Sugar Free Flapjacks

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Crumbly, buttery, and naturally sweetened with dates, these sugar free flapjacks feature warming notes of apple and cinnamon for a comforting after school snack.

Sugar free apple cinnamon granola bars arranged on white parchment paper with bowls of oats and dates in the background.

I don’t know about you, but I am so looking forward to autumn. This past bank holiday weekend was killer! We reached 32ºC four days in a row, and I am so over the heat. I find it very difficult to do anything when it’s above 30ºC – sleeping, working, eating, even sitting on our sofa is rough because it’s leather. All this to say that I’m starting up the fall treats, like these sugar free flapjacks, now to encourage the seasons to change as quickly as possible!

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I know that for a lot of you, school is back in session next week, so I wanted to kick off September by sharing two after school snacks recipes. Both are inspired by autumn flavours and the top two things you most wanted to see: flapjacks and muffins!

This week we’re making apple and cinnamon sugar free flapjacks. They contain 6 ingredients, are super fast to prep, naturally sweetened with fruit, and utterly buttery, crumbly, and delicious.

Let’s get to it!

Bowls of ingredients to make apple cinnamon flapjacks in a triangle pattern.

What is a flapjack?

Something I learned since moving to the UK is that a flapjack can refer to two different foods. In North America, flapjack is simply another name for a pancake, whereas in the UK, they’re a snack traditionally made with rolled oats, butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup – what I would normally call a granola bar.

In general, I’ve found flapjacks tend to be a bit more crumbly and a lot more buttery than a regular granola bar, and they’re often much sweeter due to the golden syrup.

Crumbly, buttery flapjacks naturally sweetened with dates arranged on a white board.

While flapjacks are a very popular after school snack here in the UK, I would argue they’re closer to a dessert than a snack. Do not be fooled by the fibre-laden rolled oat factor. Just a quick jaunt around my local Sainsbury’s revealed that packaged flapjack bars contain anywhere from 6 to 12 grams of sugar per bar! And all but one of the flapjack bars I looked at used refined sugars.

That’s what makes these sugar free flapjacks so great. They’re naturally sweetened with dates and dried apple, so you know you’re feeding yourself and your kids a healthier alternative.

Two rows of sugar free flapjacks stuffed with apples and cinnamon in front of bowls of rolled oats and dates.

How to make these sugar free flapjacks

There are only 6 wholefood ingredients in this sugar free flapjacks recipe, making it super fast and easy to prepare. The only equipment you’ll need is a kettle, a food processor, and a 20cm square baking tray. Here’s how to make them:

  1. Soak your dates. Oftentimes the dates we get in-store aren’t the freshest, which makes them difficult to blend. In this recipe, we’re making a loose purée from the dates and butter, so it’s important that the dates are soft and pliable. To do this, simply soak the dates in boiling water for 10-20 minutes, depending on how old your dates are.
  2. Make the date purée. Once your dates are soft, the next step is to make the purée from the butter, spices, and pitted dates. Whizz it all up in the food processor until it’s super smooth.
  3. Add the oats. The fibre in these bars comes from rolled oats. My favourite (and really the only) brand I use is Flahavan’s Jumbo Oats. They’re larger, thicker, 100% organic whole-grains, and contain a whopping 8.3g of fibre per 100 grams. Once you’ve added the oats, be sure to use the pulse function so that you can retain some larger oats for extra texture.
  4. Fold in the dried apples. Dried apples add a touch of extra sweetness and chew to the sugar free flapjacks. Be sure to pick up a variety that doesn’t contain any added sugars – always read the back of the package!
  5. Bake the flapjacks. Once you’ve pressed the mixture firmly into the pan, bake them up! These bars are quite crumbly due to the butter, so to alleviate some of the mess, press them down firmly again once they’ve come out of the oven. This helps the bars firm up as they cool in the tray. I use the back of a measuring cup for this, but you can also use a spatula.

Need a little visual help? Follow along with the video tutorial for this Sugar Free Flapjacks recipe:

Volia! Delicious, buttery sugar free flapjacks that are perfect for an after school snack or breakfast on the go.

You and the kids will love making these sugar free apple cinnamon flapjacks! If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love these flapjacks by leaving a comment and rating below!

Sugar free granola bars filled with apples and cinnamon on three round plates with crumbles.

Looking for more refined sugar free apple recipes?

These buttery flapjacks are sweetened with dates and dried apples, making them completely sugar free! Warming notes of cinnamon and a chewy texture will make these your favourite after school snack this fall.

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Two date sweetened flapjacks served on a green china plate.
5 from 7 votes

Sugar Free Flapjacks

Crumbly, buttery, and naturally sweetened with dates, these sugar free flapjacks feature warming notes of apple and cinnamon for a comforting after school snack.

Category Bars, Breakfast, Snacks
Keyword apple cinnamon flapjacks, sugar free flapjacks
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 9 flapjacks
Author Amanda | Naturally Sweet Kitchen


  • 8 Medjool dates
  • 150 g unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 250 g jumbo oats (rolled oats)
  • 70 g very finely chopped dried apple (see notes)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease and line a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 in) baking tray with non-stick paper. Leave an inch of paper hanging over the sides for easy removal.

  2. Add the dates to a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit and soften for 10 minutes. Once the dates are soft, drain the water and remove their pits.
  3. Tip the pitted dates, melted butter, cinnamon, and salt into a food processor and blend until it reaches a smooth purée.
  4. Add the oats and pulse 8 times to combine. Do not over-pulse or you’ll lose some of the oats’ texture.
  5. Remove the blade from the food processor and fold in the dried apple. The mixture should come together like a dough when squeezed.
  6. Tip the mixture into the prepared tray and press down very firmly. Bake the bars for 15-17 minutes, or until golden around the edges and on top.
  7. Remove the bars from the oven and immediately press them firmly down again using a spatula or the back of a measuring cup. This will keep them from crumbling too much once cooled.
  8. Allow the flapjacks to cool completely in the tin and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing into 9 equal squares.

Recipe Video


  • These flapjacks will keep for up to 5 days, sealed in an airtight container and refrigerated.
  • It’s important the apple is chopped very finely before being added to the mix. It rehydrates in the oven and sometimes causes the bars to crumble once baked if the pieces are too large.

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    1. I made a batch of these and started adding them to lunches. Everyone loves them and I can’t keep them in the house. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    1. Hi Ness! The bars are naturally quite crumbly; however, they shouldn’t be completely falling apart. Pressing them down in the tray very firmly before and after baking them should alleviate most of the crumbliness. You can also store them in the fridge to firm up the butter and help them hold their shape. Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you. Yes I did press both times. In the fridge they are certainly better but still quite powdery. What do you think about adding an egg if I try again? Will that help? They taste nice, I will use this batch like granola on yoghurt I think!

        1. Hi Ness – I haven’t tested this recipe using an egg, so I can’t say for sure how that will work or change the taste/texture. By all means, give it a go if you’d like! I would probably use an egg white only to start with. Let me know how it goes!

    1. Hi Lucy! I haven’t, unfortunately, so I can’t say for certain if it would work. From my experience, I think that coconut oil would probably work to help hold the bars together, but I really don’t think the flavour would come out as good. Butter adds a very distinct flavour and warmth here, so I can’t guarantee they would taste as nice. If you do give coconut oil a go though, let me know how they turn out!

    2. I read all the comments and followed the recipe to the letter but the whole thing completely crumbled. It was so dry it never stood a chance.

      1. Hi Laura! I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t have success with these bars. I’ve made them quite a few times and as you can see from the photos and video, they’ve always stayed relatively together for me. They are a bit more of a crumbly flapjack to be sure, but they shouldn’t fall apart completely, especially if stored in the fridge. My suggestion would be to make sure you’re chopping the dried apple very finely (as it has a tendency to balloon in the oven) and make sure to press it down before and after baking before chilling it in the fridge. I know a few people have had success adding a couple tablespoons of melted coconut oil to the mix as well. Let me know if that helps!

        1. I’ve tried again since I commented. This time I added a couple of tablespoons of the liquid I soaked the dates in. Worked out much better. They made a more soft, cakey type flapjack. Delicious 😋
          The first batch was lovely on top of yoghurt so all was not lost.

          1. Ah amazing! I’m so glad they were able to come together for you, Laura! Thanks for coming back and letting me know.

    1. Hi Lorraine! I don’t provide calorie or carb counts on my recipes intentionally because I encourage inuitive eating and a balanced 80/20 lifestyle over stressing about counting. You can read more about my ethos here. If you’d like to input the information into one of the many online calculators available, of course you’re more than welcome to. I hear this one is good! Hope that helps!

    1. Hi LW! Sorry to hear you didn’t have success with these bars. I’ve made them many times now and as you can see from the pictures and video, they’ve always held together for me. I’ve noted in a few of the comments above my suggestions for fixing them if you’d like to reference those and have another go! 🙂

  1. I tried this recipe today and it was very successful, my wife said that its the best snack that I have made yet too, so thank you

  2. Fantastic! My wife and I love them. Yes a bit crumbly, but my apple was not chopped that fine.
    Thank you Amanda, for sharing this great recipe.

  3. Thank you so much for this recipe, Amanda. It worked very well, both in terms of flavour and consistency. I added sunflower and pumpkin seeds, as well as a few walnuts. Your suggestion for putting in the fridge for an hour was a game changer, and yes, there were a few crumbs, which I’ll add to yoghurt.

  4. This has become my go to flapjack recipe. The dates are a wonderful replacement for refined sugars. Haven’t added apple yet, tried adding trail mix which was OK, but lately I tend to just add a little ground nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

  5. Thank you so much for this recipe, I tried it this week and they went down a storm, even with my sugar addicted teenage boys. Looks like this will be a constant in my house. Although it did come out crumbly despite adding additional date juice as one other poster suggested. I will try some of the above idea’s though wondered whether adding more dates could act as a natural binder?

    1. I’m so glad to hear you loved these flapjacks, Nicky! Thanks for the lovely feedback. More dates would likely work, but it might make them quite sweet!

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