dough after you have spread it out in the pan. 😉
Other Cookie Bars you’ll want to try:
- Sheet Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Nutter Butter Cookie Bars
- Chocolate Sugar Cookie Bars
- 7 Layer Magic Cookie Bars
- Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars
M&M Oatmeal Cookie Bars [Gluten Free]
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups peanut butter (creamy or chunky will work, it's up to you!)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4½ cups old-fashioned oats (make sure they are gluten-free, if desired)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ cups mini M&M's candies
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Generously spray a large 12 x 18 inch rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, both sugars, and peanut butter until creamy.
- Add in eggs and vanilla, mix well.
- Add in oats and baking soda, mix well again.
- Fold in M & M's and chocolate chips, using a large wooden spoon or spatula to make sure that they are fully incorporated into the dough.
- Place the dough on the prepared pan and press dough out to the edges of the pan (using either your hands or a spatula - if you use your hands, spray them first with non-stick cooking spray to help the dough from sticking to your hands as you spread it).
- Bake bars for 18-20 minutes, making sure to not overcook. Let bars cool for about an hour for easy cutting.
Recipe source: Together as Family
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