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Make vegan Mars Bars (Milky Way Bars) at home with just 6 ingredients and less than 1 hour! These decadent candy bars are made with gluten-free nougat and real-deal vegan caramel coated in melted dark chocolate. Make these with your kids for fun Halloween treat.
Mars bars vs. Milky Way bars
Technically, Mars bars and Milky Way bars are the same thing! If you live in the United States, the store-bought version of these candy bars are almost always sold as Milky Way bars. In the rest of the world, these bars are called Mars bars.
No matter what you call them, these no-bake chocolate candy bars are made with a layer of caramel, chewy nougat, and covered in chocolate. Of course, our version is made without dairy and completely vegan!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Caramel – We made our own caramel to use in these vegan mars bars and highly recommend it. It’s made with easy-to-find ingredients, cheaper than store-bought, and is easy to adjust to personal taste and thickness. If you are short on time or have a favorite store-bought vegan caramel, that will work as well.
- Chocolate chips – Several brands of dark chocolate chips available today are vegan-friendly and made without milk. We like to use Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can even use chocolate chunks or chocolate bars if you prefer.
- Oat flour – The base of our homemade vegan nougat layer. We make our own oat flour at home by grinding rolled oats in a high-speed blender until the flour has formed, about 20 seconds. You can buy pre-made oat flour if you prefer.
- Coconut butter – Coconut butter makes this vegan nougat rich and buttery without the need for dairy! We melt ours in a microwave-safe bowl, but you can also melt coconut butter in a small saucepan until liquid.
- Maple syrup – The deep richness of maple syrup pairs well with the caramel, but any liquid sweetener will do. Agave nectar is also a good choice.
- Vanilla extract – Optional but helpful in enhancing the flavor. For best results, we recommend using pure vanilla extract over imitation.
- Salt – A small pinch of sea salt goes a long way in balancing the sweetness in the vegan nougat.
- Rimmed baking sheet, 8×8 baking pan, or 8×4 loaf pan
- Parchment paper or Silicone baking mat
- Glass or ceramic bowl
- Small pot
- Cutting board and Knife
- Measuring cups and Spoons
How to Make Vegan Mars Bars
*Note: Prepare your vegan caramel the night before. We have a few homemade caramel recipes for you to choose from on the blog. For the most authentic-tasting Mars bars, make our 5-ingredient vegan caramel. For the healthiest option, choose our Easy Date Caramel. Or, if you want to put a peanut butter twist on your vegan Mars bars alternative, try our Peanut Butter Caramel.
- Make the vegan nougat recipe. In a medium bowl, mix together the gluten-free oat flour, coconut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until combined. We find this easiest to do with clean hands, but you can also use a silicone baking spatula.
- Press the nougat into a pan of choice. Once combined, transfer the vegan nougat layer into a lined 8-inch square pan. We only used ½ of the baking pan for our preferred candy bar thickness. If you’d like to use a smaller pan to make thicker mars bars, feel free to!
- Add a layer of vegan caramel. This does not need to be a perfect measurement – just layer on enough to cover the vegan nougat to your desired thickness.
- Freeze to harden. Place the pan in the freezer to firm up the Mars bars filling for about 30 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate. Once the vegan Mars bars filling is almost hardened to the touch, begin to melt the chocolate. Add the vegan chocolate chips into the upper bowl or pot of a double boiler on the stovetop and allow the chips to melt slowly. Mix often with a spatula until the chocolate has completely melted.
- Cut the filling into individual bars. We cut ours into 6 equal-sized bars, but cut yours as big or small as you’d like. Cutting your Mars bars into mini squares would be great for Halloween parties, movie nights, or serving kids.
- Coat the Mars bars filling in chocolate. Using two forks, dunk the cut Mars bar filling into the chocolate. Allow excess chocolate to drop off, then place on the lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with the remaining bars.
- Chill. Place the vegan Mars bars in the refrigerator (or freezer) for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate is hardened.
- Enjoy. Allow the bars to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes to soften before enjoying them.
- Use our homemade chocolate bars: Swap the dark chocolate chips for 10 ounces of our homemade vegan chocolate (about 3 bars).
- Make a vegan peanut butter nougat: Swap the melted coconut butter for runny peanut butter for a peanut butter twist on these vegan Mars bars.
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave: If you don’t have the right-sized glass bowl to make your double boiler, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 20 or 30-second bursts, stirring in between until just melted.
The classic store-bought Mars bars (also called Milky Way bars) available in the United States are not gluten-free. They are wheat-free, but they are not gluten-free because they contain barley. This homemade recipe, however, is gluten-free. Just make sure to use gluten-free certified oats in the nougat.
Store-bought Mars bars are nut free, but the ingredient label does say it may contain peanuts, meaning it is processed in a facility that also makes products containing peanuts. Our version is peanut-free, but it does contain coconut.
Snickers bars, Baby Ruth bars, and Three Musketeers are three other popular chocolate bars that contain a nougat layer.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
These homemade vegan Mars bars will last for up to 1 month in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer. For best results, store in an airtight container or silicone bag.
If frozen solid, allow the chocolate to soften at room temperature for up to 1 hour before enjoying.
More Vegan Chocolate Bar Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Chocolate Crunch Bars
- Vegan Take 5 Bars
- Vegan Snickers Bars
- Homemade Vegan Chocolate Bars
- Swirled Chocolate Bark
Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.Print
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