These whole grain banana oatmeal cookies are soft and chewy, sweetened only with bananas and honey and a few chocolate chips. This is one recipe you’re going to want to double!
Baking with bananas
If you don’t like the taste of bananas, then this recipe definitely isn’t for you! Don’t despair, though. This recipe for simple oatmeal breakfast cookies is a great option. So are these pumpkin oatmeal breakfast cookies.
If you’re like my family and you have a constant rotation of underripe and overripe bananas, both on your kitchen counter and in your freezer, pull up a seat.? You’re in the right place.
Bananas add a natural sweetness to everything from banana bread (how about one with a cinnamon swirl?) to banana muffins and even banana oatmeal muffins. Once they’re almost uncomfortably ripe, you can either bake with them right away or peel, chop and freeze them in a single layer. Then, pile them into a ziptop bag and use them in almost any way you would use fresh bananas.
You can blend your frozen bananas into a smoothie, or thaw them out on the countertop or in the microwave. Then, mash those ripe bananas and bake with them as normal.
One of my favorite ways to bake with them is by pairing them with oats. The creaminess of bananas is a natural complement to the chewiness of oats.
Why these cookies are for breakfast, not dessert
If you’re looking for traditional gluten free oatmeal cookies to satisfy a hankering for everyone’s second favorite buttery dessert cookie, this is not that recipe! That oatmeal cookie recipe is made to be eaten at the end of the day, with a tall glass of milk.
This recipe is meant to be enjoyed with a hot cup of morning coffee—or on the run if that’s how your day is working out. It’s made without any all purpose flour of any kind (gluten free or not). The structure is created by oats in two forms (rolled oats and oat flour).
I would never call this recipe flourless, though, since I take that term very literally. If I’m calling a recipe flourless, that means that there’s nothing in the recipe that’s been ground into a flour. That means no oat flour, no almond flour, and no rice flour at all.
Since this recipe is made without any refined grains, and only honey and mashed bananas for sweetness, it’s much healthier than a traditional dessert cookie. It does have a few chocolate chips, but you can leave those out or replace them with chopped raw nuts if you’d prefer.
How to make this recipe in one bowl
Whenever possible, I write my recipes to be made in one single bowl. These banana oatmeal cookies aren’t very fussy at all and can tolerate a few substitutions quite easily. (See the “Ingredients and substitutions” section below for full substitution information.)
But as written the recipe will require a bowl to melt the butter, and one to beat the egg. Here’s how the recipe is written.
Combine the dry ingredients (oats, oat flour, baking soda and salt) in a large bowl and whisk them to combine. Then create a well in the center of the dry ingredients with a spoon.
Next, add the wet ingredients (melted butter, banana, egg, and honey) in the center. The well you’ve created in the dry ingredients allows the wet ingredients to be mixed into the dry in just a few strokes.
Since you’ll need melted butter and a beaten egg, if you’d rather make the recipe in precisely one single bowl, there’s another way. Flip the preparation of the wet ingredients with the preparation of the dry.
First, place the butter in a large bowl, and melt the butter in the microwave. Allow the melted butter to cool until it’s no longer hot to the touch. Mash the banana right into the melted butter, then add the egg and honey and beat with a fork to combine well.
Then, you can add the oats, oat flour, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients and mix them into the soft cookie dough. Just be sure to mix it fully so the baking soda and salt aren’t concentrated in one single area of the mixture.
The cookies have so little fat in them that they won’t spread much at all during baking. So be sure to flatten the mounds of cookie dough with wet fingers before putting them in the oven.
Ingredients and substitutions
I’ve made these cookies dairy-free, but I haven’t made them without the egg or without oats. If you have additional dietary restrictions, here are my best-educated guesses about replacing some of the ingredients in this recipe.
Egg-Free: Since there’s only 1 egg in this recipe, try replacing it with one “chia egg” (mix 1 tablespoon ground chia flour with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water and allow it to sit until it gels).
Dairy-Free: The only dairy in this recipe is unsalted butter, and it can be replaced with virgin coconut oil, gram for gram. Just be sure you’re using dairy free chocolate chips.
My favorite brand of dairy-free chocolate chips is Enjoy Life brand, but Nestle also makes a variety of chocolate chips that are top 8 allergen-free called “Simply Delicious.” They’re made with only 3 ingredients, and they taste great.
Oats: In the U.S., there are certified gluten free oats that are grown on dedicated gluten-free fields and stored in dedicated silos. We use them all the time.
For oat flour, I simply grind them in a blender or food processor as finely as possible. If I’m using oats in a recipe, I want some chew from them, so I never worry about having a superfine oat flour.
If you can’t or would rather not have oats for any reason, though, they can be replaced in gluten free baking. The oat flour should be replaced with quinoa flakes and the old-fashioned oats with beaten rice, but click through the link in the previous sentence for a complete explanation.
Honey: If you can’t have honey or you’d like to make this recipe vegan by replacing the egg as directed above, you can try replacing the honey with agave syrup or Lyle’s golden syrup. You could also replace it with light corn syrup, but it must be a liquid sweetener, not a granulated one.