Made with butter, brown sugar, and syrup, this classic British flapjack recipe is easy to make and perfect for a quick snack or energy boost. Classic oat bars contain only 5 ingredients, are ready in just over 30 minutes and are a delightful balance of chewy and golden-crisp textures!
This traditional British flapjack recipe is easy to make and perfect for afternoon snacks or anytime you need a quick treat! Whether you first came across this recipe from watching The Great British Bake Off or stumbled upon it out of curiosity, get ready to enjoy one of the UK’s most beloved treats!
While sticky toffee pudding cake and clotted cream will always hold a special place in my line up of favorite British recipes, this classic English flapjack recipe is buttery, sugary and the best kind of granola bar you will ever have.
Traditional British flapjacks are simply made with oats, butter and syrup but you can add in any mix-ins you desire from chocolate chips to dried fruit! Easy to make and ready in just over 30 minutes, these bars are sweet, rich and have the best caramel undertones that beg just for a sliver more to enjoy with a cup of tea.
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Why You Will Love Flapjacks
- A buttery bar cookie: Butter balances sweet brown sugar and syrup resulting in the traditional Great Britain flapjack recipe that we know and love!
- Full of texture: Chewy oats with caramelized sugar creates an amazing texture with a slight crunch in these bar cookies.
- Easy flapjack recipe: Anyone can make these English flapjacks, from amateur bakers to seasoned cooks!
- Versatile: There are so many ways to flavor your flapjack bars! Add peanut butter, chocolate chips, raisins, or dried apricots to this staple comfort food.
What are Flapjacks?
It really depends where you are located in the world as to what you may consider a traditional flapjack recipe! American pancakes are also called flapjacks. In Britain, though, a flapjack is an oat bar that can either be thick and chewy or thin and crispy.
An oat bar in the UK is often made with butter, oats and Golden syrup. Golden syrup is a popular British baking ingredient which you may be familiar with if you love the show The Great British Bake Off. They can easily be made at home but can also be bought at many bakeries across England.
Whether the British style oat bar is plain or flavored, it always is baked in a large, flat rectangle then cut into smaller bar sized pieces.
Flapjacks Recipe Ingredients
- Butter: You will need unsalted butter. If using salted butter, reduce added salt.
- Light brown sugar: Adds to the caramel taste of the British flapjack.
- Maple syrup: You can also use Golden syrup, honey or dark corn syrup.
- Oats: You will need porridge oats or quick cooking oats. Instant oats are not the same, so check the labeling!
- Salt: Just a pinch to enhance taste in this baked bar.
How to Make Easy British Flapjacks
Melt butter and sugar mixture together: In a medium pot add the butter, sugar and maple syrup. Over low heat, melt the ingredients until fluid and no butter is visible.
Add oats: Add quick oats and salt and mix everything together until it forms a sticky mixture.
Spread in prepared pan: Transfer the mixture into the prepared 8 inch square baking pan lined with parchment paper and spread it out evenly with a spatula.
Bake British flapjacks: Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. When the flapjacks have completely cooled, remove them from the square tin and cut into desired size.
While this recipe for British flapjacks is great as is, feel free to customize it to your tastes with ingredients you have on hand or additional mix-ins!
- Other syrup: Instead of maple syrup you can use Golden syrup, honey or dark corn syrup.
- Coconut oil: Replace the butter with coconut oil for a dairy free alternative.
- Peanut butter flapjacks: Replace ½ of the butter with peanut butter.
- Chocolate flapjack recipe: Add cocoa powder and drizzle the British flapjacks with melted chocolate.
- Seeds: Add up to ½ cup of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds.
- Warm spices: Add up to ½ teaspoon of ground ginger, ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg.
- Dried fruit: Add up to ½ cup dried apricots, raisins, dried cranberries or black currants.
- Parchment paper lined pan: To easily remove your flapjacks from the pan, line the pan with baking paper.
- Low heat: To avoid a taffy-like sugar mixture that is hard to mix in with your oats, melt butter and sugar over low heat.
- Greasy flapjacks: Mix the butter and sugar mixture until you see no sign of melted butter to avoid greasy flapjacks
- Avoid overbaking: Remove your British oats bars when the edges are golden. Overcooking will result in a hard, crunchy flapjack.
- Crisp flapjack: Use a shallow larger sized baking pan and bake at a higher temperature.
- For cake-like fluffy and chewy flapjacks: Skip the stovetop, add all ingredients to a food processor, blend and then spread mixture in a pan and bake oat bars as directed.
Make Ahead, Storing and Freezing Instructions
Make ahead: These flapjacks are a great make ahead snack! Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Storage: For longer storage, place in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week to 10 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Freezing: Cut into desired size, flash freeze on a baking tray and then transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight before serving.
What kind of oats do I need?
Depending on where you are located in the world oats can be labeled very differently! If you are in the UK, you will need porridge oats. Elsewhere, they may be labeled quick cooking rolled oats. Do not use instant oats, though! Instant oats are rolled thinner and will bake too fast as well as they are a different texture. If old fashioned rolled oats are all you have, you might be able to use them but will need to decrease the amount to around 2 cups and increase the syrup by two tablespoons.
Are British flapjack bars chewy or crunchy?
It really depends on your preference for a chewy texture or crispier flapjack bar! For a chewier consistency, use a smaller pan to increase their thickness. For a crunchy texture, use a larger pan to spread them thinner or bake them a bit longer. I have done both ways and prefer them baked in an 8 inch pan.
Should I use Golden syrup?
You certainly can and true fans know this makes the best flapjacks! Golden syrup is a common ingredient used in British baking and is a deep amber color with a distinct caramelized buttery flavor. Replace the maple syrup with equal amounts of golden syrup.
What is the difference between classic British flapjacks and American flapjacks?
Flapjacks as called in the United States are thin pancakes that are grilled. In the UK, British flapjacks are referred to as traybakes as they are baked in a rectangular pan. You may also hear them called baked British style oat bars, British flapjack bars or golden oat bars.
More British Recipes To Try
- Easy Toad in the Hole
- Hot Cross Buns Bread Pudding
- Classic Scones
- Lemon Curd Recipe
- Simple Orange Madeira Cake
Easy British Flapjack Recipe
- ¾ cups butter – unsalted
- ¾ cups light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 ½ cups porridge oats – or quick cooking (not instants oats)
- 1 pinch salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C) and line a 8×8 inches square pan with parchment paper. Make sure the paper is longer than the tray to make it easier to remove the flapjacks from the pan when they're ready.
- In a medium pot add the butter, sugar and maple syrup and melt the ingredients together on low heat. When they're completely mixed together take the pot off the heat.
- Add the oats and salt to the pot and mix everything together until it forms a sticky mixture.
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread it out with a spatula. Make sure the surface is even.
- Bake approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. The flapjacks will harden during the cooling process. When the flapjacks have completely cooled, remove them from the pan and cut into squares. Enjoy!