Oatmeal Fig Bars | Homemade Fig Newtons

oatmeal fig bars | homemade fig newtons
Oatmeal Fig Bars are a chewy, fig-filled bar made on the lighter side.  They taste pretty close to a Fig Newton, but homemade is always better, right?  When I was researching for a healthy fig bar recipe made with oatmeal, I was surprised to find there weren’t many (or rather any that were suitable).  So I decided to take the dough of a oatmeal date bar recipe and replace the date filling with a fig filling.  Because I wanted these to be healthier, I reduced the amount of sugar in the dough and eliminated added sugar from the filling.  In lieu of sugar, I added lemon juice and zest to the filling to brighten the flavor and also act as a thickener.  The result was just what I had in mind for a healthy fig bar, and they were also really simple to make.

When I was making these Oatmeal Fig Bars, I couldn’t help but think about my grandma and grandpa and chuckle.  I’ve talked many times about my grandma and what a wonderful baker she was.  While I’m sure my grandpa loved all of her (delicious!) baked goodies, he always had a stash of Fig Newtons in their pantry.  I really can’t blame him.  Not much beats a Fig Newton (except for these bars of course!.. but I digress).  I don’t think my grandma ever attempted to make a homemade variety of his beloved fig bars, but I’m sure they would have been similar to these…and my grandpa would have stashed these instead!

oatmeal fig bars | homemade fig newtons

Oatmeal Fig Bars | Homemade Fig Newtons
Yields: 16 bars
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs, stems removed (8 ounces)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (I used quick oats)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted (I used light butter)
  • 1 egg white
  • Cooking spray
  1. In a small sauce pan, put figs, water, lemon juice and zest, and bring to a boil. Simmer until mixture starts to thicken (about 3 minutes). Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Put filling in food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add butter and egg white to oat mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Press half of the oat mixture into the prepared baking pan. [Note: I used waxed paper to press and spread the mixture into the pan]. Next, carefully spread with fig mixture. Last, drop pieces of remaining oat mixture over the fig mixture so it appears crumbly and then gently pat it down [Note: I used waxed paper for this step].
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

This marks the third installment of the Eating the Alphabet Challenge, hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic.  This month we’re featuring healthy recipes using fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes that start with letters E or F.  This was a no-brainer for me.  I’ve been wanting to come up with a healthy Fig Bar recipe, so this was just the incentive I needed!


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  1. Looks delcious!

  2. Awesome idea! I haven’t had fig newtons in forever, I bet these crush them!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  3. Oh my~ These bars look super!! I love figs and I will definitely be making these yummy bars!! Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines~ Stopping by from Eat the Alphabet hop~

  4. They looks so delicious! I am sure they are, they are with figs and that can’t taste wrong 🙂

  5. These look fantastic! I love oatmeal layers with filling in the center. I haven’t had fig newtons either but this blog hop has made me want to try figs and fig recipes. Great alphabet hop choice!

  6. These look so delicious! I cannot wait to give them a try. Now I just need to get my hands on some dried figs…. Glad you are participating again this month in the Eating the Alphabet Challenge!

  7. Laura C says:

    These look great! I’m going to have to try these- I’ve been wanting to make something with figs.
    I think I’ll have to join the cooking through the alphabet club.

  8. These look fantastic. I have dozens of fresh figs that need to be used ASAP. Does anyone know how I could make this recipe using fresh figs, rather than dried?

  9. ? I have a fig tree which is erupting and am trying to find recipes to use them up. They are fresh, not dried, so wanted to know if this recipe would work or fresh figs? I’m not sure how to dry them as they will start to ferment if left out (they are ripe).

    • I used fresh figs and I doubled the dry ingedients as the fresh figs tend to make the bars too gooey! + I added a little honey and vanilla as I was cooking the figs ( about 1/4 cup of honey and 1-2 capfuls of vanilla added to 2 cups chopped fresh figs)

  10. Thank you for this recipe! I made two batches last night: one following the recipe exactly, and another with agave nectar in place of brown sugar. The healthy version did not taste as delicious as the original, but it works for breakfast instead of dessert 🙂

  11. I am making my second, double batch of these delightful fig squares! We love them! The lemon juice and zest makes the figs pop!

    Some changes I made were: I cut sugar to 1/2 cup (1 cup for double) as we don’t really like sweet stuff. I used whole eggs instead of just the whites. (Gluten Free flour needs more moisture and it worked great!) I also made in two aluminum pans and froze one, uncooked. It baked up fine later in the week!

    This time I’m zipping the gluten free oatmeal through the food processor to make it finer. I’m also going to press out the dough tops and partially freeze for easier handling. I’ll let you know how that works out!

    Thank you for your healthy version of these fig squares! So glad I found it!

  12. Just to update…the pressed tops worked wonderfully! I use aluminum pans so I was able to pop out by bending a touch.

    We also loved the ground oatmeal for a more pastry feel to the dough! I am making these every week so we don’t run out!

    So glad I found this recipe!

  13. Just made this bars and they are delish. Not sure how long they will last. Added 1 tsp of vanilla, a whole egg and made then gluten free by using gluten free flour.

    These are a keeper for sure. Easy to make. My 3 1/2 and 11/2 yr old even helped.