Lemon Date Energy Bars


I was sitting on the couch the other day, watching a recorded episode of Glee, Cooper was napping and I finally finished the chores on my loooong TO DO list. I started plowing through a "Lemon Bar" flavored LÄRABAR and thought, "Damn! These are GOOD!" I checked the back of the package and was shocked to find that it contained less than FIVE ingredients. In true Tracy fashion, all I could think was: MUST MAKE THESE. LIKE. RIGHT NOW. All of the ingredients were just chilling in my pantry. Glee can wait!

I looked at the ingredient list from my Coconut Date Rolls to help me cess out these bars because dates are the main binder in both! After a few tweaks & pulses in the food processor, I think I totally got it! My very own Lemon Date Energy Bars! They're a bit dense, a little sticky, kinda chewy, super nutty, naturally sweet and totally lemony! They taste pretty darn close to the original bar that inspired them. On the next batch, I'll leave a few of the nuts chunkier and I'll cut the bars smaller. I can't wait to tinker with more recipes! Watch out food processor, you're gonna get USED!

And we're off!

Here's my inspiration! I'm kind of addicted to these.

you're my inspiration

Cashews, almonds, dates, lemon. (Lemon extract not pictured here. I didn't know I needed it yet!)


Grind up the almonds, cashews, dates & lemon zest.

to be chopped

Your food processor is gonna work HARD.

lemondateenergybars (10)

Take a taste of the mixture....then add in some lemon extract!

a few splashes of you

Whirl it and then you're done!


Put the mixture in a parchment lined brownie pan.

into the pan

Press it evenly with your fingers. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until firm.

push push push

Unwrap & cut into quarters. Cut quarters in half & cut out your bars. Trim edges to make them even.

i'm gonna cut you!

You should be proud of yourself.

lemon date energy bars!

You made your own energy bars!

lemon date energy bars

Just don't wrap them up in foil. It tends to stick to the bar. Lesson learned!

Lemon Date Energy Bars

(makes 8-16 depending how how small you cut them!)

  • 1 1lb. pitted dates
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon oil extract

In a food processor mix pitted dates, almonds, cashews & lemon zest until a thick paste forms. Add in the lemon juice & lemon oil extract and pulse a few times to combine. (If you want a few bigger chunks of nuts in your bars, pulse the nuts first and set some aside. Then incorporate the chunks into the final mixture)

Take the the bar mixture and press into a parchment lined 8- inch brownie pan, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Cut the bars into smaller rectangles (or any size you prefer). Wrap them up in plastic wrap. Foil is kinda tricky- it sticks to the bar too much. Keep the bars covered, in the fridge for up to a week.

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  • February 18, 2011

    Yes! Love Larabars. Hate paying for them.

    • February 18, 2011

      Same here. I bought a whole bunch on sale last week! I can't pay the full price for them!

  • February 18, 2011

    Awesome! Must try these soon :)

  • February 18, 2011

    These sound so good! I love how easy they are!!

  • February 18, 2011

    I will totaly be trying these guys...do you think it woould work with dried cherries too? that's my favorite lara bar flavor?

    • February 18, 2011

      Probably! You might have to add a little more liquid to make it moist. Add a little as you go.

  • Marci
    February 18, 2011

    Thanks Tracy! I love LaraBars. Hate the price, too. I think I pay btwn $1.35-$1.99 each, depending on which market I visit. I guess I can see why they are expensive, though - nuts ain't cheap! Thanks for cracking the code - lemon is one of my faves, and I think I will certainly try to make these at home. I wonder how orange would be - like orange extract. Maybe with some mini chocolate chips thrown in? Hmmmm....

    • February 18, 2011

      I bet it would be awesome!! I think I might do the coconut cream pie next!

  • February 18, 2011

    Thank you for this - I eat WAY too many of these, so making my own is definitely in my future.

  • February 18, 2011

    Whoa! These are awesome!

  • February 18, 2011

    mmm love! can't wait to try it -- obsessed with dates lately

  • February 18, 2011

    Wonderful bars. I love the date and lemon combo.

  • February 18, 2011

    Yummy bars feels like grab the bars.

  • February 18, 2011

    Ohhhh! I totally wanna make a chocolate-y version of these.

  • February 18, 2011

    These look fantastic- I'll have to try them. They remind of the Clif Nectar bars which have something like four or five ingredients as well. Very tasty. Thanks for the recipe!

  • February 19, 2011

    These look so good! I love larabars! and homemade larabars!

  • Anna
    February 20, 2011

    This is amazing! I LOVE Larabars and have been wanting to try to make these myself too. Thanks for figuring it out!! Unleash more flavors!

  • NS
    February 20, 2011

    Without the lemon it is exactly like the stuffing of the Middle Eastern date cookies, and if you like as it is healthy to add cinnamon/ cloves/ nutmeg also you can be creative by adding sesame or drizzle it on the parchment paper and topping them - will make it easier to remove.

    You can substitute any dry fruit specially fig. If you process the date by itself you can add 1-2 tbs warm water to ease the process.

    Another hint, if you mix the above with granola then you can make your own granola bars, then dip them in chocolate too------ healthier, fresher, cheaper and rewarding :)

    • February 20, 2011

      wow great tips!! Thanks for that. I can't wait to play with more spice in the next batch!

  • February 21, 2011

    No cook No bake! this recipe is so damn easy! Can I substitute the almonds with peanuts? because almonds are expensive...hehe

  • February 21, 2011

    I had Larabars for the first time a couple months ago and was impressed with how few ingredients were in them! Pay a lot for not much... I liked the cocoa mole one, which of course is now retired. :P Good reason to try to recreate it, though. These lemon ones sound great!

  • February 22, 2011

    these look wonderful, i love lemon everything!

  • Karen T
    February 22, 2011

    You may have just changed my life. I LOVE bars for breakfast because they're not to heavy but HATE paying for them. I will try this and then experiment with other flavors. AND AND AND I LOVE lemon! I'm gonna add ginger, too....just because.

    • February 22, 2011

      OOOH! GINGER. Love it.

  • February 23, 2011

    I found your site via foodgawker and tried this recipe last night - they are delicious! I left bigger chucks in my bars, but they still held together well. YUM!

  • February 26, 2011

    I can't wait to try these! They look delish. Not sure if I can or would want to eat them all in one week, so do you think they'll keep okay in the freezer....?

    • February 26, 2011

      They should be fine! I had one last night that was in my fridge (it had been there for a few weeks) and it's still good!

  • March 22, 2011

    Thanks! I've been making and eating these like crazy. I've actually never had a Larabar, but I think I'll start checking out the flavors to get ideas for variations. I like the dried cherry and ginger ideas other people suggested.

  • March 25, 2011

    These look great! I discovered your site and this post just now through 5 Second Rule. These bars look easy and delicious, and you could do so many combos. I'm thinking dried cherries... I look forward to trying this recipe. Thanks!

  • March 28, 2011

    How wonderful!!!! The Lara lemon bars are my absolute favorite, and I'm excited to find this recipe because I'd love to make them myself!! I'm bookmarking the recipe and putting dates on my shopping list for next week. I can't wait to make them! Thanks! :)

  • April 4, 2011

    Those look great! I've made my own energy/protein bars before but not lemon+date.... Bookmarking the recipe and am going to try it!

  • May 3, 2011

    Thank-you! This is seriously wicked to have this recipe.

  • Madeline
    May 15, 2011

    What do you suggest if my mixture never gets past just sticky? I used almond meal to save the food processor work...was this shortcut my downfall?
    Thank you, your recipe tastes awesome!

    • May 15, 2011

      YES! Add more almonds. You need a bit of structure and thickness so it doesn't get mushy. ALSO, put it in the fridge. It will harden up easily!

  • June 1, 2011

    So- I have been meaning to make these since you originally posted them- and just did it yesterday- so awesome!!!!! I can't wait to play with the flavor combinations- thanks for the fabulous idea- I mentioned you on my blog today linking back to the recipe- what a great $ saving idea- thank you!


  • June 3, 2011

    oh yum! I just found your site from Joy the Baker, and I am lovin it! I just made these bars and they are delish! Perfect for next weekends MS150 bike ride!! Thanks!!!!!

  • June 3, 2011

    ps. trader joes is awesome! excited to try some of your creative Trader Joe's recipes!

  • Mel
    July 10, 2011

    Oh my. These are in the fridge, and I'll have one tonight! I can tell by my "sample" of the mix that these are going to be great.

    However....I, um, killed my food processor. :) As in, smoke, and burning.

    What type/power do you have? Mine was a very, very cheap one, and it's probably time I get an upgrade.

    Love the blog!

    • Mel
      July 11, 2011

      Just came back to say these are amazing. Just had one for breakfast. Excellent recipe!

  • Jen
    December 12, 2012

    Thank you sooo much for cracking this Lara bar recipe! I regularly eat Lara Bars and think "I could make these myself" with every bite. I've tried countless homemade energy bar recipes, and this one has been the most successful by far. Have you made any other flavor variations?

  • January 7, 2013

    Yum! Thanks for the heads up on the foil. I would have done the same thing.

  • Stacey
    January 26, 2013

    I'm off to make these right now! Btw I like your rings and fingernails (I'm not 8:))

  • Heather
    April 15, 2013

    These looks fantastic! What kind of food processor do you use?

  • July 28, 2013

    I may have to try making these as they do sound good and I hate buying energy bars in the store due to the price!

    • Tracy
      July 28, 2013

      Once you start making them you get hooked!!!

  • Bettina
    April 1, 2014

    Is that 1 pound of pitted dates?

    • Tracy
      April 1, 2014


  • Barbara
    April 2, 2014

    I can taste this as I look at the picture. Yum! I wonder if you have any idea what the protein, carbs, and sugar numbers are? Thanks. Can't wait to make this.

    • Tracy
      April 2, 2014

      I'm not quite sure but I bet we could google it!

  • June 22, 2014

    Can't wait to try these! They look awesome. Yes, I agree I don't like paying full price for a Lara Bar.

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