These easy banana bars need just four ingredients to make and are a healthy and wholesome dessert or even breakfast- no dairy, no eggs, and completely flourless.
If you’ve tried my oatmeal banana bread but want something quicker but just as delicious, my simple banana bars recipe is your answer.
Table of Contents
Why I love this recipe
- Healthy. I am not overselling the goodness of these bars. They are made without added sugar, flour, butter, oil, eggs, or dairy. My family loves them for breakfast because they are full of wholesome carbs and healthy fats.
- Quick and easy to make. No chill time, no fancy kitchen gadgets, and no loaf pan needed.
- 4 ingredients only. As mentioned earlier, all you need are oats, bananas, peanut butter, and a handful of chocolate chips.
- Easy to customize. Similar to the above point, you can jazz up these bars to suit your tastebuds, or add your favorite mix-ins.
Ingredients (and substitutions)
Besides the banana itself, everything that is needed is pretty much pantry staples. Here is what this recipe calls for:
- Rolled oats. You get the perfect chewy and thick texture with rolled oats. While quick oats will work, they will be a little softer.
- Bananas. Ensure you have really ripe bananas to make this recipe. That way, you don’t have to add any extra sweetener.
- Peanut butter. I find the combination of oats, peanut butter, and bananas hard to resist. But you can substitute it with almond, cashew, or hazelnut butter. If you want to keep this recipe nut-free, use pumpkin, sunflower, butter, or even tahini.
- Chocolate chips. Chocolate chips or chocolate chunks create beautiful pockets of gooey chocolate upon baking. I prefer 55-60% dark chocolate chips, but feel free to use white, dark, or milk chocolate.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make banana bars
Make the batter. Combine mashed banana, nut butter, and oats in a bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Bake the banana bars. Transfer the banana batter to a lined and greased 8×8-inch pan. Even out the surface and top with more chocolate chips. Proceed to bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F until the center firms up and you see golden brown edges.
Cool and slice. Once baked to your preference, remove the tray from the oven. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Slice it into bars and store it as indicated below.
Recipe tips and variations
- Bake it to your liking. You can make gooey or firm banana bars depending on your preference. To make gooey banana bars, bake them for 10-12 minutes until the edges pick up some color and the center is still soft. For firm banana bars, bake them for the entire duration. Remember that the banana bars continue to firm up after removing them from the oven.
- Adjust the thickness. Make thick or thin banana bars using a small or large baking pan. I prefer chewy, thick banana bars for a hearty breakfast.
- Adjust the sweetness. If you use unripe, semi-sweet bananas, you might need to add some external sweetener to the recipe, including maple syrup or honey.
- Add protein powder. To improve the protein content of this recipe, add 3 to 4 scoops of vanilla or chocolate protein powder to these breakfast bars!
- Add nuts. Add a textural element by mixing toasted peanuts, cashews, almonds, or pecans to this simple banana bars recipe.
To store. Banana bars store well at room temperature for a week in airtight containers. You could also place them on a plate and seal it with plastic wrap.
To freeze. To enjoy these bars over a long time, place them in freezer-safe bags and freeze them for up to 6 months.
Frequently asked questions
If you need to ripen or overripen bananas ASAP, you can do it in a few ways. Place the unpeeled bananas in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 250°F. They will turn black on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside. You can also heat them in the microwave in bursts of 30 seconds. You’ll have sweet/ ripe bananas in no time!
Sure, you can. While I enjoy the classic, unfrosted version of banana bars for breakfast, you can put a decadent spin on them by frosting them with cream cheese, chocolate ganache, or caramel sauce.
More delicious bars to try
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all your ingredients and mix well. Fold through half your chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into the greased baking tray and press down evenly. Top with extra chocolate chips and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden on the outside and firm in the center.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into bars.
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