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Vegan British Oat Flapjacks (gluten-free, easy)

A plant-based version of a classic cookie: Vegan British Oat Flapjacks. They are gluten-free & easy to make with minimal ingredients.

vegan British flapjacks on a piece of white parchment paper

The Brits are responsible for copious inventions that have transformed modern life, including the reflecting telescope, television, stainless steel, hip replacements, military tanks, and the telephone.

Add granola bars to that list.

British Oat Flapjacks: The Original Granola Bars

Long before Nature Valley and the Quaker oats man were selling their packaged snacks to the world, British home cooks were making the world’s first granola bars to pack into lunches and accompany afternoon tea.

They call them flapjacks.

In their simplest form, they comprise oats, butter, and golden syrup. It is the kind of minimalism that granola bar manufacturers are longing to achieve with their new artisan- organic- natural -bars (for big $ per bar).

But alas, even in the UK, the original version of the flapjack has been maligned by mass manufacturers who pump ready-to-eat versions full of additives, refined white flour and cheap choco bits.

My version is a back to basics version, with a plant-based twist: a combination of maple syrup and brown sugar in place of the golden syrup and vegan butter in place of dairy butter.

Recipe Benefits

  • Vegan (egg-free, dairy-free)
  • Gluten-free
  • Frugal
  • Easy to prepare
  • High in fiber
  • Nut-free
uncut oat flapjacks in a metal tray

Ingredients for Vegan British Oat Flapjacks

The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.

Golden syrup is the traditional binder in flapjack recipes. However, most of us do not have a British import store at our disposal. Moreover, the point of flapjacks is simple, wholesome eating with a handful of everyday ingredients.

Simply substituting maple syrup for golden syrup, without the addition of sugar, does not work (unless maple granola is your desired outcome). Combining sugar and maple syrup (or brown rice syrup) into a thick syrup, however, works like a charm.

How to Make Vegan British Oat Flapjacks

Note that the complete directions are also in the recipe card below.

  • Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square baking pan with foil or parchment, leaving an overhang to remove the bars; lightly spray or grease the foil/paper.
  • Pulse 3/4 cup (75 g) of the oats in a food processor until finely chopped but not powdery/flour.
  • In a medium , heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and and sugar is melted. Add the vegan butter; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes longer until mixture is bubbling and begins to thicken slightly.
  • Remove pan from heat and immediately stir in the salt, vanilla, ground oats and remaining oats until blended. Spoon and spread into prepared pan, tamping down firmly with back of spoon or spatula to compact the bars.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 24 minutes for more chewy flapjacks, 25 to 30 minutes for crispier flapjacks. Set on a wire rack and cool completely in pan set (the bars will firm up as they cool).
  • Use paper/foil overhang to remove bars to a cutting surface. Cut into 16 bars, squares or triangles.
a stack of cut flapjacks atop a piece of parchment paper and a blue and white napkin

FAQ & Tips

How Should I Store the Flapjacks?

Store the flapjacks in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. The flapjacks can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

I Do Not Follow a Vegan Diet. Can I Use Regular Butter in the Recipe?

Yes. If you are not following a vegan diet, feel free to use regular dairy butter. You can also use honey as one of the syrup options.

What Kind of Vegan Butter Should I Use?

Use a stick-style vegan butter (it might also be labeled plant based butter or margarine) that has a high fat (not water) content. Tub style vegan spreads will not work. The reason is that they contin a high percentage of water.

What is a Good Substitute for Coconut Sugar?

An equal amount of lightly packed light brown or dark brown sugar can be used in place of the coconut sugar.

Are All Oats Gluten-Free?

No. Oats themselves are free of gluten, but most packaged oats contain traces of gluten due to the way oats are grown (alongside glutinous grains) or processed for packaging. If you need th oats to be 100% gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oats.

Tip

Finally, a word for those of us with British heritage: the next time someone maligns British cooking, feel free to insert (degree of force is an individual choice) a flapjack into the offender’s mouth (Note: a buttered scone will also suffice).

Here’s to British cooking, granola bars, and pack-able, portable eats!

Yield: 16

Vegan British Oat Flapjacks (aka, The Original Granola Bar)

vegan British flapjacks on a piece of white parchment paper

A plant-based version of a classic cookie: Vegan British Oat Flapjacks. They are gluten-free & easy to make with minimal ingredients.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square baking pan with foil or parchment, leaving an overhang to remove the bars; lightly spray or grease the foil/paper.
  2. Pulse 3/4 cup (75 g) of the oats in a food processor until finely chopped but not powdery/flour.
  3. In a medium , heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and and sugar is melted. Add the vegan butter; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes longer until mixture is bubbling and begins to thicken slightly.
  4. Remove pan from heat and immediately stir in the salt, vanilla, ground oats and remaining oats until blended. Spoon and spread into prepared pan, tamping down firmly with back of spoon or spatula to compact the bars.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 24 minutes for more chewy flapjacks, 25 to 30 minutes for crispier flapjacks. Set on a wire rack and cool completely in pan set (the bars will firm up as they cool).
  6. Use paper/foil overhang to remove bars to a cutting surface. Cut into 16 bars, squares or triangles, whatever suits your fancy!

Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight tin for up to 3 days, or store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Non-vegan Option: If you are not following a vegan diet, feel free to use regular dairy butter. You can also use honey as one of the syrup options.

Vegan Butter Tip: Be sure to use stick-style vegan butter that has a high fat (not water) content. Tub style vegan butter will not work; it has too much water added.

Sugar Options: An equal amount of lightly packed light brown or dark brown sugar can be used in place of the coconut sugar.

Oats Tip: Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats if you want to ensure that the flapjacks are gluten-free.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 bar

Amount Per Serving Calories 133Total Fat 6.5gSaturated Fat 3.8gCholesterol 15mgSodium 102mgCarbohydrates 18.1gFiber 1.2gSugar 10.3gProtein 16g

Did you make this recipe?

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Ann Pritchard

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

I have a can of golden syrup, how much should I use? During WW11 they were a favourite in school dinners, one square with stewed prunes.

Camilla

Thursday 9th of June 2022

Hi Ann! You can use the amount of syrup (including golden) listed in the recipe along with the sugar. I love the memories! And I am probably one of the od ones who would like the stewed prunes :)

Kev

Tuesday 23rd of March 2021

Work in a malting and got given 20kg of rolled oats today so I'm going to be making the lads some nice flatjacks. Hoping this recipe pulls it out the bag 🤞🙏

Jodi

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Is there a recommended type of honey to use please?I made these regularly in England and now want to make them for my American husband and daughter so happy I found this recipe for a substitute to golden syrup. Many thanks

Camilla

Thursday 16th of January 2020

Hi Jodi, You can use any liquid honey (one that is runny as opposed to something like creamed honey, which is more solid at room temperature). Hope your husband enjoys these! Still a favorite recipe around our house :)

Alene

Thursday 12th of December 2019

Well, I have to be gluten free and I even have 2 jars of Lyle's Golden Syrup in my pantry. This sounds great, and a great use for one of those jars. Yay! Thanks!

Camilla

Thursday 12th of December 2019

How perfect! Enjoy, Alene 😊

Mike

Thursday 14th of November 2019

Just made these with my kids...wonderful... brought back memories growing up in Ireland! Thank you.

Camilla

Friday 15th of November 2019

Oh Mike, that is wonderful to hear, and high praise from someone who grew up eating flapjacks! Thanks a million :)

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