Banana Blueberry Bars

I pronounce the word “bar” with a painful mash-up between a moderately twangy Kansas accent and a horrifically nasal Minnesota accent. While you are trying to imagine what that sounds like, toss in the fact that I just took a giant bite of Banana Blueberry Crumb Bars. Have I always been this attractive?

Skinny Banana Blueberry Bars. So moist and decadent, you'll never believe they are lightened up!I lived in Minnesota for four years, where I was introduced to bars not as a dessert, but as a separate food group. Sure I’d had seven-layer bars and lemon bars, but until I lived in the land of 10,000 lakes, I had never heard “bars” referred to as an independent food group. Example uses: “Oh yah, we had a potluck at work so I made some bars,” and “Oh, yah know, the poor girl just broke up with her boyfriend, so I think she could use some bars.” Now, please take a moment to re-read those phrases with a near-Canadian accent, which is how I played them in my head while typing.

Despite my gentle poking fun at a northern accent (which, as my family will be the first tell you, I’ve been picking up over the last six years), Minnesotans are on to something. Less fussy than scooping individual cookies, intrinsically satisfying to both crispy-corner and gooey-middle lovers alike, and downright delectable, bars deserve our respect. I motion that we honor this great culinary category by devouring an entire pan of Banana Blueberry Crumb Bars.

Skinny Banana Blueberry Bars. So moist and good enough to eat for breakfast or with ice cream!As the Peaches and Cream Pancakes, Rainbow Fruit Pizza, Plum Crunch Steel Cut Oats, Double Crust Cherry Crisp, and Fresh Cherry Salsa that I’ve posted in the past few weeks will attest, I’m having a full-on summer fruit fiesta over here. I’d love for you to join me by baking Banana Blueberry Crumb Bars. They’re bursting with berry flavor, loaded with crumb topping, and best of all (relatively) good for you too.

I lightened up this recipe for Banana Blueberry Crumb Bars by  incorporating whole wheat flour into the crumb and crust (fiber!), adding roasted almonds for protein and crunch, and using a mashed banana in place of half of the butter. The recipe still contains enough butter to make these bars taste indulgent and, well, buttery (yum!). The banana keeps them super soft, moist, and, dare I suggest, acceptable for breakfast.

Banana Blueberry Crumb BarsThe bar filling is pure fresh blueberries with a touch of lemon (frozen blueberries will work too—simply thaw and pat dry), set atop a layer of vibrant raspberry jam. Although the banana taste is lightly present, it’s truly the blueberry flavor that shines. To ensure the filling stays the right consistency, I’d stick with the blueberries for the filling (or adjust the cornstarch and sugar levels accordingly), but feel free to swap in any fruity jam you have on hand.

Skinny Banana Blueberry Bars. You'll never believe these are lightened up!No matter your accent, Banana Blueberry Crumb Bars are a lovely dessert that begs to be devoured before blueberry season comes to an end. I’m pretty sure we all sound the same with our mouths full anyway!

Banana Blueberry Bars

These blueberry bars are bursting with berry flavor and the perfect summer treat. Banana replaces half of the butter called for in traditional crumb bar recipes, but these blueberry bars taste so moist and indulgent, you'll never want to make them any other way. Feel free to use frozen, thawed blueberries (just pat them dry) and swap other berry jams in place of the raspberry.

Yield: 1, 8x8-inch pan (about 16 bars)

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen, thawed, and patted dry)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup very ripe mashed banana (about 1 large)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup toasted chopped almonds


  1. Place rack in the center of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8x8-inch dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir in blueberries. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the banana and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until it almost comes together in a ball.
  4. Lightly and evenly pat two-thirds of the dough into the bottom and 1/4 up the sides of the preppared baking pan. Spread jam over the top of the dough. Drain blueberries of any excess liquid, then sprinkle the berries over the top. With your fingers, mix the oats and almonds into the remaining dough to create the topping. Break the topping into pieces and crumble it over the blueberries, covering most of the surface but leaving some blueberries exposed. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool completely and cut into bars.

More bite-worthy bars:

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...


  1. Minnesotans sure do love their bars – but we also like boooats and hot dish :-)

  2. I totally did read that in a nasally Canadian-esque accent, lol. I am originally from Buffalo, NY and we have our own West New York accent as well, so I get it ;) These bars look amazing, and also easier for me to make than a cookie (which for some reason never turn out right for me), so I may have to join in on this bar craze!

  3. In the south “bars” are definitely in there own group. This one is perfect.

  4. I wish I had one of these bars for breakfast! Love that you made them healthy!

  5. Ha! Now I want to come out to the Midwest so I can hear people talk about bars. :) This looks amazing!

  6. Hi Erin, I love “bars”, especially these kind. Fun post.

  7. Beautiful recipe Erin! Love anything blueberry and with a crumb topping! :)

  8. Bars are definitely a thing in MN ;). And you can never run out of new recipes to try… every time we got to a grill-out or potluck, I find yet another recipe for bars I’ve got to try, ha. Yours are no exception – they look mouthwatering!!

  9. This totally looks healthy enough to eat for breakfast! I don’t know that I’ve seen bananas incorporated into a bar dessert/breakfast before, but it sounds delicious – I love how moist bananas make baked goods…yum!

  10. It didn’t take me long until I started getting made fun of by my Iowa family for the way I say bag and call casseroles “hot dishes.” There are worse things in life, right?! These bars are calling my name…love the combo of bluebs and naners!

  11. Such a great post! These BARS.. looks fantastic!!

  12. These make such a beautiful presentation! I love bars, in any fashion or flavor. I just think they make such a nice little dessert! The combination of fruits you used is great!

  13. Ha, I’ve got some good accents going on when saying those phrases :D
    These look so delicious! I love anything blueberry and these are no exception!

  14. Yes, yes please. Tis a beautiful recipe Erin! Looks so yummy! :) Love blueberries, although they are always so dang expensive in Australia I dont often cook with them. Gahhhh… drool, crumbed anything is the business. :)

  15. I want one of these right now!!!

  16. These are great! I’m sold on the crumbs.
    And accents are so much fun! Hold on to yours!

  17. LOVE blueberries. I am not ready for berry season to end. I don’t want it to end.

  18. Heavens to Betsy these look splendid!!

  19. Love these bars, no matter how you say it :) Blueberry and lemon is perfect for summer. Can’t stop drooling over all those beautiful crumbs! Healthier too you say? Sign me up please!

  20. A good reminder to keep eating blueberries ^.^

  21. Sounds like I need to spend some time in MN! Marylanders don’t know a darn thing about bars! These look ridiculous and I love that they’re healthier so I can eat the whole tray :)

  22. I love a good bar. I like how you made them healthy too.

  23. Gorgeous :) Looks like a perfect weekday breakfast on the run.

  24. I love this kind of bars! They’re like a dessert that can double as a breakfast.

  25. Erin, you are too cute! I agree. . Less fussy than scooping individual cookies, crispy corners and gooey-middles .. love everything about these BARS! :)

  26. I like the idea of bars being their own food group! And I couldn’t help but smile trying out my accents while reading your post :) These bars look fantastic! Anything with a crumb is good in my book!

  27. huntfortheverybest Reply

    these look great!

  28. I support bars as it’s own food group. These look awesome!

  29. these look divine.. because they are a lightened up version means i can have two to make up for the lost calories!

  30. i live in minneapolis, and these bars are going to be a *hit* at my next bbq – delicious!!

  31. I’m totally with you that bars deserve their own category… And I’m not even from Minnesota! These look especially great.

  32. I love your Minnesotan accent :) These sound absolutely divine and I wish I had some this morning for breakfast!! I love bars too – I like to freeze them and then take out a few at a time like cookies!

  33. Just made these for my boyfriend and some of his guy friends and they were described as “the most delicious bar ever” Being from CT we don’t have many bar options so this was my first and it was clearly a giant success. Thank you!!

    • Jackie!! I am so excited that your BF and his pals enjoyed these bars! I’m sure the fabulous baker (you!) had something to do with that too :-) Thank you so much for trying the recipe and for letting me know your thoughts. Have a great day!

  34. Can I skip the banana and just double the butter?

    • Hi Diana! Good question. Honestly, I have never made the bars that way, so I can’t say. I am concerned that this might affect the texture (butter will be greasier), and it will also impact the taste, since the bananas provide additional sweetness. You can always feel free to experiment—I simply can’t say for certain, since I’ve never tried the recipe that way.

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