Fill your kitchen with the aroma of sweet and salty peanut butter banana oatmeal bars. This will make you fall in love with baking again!
Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars
Just when you thought healthy foods meant bland, boring, or funky aftertaste, these bars come along to shake that thinking up! In fact, one bite and you’ll swear they taste way too good to be healthy for you.
Homemade peanut butter banana oatmeal bars are the best way to treat yourself to something sweet. They are made with whole, healthy ingredients (like maple syrup and whole bananas) and are the perfect way to keep you feeling full between meals.
In fact, these bars are so good for you that you can make them a part of your well-balanced lunch.
They are so high in protein and potassium that these bars also make a perfect post-workout recovery snack too. Feel free to throw in some pecans or walnuts for an added crunch!
Plus, they are fantastic for your gut health too! Oatmeal and bananas are high in dietary fiber, which is amazing for digestion and feeding healthy gut bacteria.
If you are allergic or sensitive to peanut butter, any nut butter will do! Just replace the peanut butter with sun butter or cashew butter.
Ingredients Needed for Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
These healthy banana oatmeal bars are made with a base of rolled oats and peanut butter, followed up with some scrumptious cinnamon.
Here’s a bit more about what I used:
- Bananas: Make sure the 3 bananas you use are really ripe so they are easier to completely mash.
- Natural Peanut Butter: Add protein and salty peanut butter flavor with 1 cup of natural peanut butter. Make sure there isn’t any sneaky sugar in there. You can also sub almond butter to get the same texture!
- Maple Syrup: To sweeten the bars naturally, add 1/4 a cup of real maple syrup.
- Egg: You only need 1 egg to bind the ingredients together and emulsify them.
- Vanilla: Create velvetty vanilla notes in the bars with a teaspoon of real vanilla extract.
- Rolled Oats: 2 cups of rolled oats will fortify the bars with fiber.
- Cinnamon: Add a little spice to the bars with a teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Baking Powder: The teaspoon of baking powder makes the bars lighter and less dense.
- Salt: Add a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) of salt to enhance all the other flavors.
- Chocolate Chips: Include 3/4 cup of chocolate chips for the obvious reasons – to add more chocolate!
Kitchen Tools Required
If you have ever baked sweet bread or bars before, then you probably already have all the tools you need. This is what I used when I made them.
Gather the following items before you begin:
- 9×9 Baking Dish
- Parchment Paper
- Small Bowl
- Wooden Spoon
For measuring, you will need the following sized cups and spoons: 1 cup, 3/4 cup, 1/4 cup, 1 teaspoon, and 1/4 teaspoon.
How To Make Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars
Now that you have all the ingredients and kitchen tools ready, it’s time to start baking these amazingly nutritious dessert bars!
First, preheat the oven to 350F. Don’t forget to preheat the oven, because it takes the longest. Then, grease and line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
Next, mash the ripe bananas in a large mixing bowl. I like to mash the bananas with a potato masher for optimal smoothness. Stir in the peanut butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla until it is well combined.
In a small bowl, add the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir them together until they are combined. Add in the chocolate chips and mix it all together.
Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and bake the bars for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool slightly before cutting them into bars.
Below are some common peanut butter oatmeal bars questions. Don’t see the answer you’re looking for? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post!
Is creamy or crunchy peanut butter best for these bars?
Whether you use creamy or crunchy peanut butter is entirely up to you and your taste buds. Do you like little bits of peanuts in your cookies or dessert bars? Then use crunchy! If you prefer sweet dessert bars that melt in your mouth, then smooth and creamy peanut butter is going to be more your speed.
How do you ripen bananas faster?
The best way to speed up the ripening process is to use a paper bag. Any size bag will do, but I like to use the small kind that people use for lunches. Place the bananas in the paper bag and close it completely.
Keep the bananas in the bag for a day or two. They should soften and ripen up very quickly.
Can I make them into cookies?
Yes, you can easily turn these bars into cookies – the only difference will be the cooking times. Cookies bake faster than bars. I would cut the baking time down to about 10-15 minutes and check them for doneness.
How do you know when peanut butter banana oatmeal bars are fully cooked?
I use a toothpick to check to see if the bars are fully baked. Insert a toothpick into the middle of the bars. If it comes out clean, then they are ready to be pulled out. If there is still batter on the toothpick, let it bake for about 5-10 more minutes.
Is maple syrup healthier than table sugar?
The reason maple syrup is considered healthier than granulated sugar is because it has a lower glycemic index. It isn’t a 1:1 replacement either because maple syrup is sweeter than white sugar. You’ll use less maple syrup than you would sugar, so you’ll consume fewer calories.
Are these oatmeal bars gluten-free?
Yes, these banana oatmeal bars are gluten-free. I did not use any kind of flour in them at all. You can also make them vegan by substituting a flax egg.
Store leftover peanut butter oatmeal bars in an airtight container, like a resealable pyrex dish, at room temperature. They will last about a week – if you don’t eat them all first!
These cookies will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months.
If you liked this recipe, you’ll want to try these!
Here are some more of my favorite sweet bars to make. Enjoy!
- Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Bars With Pretzels
- Healthy Cherry Pie Oatmeal Bars
- Peanut Butter Energy Bars
- Healthy Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
- Healthy Cookie Dough Bars
Photos by Moriah Sawtelle and recipe by Erin Antoniak.
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease and line with parchment paper a 9×9 baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mash bananas. Stir in peanut butter, maple syrup, egg and vanilla until well combined.
- In a small bowl, add oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined. Add in chocolate chips and mix.
- Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool before slightly before cutting into.
There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use myself. Thank you for supporting Erin Lives Whole, it helps keep this blog afloat 🙂