I told myself I would never call one of my recipes “the best”. I mean come on, it really can’t be the best. Or can it?! There are 100s and 1000s of recipes out there, but I am in love with these banana bread bars so much.
The funny thing is, I am 100% not a baker, but I absolutely love the process. So I slightly tweaked my sister’s amazing banana bread recipe to make them a little lighter and healthier and these bars came out perfect. And are probably one of the best things I’ve ever baked!
Banana bread bars take your classic banana bread, add in some mini chocolate chips (for lots of chocolate goodness), and we turn it into a bar form for a snack, breakfast, on-the-go option, or dessert!
The texture is absolutely perfect – moist, but also light and fluffy, and to be honest, it’s almost like eating cake. They have the perfect banana chocolate flavor combo too.
I’ve shared them with friends, family, and even on Instagram, and you guys were obsessed. So now we have a permanent place for them.
Banana bread bar highlights
- seriously easy to make! They couldn’t be easier to whip up, even if you aren’t that great at baking.
- they are very forgiving as well – sometimes baking can be hard and you need to be very precise. These banana bars are pretty forgiving and easily customizable to what you have on hand.
- made from just 10 simple ingredients
- lightly sweetened – we are using just 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
- gluten-free – but I promise no one would even know!
Banana bread bar ingredients
- gluten-free flour – I used Bob’s Red Mill
- baking soda
- baking powder
- brown/ripe bananas
- chocolate chips – I like to use mini for more chocolatey goodness
How to make chocolate chip banana bread bars
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8×8 pan with a little ghee/butter/oil. You can also line it with parchment paper, but I find it’s not necessary.
- Mix together your dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt – in a small bowl.
- In a separate medium-large bowl, mash your bananas until smooth. If needed, melt your ghee in the microwave for about 10 seconds or in a small saucepan over the stove. Add your egg, ghee, and honey and mix well to combine. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into your greased baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 30-32 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool, cut into 9 pieces, and enjoy!
How to mash brown bananas
- with a fork – this is the easiest and my to-go way. Just add your banana to a bowl and mash them until smooth. It’s hard to ever all the lumps out but try your best.
- electric mixer – you can use either a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Both work the same.
- on the counter – banana bread bars will last on the counter for 2-3 days if your house is not too hot. If it is, I would suggest the fridge.
- in the fridge – first, let the bars cool completely. Add to an airtight sealable glass container or you can wrap the pan you baked them in with tin foil or saran wrap. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
- freeze – let cool completely and place individual bars on a large plate or baking sheet. Place in the freezer and let freeze for 2 hours or until hardened. This will help ensure they freeze individually and won’t stick together. Transfer to a large bag (we love these reusable silicone bags) and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also wrap each one individually and throw it right in the freezer after they have cooled. Thaw by placing them in the refrigerator and then warming up the microwave if desired.
Substitutions or additions
This recipe is surprisingly forgiving considering it’s a baking recipe. Here are some easy substitutions:
- gluten-free flour – I haven’t tried this, but all-purpose flour should work instead of gluten-free flour.
- bananas – it sounds weird to not use all bananas in banana bread bars, but if you don’t have enough bananas, you can use some applesauce or pumpkin puree to make up the difference.
- egg – a flax egg will work the same
- ghee – butter or oil (I would suggest coconut oil) would work instead of ghee.
- honey – any kind of liquid sweetener would work such as maple syrup or agave. If you did want to swap out for a dry or granulated sugar, you would need to add a little more liquid to help ensure they stay moist.
- chocolate chips – mini or regular size chocolate chips will work. I have also used a chocolate bar and just cut it into small pieces.
And we can’t forget about all the different add-ins! Here are a few suggestions:
- nuts – walnuts or pecans would be an awesome addition
- coconut flakes – for a little more natural sweetness and healthy fat
- vanilla extract – 1/2-1 teaspoon would be a good addition for a little more richness
- frosting or glaze – if you really want to get fancy, feel free to add some kind of icing on top for a banana cake feel. Check out this cream cheese frosting for the real deal or this greek yogurt frosting for something with a little added protein.
More healthy baked goods recipes
- pumpkin chocolate chip protein muffins
- paleo zucchini banana bread
- oatmeal chocolate chip muffins
- peanut butter chocolate chip bars
- gingerbread baked oatmeal
- sweet potato blueberry protein muffins
Banana Bread Bars
- 1 cup gluten-free baking flour (148 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium-large brown bananas (275 grams/1 heaping cup mashed)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup ghee, slightly softened (52 grams)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey (22 grams)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips (75 grams)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8×8 pan with a little ghee/butter/oil.
- Mix together your dry ingredients. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl and mix well to combine.
- Combine your wet ingredients. In a separate medium-large bowl, mash your bananas until smooth. If needed, melt your ghee in the microwave for about 10 seconds or in a small saucepan over the stove. Add your egg, softened ghee, and honey and mix well to combine.
- Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
- Bake. Pour the batter into your greased baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 30-32 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool, cut into 9 pieces, and enjoy!