Easy, Quick British Flapjack Bars

British Flapjack Bars on a plate
The Spruce
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 12 flapjacks
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
190 Calories
13g Fat
16g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 190
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Sodium 50mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 85mg 7%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 132mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In the United States, a flapjack is a thin pancake served with maple syrup, but in the United Kingdom, flapjacks are something else entirely and nothing like pancakes—the British don't really eat pancakes per se; the closest food item would be a French crêpe. This flapjack is what the British would call a traybake, similar to a bar cookie. But it's not a biscuit or a cookie in either region's baking vernacular—think of it more like a homemade granola bar, packed with whole-grain oats and sweetened with golden syrup.

It's easy to make a great British flapjack in just over half an hour. This traditional favorite is highly portable and equally at home on the tea table or in a lunch box or picnic basket. The snack is inexpensive, delicious to eat, and easy to customize using your own preferences like chocolate and toffee or ginger root.

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Click Play to See These Flapjack Bars Come Together

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (200 grams) unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing the pan

  • 6 tablespoons golden syrup (or light corn syrup)

  • 3 1/2 cups (330 grams) porridge oats (quick-cooking, not instant)

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 pinch ground ginger

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C/Gas Mark 4.

    Ingredients for British flapjack bars
    The Spruce 
  2. Use 1 teaspoon of butter to grease a 9x9-inch or 9x13-inch baking pan and line the base with parchment paper. The smaller pan will yield thicker and chewier bars; the larger pan's flapjacks will be crispier and thinner.

  3. Place the golden syrup and 6 ounces of butter into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring well, until the butter has melted into the syrup.

    Melting butter into golden syrup for flapjacks
    The Spruce
  4. Put the oats in a large bowl and add a pinch of salt and the optional ginger. Pour in the butter and syrup mixture and stir to coat the oats.

    Oats in a bowl with a wooden spoon for flapjacks
    The Spruce
  5. Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread it out, making sure the surface is even.

    Flapjack mixture spread into a pan lined with parchment paper
    The Spruce
  6. Bake in the heated oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven while the flapjack is still slightly soft; it will harden once it has cooled.

    Golden brown flapjack mixture, baked and cooling on a wire rack.
    The Spruce
  7. Place the pan on a wire cooling rack and cut the flapjack into squares, but leave in the tin until completely cooled. The flapjack bars keep well stored in an airtight tin. Enjoy.

    British flapjacks cut into bars
    The Spruce

Recipe Variations

This recipe is for a traditional flapjack, but there are many variations. The method is the same as above; just vary the quantities and ingredients as follows:

  • Coconut Flapjack: Use the same amount of oats and add in 2 ounces/55 grams of sweetened dried coconut.
  • Apricot and Honey Flapjack: This healthier version of a flapjack is made by melting 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) butter with 3 ounces (85 grams) soft brown sugar and 3 tablespoons honey, and then mixing with 12 ounces (350 grams) oats mixed with 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) finely chopped dried apricots and 1 small mashed ripe banana.
  • Nuts and Seeds Flapjack: Add 2 tablespoons chopped mixed nuts and 2 tablespoons mixed seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds to the oats mixture.
  • Honey Flapjack: If you don't have golden syrup, you can replace it with honey. This will yield a flapjack with a strong honey flavor. You can also swap part of the golden syrup or light corn syrup for honey.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Flapjacks will keep well in a tin or other lidded container for up to a week.
  • To freeze, wrap them well individually for easy defrosting and put them in an airtight container or zip-close bag. They should keep for up to 2 months in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge before enjoying.

Why Are My Flapjacks Hard?

Using the right proportions of oats to butter to golden syrup will help create perfectly textured flapjacks. To keep them from becoming hard, do not boil the syrup and butter mixture. Use gentle heat to melt the butter and combine the mixture. Storing finished flapjacks in a lidded, airtight container will also help keep them from becoming tough.

Is a Flapjack a Biscuit or a Cake?

A British flapjack is considered a biscuit, but it's closer to a granola bar. Flapjacks are made using oats and golden syrup and have a chewy or crunchy texture.