Loaded Banana Bars

If you have a more complex palate and like some crunch along with a variety of flavors these Loaded Banana Bars are for you!

The chocolate chips are our favorite ingredient, but the applesauce keeps the bars moist, while cranberries and walnuts really round out the flavor in this easy breakfast bread.

stack of banana bars on a white oval platter and yellow plaid napkin

Loaded Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

We love that these Loaded Banana Bars are an easy spin on traditional banana bread or Banana Pecan Bread and quicker to make.  There is some debate about whether this is a better breakfast food or dessert.  We’ll let you be the judge!

One of our family’s favorite easy recipe for browning bananas is our Chocolate Chip Banana Bars.  We love making these for breakfast on the go, an after school snack or mid-morning snack for our toddler.  Sometimes we even eat them for dessert!  This recipe is perfect for kids and people like simple flavors.

Sometimes as adults we enjoy more complementary flavors.  The cranberries and walnuts in this new version add a sweetness and crunch that is irresistible.  Once taking a bite we couldn’t stop eating this flavor-packed bread.  Adding nuts was also nice because it kept the kids away, so the pan actually lasted a few days for the adults!

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Our favorite flavor in these banana bars remains the chocolate chips.  We love using mini semi-sweet chips to sprinkle on top.  The flavor is still there with mini chips, but it’s spread out for a better use of the calories.

While baking is often a fairly exact science we enjoy that this recipe does have room for personalization.  The applesauce can be substituted for yogurt, cranberries can be substituted for dried cherries or raisins and walnut can be substituted for a variety of other chopped nuts.  Each small change can really change up the flavors in this banana bread

Banana bars in a 9x9 baking pan loaded with chocolate chips, walnuts and dried cranberries

Another easy recipe with complementary flavors and a nice crunch is our Blueberry Crunch Cake.

How to Make Easy Banana Bars

  1. Grease a 9×9 baking pan and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix mashed bananas, applesauce, eggs, and sugar.
  3. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Slowly stir into the wet mixture.
  4. Gently fold in cranberries, walnuts and chocolate by hand.
  5. Spread into pan and sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top of batter if desired.
  6. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tips for Making Loaded Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

  • Slightly brown bananas work best in this banana bar recipe
  • We prefer applesauce with no sugar added because the chocolate chips make the recipe sweet
  • Fewer mini chocolate chips can be used for a similar amount of flavor
  • The amount of chocolate chips can be scaled back or eliminated to make the recipe healthier
  • Greek yogurt can be substituted for applesauce
  • Pecans or mixed chopped nuts can be substituted for walnuts
  • Dried cherries or raisins can be substituted for dried cranberries
  • Whole dried cranberries or chopped dried cranberries that can be found in the baking chip section both work well in this recipe
Loaded banana bars blend chocolate chips with applesauce, cranberries and walnuts.

Ideas For Lots Of Bananas

Here are some of our favorite banana recipes that work great for after school snacks, a quick breakfast or a sit-down brunch.

Printable Recipe for Loaded Banana Bars

loaded banana bars

Loaded Banana Bars

Servings 9 pieces
Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life
If you have a more complex palate and like some crunch along with a variety of flavors these Loaded Banana Bars are for you!  The chocolate chips are our favorite ingredient, but the applesauce, cranberries and walnuts really round out the flavor in this easy breakfast bread. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/4 cups mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup applesauce we prefer unsweetened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions
 

  • Grease a 9×9 baking pan and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix mashed bananas, applesauce, eggs, and sugar well.
  • In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Slowly stir into the wet mixture.
  • Fold in cranberries, walnuts and chocolate chips by hand. Spread into pan and sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top of batter.
  • Bake for 25 – 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 6gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 267mgPotassium: 267mgFiber: 3gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 80IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!

6 Comments

  1. How much cranberries, walnuts, and chocolate chips to add, please?
    Thanks.

    1. Jennifer Osterholt says:

      So sorry I missed adding that! Just updated the recipe to include 1/3 cup cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts & 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  2. These look great! I don’t see quantities for mini chips, cranberries, and walnuts. I’d love to try them. Thanks!

    1. Jennifer Osterholt says:

      So sorry I missed adding that! Just updated the recipe to include 1/3 cup cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts & 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  3. Could I use chopped fresh cranberries instead of dried?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Great question! I haven’t tested using fresh cranberries, but I think chopping them might work well! Hope this turns out great for you 🙂

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