Healthy Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars

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This easy peanut butter breakfast bars recipe is made in one bowl in 30 minutes, and is loaded with fiber, protein & omega-3s to keep you full all morning long!

front view of a stack of four healthy breakfast bars


When I decided to start this website in 2016, I knew right away that this would be my very first post. These Healthy Breakfast Bars have been my constant companion for the last 15 years are are, hands down, my favorite recipe of all time.

These breakfast bars gave me energy through my career as a high school chemistry teacher. They helped me grow all the necessary parts of our very first tiny little human, and the second, and the third, and the fourth, and the fifth, and the sixth.

These healthy oatmeal breakfast bars sustained me as we moved across the country away form all our friends and family. Every night when my head hits the pillow and I close my eyes, I know one of these beauties will be waiting for me when I wake up. I love them. Truly I do.

I mean, what’s not to love? These breakfast bars are full of fiber, protein, potassium, omega-3s, and are SO delicious. They are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, but they are hearty enough to keep you full for hours. And they’re easy to make! To me, they are perfect.

front view of a healthy breakfast bar

Healthy Breakfast Bars: Ingredients & Substitutions 

I get a lot of questions about possible substitutions for this breakfast bar recipe, so let’s chat about them now! A great thing about this recipe is that it’s fairly customizable.

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in the breakfast bars recipe
  • Quick Cooking Oats. Old fashioned oats work well, using them will result in a chewier texture.
  • Almond flour/meal: If you’d prefer to not use almond meal, omit it and increase the amount of oatmeal by ½ cup.
  • Ground Flaxseed: You may substitute ½ cup of almond meal or extra oats in place of the ground flaxseed.
  • Protein Powder: This is an optional ingredient. I love using Vanilla Protein Powder for a little flavor and protein boost, but you can omit it entirely if you don’t keep this ingredient on hand!
  • Honey: maple syrup is a good substitute. Or, add an extra banana or an extra ¼ cup applesauce instead if you’d prefer a less-sweet, sugar free option.
  • Peanut Butter:  I use creamy or crunchy and choose your favorite variety.
Overhead view of five healthy breakfast bars cut into squares

How to Make Breakfast Bars 

Since I have made this breakfast bar recipe every week for 15 years now, I’m pretty sure I could make them in my sleep! However, in order to be helpful I want to walk through all the steps in this recipe for you.

Combine Wet Ingredients 

To make these breakfast bars in one bowl, start by mashing the banana. I use a potato masher, but a fork would work as well.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir until the mixture is uniform throughout!

two overhead photos of mixing the wet ingredients together in this breakfast bars recipe

Add Dry Ingredients

Next, add all the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir to combine.

As you can see, the final mixture should not be runny. It should be moist but not at all liquidy.

two photos showing how to make breakfast bars - adding dry ingredients before and after mixing

Bake for 20 Minutes

This healthy breakfast bars recipe requires two sessions of baking. First, bake the breakfast bars naked (without any peanut butter on top) for 20 minutes.

The top should be slightly firm when the breakfast bars are removed from the oven. Since all ovens are different your baking time may vary slightly. However, it is important that the top isn’t mushy and that you can spread peanut butter around on it without it becoming a mess!

overhead view of hands spreading the breakfast bar batter into a square pan with a white spatula before baking.

Top With Peanut Butter

After 20 minutes of baking, remove the oatmeal breakfast bars from the oven and spread a layer of peanut butter on top. The amount you use will depend on your taste.

I enjoy a super thick layer of peanut butter, so I use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Use as much or as little as you’d like!

overhead view of hands spreading the peanut butter over partially baked breakfast bars

Bake for 10 Additional Minutes

Return the breakfast bars topped with peanut butter to the oven for 10 more minutes. This step sets the peanut butter and finishes baking the bars.

As you can see, the final product will have nice little sinkholes of peanut butter on top! YUM!

overhead photo of breakfast bars after baking

Chill Overnight

These breakfast bars are best served cold. I always make them the day before I want to eat them and let them cool in the refrigerator overnight.

I have eaten them warm when I didn’t have my act together and they’re still good, but not as good if catch my drift!

Cut & Enjoy

Finally, once the breakfast bars have cooled in the pan overnight, cut them into squares and enjoy! Or you can cut them and save them for later! I always cut them into 9 breakfast bars, because it’s the perfect size breakfast for me to enjoy with a green smoothie.

breakfast bars being cut into 9 squares

Store/Freeze

I make a large batch of these (sometimes a double batch) to eat all week long. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw slowly in the refrigerator (do not microwave).

3 Healthy Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars with a cup of coffee in the background

Breakfast Bars Recipe FAQs

How do you store breakfast bars? 

To store these breakfast bars, simply cut them and put them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you think it will be over a week before you finish them all, I recommend wrapping them individually in plastic wrap and then putting them in an airtight container.

How long do breakfast bars last? 

If stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator these breakfast bars will last for up to one week!

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, double the ingredients and bake in a 9×13″ pan. You may need to bake them 5 minutes longer.

a peanut butter breakfast bar on a plate with a bite taken out of it.

If you make something from JoyFoodSunshine I would love to see your creations. Follow along with me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Tag me in your photos #joyfoodsunshine @joyfoodsunshine Don’t forget to rate this recipe and leave a comment below.

Healthy Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars Recipe

Laura
This easy peanut butter breakfast bars recipe is made in one bowl in 30 minutes, and is loaded with fiber, protein & omega-3s to keep you full all morning long! Plus they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free and vegan! I have eaten one every day for almost 15 years – it's my all-time favorite recipe.
4.97 from 81 votes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 9 Breakfast Bars
Calories 247.1
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Chilling time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Topping

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 square baking dish
  • In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients (oats, almond meal, flaxseed, salt, cinnamon and protein powder if using), set aside. (alternately add the dry ingredients after mixing the wet ingredients). 
  • In a large bowl mash the banana. Add applesauce, honey, 1/4 cup peanut butter and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Stir dry ingredients into wet until combined. Spread mixture into the pan (should be moist but not soupy).
  • Bake 20 minutes (should be slightly brown around the edges and top should be set), remove from oven and spread peanut butter over the top of the bars (I like a really thick layer of peanut butter but it’s to your own preference)
  • Continue baking for 10 minutes more or until firm and lightly browned around the edges. At this point the peanut butter layer will have tiny little bubbles in it.
  • Cool completely in the refrigerator and cut into 6 or 9 bars. Wrap each with plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the fridge for a quick grab and go breakfast!

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions 
  • Quick Cooking Oats. Old fashioned oats work well, using them will result in a chewier texture.
  • Almond flour/meal: If you’d prefer to not use almond meal, omit it and increase the amount of oatmeal by ½ cup.
  • Ground Flaxseed: You may substitute ½ cup of almond meal or extra oats in place of the ground flaxseed.
  • Protein Powder: This is an optional ingredient. I love using Vanilla Protein Powder for a little flavor and protein boost, but you can omit it entirely if you don’t keep this ingredient on hand!
  • Honey: maple syrup is a good substitute. Or, add an extra banana or an extra ¼ cup applesauce instead if you’d prefer a less-sweet, sugar free option.
  • Peanut Butter:  I use creamy or crunchy and choose your favorite variety.
Store/Freeze
I make a large batch of these (sometimes a double batch) to eat all week long. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw slowly in the refrigerator (do not microwave).

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 247.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 29.1g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12.2g | Potassium: 113.7mg | Fiber: 7.9g | Sugar: 9.6g | Vitamin C: 3.7mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!
front view of a stack of two breakfast bars

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156 Comments

  1. Just waiting for the oven timer :)! The Calories: 247.1kcal per bar is with or without peanut butter on the top?
    Thank you !

  2. 5 stars
    I am so happy with these! They are absolutely delicious. My stomach is very happy. 🙂 The only aspects of the recipe I changed were that I included 1 full scoop of chocolate protein powder (Pescience Chocolate Frosted Cupcake) and decided to do without the honey because I used a peanut butter that already has some cane sugar in it (Peanut Butter & Co Smooth Operator). These bars had the most perfect chewy consistency and was pleasantly surprised with the protein content in one serving. These will definitely become a staple!

    1. Thank you Angela! This is my all-time favorite recipe, so I always love when other people enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Wowza! I made these in week 2 of the quarantine and although I was missing a few items (applesauce=1/2 smashed up apple & also missing was almond flour), nothing went to waste, I felt it could only get better. Made it again today, and I am so in love! Now I stand vigil, keeping these kids away!!!! Mama-no-share!

  4. These were delicious made them with less brown sugar and they turned out perfect, just stuck them in the freezer on super cool to let them sit and that turned out great, maybe had to leave them in there for less than 15 minutes in the freezer on super freeze setting: they last forever and are very filling.

  5. Question of the century! Has anyone made a substitution on the bananas? If you have, can you share what you used? I want to make a banana free version for my daughter-in-law and granddaughter since they are allergic to bananas.

    1. Hey dawn! I’d suggest substituting 1 cup of applesauce and then you may need to slightly increase the oats. You could also try pumpkin!

      1. Keep in mind pumpkin is not sweet like banana (contains fructose)and will change the sweetness of the bars.

  6. Is there anything to sub for the oats? I am celiac and even gf oats don’t work. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. This bar looks dreamy!

    1. I used my food processor to grind up buckwheat groats (which are gluten free). I used 1.5c of the ground up buckwheat groats. They are yummy! Hope this helps!

  7. 5 stars
    Made these last night and enjoyed my first this morning!! Very yummy! I followed the recipe as written. (Only thing I added was a few mini choc chips sprinkled on top) I was skeptical that they’d be soggy or wet from all the banana…;but was pleasantly surprised with their firm moist texture! I’m out of work for the next 3 weeks because of a broken arm and needed something satisfying for breakfast that would keep me on the “healthier” track…..these definitely satisfy that need!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  8. 5 stars
    Absolutely love these. I have made them every Sunday since discovering the recipe in the beginning of the month. I like to add crunchy peanut butter to the top layer to add texture. Also, last time I added blueberries on top and it was quite delicious! 10/10

  9. 5 stars
    Very tasty and easy to make, will definitely make again! My daughter likes to heat it up a little and put a few chocolate chips on top!