Banana Oatmeal Bars
Published Aug 07, 2023, Updated Sep 15, 2023
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These banana oatmeal bars are easy to make, perfect for meal prep and loaded with nutritious ingredients like rolled oats, walnuts, applesauce and raisins. They’re vegan + can easily be made gluten-free.
These oat bars are not just delicious, but they’re packed with fiber, natural sweetness, healthy fats and protein, making these bars a well-rounded breakfast or snack option that will keep you energized and full.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Nutritious: These bars are made with wholesome ingredients and are packed with fiber, healthy fats and protein. Plus, they’re vegan, dairy-free + can easily be made gluten-free.
- Simple: With easy steps, these bars come together quickly and effortlessly.
- Versatile: These bars are great for an on-the-go breakfast, mid-day snack or even a healthy dessert.
- Great for meal-prep: They’re perfect for meal-prep and make for a great back-to-school snack.
- bananas – the star ingredient, bringing natural sweetness and binding all the ingredients together without eggs. Make sure you’re using ripe bananas with brown spots on them. The riper, the better!
- coconut oil – helps keep these bars moist!
- applesauce – adds moisture and helps in reducing the amount of oil needed. You can make homemade applesauce or use store-bought. Just make sure to grab unsweetened!
- coconut sugar – a more natural, unrefined sugar that adds a caramel-like sweetness.
- vanilla extract – enhances the flavors!
- old fashioned rolled oats – a key component of these bars, rolled oats are hearty and add a chewy texture. Plus, they’re rich in fiber and can help keep you feeling satisfied. Oats are naturally gluten-free but are very likely to be contaminated during processing, so grab certified gluten-free oats if needed. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats.
- whole wheat pastry flour – whole wheat pastry flour works better than regular whole wheat flour if you’re looking for the light and fluffy bread that regular all-purpose flour provides, but still want the nutrients of whole wheat flour. My go-to brand is Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour.
- baking powder, baking soda, & salt – essential baking ingredients!
- ground cinnamon and nutmeg – provides a warm, comforting flavor.
- raisins – they add a pop of sweetness and chewiness.
- walnuts – for crunch and a dose of healthy fats.
How to Make
Prep: Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray an 8″ x 8” baking dish with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Toast walnuts: Spread the walnuts out on an un-greased baking pan and place them in the oven. Let them toast for 5-8 minutes until they become fragrant and toasty. Be sure to keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn!
Whisk wet ingredients: In a medium bowl mash your bananas with a fork, then add oil, applesauce, sugar and vanilla extract. Stir until everything is smooth and combined.
Mix dry ingredients: In a separate, large bowl, combine your oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Combine: Add the banana mixture to your dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Then, fold in the toasted walnuts and raisins.
Bake: Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the bars are golden browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out nearly clean.
Cool and serve: Let your bars cool completely in the baking dish before cutting them into bars. Now they’re ready to serve and enjoy!
Substitutions & Notes
- Oil: You can swap the coconut oil for olive oil, avocado oil or melted butter.
- Sweetener: Coconut sugar can be replaced with cane or brown sugar if desired. I haven’t tried using a liquid sweetener like honey, maple syrup or agave so I’m not 100% sure if that would alter the recipe in any way. Let me know if you try it in the comments below!
- Flour: Regular whole wheat or all-purpose flour can be used instead of whole wheat pastry flour. To make these bars gluten-free use a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Nuts: If you’re not a fan of walnuts, feel free to substitute them with another nut of choice like almonds, pecans, cashews or hazelnuts. If you need this recipe to be nut-free swap the nuts for seeds like sunflower seeds or pepitas, or skip them all together.
- Raisins: The raisins can be replaced with any dried fruit of your liking, like dried cranberries, chopped apricots, blueberries or dates.
- Mix-ins: You can keep the nut and raisin combo or go in a different direction. Some other great mix-in options that would work well with these bars are dark chocolate chips, hemp seeds, chia seeds or toasted shredded coconut.
How to Store Banana Oatmeal Bars
These banana oat bars are perfect for meal prep!
I like to store them after being cut so they’re ready to grab and go! If you do freeze them, just thaw them in the fridge or at room temperature before eating. I love drizzling these bars with a little nut butter or seed butter before serving. Almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter and sunflower seed butter would all be delicious!
More Bar Recipes to Try
- Apple Granola Bars
- Chocolate Chip Almond Granola Bars
- Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars
- Cranberry Coconut Granola Bars
- Apple Oatmeal Bars
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- Fruit and Nut Bars
- Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
- Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Coconut Chocolate Chip Larabars
- Tahini Fig Bars
- Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- Nut Free Granola Bars
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
Be sure to check out all of the snack recipes here at EBF!
Banana Oatmeal Bars
- 2 overripe bananas
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup raisins
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8" x 8” square baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread the walnuts on an un-greased baking sheet and toast in oven for 5 to 8 minutes, or until toasty and fragrant.
- While the walnuts are toasting, mash the bananas in a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining wet ingredients: oil, applesauce, sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the toasted walnuts and raisins, being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted comes out nearly clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
- Adapted from the Runner’s World Cookbook.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.