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

      1. Hi Karen, 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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 ❤️

  4. 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!

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

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

      1. I am making these tonight. I absolutely love all of your recipes. I am an up and coming baker and I made my first cake (was 4 my daughters 3rd birthday)using your recipe as well as my first pie and both came out wonderful. We will be starting a kitchen reno on Tuesday so will drive me nuts not being able to use my stove but in 5 weeksI will have a new beautiful kitchen to continue honing my baking skills in

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

  7. 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.

  8. Hi, I followed the recipe to a T with exception of the choc chips, I only added 1/2 cup. I baked them for 28 min, cooled for 30 min, in the fridge for 2 hrs and when they came out of the fridge they were wet inside, do you know what I did wrong?Thanks for the help!

  9. Wow! These were super yummy! I wasn’t sure what the texture would be like, and I looked twice while I was making them to see if I accidentally omitted the flour and butter. These will be on repeat at our house!

  10. Not just for toddlers. Big hit with college kids too. I took a chance and doubled the recipe, used an 8″x13″ pan and baked for 30 minutes and they turned out perfectly!! Oh, I used eggs instead of applesauce as vegan wasn’t an issue.
    Making another double batch today!!
    Thank you!

    1. Please note this edit to my comment. My pan is 12″x17″. Not 8″x 13″. Sorry.

  11. So delicious! Left out the sugar because the bananas were very ripe and used caramel chocolate pieces. Thanks Sally 🙂

  12. These were great! I even eyeballed most of the measurements and it seems pretty foolproof. My family enjoyed them for dessert (and then breakfast the next day)!

  13. Have been making my way through a lot of your recipes, and I love this one as well! Any tips on how to make it with a firmer texture / hold? I’d love to pack these in my kid’s lunchbox as an afternoon snack (so out of the fridge for many hours). Thanks!

    1. Hi Heidi, for a firmer bar, you can try baking them for a minute or two longer in the oven. They also freeze well, so you could individually wrap and freeze the bars, then place them in their lunch — they should start to thaw out nicely by afternoon!

  14. I had a bunch of brown bananas and was tired of banana bread. I made this recipe today using dark chocolate chips and it came out tasty. I felt somehow “healthy” eating it. It’s not overly sweet and there’s a nice balance of PB, banana, and dark chocolate. Definitely needs to cool and then chill in the fridge for at least an hour, longer if possible. Bonus: My kids approved it as an after school snack.
    Could easily be turned into a GF or vegan recipe. Thank you for another great recipe!

    1. Hi Joan, 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

  15. I loved these, however, I think next time I would bake them in a 13×9 and bake them just a shorter time. Great taste though and you really don’t realize the bananas are in the recipe!

    1. Hi Elle, That should work! Bake at 325 degrees F and the time it takes in the oven will depend on the size that you make them. Let us know if you give it a try.

  16. Excellent recipe. I live how easy and just one bowl, that’s the best. I added a scoop of vanilla flavored protein powder and used only half the chocolate chips and the other half peanuts. Great recipe. Thank you

  17. Yet another great recipe! Just made these today. I don’t know what I would do without you. Thank you.

  18. Hi!
    Do you think these would work well without the peanut butter? It is forbidden in school where I live.
    thanks!

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

  19. I love this recipe! So easy to make with the ingredients I have laying around the house. I’ve made these bars at least 4 times. I freeze little squares and thaw them out to eat with some eggs in the morning. Great way to get in some carbs for a more balanced breakfast.

  20. Love these , I put chopped almonds in as well. Just curious where do I find the calories for each bar or recipes

    1. Glad you enjoyed them! 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

  21. I’ve made these 5 times in past couple months. I love them! I double the sugar amount. Thanks for a great recipe Sally.

  22. Just got my baker out of the oven. I hope my daughter likes this! I used Swerve brown sugar, sugar free chocolate chips, and protein isolate powder. Trying to make it with as little added sugar as possible. While she’s not diabetic yet, she is heading down the same road I did. If I did the math right, each bar should have approximately 20g of protein. The fat from the peanut butter and the protein should tell her body that it’s been fed. The oats will be the slower burning carb she needs, to get her through her busy morning! I used egg rather than applesauce, mainly because I forgot the applesauce. But I look forward to letting you know how she likes it.
    I thank you and others like you for putting these recipes out here for all to use!

  23. Love this recipe!! Delicious snack or breakfast. I store in fridge and just reheat. It tastes soo good

  24. So for my daughter and I, we didn’t like the banana in it. But we both liked the applesauce idea. So I decided to use applesauce instead of banana. I added more Swerve and I little more salt. I tasted it before I put it in the oven. It was perfect! She will love these! A recipe is just a guideline. I tweaked this one for my daughter and I think it’s a home run! Thank you!

  25. I made these oatmeal bars with almond butter and they are absolutely divine! They came together so easily and exceeded my expectations in terms of taste and texture. They are incredibly addicting and will absolutely be a repeat bake in our house. We love that the ingredients are wholesome, yet so satisfying and provide the perfect amount of sweetness. Thank you Sally!

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