Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Out of all the recipes published on my website, I make these peanut butter banana 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 filled 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
  • 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

  • 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

142 Comments

  1. We are trying to be good people and not go to the grocery store until absolutely essential. Thanks for having SO MANY ALTERNATIVES since I’m just trying to survive off what we have in the pantry.

  2. Sally, my girls and I really enjoyed this recipe! My 7 year old loved that she could make it herself, and they are now gone after only two days! My girls both preferred these to the store bought granola bars we have in the pantry. Thanks for another hit

  3. It is such an easy recipe and so delicious!

  4. Excellent recipe! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Do you provide nutritional information for your recipes? Thank you!

    1. Hi Barbara, I usually do not. Many people make substitutions and use different brands of ingredients which change the information. However, there are many great online calculators where you can plug in your exact ingredients like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

      1. Hi, Sally, I used the link above to calculate calories, and used ‘Sally’s Baking Addiction’ as the title and now it is saved in their site. It turned out a little less than 150 cal per serving (16 servings). It was very filling, thank you. I did change some ingredients, (oat milk because no almond milk and cocoa nibs because no choco chips). However, I do not own this recipe and I was surprised to see it ‘published’ on there, which I am uncomfortable about and I apologise.

  6. These are so quick and easy to make and are absolutely delicious – very moist, not too sweet and a great snack!

  7. Another delicious recipe!! Thank you so much!! I used a little less sugar and only half a cup of dark chocolate chips. My toddlers love them!!

  8. These are delicious. My 2 year old devoured them

  9. nada quraishi says:

    Is it possible to replace the banana with something other than pumpkin? More apple sauce? Yogurt? Something neutral tasting basically. We don’t like the flavor of bananas in my family and I think pumpkin might be too much for my picky kids as well

    1. Try sweetened or unsweetened applesauce instead of the mashed banana. The bars may not be as solid, so you may want to bake a few extra minutes.

      1. I was wondering if it would work if you used chopped or grated apple to replace the banana, instead of increasing the applesauce?

      2. I haven’t tested it, but 1 cup of grated apple should be ok!

  10. Thanks for all the great recipes, Sally! They have been especially great during quarantine!
    I don’t have a 9X9 pan (I know, it’s on the list of things I need but yeah now is not the time to go buy things that aren’t essential), wondering if I could portion the batter out in a muffin tin…which may help with portion control too. Thoughts?

    1. Thanks Francesca! You certainly can. Follow the same baking instructions as my baked oatmeal cups.

  11. Hi! Made these before and are so delicious!! Just wondering if I could sub raspberries or blueberries for the chips or raisins (that’s what I used before). Or will it be too moist. Have the berries and want to use them. Thanks!

    1. You can definitely try some berries as the add-in(s). I would stick with fresh instead of frozen. Because of the fruit addition, I would extend the bake time by a few minutes to ensure the bars set up properly.

  12. Laura Herrera says:

    Hi! I have instant oats . Is it ok to use them in this recipe ? I am trying not to go grocery shopping unless it’s absolutely necesary .
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura, you can use quick oats instead of whole oats.

  13. Very easy recipe to put together. My husband and child enjoyed these bars as a snack.

  14. Hi Sally!
    Would leaving out the peanut butter have any effect on the recipe?
    Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Elane, You can use any nut butter you want, natural, homemade, or processed or nut butter substitute such as sunflower or Wow butter. I don’t recommend leaving it out completely. I have many other snack bar recipes you might be interested also.

  15. I was wondering how many calories, carb, and fat was is this recipe.

    1. Hi Maci, I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  16. These turned out amazing! They were full of flavour with a perfect texture and still healthy, thanks Sally:)

  17. Hi Sally! Another amazing recipe!! I was wondering if next time I bake them, can I sub the brown sugar for honey? Thanks in advance!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bailey, I recommend using half honey and half brown sugar. Enjoy!

      1. Bailey Ferguson says:

        Thank you so much!!

  18. I was trying to find a recipe that used up some brown bananas and ingredients I had on hand and this fit the bill! It was super easy and delicious!

  19. Just made this recipe and it’s awesome !
    I’m not making anymore recipes coming from other website since all of the ones I made coming from yours are TOO GOOD, I’m always so impressed!
    My boyfriend even now says : « is this another recipe from THE girl ? « 
    Thank you so much ❤️

  20. Loved these easy Oat Banana bars. Substituted 1 egg for the apple sauce, and used brown sugar. Also added white chocolate chunks (since it’s what I had at home) plus some pumpkin seeds.
    Baked the recommended 25 mins, broiled an additional 3 for more color. Followed the cooling suggestions, and after taste tests by both myself and my husband, we both agreed they taste best chilled! Will definitely make these again!

  21. Sally Guerrera says:

    Hello, Sally. The only non dairy milk I have on hand is Soy Milk – would that be a good substitution for Amond Milk. Congratulations on the birth on your baby daughter!
    Thank you,
    Sally

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sally, yes- soy milk should work just fine!

      1. Sally Guerrera says:

        Thank you!

  22. Can you use an 8×8 pan?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nicole, You can use 8×8 pan but your bars will be thicker and may take an extra few minutes to bake through.

  23. These are so delicious! I used erythritol instead of sugar and they tasted amazing! Will definitely make these again!

  24. Thanks for your great recipes! I only have 1 cup of old fashioned oats and I do have some packets of Trader Joe’s instant oats and wondered what will happen if I use 1/2 the oat as instant oats? I’m moving but want to bake before I move and don’t want to buy more if possible.

    1. Hi Priscilla! That should work just fine in a pinch.

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