I don't know about you, but the epitome of my childhood snack was a sliced nanner with a little mound of peanut butter on each round. I'm sure my mom and Butchie (grandma) hated me because I only wanted to eat it in this exact fashion, so bless their souls.
This recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars came after I was accidentally delivered 3 bunches of bananas instead of 3 single bananas....not the worst thing that's ever happened 😉 I took that idea of my childhood snack and turned it into something a bit more decadent!
Tips for making the Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars
- Oats. First, make sure you grind up your ¾ cup of oats to the appropriate consistency. They should definitely be broken down, but not as fine as sand. We want to maximize texture in these bad boys! Keep the remaining ¼ cup of oats whole so your topping looks awesomely shaggy.
- Peanut Butter. You want creamy peanut butter! I always use Jiff, but Skippy or Peter Pan would also be good options. Stay away from natural peanut butters -- they're too runny and have too much oil.
- Bananas. You want rather ripe bananas because that's where the flavor is! We want speckled brown, but not completely brown for this recipe. Use your two ripest bananas to mash, and your two less ripe bananas to slice.
- 8x8 inch pan. If I can recommend ONE baking pan investment, it is certainly the USA Pan 8 inch Square Pan. Completely straight sides gives you the best looking baked goods and you never have the trim off any sides! This is not sponsored, I just truly love that pan.
Can I use other types of oats?
Yes (ish) and no. You cannot use steel cut oats for this recipe as they will be much too hard without any liquid added. You can use instant or quick cooking oats in a pinch, but they will not provide as much texture as intended with the recipe. Stick with rolled oats if you can!
Do I have to let the bars cool completely?
Yes. Be sure to cool them on a wire rack (or so the base is lifted off of the counter) so the air can circulate. Keep the bars in the pan until they are completely cool. You need the banana layer to cool down and set up or else it can squish out while cutting into the bars if they're still too hot! No bueno.
How do I store the Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars?
Store the Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars at room temperature, covered, for two days. Because of the high moisture content in the bananas, the bars become too soft around day three.
Want more banana recipes?
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars
- Food processor or nutribullet
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer
- 8x8 inch square pan
- Parchment paper
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (210 g)
- 1 cup rolled oats divided (100 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (240 g)
- ½ cup + 2 T unsalted butter room temperature (142 g)
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed (100 g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 4 bananas 2 mashed (very ripe) & two sliced (ripe)
- 1.5 T all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease and parchment line (with overhangs so it's easy to remove) an 8x8 inch square baking pan.
- In a food processor, pulse ¾ cups of the rolled oats until they become smaller. Sand texture is too fine, but you definitely want to break them down a bit.
- Combine the 1 ¾ cups flour, ground oats, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a handheld mixer), beat the butter, peanut butter, and sugar until combined. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until incorporated, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Add ⅔ of the mixture to the prepared pan and press down evenly into all corners and sides.
- In a separate bowl, combine the leftover ⅓ of the flour and oat mixture, add in the remaining ¼ of whole rolled oats and bring together with a fork. You will have to break up the mixture a bit with the fork, but you want to keep the pieces crumbly (think a streusel topping).
- Next, prepare your bananas. Slice two bananas into ¼ inch thick rounds and mash the other two bananas with a fork. Add the 1.5 T of flour to the mashed bananas and mix to combine.
- Spread the mashed bananas evenly over the base of the bars, then layer the banana slices on top. Sprinkle the remaining oat crumbles evenly over top of the bars.
- Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
- Let cool completely in the pan, then remove and cut into 9 or 16 pieces.