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Out of all the recipes published on my website, I make these peanut butter banana chocolate chip oatmeal bars most often. A one-bowl recipe, these healthy snack bars are naturally gluten free, adaptable to many different ingredients, soft-baked, incredibly flavorful, and very easy to make. When packed with chocolate chips, you can count them as dessert too!

peanut butter banana oatmeal bars

Truly one of my favorite homemade snacks, these peanut butter banana oatmeal bars have made their rounds in my kitchen for nearly 10 years. Sometimes I change the recipe based on the ingredients I have and they still manage to turn out wonderfully! Satisfying your sweet tooth and unbelievably easy to make, these healthy oatmeal bars should definitely be on your to-bake list. I can’t get enough.

These Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars Are:

  • super easy and quick
  • mega flavorful and wholesome
  • gluten free
  • vegan if using dairy-free chocolate
  • filled with healthful ingredients*
  • soft-baked and moist
  • adaptable to what you have on hand
  • freezer-friendly

*Ok ok I know chocolate chips aren’t necessarily healthy but they’re good for the soul! And, of course, they’re totally optional, so feel free to leave them out.

peanut butter banana chocolate chip oatmeal bars


Ingredients in Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars

Over the years I’ve tested a lot of ingredient substitutions for these oatmeal bars. Read about the ingredients and any substitutions below:

  • Bananas: You need 2 large ripe bananas, which is around 1 cup mashed. Want to turn these into pumpkin peanut butter bars? Swap canned pumpkin puree for the mashed banana.
  • Peanut Butter: I used to make these peanut butter oatmeal bars with 1/3 cup of peanut butter, but recently switched it to 1/2 cup for more flavor. You can use any nut butter you want, natural, homemade, or processed.
  • Coconut Sugar or Brown Sugar: I love making these with unrefined coconut sugar. You can use brown sugar instead, but I don’t recommend liquid sweetener.
  • Applesauce: I used to make these with an egg, but found that unsweetened applesauce works like a charm instead of the egg. You can, of course, use an egg or even a “flax egg” substitute. See my recipe notes below.
  • Almond Milk or Regular Milk: I usually make these with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but any milk works.
  • Vanilla Extract & Cinnamon: Both add flavor.
  • Oats: Whole oats or quick oats work here. I recommend whole oats for a little more texture. Use certified gluten free oats if necessary.
  • Baking Powder: Baking powder adds lift.
  • Salt: Salt balances the other flavors.
  • Chocolate Chips: If you want to make these bars vegan, you can skip the chocolate or use dairy-free chocolate chips instead. You can also skip the chocolate chips or replace with peanut butter chips, chopped nuts, or raisins.

ingredients in peanut butter banana oatmeal bars

Easy Way to Mash Bananas

This trick for mashing bananas is a total game changer whenever I make banana muffins, breakfast cookies, and banana bread. Just use your mixer! Peel and break your spotty bananas into chunks, place in your mixer, and beat until mashed. Beat the rest of the wet ingredients right into this bowl. So easy.

mashed bananas in mixing bowl

peanut butter banana oatmeal bars batter

Mixing Bowl to Oven in 10 Minutes

After you mash the bananas, beat in the rest of the ingredients. This is a 1 bowl recipe! If you don’t have a mixer, you can mash the bananas with a fork, then just stir in the rest of the ingredients. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, then spread the batter into the lined pan. Give it a taste—the batter itself is SO DARN GOOD.

The bars take about 25–30 minutes to bake. Remove them from the oven, then let them cool completely. I usually cool them on the counter for 30 minutes, then place the whole pan in the refrigerator for 1–2 hours. Without refrigeration, the bars don’t cut as neatly.

peanut butter banana oatmeal bars

What’s the Texture Like?

So what’s the texture of these peanut butter banana oatmeal bars like? Following the recipe, bake time, and cooling instructions below, the bars are somewhere between baked oatmeal and a soft granola bar. They’re very moist, but maintain their bar shape when you’re holding/biting into one. I recommend storing them in the refrigerator.

peanut butter banana chocolate chip oatmeal bars

See more of my egg-free baking recipes and gluten-free recipes.

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peanut butter banana chocolate chip oatmeal bars

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: 16 bars 1x
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These quick and easy peanut butter banana oatmeal bars are adaptable in many different ways. See my blog post above and recipe notes below. They’re a more solid form of my delicious baked oatmeal.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 large ripe bananas (about 1 cup mashed)
  • 1/2 cup (125g) creamy or crunchy peanut butter*
  • 1/4 cup (50g) coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (45g) unsweetened applesauce*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) almond milk (or any nondairy or dairy milk)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (200g) old-fashioned whole oats or quick oats (not instant)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, mash the bananas. On medium speed, beat or whisk in the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Batter will be a little thick, but still pourable.
  3. Pour/spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 25-28 minutes or until the center is set (it will still look relatively soft!).
  4. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. After that, place the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour until chilled. The bars are difficult to cut if they haven’t been chilled.
  5. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides then cut into bars. Sometimes I drizzle melted peanut butter over each, but that’s optional. (Note: the parchment paper is always a little moist from soaking up some moisture from the bars.)
  6. Cover leftover bars tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Freeze squares in single layers between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Peanut Butter: You can use any nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew) you want– natural, homemade, or processed.
  3. Applesauce: I used to make these bars with 1 egg instead of the applesauce, but love their flavor with applesauce a bit better. You can, of course, use an egg instead or even use a flax egg substitute. Flax egg = mix 1 Tbsp ground flax with 3 Tbsp warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes while it “gels” up. Use the “flax gel” as a replacement for the applesauce/egg.
  4. Oats: Use certified gluten free oats to ensure the bars are gluten free.
  5. Chocolate Chips: You can skip the chocolate chips or replace with peanut butter chips, chopped nuts, or raisins. Or use a combination of any of those add-ins.
  6. Vegan: Use dairy-free chocolate chips and nondairy milk to ensure the bars are vegan.
  7. Gluten Free: Make sure your oats are certified gluten free to ensure these bars are gluten free.

Keywords: oatmeal bars, peanut butter bars

 

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I’m planning to bake a few of your recipes for a mid-morning church function next week, and was thinking of making these bars with pumpkin. Should I use the pumpkin right out of the can or follow the paper towel blotting procedure recommended in another recipe on your site? Also, do you recommend adding any different spices? Thank you!

  2. Love them. This is my second time making these. I add flax and brewers yeast to make them more lactation friendly. Thank you for sharing your recipes. I also appreciate that you use coconut sugar in the recipe. I’m trying to learn how to use it more.

  3. Excellent! I’ve only tasted this while still warm, but so far sooo good. Now, manage your expectations because these are not cookies or cookie bars. They simply can not taste like something made with butter and wheat. Sometimes you need a delicious treat that isn’t loaded with butter, oil, wheat, or tons of sugar. Or maybe your going vegan for heart health! Whatever the reason you need a treat that is not as decadent as cookies are, this is an excellent option to have in your recipe book! My dad will say it needs raisins – but he likes raisins AND chocolate chips in banana bread! I am going to try it with added walnuts next time!

  4. This recipe is a home run! First baking doesn’t get much easier than this. They aren’t overly sweet but they are sweet enough to pass the kid/husband test. I can feed them to my fam as breakfast, snack, or dessert and not feel guilty. Also, they were super easy to make with my four-year-old. I can’t wait to try the pumpkin ones next. I used one egg in lieu of apple sauce because I was out of apple sauce. They held together perfectly and it was a really satisfying use of my very last egg in the house. Thanks, Sally!

    1. Hi Jessica, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

    1. Hi Hayley, I haven’t tested it so I’m unsure. Let me know if you try anything!

      1. Can’t see why not. We’re unsure of the bake time, though.

  5. These are fantastic! I have been trying out some new recipes in anticipation of back to school and these will be packed in my children’s lunches regularly. I substituted 2 tablespoons raw organic agave syrup for the sugar, used half rolled and half quick oats, reduced the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup, and added 1/2 cup raisins. They turned out perfectly and my raisin hating child didn’t even notice the raisins.

  6. Love this recipe, thank-you! Just to change it up today I added ground cloves (1 tsp). Loved the result.

  7. Wonder if I can substitute thinned greek yogurt for the milk. A ‘yes’ will make the difference between making them NOW and waiting until I get to the store. But I’ll accept whatever you believe to be the right answer.

    1. Hi Ilana! We haven’t tested it, but it could work just fine! For absolute best results we would wait until you have milk on hand.

  8. I think I did something wrong. My bars came out very wet to the point where they have a soggy very moist/wet texture? Should I have cooked them longer? I cooked them the required time and they seemed done when I took them out. Otherwise flavor is very good just weird consistency. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Nancy, they could just need a few more minutes in the oven. Did you happen to use frozen bananas? Those can be much more wet than fresh, brown bananas. Thawing and dabbing some of the moisture will help combat this issue.

  9. I loved this recipe! Great way to use up some very ripe bananas. I added three medium bananas which was a bit more than a cup. My bars are delicious. They came out with the texture of banana bread. Is that the right consistency or did my extra change the texture? I also didn’t need to refrigerate before cutting. My bars were plenty firm, thank you!

    1. Hi Jess, the additional banana may have made bars a bit more bread-like than normal — but not a problem if you enjoyed the end result!

    1. Hi Nina, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  10. Hi! Could I use ground flaxseed in addition to the applesauce to make lactation friendly? If so, how much flaxseed should I use? Thanks!

    1. Hi Taylor, we haven’t tested adding flax to these bars, but other readers have reported adding some without issue!

  11. My family doesn’t like Peanut Butter cooked in recipes what could you use in replace of it?

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