I completely screwed up while packing for my last road trip.
The day before I left, I loaded gifts for my parents into the trunk of my car and placed my dog’s spare bed in the backseat. I threw clothes into a suitcase, tossed two cozy scarves on top, and even remembered to bring my daily supplements and vitamins.
Before heading to bed, I checked the meticulous “To Do” list saved on my phone, which included everything left to grab, turn off, lock up, and shut down in the morning. I mentally reviewed each one and the order in which I planned to do them as I shut my eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Yet partway through the thick Los Angeles traffic the following morning, cars inching along on either side of me while I slumped over and glanced at the clock for the hundredth time, I stiffened, sat straight up, and nearly whacked my forehead with my palm as a thought entered my mind.
I forgot to bring the bananas.
The long, beautiful, bright yellow, absolutely perfect bananas sitting on my counter. Right next to the pistachios and dark chocolate bars — things I actually did remember to pack — that I planned to snack on during my drive.
I sighed, leaned back, and checked the clock again, all while praying that (a) I’d make it through LA sometime this century and (b) the bananas wouldn’t turn gross and moldy or attract millions of ants by the time I returned.
By some miracle…
The universe granted both of my wishes. It only took an extra hour to slog through the Southern California traffic, and those bananas merely looked brown and spotty when we were reunited a week later. No fuzzy green stuff or ants in sight.
I grinned at my good luck, reached for my mixing bowls, and soon pulled a batch of these healthy banana oatmeal cookies from the oven. Perhaps I was influenced by the relief coursing through my veins, but… I thought they were a much better use of those bananas than eating them plain as a road trip snack!
QUICK OVERVIEW – HEALTHY BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES
Difficulty: Mainly easy, including for many beginner bakers.
Taste: Cozy and sweet with a bright fruity banana flavor and notes of warm cinnamon in the background.
Texture: Soft and chewy with tender oats in every bite.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES
Let’s talk about the ingredients you’ll need to make these healthy banana oatmeal cookies! I’m hoping it’s safe to assume you have staples like baking powder, vanilla, and salt… So we’ll mainly cover the more interesting and important ones.
Oats. It’s virtually impossible to make oatmeal cookies without them! For this recipe, you’ll need instant oats. They’re also called “quick cooking” or “one-minute” oats. They’re not the ones sold in individual brown paper packets with flavors like apple cinnamon or maple brown sugar!
Instant oats only contain one ingredient: oats! They’re smaller and thinner than traditional old-fashioned rolled oats. That size difference means they soften faster, especially in baking recipes, and that gives your banana oatmeal cookies the best soft and chewy texture.
Hint: You can find instant oats right next to the old-fashioned rolled oats at the grocery store!
Tip: Gluten free instant oats work equally well, if you’d like to make your healthy banana oatmeal cookies gluten free.
Flour. To make these oatmeal cookies healthier, I used whole wheat flour. I really like how it adds extra fiber and micronutrients to baked goods. In this recipe, the combination of cinnamon and sweetness of the mashed banana basically mask the whole wheat flour flavor some people occasionally detect, so these oatmeal cookies taste normal — not “healthy” at all!
Tip: If you’d like to make your banana oatmeal cookies gluten free, I’ve included my top recommendations in the Notes section of the recipe, plus a few more on my Oatmeal Cookie FAQ Page!
Butter or coconut oil. Because you aren’t using any eggs to make these cookies (more on that momentarily!), the butter or coconut oil gives them their nice chewy texture. Both work equally well, and stick-style vegan butter does too — if you’d like to make these healthy oatmeal cookies vegan, dairy free, and nut free!
Tip: I was highly surprised by how well this vegan butter worked in this recipe! It didn’t splatter or pop at all when I melted it in the microwave (like some other brands do), and nobody could tell the difference between the batch made with it versus the ones made with regular unsalted butter. (It makes great blueberry scones too!)
I know some people might be tempted to replace the butter or coconut oil with more mashed banana to make their cookies fat free — but I really hope you don’t! Without any butter or coconut oil, these cookies have a very bread-like, gummy, or even tough texture. You’re only using 2 tablespoons (less than ½ teaspoon per cookie!), and that small amount makes a huge difference in the cookies’ texture.
Bananas. It’d be impossible to make banana oatmeal cookies without the fruit! For the best results, use the ripest, darkest, spottiest bananas that you have. The ones that are pure brown are ideal! These extra ripe (or even borderline overripe!) bananas have a sweeter taste and stronger flavor. They also add even more moisture to the cookie dough, which gives your oatmeal cookies an even softer and chewier texture.
Over the years, I’ve tested this recipe with different amounts of mashed banana. Although ¼ cup is my typical standard, especially when adding other mix-ins (like peanut butter, strawberries, or chocolate chips!) to prevent the banana from overwhelming those other flavors… I found I wanted a bit of a sweeter and stronger banana flavor when leaving the cookies plain. So for this more basic version, you’ll use 6 tablespoons of mashed banana instead.
Pure maple syrup. Instead of refined granulated sugar, you’ll sweeten these healthy banana oatmeal cookies with pure maple syrup. It’s the kind that comes directly from maple trees, and it’s generally sold in thin glass bottles or squat plastic jugs (like this!). There should only be one ingredient on the label: maple syrup!
Tip: I don’t recommend using pancake syrup or sugar free maple syrup. These will negatively impact the texture of your cookies — especially the latter. Because it’s generally water-based, it tends to make these oatmeal cookies really bready and dry.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES
Now let’s cover how to make these healthy banana oatmeal cookies! Like I mentioned earlier, this recipe is simple and straightforward — but I still have some tips for you to make sure your cookies turn out perfectly.
Measure the ingredients correctly. This is really important! Mismeasuring can drastically change the taste and texture of your oatmeal cookies.
For the flour and oats, use this method (and my fork trick!) or a kitchen scale. ← That’s the one I own, and I love how it makes my baked goods turn out with the perfect taste and texture every time.
The oats act like little sponges and soak up lots of moisture from the cookie dough. If you add too much of the oats or flour or scoop them directly from their containers, your cookies will turn out cakey, bready, or dry — not soft and chewy. It takes a few extra moments, but I promise it’s worth the time to measure correctly!
For the mashed banana, always measure it by cups, tablespoons, or grams — never by banana size! Not all “small,” “medium,” or “large” bananas are the exact same size… And adding too much or not enough mashed banana can throw off the entire texture of your baked treats. (Trust me; I know from personal experience! 😉 )
Room temperature ingredients. This is especially important because of the butter or coconut oil. To make this recipe as easy as possible, you’ll use melted butter or coconut oil instead of softened. (I rarely remember to set out butter far enough in advance for it to soften properly!) However…
If any of your ingredients are cold and not at room temperature, they’ll immediately re-solidify the butter or coconut oil. Pure maple syrup tends to be the main offender here! Most maple syrup brands recommend storing it in the refrigerator once you’ve opened the bottle, so remember to set it out in advance — or just pop it in the microwave for a bit to quickly bring it up to room temperature!
Let the cookie dough rest. When you first mix everything together, the cookie dough will be really shaggy and wet. You may even think I’m crazy… It almost resembles thick muffin batter more than cookie dough!
However, letting it sit on the counter for a bit allows the oats to work their magic and start soaking up moisture. This stiffens the cookie dough and makes it easier to work with.
Flatten and shape. After resting, the cookie dough will still be too sticky to shape with your hands, so use a spoon and spatula to transfer it to your baking sheet. (I use these mini spatulas — aren’t they cute?)
You’ll also need to flatten the cookie dough prior to baking. Because of the banana, these oatmeal cookies don’t spread while baking, so they’ll look almost exactly the same before and after their trip to the oven… Just no longer raw!
Tip: If you’d like your cookies to be nice round circles, use a spatula to smooth out their edges after flattening the mounds of cookie dough. This is exactly what I do to make my cookies — I don’t use any special equipment! Just those adorable mini spatulas… And some patience. 😉
Bake — but not too long! Your banana oatmeal cookies are done baking when the centers still feel a bit soft and underdone. The heat from the warm baking sheet will cook those centers all the way through (without drying out the edges!) while you let them rest before transferring them to a wire rack.
Pro Tip: If your cookies are a bit lopsided and not quite as round as you’d like after baking, immediately use a butter knife to smooth out any lumps or bumps around their edges. You have to do this the moment you remove them from the oven, while the cookies are still piping hot and before they’ve fully set. Besides the mini spatula and patience, this is my other trick for making beautiful, perfectly round cookies!
FAQS ABOUT BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES
Are these healthy banana oatmeal cookies low calorie, gluten free, dairy free, eggless, or vegan?
Yes — to everything! As written, this oatmeal cookie recipe is naturally clean eating, low fat, dairy free, egg free, vegan, and made with no refined sugar. If you use butter, whether unsalted or the stick-style vegan kind, then your oatmeal cookies will also be nut free.
I’ve included my top gluten free recommendations in the Notes section of the recipe, plus a few more on my Oatmeal Cookie FAQ Page. (There’s a link to this FAQ Page in the Notes section of the recipe too!)
Can I use old-fashioned rolled oats?
Yes — but pulse them in a food processor or blender first! You want them to be about ¼ to ⅛ of their original size. This makes them closer in size and thickness to instant oats, so your cookies will still be just as soft and chewy.
Can I substitute more banana for the butter or oil? Or applesauce?
Please don’t! It’ll change the texture of your oatmeal cookies… And not in a good way. See the “Banana” header in the Ingredients section above for more information!
Can I use a different sweetener?
You sure can! I’ve shared a few options in the Notes section, and you’ll find more on my Oatmeal Cookie FAQ Page.
Can I use sugar free maple syrup?
I don’t recommend it. Sugar free maple syrup is generally water-based, which often makes your oatmeal cookies turn out bready or dry.
My cookies turned out cakey and dry. Why’s that?
There are a few different culprits! Too much flour, too many oats, not enough mashed banana, or not enough maple syrup will all yield cookies that are cakey, bready, or dry. Overbaking the cookies will also yield a drier texture. See the “Measure the ingredients correctly” and “Bake — but not too long!” sections above for more information!
How should I store these healthy banana oatmeal cookies? And how long will they keep?
Store them in an airtight container. If left at room temperature, they’ll last for a couple of days. If refrigerated, they’ll last for at least four or five — if not closer to a week or more.
Can I freeze these banana oatmeal cookies?
Absolutely! Once fully baked and cooled, these oatmeal cookies freeze really well. I like to reheat individual frozen cookies in the microwave on 30% power until warmed all the way through. When thawed like this, they almost taste freshly baked!
Who needs banana bread when you can have banana cookies — in less than half the time?? 😉 And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy banana oatmeal cookies!
Healthy Banana Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup (100g) instant oats (gluten free if necessary and measured like this)
- ¾ cup (90g) whole wheat flour or gluten free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp (28g) coconut oil or stick-style vegan butter, melted and cooled slightly (see Notes!)
- 6 tbsp (95g) mashed banana (see Notes!)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120mL) pure maple syrup
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the coconut oil or butter, mashed banana, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Stir in the maple syrup. Add in the oat mixture, and stir until just incorporated. Let the cookie dough rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Using a spoon and spatula, drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet. Flatten to ⅜”-thick using a spatula. Bake at 325°F for 9-12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Healthy Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Healthy Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Healthy Banana Monster Cookies
♡ Healthy Banana Cupcakes
♡ Healthy Banana Cake
♡ Healthy Banana Brownies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy oatmeal cookie recipes and healthy banana recipes!
Karyn Hooper says...
Why do you not publish calorie information with your recipes?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipes, Karyn! The full nutrition information (including calories per serving!) is included directly underneath each recipe box. Just look for the text that reads “View Nutrition Information” and you’ll find it! I know it can be easy to miss, but I promise it’s there. 🙂
I’d love to hear what you think of these oatmeal cookies if you end up making them — or any of my other recipes that you decide to try making too!
Radhika sharma says...
I am not someone who obsesses over Cookies but I am obsessed with this recipe of yours, I tried it recently and now my siblings want more of it. Honestly you have made my job difficult haha , but seriously , I am in love with this dish. Keep feeding us such delicious recipes . Thanks , Radhika Sharma https://theasianfoodbaby.com
I’m honored, Radhika! It means a lot that you enjoyed these cookies so much, especially hearing you’re not usually someone who obsesses over them. That’s the best kind of compliment there is! Thank you for taking the time to let me know and rate the recipe — I’m touched! 🙂
Does it have a banana tastes to it?
Stacey @ Amy's Healthy Baking says...
I really appreciate your interest in this recipe, Thi! Yes, these cookies do have a banana taste to them. We left a note about what kind of bananas to use for a stronger banana taste in the Notes section, directly below the recipe. It can be easy to miss!
If you’d like to make an oatmeal cookie without the banana flavor, we have a lot to choose from. You can find the recipes for other options here:
I’d love to hear what you think if you try any of these recipes! 🙂
Wonderful cookies, I did add a cup of chopped walnuts that were hanging around with nothing better to do. So yummy!
Stacey @ Amy's Healthy Baking says...
I’m so glad you enjoyed these cookies, Gail! I love the idea of the added walnuts! I always try to use up extra ingredients when I bake too. 😉 Thanks for taking the time to share!
I am looking forward to trying your healthy oatmeal recipes soon. I done tend to use vanilla extract in my baking as believe the othe ingredients have their own unique flavour. What is the reason behind using vanilla in your recipes? Thank you
Stacey @ Amy's Healthy Baking says...
I’m so happy to hear that you are excited about our oatmeal recipes, Gail!
I can definitely appreciate what you said about other ingredients having their own unique flavor. Especially when you want those to be the flavors you taste the most! We like to use vanilla in a lot of our recipes because it helps to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients. A lot of times, vanilla is used in more of a “supportive role”…like when you add pepper to a savory dish you are making for dinner. The goal isn’t to really taste the vanilla, but the aromatics from vanilla extract marry well with other ingredients we do want to taste and helps to intensify their flavor. Omitting vanilla from a recipe won’t change it structurally, but the flavor would be different, maybe even a little more bland. Vanilla gives it a little bit of a flavor boost!
I hope that helps! We’d love to hear about any recipes you try (with or without vanilla)! 😉
These cookies turned out delicious, better than I expected! I’m planning to make a second batch and share them at work. I’m sure everyone will love them. Thanks for the recipe!
Stacey @ Amy's Healthy Baking says...
I’m so happy you enjoyed these cookies that much! That’s so sweet of you to make them to share at work, as well. Thanks for taking the time to share and rate this recipe! 🙂