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These old-fashioned Banana Bars with chocolate chips are the epitome of snack-meets-dessert (or is it dessert-meets-snack?) stardom. Use your ripe bananas to make this easy, moist, and delectable treat!

Squares of healthy Banana Bars with chocolate chips

Wholesome enough to fly as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up but scrumptious enough to satisfy sweet cravings, this healthy-dessert-meets-anytime-munchie is a recipe you can feel great packing for your kids’ lunches or rewarding yourself with after (or during!) a long day.

They travel well for potlucks and picnics too.

One of the reasons I adore banana recipes like these banana bars so much is that they allow me to sweeten up my baked goods more naturally.

And when a dessert is better for you? You can feel great eating it more often.

These banana bars are made from less processed ingredients and offer nutritional benefits too (just like the recipes on this list of 50 Healthy Desserts).

A happy handful of chocolate chips on top certainly doesn’t hurt their appeal either!

A pan with dessert and chocolate chips

5 Star Review

“These are brilliant. The bars are not too sweet and have a great banana taste. Thank you for sharing such a genius creation.”

— Tracy —

About This Banana Bars Recipe

The ingredient lineup here is a more wholesome one.

In addition to being naturally sweetened primarily with mashed banana, these banana bars are made without brown sugar. (I use coconut sugar, though you can swap in brown sugar if that is what you have on hand.) The banana bars are also 100% whole wheat.

Even with these healthy swaps, however, this banana recipe will still satisfy any sweet tooth. I found a good reason to eat them at any time of day.

  • In the morning, I topped one of the banana squares with a generous portion of Greek yogurt and side of berries.
  • After a workout, I grabbed one right out of the container and munched it while I finished off my water bottle. <—SUCH a perfect post-workout reward!
  • For a mid-afternoon snack, I enjoyed these banana bars with applesauce.
  • After dinner, I replaced the Greek yogurt with vanilla ice cream and—since we are all friends here—more chocolate chips.
Banana bread bars with chocolate chips

How to Make Banana Bars

As written, these baked banana bars are sweet, but not overly so.

Like these Strawberry Oatmeal Bars, and honestly the majority of the healthy dessert recipes on my site, they’re well balanced, nutritious, and hit the spot whether you need a 3 p.m. energy boost or a late-night treat.


The Ingredients

  • Banana. If you’re wondering what you can do with old bananas, this recipe is the answer! Overripe bananas are safe to eat, naturally sweet, and they’re truly scrumptious too. Plus, bananas are rich in potassium and fiber.
  • Coconut Sugar. Coconut sugar is a more natural way to sweeten these bars.
  • Milk. Helps keep these bars moist. I used unsweetened almond milk, but any milk you have on hand will work well.
  • Vanilla. Enhances all the other flavors in the bars.
  • Whole Wheat Flour. Whole wheat flour adds extra nutrition and a slight nuttiness that’s truly delicious.
  • Cinnamon + Nutmeg. Warm and cozy spices that pair wonderfully with the banana.
  • Chocolate Chips. Because chocolate chips are always a good idea!

Tip!

You can also make these banana bars for a crowd. Double the recipe, then bake it in a 9×13-inch pan. The 9×13 banana bars recipe will be thicker, so you will need to extend the baking time by several minutes.

The Directions

Bananas being mashed in a bowl
  1. Mash the bananas in a bowl, then add the sugar and wet ingredients.
Flour being added to a bowl of wet ingredients
  1. Stir the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips.
Chocolate chips on top of batter in a baking pan
  1. Pour the batter into a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees F for 16 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut it into bars. ENJOY!

Dietary Notes

  • To Make Dairy Free. Use almond milk or coconut milk and replace the butter with the same amount of a vegan butter substitute or coconut oil.
  • To Make Vegan. Follow the dairy-free directions in the note above. For the egg, you can experiment with a flax egg, but I haven’t tried this yet. If you do decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!
  • To Make Gluten Free. Replace the wheat flour with the same amount of a 1:1 all-purpose baking flour blend, such as this one.
Healthy baked banana bars

Banana Bar Recipe Upgrades

If you’d like to turn these light banana bars into a truly indulgent dessert, check out a few suggestions below.

  • Banana Bars with Peanut Butter Frosting. Peanut butter banana bars sound delish! Make the bars as directed. Let cool, then top with a peanut butter frosting.
  • Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. Make the bars as directed. Let cool and top with the cream cheese frosting from this dreamy Cranberry Cream Cheese Banana Bread.
  • Banana Bars with Brown Butter Frosting. Top these bars with the scrumptious brown butter frosting from this Banana Bread Brownies recipe.
  • Banana Bars with Glaze. Keep it sweet and simple. Drizzle the bars with a simple glaze like the ones on these Blueberry Oatmeal Bars.
  • EVEN MORE ICING IDEAS. Banana bars with chocolate frosting or maple frosting would also be delightful.
Banana bars with chocolate chips

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store bars in an airtight storage container at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
  • To Freeze. Freeze bars in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. If I’m trying to exercise serious self-control, I like to wrap and freeze my banana bars individually, then thaw them as cravings strike.

How to Store Frosted Banana Bars

If you’ve already frosted the bars and want to store them for a longer period, you can freeze banana bars with cream cheese frosting (or any other frosting). See tips below.

  • To keep the frosting from getting messy as the bars freeze, first place the bars in a container that is deep enough where the lid doesn’t touch the frosting.
  • Place the container in the freezer.
  • Once the bars harden, remove them from the container and wrap them tightly in plastic and/or foil to prevent freezer burn (since the frosting is frozen, it won’t become messy when wrapped).
  • To thaw, unwrap the frozen bars, then let them thaw overnight in a deep container in the refrigerator.
  • You can also simply wrap and freeze the frosted bars, then deal with messy frosting after they thaw. The bars will still be delicious!

What to Serve with Banana Bars

Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips

4.77 from 233 votes
Healthy Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips. Moist, chewy, and easy to make. Kids love them and they are perfect for healthy desserts and snacks!

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Servings: 16 bars

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana about 3 medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips divided

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the parchment overhangs two opposite sides like handles. Lightly coat with nonstick spray and set aside.
  • Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl. Double check the measurement to ensure you have 1 cup (less will make the bars dry; more and they may not bake all the way through). Stir in the coconut sugar, butter, milk, egg, and vanilla until well blended.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir to combine, stopping as soon as the flour disappears. Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips on top. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Place the pan a wire rack to cool completely, then using the parchment handles, lift the bars onto a cutting board. Slice into squares of desired size and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store bars at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. 
  • TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Use almond milk or coconut milk and replace the butter with the same amount of a vegan butter substitute or coconut oil.
  • TO MAKE VEGAN: Follow the dairy-free directions in the note above; For the egg, you can experiment with a flax egg, but I haven’t tried this yet. If you do decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!
  • TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Replace the wheat flour with the same amount of a 1:1 all-purpose baking flour blend, such as this one.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 16)Calories: 98kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 18mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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4.77 from 233 votes (136 ratings without comment)

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275 Comments

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  1. This recipe turned out fantastic! I have used regular milk , and granulated sugar. Banana bars came extremely soft and delicious.5 stars

  2. Mine turned out mushy. I used white flour, brown sugar and coconut milk. I put them back in the oven for another 15 min and let them cool. After putting them in the fridge overnight made them worse.2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe, Melissa. You definitely want to cook until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

  3. They turned out great!, this was my first time baking without my mom and honestly, these were pretty good.

    Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  4. Hi Erin!
    Can you swap AP flour for the whole wheat flour? I’ll pick up whole wheat flour if you don’t recommend AP.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Denise, You should be able to use all-purpose flour with no problems. Hope you enjoy them!

  5. Great recipe! I used granulated monk fruit blend, AP flour and whole milk (this is all I had).
    I did have to bake for an additional 15 minutes but they came out perfect.5 stars

  6. Wow, these are a spot-on treat! My substitutions were sprouted whole wheat flour (it was the only wheat flour I had on hand) and coconut extract in place of vanilla. I was surprised I was out of cinnamon, so I had to substitute about a 1/4 tsp. of allspice. I also used a mixture of milk chocolate and white chocolate chips as I’m not a fan of the dark or semi-sweet. I added coconut flakes to the recipe, (thus the coconut extract substitution). Even though the toothpick came out clean at the designated time, the bars didn’t seem quite done, so I baked them for an additional 10 minutes. These bars are incredibly moist and delicious! Now I’m afraid my husband and I will eat them all, so I better find others to share them with!5 stars

  7. Made this with gluten free flour due to an allergy and a little less sugar and omg these are so good! I did have to bake an additional 10 mins. We tried it when it was still hot with vanilla ice cream, yum! 10/10 would bake again!5 stars

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