Healthy Oatmeal Cookie Bars (5 Ingredients!)


5 from 1158 votes
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Ever wondering if oatmeal cookies can be made into bars? Thes EASY and healthy oatmeal cookie bars are your answer! Soft, chewy, and LOADED with chocolate chips- They are a vegan and gluten-free dessert made in just 12 minutes. 

Healthy oatmeal cookie bars


You guys have loved my flourless breakfast cookies, peanut butter oatmeal cookies and flourless breakfast bars, which inspired me to make these EASY oatmeal cookie bars.

 You guys, I have been making batch after batch of these healthier oatmeal cookie bars.

Why? Well, I firstly had a plethora of leftover bananas, THEN, I found myself with a jar or two of applesauce. 

Safe to say, we are BIG fans of these healthier oatmeal cookie bars.


The fact that I’ve polished off 4 batches within 2 weeks might give it away. 

These cookie bars are soft, slightly chewy, and have an almost buttery texture, without any actual butter in it. It has notes of chocolate with every bite. They taste like a thick and jumbo oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but with a more tender exterior.

What I love most about them, is that they are secretly healthy- no eggs, no butter, no flour, and no refined sugar, but you’d never tell.

They also happen to be completely vegan and gluten-free too! 

Vegan gluten free oatmeal cookie bars


The Ingredients

  • Rolled Oats (Old Fashioned Oats)– They provide a chewy texture and a fabulous substitution for flour. They are also a much healthier alternative to it, providing fiber and protein too!
  • Almond Butter– Gives these cookie bars that buttery texture and flavor we love, without any butter! 
  • Maple Syrup– Provides sweetness, and also masks any banana flavor. Do not omit, as it will change the texture of the cookie bars. 
  • Bananas– Overripe, mashed bananas! The riper they are, the sweeter they will be! Bananas replace any need for butter or eggs, while also providing sweetness and a softer texture. 
  • Chocolate Chips– What is a good cookie without chocolate chips? You can use a mixture of chocolate chips and chopped up chocolate bars, for the ultimate chocolate experience! 

The Instructions

Start by mixing together all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips- You want to fold them through at the end. Once it has been mixed completely, pour the batter into a square pan. I use an 8 x 8-inch pan, but for thicker bars, you can use a smaller one. 

You don’t want to overtake them, to remove them from the oven once the edges just start to brown, around 14-15 minutes. Once you’ve removed from the oven, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before lifting it out the pan and letting it cool on a cooling rack, before slicing. 

oatmeal cookie bars

vegan oatmeal cookie bars


These cookie bars are very forgiving and have plenty of ingredient substitutions, including basic pantry staple ingredients.

Banana Substitutions

I don’t recommend you substituting the banana unless you truly cannot stand bananas!

With that said, you can substitute the banana for unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin puree. Neither are as sweet as banana, but will still yield a similar texture. 

Please note- You may need to add extra maple syrup to make up for the lack of sweetness from the banana. 

Rolled Oat Substitutions

You can substitute the old fashioned oats with either quick oats or even oat bran. However, it will not have the super chewy texture, but will still work well. 

If you want an oat-free substitution, you can use quinoa flakes. Quinoa flakes have a similar texture to quick oats, but a more nutty flavor. 

Almond Butter Substitutions

You can substitute the almond butter for any drippy or smooth nut/seed butter of choice. 

Peanut butter or cashew butter are both fantastic substitutions, as are tahini and sunflower seed butter

Regardless of which one you choose, it MUST be smooth and creamy. 

Maple Syrup Substitutions

You can use agave nectar or honey if you aren’t strictly vegan.

Avoid using sugar free maple syrup, as it has a texture to water and will not hold the bars well together.


  • To store: Leftover cookie bars should be stored in the refrigerator, in a sealable container. They will keep fresh for up to 5 days. 
  • To freeze: Wrap individual bars in parchment paper and place them in ziplock bags. They will freeze well for up to 6 months.

TIP: These bars become firm once refrigerated, but to have a gooey cookie bar, microwave it for 20-30 seconds. 

healthy oatmeal cookie bars

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healthy oatmeal cookie bars

Healthy Oatmeal Cookie Bars (Vegan and Gluten-Free!)

5 from 1158 votes
Easy and healthy oatmeal cookie bars made with just 5 simple ingredients! Soft, chewy and gooey in one, they are vegan, gluten-free and ready in 12 minutes!
Servings: 18 Oatmeal Cookie Bars
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes



  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line an 8 x 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, reserving 1-2 inches of parchment paper over the sides, for easily removal.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all your ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold through the chocolate chips, reserving a few to top the cookie bars with.
  • Transfer the batter into the lined pan, adding extra chocolate chips on top. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until just beginning to go golden around the pan.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


* Can substitute for agave nectar or honey (if not strictly vegan)
** You can substitute for pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce. 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana are approximately 6-7 bananas.
  • TO STORE: Leftover cookie bars should be stored in the refrigerator, in a sealable container. They will keep fresh for up to 5 days. 
  • TO FREEZE: Wrap individual bars in parchment paper and place them in ziplock bags. They will freeze well for up to 6 months.


Serving: 1Cookie BarCalories: 182kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 5gFat: 9gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 246mgFiber: 4gVitamin A: 12IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 17g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. hi any idea for a crunchy bar, not a fan of soggy ones. i love soft cookies but not granola bars. would love a recipe thank you!

    1. Hi Elisa, actually, it’s not wrong at all and seeing as it’s been made by thousands successfully, I’d check your sources. Eat Bananas!

  2. 5 stars
    Turned out great didnt have quite enough bananas so my 3 year old and subbed in a little applesauce with the bananas we had. Also used butterscotch and chocolate chips.

  3. 5 stars
    Used honey instead of maple syrup since I was out, and mixed peanut and almond butter. Very delicious. Better than expected even. Will make again!

  4. These were just a tad moist for me. The flavors were wonderful and didn’t feel overly sweet. Next time I will add a little salt and one less banana to try to firm them up. Sure makes a great breakfast with coffee 🙂

  5. I am constantly disappointed when a recipe can not be Pinned. Have to put on paper means it will get lost in shuffle. Also uses a precious resource

  6. I have a kiddo with autism and these look amazing. Could i possibly make them into muffins? He has lots of sensory issues and I have to make every baked good into a muffin or a pancake 😉

    1. Hi Jen! I haven’t tried but you could definitely put them in a muffin tin and cut the time to 10 minutes

  7. I just made these!! I’ve been following The big man’s world on Instagram of a few years and I’ve never tried any of his recipes . Not going to lie i was extremely skeptical of this recipe but I’ve really been craving dessert these past few days and decided to give it a shot … I substituted with Peanut butter and used 2 cups of mashed banana mixed with unsweetened applesauce. Also it did take longer than 17 minutes in the oven, make sure to keep checking till the knife comes out clean. This recipe came out so delicious!! I’m really happy I tried it. Will definitely be trying more of his recipes!! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! I managed to get them to look exactly like the photo! I don’t have a mixer, so I mixed by hand–literally my hands haha. I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp salt, both of which are needed, in my opinion. I used frozen banana slices that I microwaved for 45 seconds. And I topped the bars with chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, and a pinch of coarse salt. YUMMM. Very tasty. You can taste a hint of banana in them, but mostly they just taste like cookie bars. The sweetness is subtle and just right. I’m surprised the texture is so cookie-like, but it is! Bravo! Next time I might add shredded coconut just for grins. Thanks for this great recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    Very delicious and simple cookie bar recipe! I was looking for recipe to make that doesn’t have a shopping lists full of ingredients, and then I found this! It was so good, and I love the almond butter idea!