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

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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

143 Comments

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  1. I made these for the second time recently. They are legitimately one of my favorite foods. Every bite tastes different. I love to microwave them for a few seconds and eat them with a dessert fork 🙂 Yum!

    1. Lizzie, it is SO nice to hear that! They are practically made every week in my house. Seriously, so so good! I am working on some variations 🙂

      1. raspberries and dark chocolate chips perhaps? 🙂

  2. Oh my, these bars sound delish! I will definitely be trying the vegan option.

    1. Thanks Theresa! I’ve had the vegan version of these bars and they are just as tasty. 🙂

  3. Rachel @ Twin Tough says:

    Made two batches of these yesterday, and everyone loves them!! Hubby and the kids gobbled them right up, and the batch that got sent to my parents and grandmother is practically gone too! Used a combination of Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter and The Bee’s Knees peanut butter, and they turned out amazing! Thanks for such an easy, healthy, and delicious treat! (Awesome way to use up those ripe bananas sitting on the counter!) 🙂

  4. I’ve made these about 4 times since having to give up wheat 2 months ago… they’ve been my regular breakfast every morning, microwaved to meltiness. I love these things. They freeze very nicely, too. I leave out the peanut butter chips and throw in some extra chocolate. Doubling the cinnamon works well too.

    I’ve found it’s necessary to bake them for closer to 30 minutes to get the center to 165 degrees, which is necessary since they contain raw egg. This makes them pretty firm once they’ve cooled down. I like the texture perfectly well, but I might try using flax “eggs” next time so I can bake them less.

    1. Great! Glad you liked them.

  5. Nutella banana oatmeal bars! Holy moly, you are brilliant!! Kasey, I may just have to steal your idea and make these myself!! I can only imagine how wonderful they taste. You are such a sweetheart for writing in and saying hi. I can’t wait to make these!

  6. Made these today….very moist and delicious. I’m making more skinny peanut butter swirl brownies this week (like tomorrow!) 🙂

    Love your recipes!!

    1. I’m glad you liked these! They are a favorite oatmeal bar recipe of mine – cannot beat banana and chocolate and PEANUT BUTTER! 😀

  7. Oh, and also made your peanut butter oatmeal bars….Such good running fuel, at least that’s what I tell myself when I take an extra slice of one…you know, just the corner off one little square..haha!! The kids wanted to add some sprinkles, so of course we did.

    1. Adding sprinkles! I love love love that idea Sara! Pure genius. I’m going to do that next time. And yes, these were great running fuel for me too!

  8. I just made these and they are so delicious! So excited to have them as breakfast on the go. But I was wondering, what is the best way to store them? Should they be kept at room temperature or put in the fridge? Thanks!

    1. Hi Joanna! So glad you made these! I love them. 🙂 I kept mine out at room temperature but they didn’t last more than 2 days in my kitchen. I’d store them in teh fridge after that for the best taste/texture!

  9. Do you realise how hard it was to wait for these gorgeous bars to cool in the tin?! I’ve been searching for a recipe like this to use up my bananas, is healthy – but has alot of flavour and richness behind it. THIS is the recipe and it worked a treat. The sides are crunchy which makes them even more dreamy. Great recipe, thanks a ton!

    1. Hi BeckieBee! I am in love with these oatmeal bars. I haven’t made them in a couple months. You’ve reminded me to get on that soon! SO glad you loved them too! Thanks for reporting back. 🙂

  10. Made these bars today and they are SCRUMPTIOUS! Seriously gooey bites of heaven. I’m in love 🙂

    1. Thanks Amanda! I’m so glad you like them!

  11. I made these yesterday and they are delicious! I did make a substitution…. I used cashew butter because I don’t care for peanut butter. And I omitted the peanut butter chips and doubled the chocolate chips. I put several in the fridge and froze the rest. I just had one for breakfast…. yummy! Thanks for this terrific recipe!

    1. I’ll have to try cashew butter sometime, Sandy. I make these quite often with different variations, but never cashew butter. Thanks for reporting back!

  12. I LOVED these bars!! They are perfect for a mom who needs to make something healthy, has leftover bananas, doesn’t have time to warm butter (and in such occasions as needs to always ends up melting it), and MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE. Thanks for this recipe. Delicious!

    1. So glad you liked them Jen! These are one of my very favorites.

  13. I have these in the oven right now. I tried the batter and WOW I am doing a dance waiting for them to come out. So excited! I will definitely make them again, maybe add some Craisins and almonds. I think they would be even more delicious! Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks Christina! Glad you made these – I love the batter too. And there are so many different add-ins to play around with! Craisins are a great choice. 🙂

  14. Hi Sally! Made these last night and am actually enjoying one right now as a mid-morning snack 🙂 I can’t believe how moist they are! I actually stuck them in the fridge overnight to harden up a bit. Question – have you ever tried omitting the almond milk? I can’t imagine the bars being “dry” without the addition of the milk. What do you think? Thanks! 🙂

    1. Annie – I know. They are so moist! The milk does contribute to the moisture. You could leave it out, but I fear the bars would get too crumbly. I’m sure they’d still be delicious though. Let me know if you try it!

  15. I’m making these now! I used half quick oats. half apple cinnamon muesli and left out the sugar.. can’t wait to try them.

    1. Now that sounds delicious, Kahlia. Enjoy!

  16. I used two large bananas and cooked them 10 minutes longer than the recipe said and I still ended up with kinda mushy bars. Thoughts?

    1. All ovens are different and it just may be that you need to bake them longer. Also, do you use an oven thermometer? Your oven could not run as hot as the dial states.

  17. I can’t wait to make these for my growing kids! They are in a growth spurt and hungry ALL THE TIME! So even though they eat a healthy breakfast at school, they are constantly asking for breakfast before school and eat pretty much from the time they get home till they go to bed. I plan on making these in a few minutes for them for a pre-breakfast breakfast! I know they will love them as well as I will bc they aren’t sugar filled or crazy high calories nor do they cost a bunch! Thanks so much for sharing this with the world! 😉

    1. Hi Amanda! This is exactly why I love these bars. They’re easy, cheap, fulfilling, and relatively healthy compared to many packaged “healthy” snacks. I make them all the time. In fact, I still have a batch in the freezer from a month ago. I fill them with all sorts of goodies. I hope your kids love them too!

  18. These look amazing! I want to make them but know I won’t be able to eat them fast enough. How long will they keep in the freezer and still taste good?

    1. Hey Jana! I freeze these for up to 2 months. Give them a quick nuke in the microwave for about 15 seconds depending how powerful your microwave is.

  19. Hi Sally-
    I was wondering, will using natural peanut butter affect the recipe at all? PS: Love your blog and all the recipes! I’m already debating what to make next!

    1. Hey Joanna! Natural PB in this recipe would be just fine. I use my homemade PB in it all the time.

  20. I just made these are they are SOOO delicious! I can’t believe there is no butter or flour!

    I also just wanted to say that I really appreciate how you take the time to read comments and respond. I love reading your blog everyday and searching for older recipes that are linked at the end of your recipes 🙂

    I was wondering how you come up with recipes? If you base them off something else or just make them up completely? I love finding recipes and trying to make them healthier or just tweaking ingredients 🙂

    Thank you so much for this recipe!!! Definitely planning on making these weekly!

    1. Hey Kelley! Happy you made these. I love them so much, make them quite often! I develop my recipes overtime. I’ve been baking since I was little, so there’s been a lot of practice/trial and error. I know what flavors work well and I’m not afraid to experiment and have fun. Thanks for the kind words!

  21. I can’t wait to make these…all i have is quick oats though…what’s the reason behind not using quick oats?

    1. Quick oats will be just fine! I like to use whole oats because they lend a chewier, heartier texture.

  22. Hi, Sally! A friend of mine posted this on facebook a few weeks ago, and I am SO glad she shared! Your recipe is SOOO delicious! I made a few changes for my diet/ the ingredients I had on hand. I eat a gluten-free, vegan, low-refined sugar diet by necessity (and I usually choose to eat my sugar in chocolate), so I omitted the brown sugar completely, added a touch more oats and a touch less almondmilk to make up for the moisture the sugar would have absorbed. I didn’t have peanut butter chips, so I added extra chocolate chips instead, and I used almond butter instead of peanut butter because I had an abundance of it; and I made the flax egg version. The bars came out fantastic! I am a new mom and temporarily single as far as time goes (my husband is away at basic military training), and these came together so quickly and easily my 4-month old was even ok while I mixed them! I think next time I will add the normal amount of chocolate chips and add some nuts (like walnuts, peanuts, or almonds) to cut down on the sugar even more and add some [more] healthy fats. I thought these bars were perfectly yummy and plenty sweet enough without the added sugar! I did bake them a little longer because they were quite gooey at the recommended time, but they came out moist and flavorful and stayed that way for the three days they lasted (…I may have eaten them all in three days. Maybe.). 😉
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It rocked my busy-hungry-baby-filled world!

    1. I am beyond happy how much you loved these bars. But not only that, also because you took the time to leave such a sweet comment. Made my morning to read it. I love your version! I usually only make these with peanut butter but I must try almond butter next time. Thank you so much for reporting back, Alisha!

      1. Of course, Sally! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes! I have already pinned some to try. 😀 By the way, I just noticed (I was too focused on the delicious bar recipe before) that your photography is lovely! The bananas in the background of these pictures are the perfect touch!

  23. I love this recipe! I have made it several times and eat it for breakfast, snack or dessert. I love that I don’t have to feel bad about giving it to my kids even though they consider it a special treat! I always warm it up a bit to get the chocolate melty. 🙂

    1. Love these healthy oatmeal bars warm from the microwave too! Thanks for reporting back, Rachel!

  24. These bars are heavenly! I only used the chocolate chips since I don’t have peanut butter ones, but these were awesome all the same. I just had two, and the melty chocolate chips just oozing out of the bar… I’m speechless. 😀

  25. I didn’t realize until I was ready to make these that I only had quick oats on hand… but they turned out great anyway! We baked them a bit longer, because they seemed a bit too soft/mushy, but I’m assuming that was due to the oats. Still, very delicious, and I will be making them again! Thank you 🙂

  26. Does anyone know how much longer to bake them if I double use and 9×13?

  27. These were the first flourless treat I’ve ever baked and I am so happy that I did. Great way to use up my ripe bananas! Love the flavor combination, thanks for the tasty recipe!

  28. Great recipe! I’m starting to drool just looking at those pictures. Just wondering- do you think it’ll be okay if I substitute applesauce for the banana? Everyone in my family but me hates bananas. Thanks!

    1. Sasha, that would be just fine – I’ve done that before with success. You’ll need 1/2 cup.

  29. I made these tonight after searching for a quick breakfast recipe. THEY ARE AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing! I did the ‘flax egg’ (a first for me!) and added some chia seeds. They were delicious–I will most definitely be making these again! 🙂

  30. Hi Sally!
    I have made these bars a few times. They are absolutely delicious and so easy to make! I love the fact that they do not contain flour. This last time, I added a few tablespoons of unrefined cocoa powder and only added the chocolate chips on top. They are a little less sweet, but still divine. Great recipe!!! Thanks for sharing it with us. 🙂

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