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! 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.

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.

  • Quick Cooking Oats. These breakfast bars have the best texture when they’re made with quick cooking oats. However, you can use old-fashioned oats instead just understand they will be a little chewier with a more chunky texture. I have put rolled oats in the blender and pulsed 2-3 times to create the texture of quick-cooking oats when I ran out.
  • Almond flour/meal: I love putting almond meal in these breakfast bars for the added protein. If you are allergic to almonds you may substitute 1/2 cup of extra quick-cooking oats in place of the almond meal.
  • Ground Flaxseed: You may substitute 1/2 cup of almond meal or extra oats in place of the ground flaxseed.
  • Protein Powder: This is a completely 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: Honey is my favorite liquid sweetener to use in this breakfast bar recipe, and pure maple syrup (which is a great vegan substitution), comes in a close second. Really, any liquid sweetener can be substituted for honey. You also may use an extra banana or an extra 1/4 cup of applesauce instead if you’d prefer a less-sweet, sugar free option!
  • Peanut Butter:  I usually use two types of peanut butter when I make this recipe. For the bars themselves I use a natural creamy peanut butter. For the top I like to use a mixture of a natural peanut butter and one that is more firm. This is totally personal preference, I just like the way the top tastes with two different varieties! Feel free to substitute any creamy nut or seed butter of your choice, however peanut butter is my favorite!
Overhead view of five healthy breakfast bars cut into squares

How to make healthy 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 the dry ingredients and mix

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.

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 an additional 10 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

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.

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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 77 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 
 

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. These breakfast bars have the best texture when they’re made with quick cooking oats. However, you can use old-fashioned oats instead just understand they will be a little chewier with a more chunky texture. I have put rolled oats in the blender and pulsed 2-3 times to create the texture of quick-cooking oats when I ran out.
  • Almond flour/meal: I love putting almond meal in these breakfast bars for the added protein. If you are allergic to almonds you may substitute 1/2 cup of extra quick-cooking oats in place of the almond meal.
  • Ground Flaxseed: You may substitute 1/2 cup of almond meal or extra oats in place of the ground flaxseed.
  • Protein Powder: This is a completely 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: Honey is my favorite liquid sweetener to use in this breakfast bar recipe, and pure maple syrup (which is a great vegan substitution), comes in a close second. Really, any liquid sweetener can be substituted for honey. You also may use an extra banana or an extra 1/4 cup of applesauce instead if you’d prefer a less-sweet, sugar free option!
  • Peanut Butter:  I usually use two types of peanut butter when I make this recipe. For the bars themselves I use a natural creamy peanut butter. For the top I like to use a mixture of a natural peanut butter and one that is more firm. This is totally personal preference, I just like the way the top tastes with two different varieties! Feel free to substitute any creamy nut or seed butter of your choice, however peanut butter is my favorite!

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!

I am a creature of habit. I eat one of these peanut butter oatmeal breakfast bars every.single.morning with my favorite green smoothie. People don’t understand me. “Don’t you get tired of eating the same thing?” They ask. “Wouldn’t you rather mix it up?” They say.

No, I don’t believe I would. But I am grateful for your concern about my lack of breakfast-food variety.  

I have tried mixing it up in the mornings, but it’s no use. I find myself wishing I had just eaten one of these breakfast bars. So if it ain’t broke I won’t fix it and I’ll just keep on keeping on.

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 stack of two breakfast bars

Dear breakfast bars, to me, you are perfect.

Love, Laura.

This recipe was originally published on January 26, 2016 as the first post on JoyFoodSunshine! It has been updated with new photos, a video and step-by-step instructions, but the recipe remains unchanged!

The links in this post are affiliate links, thank you for supporting JoyFoodSunshine.




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Recipe Rating




155 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these last week for the first time and loved them so much that I had one everyday for breakfast. They DO keep me full for hours as well! So, I’m making them again right now for this week. My husband just asked me why I was making them again since I just made them last week… lol. Great recipe!!

  2. 5 stars
    Do you have your own cookbook. These recipes are great Laura!! I would love too buy one, if not you should make one it would be awesome.

    1. Hey Dee! Thank you so much! Right now I don’t have the bandwidth to create a cookbook – however I imagine once my kids are older I might write one!

  3. 5 stars
    I baked these yesterday and they are truly delicious. I can see why you eat them every day!
    For my batch, I added roasted, unsalted pumpkin and sunflower seeds as well as chocolate chips so that I could eat mine as a sweet treat. They turned out perfect and I plan to keep them on hand often. I cut mine into smaller squares and got 16 servings which is roughly 140 calories. Thank you for the recipe!

  4. If you’re not vegan, could you put an egg in these instead of the flax meal?

    Also, considering adding chia seeds!

  5. Has anyone tried to make a chocolate version of these? Perhaps with the addition of coco powder and chocolate chips?

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious! A question though, does the nutritional info at the bottom include the addition of the optional protein powder, or is it with it omitted?

  7. 5 stars
    Your testimony of DAILY consumption for years made me want to try these. I made them in an 11×7 with old fashioned oats and they are GREAT! I put some in the freezer for grab and go breakfast and also to hide them from my young adult sons who will devour the whole pan if I don’t stash some. Thanks Laura!