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Mom’s Special K-Bars, well kind of. These are the healthier version, but they’re actually so much more delicious. Think crisp, chewy, sweet, and peanutty cereal base topped with semi-sweet salted chocolate. All made with simple, wholesome ingredients: organic corn flakes, honey, pure maple syrup, natural peanut butter, chia seeds, vanilla, and dark chocolate. These bars are heavy on the peanut butter and chocolate, with a nice salty-sweet combo. They’re also gluten-free, vegetarian, and even no-bake too! Every last bite is truly delicious.

Mom’s Special K-Bars |

Anyone whose known my mom over the last 30 years knows about her K-bars. They’re everyone’s favorite dessert. Chocolate peanut butter chewy goodness. Yes, my mom was known for these bars. Especially in the summer because she’d make them for all the birthday parties, family dinners, and every last summer picnic.

Her bars were very retro, old school, and oh, my gosh, very addicting. Actually, now that I think about it, they really weren’t her bars, my Nonnie used to make them too. Ask any of my older siblings, k-bars and chocolate chip cookies were part of the weekly rotation of sweets back when we lived in Cleveland.

We all loved them.

Mom’s Special K-Bars |

The weird thing is that once we moved to Colorado, they just never tasted quite the same. Still good, but almost dry and just not as special. Slowly she stopped making them and when we all started to cut down more on the use of sugar, we kind of cut these out.

But I’m here to announce that they are back, and quite possibly better than ever.

Mom’s Special K-Bars |

The details are extra, extra simple

I used the very same process as my mom, I just used better-for-you ingredients.

The first step, grab some corn flakes. Use gluten-free if needed. I get mine at Whole Foods or there’s a Thrive Market link to some in the recipe. Add the corn flakes, ground chia seeds, and natural creamy peanut butter to a super large bowl. The ground chia seeds are totally optional, but they add a nice vanilla flavor and additional health benefits (healthy omegas and lots of fiber).

Then, boil together some honey and maple syrup. I use honey + maple in place of the white sugar and Karo syrup that mom’s original recipe calls for. Boil the mix for 2 minutes, then pour over the bowl full of cereal and peanut butter. Mix everything together until all is evenly coated.

Spread the mix out into a baking dish, then throw it in the fridge while you melt the chocolate.

Mom’s Special K-Bars |

For the peanut butter – simply use peanut butter. As in just peanuts and sea salt. No Jiff or any other kinds of no-stir peanut butter that contains oil and/or sugar. You just want a natural peanut butter. This will give you the best flavor and texture.

But I mean, of course, if all you have is Jiff or Skippy, it all works!

Mom’s Special K-Bars |

Finish them up

Melt the chocolate with a little peanut butter to keep the chocolate from getting too hard. Then spread the mix out over the peanut cereal layer.

And then you’re done. And trust me, you might want to double the batch because these disappear fast. Everyone from my mom and dad to (very picky) Asher is obsessed with these. Asher has asked me to make them twice this week alone.

Mom’s Special K-Bars |

Lastly, if you’re wondering why they’re called Special K-Bars? It’s because back when my Nonnie used to make them she used Special K cereal. Over the years my mom switched to corn flakes. They really are a family favorite. It’s that combination of chewy, salty, sweet, chocolate, and peanut butter. It’s magically delicious!

Mom’s Special K-Bars |

Looking for easy summer desserts? Here are a few ideas: 

Homemade Vegan Peanut Butter Twix Bars

Caramel Butter Cake with Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

Retro-Style Chocolate Sheet Cake

Strawberry Pretzel Ice Cream Cake

No Churn Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

6 Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake.

Lastly, if you make my Mom’s Special K-Bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Mom’s Special K-Bars

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 24 bars
Calories Per Serving: 215 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. 
    2. In a large bowl, combine the corn flakes, chia seeds (if using), and 1 cup peanut butter.
    3. In a pot, combine the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and pour the mix into the corn flake/peanut butter bowl and stir well. Spread the mixture out onto the prepared pan, packing it in tightly. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, melt together the chocolate and 1/4 cup peanut butter in the microwave. Spread the chocolate over the corn flake mix. Return to the fridge to set, about 15 minutes, then slice. The chocolate will not be totally set, but slicing is easier this way. Keep in the fridge.
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Mom’s Special K-Bars |

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  1. Question – I have to make things gluten-free for my family. Could I use Corn or Rice Chex cereal in place of flakes?

    1. Hi Mona,
      Sure, either of those would work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  2. 4 stars
    I made these with a pre-made vanilla-infused maple syrup and made the chocolate coating a little thinner- totally delicious! The crunchy texture of the cereal was so great with the sweet/peanut butter flavors. Thank you!

    1. Hey Casey,
      Happy Monday! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe out, I am so excited to hear that it was a hit! xx

  3. If I make these, could I reduce the honey and maple syrup to 1/4 cup each? Those two sweeteners are sweeter than granulated sugar, and I don’t like super sweet treats. Is it possible to reduce it?

    1. Hey Kim,
      Sure, that should be just fine for you to do! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  4. 4 stars
    We really enjoyed this treat, I will just put less honey and/or maple syrup next time as it was a bit too sweet for us. Question: do they really need to be boiled ahead, couldn’t we just mix them directly in the cornflakes? Thanks for your inspiration!

    1. Hey Enelye,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it! Yes, you need to boil them first to infuse the flavors and create the syrupy consistency. Have the best weekend! xxT

    1. Hey Sara,
      Sure, that would work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

    1. Hey MacKenzie,
      I really appreciate you giving this recipe a try, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Hope you’re having a great Wednesday! xT

    1. Hey Leslie,
      You bet, that will work well for you! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  5. Loved these bars as a kid (with the corn syrup- yuck!). Thank you for making a “healthier” version. Accidentally bought Special K cereal so these are truly Special K bars. Just made these, can’t wait to try ! 🙂

    1. Hey Kristin,
      Amazing!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so excited it was enjoyed! Hope you’re having a great weekend! xx

    1. Hey Wanda,
      I would not recommend that for this recipe, you could Rice Krispies if you wanted:) Please let me know if you give the recipe a try! xx

  6. 5 stars
    This was really good. I didn’t have any corn flakes, so I used honey nut cheerios 🙂 It is VERY sweet, so I cut ours into small squares. I can’t wait to try it again with the corn flakes.

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was tasty!?

  7. I made these on Sunday and they were delicious. But I think they were somehow even better the second day! And the ground chia seeds add such a lovely flavor. So easy to make and will definitely be making them again!

    1. Hey Sheri,
      Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was tasty!?

    2. The chia seeds add flavor? Chia seeds don’t taste like anything. That’s one of the main reasons they’re so great. What kind of chia seeds do you get, that taste like something?

    1. Hi Jamie,
      You can use honey in place of the maple syrup. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xx