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Survival Bar Recipe & Instructions: Chocolate Chia

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Homemade Survival Bars: DIY Survival Bar Recipe for Chocolate Chia Bars


Survival Bar Recipe & Instructions:

Chocolate Chia Survival Bars

How to make homemade survival bars that actually taste good- I have now tried many of packaged survival bars, and have made a fruit flavored recipe for homemade emergency food bars with a long shelf life. I thought to myself, surely there is a better way to make a homemade survival food bar. The fruit Jello bars are good, but are awfully sweet. They also do not have the nutritional value I knew you could pack into a bar. The solution? Chocolate and Chia seeds.

If you do not know about chia seeds, keep reading. I included some nutritional info on chia, which is a pretty perfect survival food. Chia seeds pretty stay good for years, and they retain their nutritonal value as well as their flavor. They add a nice little crunch to this bar, and the chocolate combines nicely with them. I also added a scoop of protein powder to this recipe. Protein powder is one of my favorite things to add to baking mixes. It really adds value, and the flavor and texture are undetectable, at least to me. You can leave this ingredient out, if you choose.

I decided to make these bars individually. Rolling and cutting them was a tedious chore, and the bars were likely to crumble if not cut through properly. These store more easily, and it is far easier to control the exact portion size and determine nutritional value when made in the manner I describe. These round bars are much easier to get into a dehydrator. Piece of cake.

I also cut the amount of sugar from the fruit recipe. This one still has sugar, but less. I so appreciate all the wonderful feedback, comments and suggestions on the first post. I promise to keep coming up with recipes. Already have two more in mind, and at least one will be sugar free.


Rich in nutrients, chocolate chia survival bars will last several years.

How to Make Survival Bars:

Ingredients for Survival Bars


  • 2 1/2 cups powdered dry milk

  • 2  cups oats (quick or regular will work, but I like regular)

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds (need chia seeds? check out my picks below to order some)

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

  • 2 Tablespoons Protein Powder (optional)

  • 1 package plain, unflavored gelatin

  • 3 Tablespoons honey

  • 1/2 cup water


Chia seeds: A perfect survival food due to shelf life and nutritional value

So what is Chia?

Chia Seed Facts:

Why chia seeds are an ideal, storable survival food

1) Nutrition: Chia seeds are a very high source of Omega 3s, linked to a wide variety of health benefits. Chia seeds also have  amino acids, magnesium, and an assortment of minerals.

2) Versatile Superfood: Chia seeds can be soaked in water, juice or tea. They can be sprinkled on salads or on cereal, and can be added to bread and pancake mixes. You can make sauces, dressings and dips from them. Chia is one of the most versatile superfoods around.

3) Affordability: Chia seeds are much cheaper than most other superfoods. In terms of the nutrition chia seeds provide, they are  one of the most affordable long-term storable superfoods that we know of.

4) Shelf life and storage: Chia seeds store easily for 2 – 4 years without the need for refrigeration, and 4 or more  years if refrigerated. Chia seeds do not go rancid quickly like many other seeds.

5) Allergen Free: Chia contains no gluten,  wheat, corn or soy. Virtually everyone can eat chia seeds, even pets and farm animals.

6) Non-GMO: Chia seeds are completely non-GMO.

7) Taste: Chia tastes great, and does not have a strong flavor like some nutritious seeds, The taste is actually more “neutral” than anything else, meaning it goes extremely well with almost any recipe you can imagine: Smoothies, cereals, bake mixes, etc.


Ingredients: Cocoa powder, sugar, unflavored gelatin, powdered milk, chia seeds, oats

 Step 1:



2 1/2 cups powdered milk


2 cups oats



1/4 cup of powdered cocoa


1/2 cup of chia seeds. (Order them online or buy in specialty grocery.)



Pour all the dry ingredients in. The order does not really matter.


Add 3/4 cup sugar.


Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. (You can omit the salt if you wish. It is added for flavor)


Add 2 tablespoons of protein powder, also optional, but recommended

Step 2: Stir dry ingredients


Stir the dry ingredients with a spoon.


Stir the dry ingredients together by hand.


Mix well to get the chia seeds and other ingredients evenly distributed.


Step 3: Combine gelatin, honey and water


One package of unflavored gelatin.


3 Tablespoons of honey


Add 1/2 cup of water (not pictured)


Step 4: Stir over medium heat until it boils

Stirring as you heat it, let the mixture come to a rolling boil. This is when the mixture keeps boiling even when stirred. Do not overheat.


Over medium heat, let the mixture come to a rolling boil. Stir well while heating.

Step 5: Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix

Pour the liquid mixture into your mixing bowl with the dry mixture. I highly recommend using an electric mixer, preferably a good one. This dough is thicker than most. A good mixer will have no problem. Mixing by hand will require patience. You will need to check the consistency of the dough. It should mash into a ball in your hand, not crumble. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until your dough forms a ball as shown. You do not, however, want to add too much water. You only want to add enough to stick, and you may not need to add any at all.


Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture


Turn the mixer on low and mix until combined well. A couple of minutes should do.



Use a spatula or spoon to scrape the dough from the sides. This helps it mix more evenly.


Step 6: Check consistency


Take a handle of dough. Press it in your hand. If it crumbles, you will need water.

Step 6: Add water if needed

Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough will form in your hand. If it still crumbles, you need water. Do not add too much. Add one tablespoon, mix, check. Add more as needed. You may not need to add any, but in dry climates, this is often necessary.


Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time



Check consistency again by pressing in your hand.


If the dough sticks together like this, it is ready.

Step 7: Measure portions, pack and form

I used a 1/4 cup scoop to measure my bars. ( I am measuring the 1/4 cup before packing the dough in the cup) Then, I packed the mix in, turned it over on a wooden cutting board, and flattened the bars, rounding the edges with my hand. You will need a nonstick surface for this. A wooden cutting board is recommended.


Measure equal scoops, using a 1/4 cup measure or one of your choice. **If you want to know nutritional value, you can always do the math based on the number you get when finished.**



Press the dough into the measuring cup. You want to pack it tightly, but do not need to work too hard at it.


Flip the cup over into your hand or onto the board.


Flatten with your hand pressing down firmly.


Squeeze the sides in a bit to smooth the edges. You can make these as pretty and as perfect as you want, or you can do just enough to get them to stick together. Your call.


A finished bar looks like this.

Step 7: Repeat Step 6 until finished

This recipe makes approximately 16 bars when you use a 1/4 cup measure.


Step 8: Bake or dehydrate your bars

Baking Instructions:

Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Place the bars on a cookie sheet and bake for 2 hours. Cool before storing



Dehydrating Instructions:

Place your bars on a dehydrator rack, spacing them so that they do not touch. Dehydrate for 3 hours. Cool before storing.



Step 9: Store bars, or serve.


I served mine…We had to try them. I still have a few left, but more were eaten than not. A good sign. Would love to know what you think when you try them!


Want to be ready with food for a crisis?

Check out this complete guide to Food Storage in A Crisis. Super stuff:

When the Food Runs Out

What is When the Food Runs Out? The complete “When the Food Runs Out” guide to food storage in a crisis – 46 compact pages of proven survival savvy detailing what you SPECIFICALLY must have (and in what amounts) to protect your loved ones’ food supply in a crisis situation.Essential non-food supplies that can make or break your survival plans that everyone seems to forget about until it’s too late. Detailed (and affordable) supplies list and where to get the essentials without breaking the bank in these tough times.Four incredible bonus reports: Vertical Gardening, Canning Secrets, How to Cook and Store Food Outside, and 170 Gallons a Day….FREE! (normally $37 each).


Need Chia Seeds? Check out my picks:

HealthWorks Chia Seeds 16oz/1lb

Chia Seeds 2 Pounds

Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seeds, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)


Want to buy the best premade Survival Food Bars?

These are our favorites, and we are not just saying that. Our friend “Above Average Joe”, the executive editor of Survival Life, has tried every bar out there, and these are his picks. Personally, I think the Mayday bars rock. Taste like apple cinnamon pie crust.

Mayday Bars

A single one
Mayday Food Bar – 400 Calories

The 24 Pack
Mayday Food Bar – 400 Calories – Pack of Twenty Four

The Big Pack
Mayday 2400 Calorie Food Bars (24 per case) MRE, Camping, Hiking, Survival



Millennium Bars

Millennium Bars Assorted 24-Pack

ER Emergency Ration

ER Emergency Ration 2400+ Calorie, 5-Year Emergency Food Bar for Survival Kits and Disaster Preparedness (Pack of 4)

 Good luck! Hope I was helpful in teaching you how to make survival bars.

  • ladyvet719

    These sound really good. I am gluten-free and this works! Just a quick note–try an ice cream scoop that measures 1/4 cup (#12) It will allow you to pack it into the scoop and it releases easily in a round form. All you have to do is flatten it out and dehydrate.
    Keep up the good work and wonderful ideas!!

    • Stephanie

      Thank you!

  • Chet Schaeffer

    For the jello fruit bar recipe, I substituted 1/2 cup of ground flax seed meal for 1/2 cup of sugar. Still had some sweet taste plus added fiber.

    • Robert Morrison

      Sounds like a good idea, Chet.

  • Robert Morrison

    I’m wondering if adding peanuts or raisins would shorten the shelf life, and, if so, by how much. I suspect that it would, but would maybe be acceptable for some short time snacks or for camping or hiking. What do you think?

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  • Ruth Beverly

    I like the idea of the chia bars, but could we use more honey or molasses instead of the sugar, and use carob powder instead of cocoa. What about using sesame seeds? or quinoa? Chia is pretty expensive…in fact anything that is good seems to be expensive. Thanks for your ideas!

    • Stephanie

      I like this ideas. Thank you. Already had a homemade sesame survival bar recipe in mind. Now that I see you would like one, I will make it. Thanks!

  • Sherry

    These sound good. I use silicone cupcake molds to freeze my prepared steel cut oatmeal so I don’t have to cook it every day. I Would use these to size and shape them. Could also bake them in the mold too.

    • Stephanie

      Super tips. Thanks

  • Laney Kehel

    I think this recipe is a great base for many variants for short and long term storage. I buy organic seeds and Quinoa and grow my own from those. I also like the idea of honey or molasses in place of the sugar.

  • Owen

    Thanks Stephanie,

    When I followed the directions I ended up with a sticky mess that stuck to every thing. I ended up using s soup spoon to scoop and scrape off on to a parchment covered cookie sheet. Showing that it did not seem to be sticking to your hands I must have used to little dry or too much wet.
    Have you run into this?

    • Stephanie

      That sounds like too much water. I did not encounter this problem. I ended up adding more than I thought I would need to. Thank you for the feedback. Apologize you encountered issues. Anyone else have this problem, please let me know. I will modify the instructions. Thanks!

  • cindy holden

    hello great recipe..i will add to mine crushed CHEWABLE VITAMIN TABLETS maybe 3 to a batch…just for a little boost..cant hurt! pray for peace..Cindra

  • JM

    Thank you so much for the recipes. I am going to try them next week. As a note, most honey has anti-bacterial properties so instead of adding it to the pot and boiling away all it’s natural benefits except sweetness, maybe you could add it after the mixture cools a bit so all the nutrients don’t get boiled away. Another nice addition would be dried elderberries as they have anti-viral properties along with plenty of nutrients. Always nice to add nutrition to energy bars.
    Thanks again for all your hard work. It is appreciated !

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  • richard1941

    I was at first concerned about the use of gelatin; when I was a kid I used it as nutrient for bacteria experiments. But I guess dehydration takes care of that.

    For what it’s worth, I am an actual GMO because of what a rabbi did to me when I was 8 days old. We Jews have a ritual fruit paste used in Passover celebration called haroseth. It is symbolic of the mud used by them to make bricks for construction projects in Egypt. I make it out of dates, dried apricots, raisins, and figs. I have been just using a knife to finely chop the stuff but a wonder if running it through a meat grinder would work. After seeing this article, I am convinced that it can be made into fruit bars for survival– just mold it into cakes and dehydrate it.

    Dehydration: I replace the oven light bulb with a 100 watt (now outlawed) bulb and put foods on the oven rack. Some food, like salmon jerky, attracts ants, so I invert four coffee cups in bowls of water and put a small rack on the cups (forming an ant moat). Seems to work for salmon; I can’t wait to try it on the fruit leather strips.

    Finally, another good survival food is Matzoh; this was actually intended as survival food for the exodus from Egypt 3000 years ago. As long as it is dry, it keeps forever. If you freeze it, the weevils cant get to it and it lasts even longer than forever. It turns out that Yin and Yang have appeared here: the haroseth is somewhat laxative, and the matzoh is constipating; eaten together, there is no problem. Ingredient wise, matzoh is the same as hardtack, but because of the way it is rolled and baked, it is much easier to eat. Also, you can wet it, crumble it up, and add it to an egg and a tablespoon glob of goose fat, and fry it up to make a great tasting breakfast omelet that will give you a heart attack in the far future.

  • richard1941

    Got any good recipies for quinoa or teff?

  • AjE

    Getting ready to try these bars today, very excited! Have you thought about a chocolate and peanut butter variety?

  • Carol

    I use only Great Lakes grass fed beef gelatin, and would like to know: how much is in a “packet” of gelatin? I’m thinking about 1 Tablespoon, but am not sure.
    Thanks for the reply.
    This looks like an awesome recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

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  • Monkeylips

    Dont omit the salt. in fact I would increase it, salt is essential to keep you from dehydrating while hiking or camping, water alone does not replace it as you sweat it out.

    • Lauren J

      Thanks for the tip! :)

  • Marie Hafen

    I’m teaching young mothers how to “prepare”. I’ll be doing a class on making these yummy chocolate and Chia seed bars. I can’t wait to give then a try. I’ve been asked how to store them (in what?) and how long will they store (last)? Thank you!

  • Angie Lambert

    these sound good, but unfortunately I am lactose intolerant. Do you have any suggestions in stead of powdered milk

    • Dj

      There are a lot of different replacements for powdered milk, for example almond milk powder.

  • Dj

    I made these with fruit pectin instead of regular gelatin, because my girlfriend is a vegetarian. Changing those ingredients around doesn’t seem to have changed the taste much, but I can’t be certain as I haven’t tried them made with regular gelatin. So far though, they seem to be a hit. The consistency is a little different than what is shown, but they were still super easy. The only question I have is how long they can be kept.

  • georgia

    If you vacuum seal these in portions of two to four, what is the shelf/storage life of these?

  • Christi E

    how do I store them?

  • Noname

    Still too much sugar. Cut it in half again. Raw sugar would be better than white also. Sugar suppresses your immune system, something that won’t be affordable in the event of catastrophe.

  • Mary

    These look amazing! Any ideas for substations for the gelatin? We are vegetarians!

    • Karen Janssen

      Agar is a seaweed extract isn’t it?

      • Rynna Machate

        You’re right Karen.

  • Sandra

    Should be an easy way to print these. Am I missing it?

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  • JV

    simply leaving out the gelatin wont affect the ‘bar’ in anyway. it really serves no purpose here.
    Gelatin is only truly ‘active’ after it’s been added to water allowed to set up and then ‘melted’ again over a warm bath.

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  • mitzi frank

    Could hemp seeds be used also – from what I read they are very good for us? Also, I would definitely use the honey – is brown sugar better for yu than white – the fact that it is more moist might help with holding them together…..

  • Karen Janssen

    2 thoughts: Keep ingredients warm – it will aid in mixing in the gelatin which firms up rapidly when chilled. For lower carb replace sugar with xylitol.(yes it is a “carb” but doesn’t require insulin to metabolize.) Perhaps the honey also?
    Another question – does being “alive” enhance chia seed storage time? If so one would want to use the dehydrator instead of the oven and use it at a lower temp. Low enough not to inactivate plant enzymes?

  • Nini

    I love that these bars of full of nutrition, and I have everything I need already on hand! However, I’m concerned about the shelf life of this particular recipe. Have you noticed the flavor going off after a while, due to the protein powder?

  • Flora

    I was thinking about making these with powder coconut milk.