Filling, kid-friendly, and packed with a few of my life-long ingredient loves (peanut butter, banana, and honey), these easy homemade baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are yummy, hearty, and guaranteed to keep you powered for hours.
These oatmeal breakfast bars are one of the very first recipes I ever posted on my site.
So many of you have written to tell me about how they’ve enabled you to survive long meetings, fueled you after a workout, and become a favorite of your kids. In fact, this recipe is so simple, many of you bake them with your kiddos too!
The origin of this baked oatmeal bars recipe is my friend Elisabeth. She created it in a desperate quest to find a healthy oatmeal breakfast bar that wasn’t as sweet as Healthy Oatmeal Cookies and would keep her first-year medical-resident husband full during the long hours he had to endure between breaks at the hospital.
She offered me one while Ben and I were visiting her in Nashville, and I was simultaneously hooked and FULL.
Oatmeal breakfast bars have been a regular in my breakfast and snack recipe rotation ever since (they’re also the base for my Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars).
5 Star Review
“I made these bars for breakfast every day last year!! They are amazing: keep me full all morning, lightly sweet.”— Dawn —
How to Make Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
This soft-baked oatmeal breakfast bar recipe combines the three musketeers of breakfast flavors: peanut butter, banana, and oatmeal. It’s a trio that’s comforting, homey, and classic in the best possible way.
While these oatmeal bars are fine on their own, my favorite way to eat them is warmed up for breakfast with extra sliced bananas and peanut butter.
- Old Fashioned Oats. Make these bars wholesome, filling, and slightly chewy (like these Granola Cookies). For best results, do not swap for quick or instant oats as this will impact the overall texture of the bars.
- Whole Wheat Flour. I will always take any opportunity to sneak in some whole grain goodness into a recipe (see these Apple Oatmeal Cookies. If you don’t have whole wheat flour on hand, you may swap for an equal amount of all-purpose flour.
- Cinnamon. Warm, earthy cinnamon pairs perfectly with the tender, nutty oats, and creamy dreamy peanut butter.
- Banana. Adds moisture and naturally sweetens the bars (just like in Healthy Banana Bread). If you don’t love bananas, you may swap for other fresh or dried fruit. Blueberries are a wonderful substitution and raisins or dried cranberries are another great option.
- Honey. Helps bind the ingredients together, adds sweetness, and helps the bars caramelize and turn golden in the oven.
- Peanut Butter. Gives these oatmeal breakfast bars a subtle peanut butter flavor. Almond butter, sun butter, or cashew butter may also be used.
- Applesauce. Another all-natural sweetener for these healthy oat bars that also adds moisture and helps bind everything together. (It does the same thing for these Applesauce Muffins.)
- Milk. Helps bring everything together into a cohesive batter.
- Baking Powder. Gives these bars a gentle rise and soft-baked texture.
- Egg. Keeps these bars soft and tender.
- Vanilla. Just a kiss of pure vanilla extract to marry everything together.
- Combine the dry ingredients
- In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, applesauce, egg, honey, peanut butter, and vanilla until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir to combine.
- Fold in the diced banana.
- Pour the batter into a greased baking pan.
- Bake in a 375 degree F oven golden. Remove, cool, and cut into bars. ENJOY!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
Whether you are seeking to survive a shift at the hospital, your 8 a.m. meeting, or looking for an easy snack your kids will love, these portable, tasty, and super-satisfying bars are sure to satisfy.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. This recipe, as it is written, is not gluten free. If you would like to make a gluten free oatmeal breakfast bar, readers have reported success swapping the whole wheat flour for an equal amount of oat flour or almond flour. Be advised that the texture of the bars may turn out slightly different however using one of these swaps.
To be honest, omitting the applesauce isn’t something I recommend. The applesauce both binds and moistens the bars so it’s an important ingredient! The closest thing I can suggest (and readers have reported success with) is pumpkin puree, though it will affect the flavor. Another idea is to try replacing it with half oil and half yogurt, though I haven’t tried it this way, so it would be an experiment.
Possibly. I have not tried making these oat bars vegan so it would be an experiment. I would suggest swapping the honey for maple syrup and the milk for your favorite non-dairy milk of choice. As for the egg, you could try swapping it for a flax egg.
Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk I used unsweetened vanilla almond, but any kind will do nicely
- 3 tablespoons honey (or more if a sweeter bar is preferred)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter creamy or crunchy—I used natural creamy
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 medium banana quartered and diced
- Place rack in the center preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8 inch square pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, combine the milk, applesauce, egg, honey, peanut butter, and vanilla.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir to combine. The batter will be very wet.
- Fold in the diced banana, then pour into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until thickened and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool, cut into bars, and serve.
- TO STORE: Once cooled, bars can be wrapped individually in plastic and kept in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze in a zip-top bag for up to 4 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours before serving.
- BIGGER BATCH: You may increase the ingredient quantities by 1.5 and bake in a 9×13 inch pan for 25-30 minutes to yield more bars.
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