Flapjacks are oat-based bars, traditionally made with butter and therefore not historically a vegan food. They often have golden syrup added too.
One of the earliest known references to flapjacks in the UK is in one of Shakespeare’s plays, so we have been talking about flapjacks since at least the 16th or 17th century! 1
Whether the flapjacks of those times resembled ours, or quite what the ingredients were, we do not know. But we have been enjoying oat flapjacks, as we know them now, for decades at least.
And with a wealth of dairy-free alternatives now available to transform traditionally dairy-laden recipes into vegan ones, it is a great time to get into vegan baking!
What is a vegan?
In terms of diets, vegans do not consume any meat, fish, dairy, honey, eggs, gelatine or any other animal-derived products.
So when it comes to common flapjack ingredients, this means no butter, milk or honey.
Be careful to check for any dairy in chocolate, if you are making vegan chocolate flapjacks.
Does this recipe produce gluten free flapjacks?
Oats do not contain gluten per se, but often oats are produced, processed or packaged alongside other grains such as wheat or barley, which can contaminate the oats with gluten.2
If you are seeking a gluten free option, then, to be absolutely sure, you can include gluten free oats in this recipe.
These oats are certified and tested, to confirm that they have not been contaminated with any gluten. You can shop from our wide range of oats at Holland & Barrett.
Whether you are using gluten free oats or not, choose the same oats that you would use for porridge. These are “traditional” or rolled oats, and they have the best taste and texture for flapjacks.
Easy flapjack recipe
We have chosen this easy vegan flapjack recipe, and substituted the butter for dairy-free spread.
It is similar in style to a traditional flapjack, and so it does contain sugar and golden syrup.
If you are looking for a super healthy flapjack recipe then this may not be for you!
You will still get the health benefits of oats with this recipe. A banana flapjack recipe, can be a healthier alternative using no sugar at all, and the sweetness comes from the ripe mashed bananas.
Easy vegan flapjack ingredients
This recipe makes 12-16 flapjack squares.
If that sounds like too much, rest assured that these vegan flapjacks will keep in an airtight container for a few days, or you can also store them for longer in the freezer.
- 200g rolled/porridge oats
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup
- 100g chopped nuts
- 100g dried, chopped fruit
- Pre-heat oven to 150°C (Gas mark 2)
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper
- Melt the dairy-free spread and sugar in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, or over a low heat in a saucepan.
- Once it has melted, stir in the syrup until completely mixed in.
- Add the remaining ingredients (oats, nuts, fruit) and mix until combined.
- Your flapjack mix should not be too wet or dry, just about moist enough to hold together when pressed.
- Tip the flapjack mix into the tray, and press it down evenly with a spoon.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for around 30 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden.
- Remove from oven, slice into squares and leave to cool in the tray.
Adapting this flapjack recipe
Simple oat flapjacks like these can be adapted in many different ways.
Fancy a chocolate flapjack? Try swapping the fruit for chocolate pieces, or drizzling some melted chocolate on the top.
You can also add up to 50g of cocoa powder to the flapjack mix for your chocolate fix.
If you are looking for more balanced nutrition, then perhaps swap some of the nuts or fruit for some toasted seeds.
For those times when you simply do not want to bake at all, or fear that making a big batch of flapjacks is not a good idea (it can be hard to resist that airtight storage container!), shop our flapjacks here.
Last updated: 10th February 2021
Author: Andrea Dobronszki, Regulatory Affairs
Andrea started her career as a clinical dietitian and lecturer at a university hospital, managing the dietetic treatment of patients with various diseases, and giving lectures in nutrition for medical students. Later she worked as a Product Developer at a sport nutrition company where she developed food supplements and fortified foods, and ensured that the products complied with the relevant regulations. Andrea joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate and specialises in food supplements, food regulations, nutrition and dietetics.