Looking for a fun apple treat to make this season? Try these healthy apple oatmeal bars! You’ll love the combo of sweet apples, aromatic cinnamon, and hearty whole grain oats. These bars are great to enjoy for breakfast or as a snack. Try them topped with a little vanilla yogurt (Greek or plant-based) for a flavor combo similar to apple pie ‘n ice cream.
Note: This post was first published in 2016. It has been updated in 2023 with new images and content.
Here’s a photo of all the ingredients you’ll need. This recipe has two layers; let’s start with the ingredients for the base layer:
And here are the ingredients for the top layer:
Here are some selected ingredient notes you may find helpful:
- Chia seeds – Cha, cha, cha, chia! These little seeds are nutritional powerhouses, offering both fiber and healthy fats. You can usually find them in the natural section of the grocery store, and they’re also easy to find online on Amazon.
- Powdered peanut butter – This offers the slightest hint of peanut butter flavor and adds a little extra protein to the base.
- Banana – Use an overripe banana for this recipe; it should have lots of brown spots. This adds moisture to the base and tastes slightly sweeter. (Side note – if you’ve got extra browning bananas, definitely try these olive oil banana muffins – they’re so good!).
You’ll find the full recipe amounts and instructions in the recipe card below, but here’s a helpful overview with photos and tips.
Start by making the base. Mash banana in a large mixing bowl, then add the maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla.
Add the oats, powdered peanut butter, and salt to the bowl, and stir well.
Press the base mixture into a lightly greased 8×8 pan, and bake that at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Mix all the ingredients for the topping in a large mixing bowl.
When the base is done baking, pour the topping ingredients on, and press the mixture evenly onto the base. Place that back in the oven, and bake for another 15 minutes.
When it’s done, let it cool completely in the baking dish.
Then you can cut it into nine squares. I like to just cut it and leave it in the baking dish, and cover that with plastic wrap to store in the fridge.
Note that these bars aren’t super solid like granola bars, so you won’t be able to grab one with your hand and eat it on the go. It’s something you’ll want to put on a plate and eat with a fork. And while you can eat them warm or cold, I definitely prefer them popped in the microwave for about 15 seconds if they’ve been stored in the fridge.
My very favorite way to eat them is to top them with a big scoop of vanilla Greek yogurt. Together it is very reminiscent of the apple pie and ice cream combo, but in a much healthier way. If you follow a vegan diet, feel free to use a plant-based yogurt as an optional topping!
Here are some common questions that may come up as you’re preparing this recipe:
Store these in the refrigerator, either by covering the original cooled baking dish with plastic wrap, or by placing the squares in an airtight container. Enjoy within 4-5 days.
Choose certified gluten free oats. While oats are naturally gluten free, many are subject to contamination during growth and processing, so looking for a certified gluten free label is important.
Yes! Feel free to experiment with other fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or pears.
As a dietitian, I love this recipe because it combines wholesome foods into a tasty and versatile dish. These can be meal prepped ahead of time on Sunday, and then enjoyed as you please throughout the week.
For all my active readers – these bars provide healthy carbohydrates to help fuel your fitness, along with fiber to help with digestive health and blood sugar control.
If you’re planning to eat this at a meal rather than for a snack, you can combine them with a source of protein for a balanced option (like adding a dollop of Greek yogurt on top, or pairing them with another protein-rich breakfast item).
These bars are also a good source of magnesium and zinc, both of which are key minerals that folks may fall short on.
More Apple Recipes
If you’re looking for more tasty apple recipes to make this fall, be sure to give one of these better-for-you options a try:
- Honey apple crisp
- Lower sugar vegan apple muffins
- Cranberry apple breakfast quinoa
- Air fryer baked apples
- Chicken apple meatballs
I hope you enjoy these apple breakfast or snack bars! If you get a chance to try them, feel free to leave a recipe rating or comment below.
Apple Oatmeal Bars
For the base:
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten free if needed)
- 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the topping:
- ½ cup rolled oats (certified gluten free if needed)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 small apples, peeled and sliced (or 2 medium-large apples)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 lemon, juiced
Optional for serving:
- Vanilla yogurt (Greek or vegan)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients for the base: mashed banana, maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
- Add the oats, powdered peanut butter, and salt (for the base) to the bowl, and stir well.
- Press the base into the greased baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the topping: oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, sliced apples, maple syrup, and lemon juice.
- When the base is done baking, add the topping and press down into base. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let cool in the baking dish, and cut into 9 squares. If desired, serve with a scoop of vanilla yogurt (Greek or vegan). Store leftovers in the fridge.
- This recipe is easily made gluten free by choosing certified gluten free oats.
- The base and topping for this recipe is vegan. If you follow a vegan diet and choose to top this with yogurt, be sure to choose a plant-based yogurt. If you do not follow a vegan diet, I recommend Greek yogurt for the added protein as a topping.
- These apple oatmeal bars will hold together in their shape on a plate, but are not meant to be picked up and eaten by hand (they may crumble). Serve on a plate and eat with a fork.
Feel free to pin this post to save for later!