Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe for oatmeal cookies, just with a banana twist.

Great banana flavor without being cakey

Long-time cooks know that the first rule of baking with banana is ‘Think Ahead’. The unavoidable fact is that it takes a couple of weeks for bananas to ripen enough (think near-black, not yellow, skins) to imbue heady banana flavor into quick breads, banana cakes, banana pancakes and here, the best oatmeal cookies, bar none, I’ve ever made – or eaten.

The freezer helps. Just wash the bananas, then let ripen naturally on the counter or in a paper bag. Once the skins turn dark, tuck the bananas into a freezer bag, right in their black jackets, and freeze. When you’re ready to bake, just thaw as many as needed in a container for an hour before using.

BANANA MANGO SMOOTHIE For a quick after-school snack, toss a frozen banana (skin removed, silly!) and frozen mangoes into a blender with a couple of ice cubes and skim milk. Delicious – and refreshing!

QUICK BANANA DESSERT Slice a banana lengthwise. Spread each flat side with sour cream or Greek yogurt, then sprinkle with brown sugar. Eat as is or place under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

ALANNA's TIPS My unorthodox practice for mixing dry ingredients is successful with cookies, muffins, quick breads and all except the most delicate of cakes or desserts. But if you prefer the traditional method, separately stir together the dry ingredients, then incorporate into the butter mixture. The cookie dough is sticky, you may want to shape it with your hands.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite recipe with bananas to e-mail.


Oatmeal cookies with a banana twist
Banana ripening: 2 weeks
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes about 30 cookies, easily doubled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 very very ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups oatmeal (old-fashioned or quick, not instant)
  • 1 cup coconut, preferably unsweetened

Preheat oven to 350F.

Melt butter in a small dish in microwave, 10 seconds at a time. Transfer to mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, thoroughly mix in sugars, banana, egg and vanilla.

(Caution: Incoming unorthodox shortcut. See ALANNA’s TIPS.) Scoop the flour, baking power, baking soda and salt onto the butter mixture without mixing in. With a fork, lightly combine the dry ingredients on top, still without mixing in. Now use the mixer to combine the flour mixture and the butter mixture. Stir in oatmeal and coconut.

Drop dough by tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 11 – 14 minutes until set and golden. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tray but do remove or will stick.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Cookie: 98 Cal; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 16g Carb; 1g Fiber; 58mg Sodium; 11mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point

Great news for dieters and diabetics, these cookies turn out beautifully when made with 'alternate' ingredients. Substitute Smart Balance for butter, Splenda for the white sugar and white whole wheat flour for the flour.
REVISED NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Cookie: 81 Cal; 5g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 7g Carb; 2g Fiber; 60mg Sodium; 7mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point

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When Is a Banana Ripe Enough for Baking?

Green bananas (as in 'unripe' bananas, which may have tinges of green but are often yellow) make for blah banana-baking. A banana must be really ripe — nearly all brown and even, if you want, well into 'black' — to yield luscious banana flavor in banana bread, banana cakes and here, banana oatmeal cookies. For photographs, and 'how black' I let bananas get before baking, see Ripe Bananas for Baking: How Ripe Should Bananas Be?.

More Great Banana Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Shhh Banana Bread Banana Floats Strawberry Chocolate Banana Crumble

More Cookie Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Gourmet Cookies Fat Rascals Graham Cracker Toffee

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Quick Links to This Page

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~ Banana Mango Smoothie ~
~ Quick Banana Dessert ~
~ Ripe Bananas ~

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Thanks for the banana pictures. I always wonder how ripe the bananas should be, it takes a long time. I've heard that a bag helps, do you know?
Hi Ali ~ Great question and honestly I don't know because I just leave them on the counter, where the only trick is not to eat them all so there'll be a couple left for baking. Anyone else?
These sound really good. Years ago during my fat-free craze (so glad that's over) I used to replace some of the butter in my oatmeal raisin cookies with applesauce. The added flavor was really nice, and the cookies were extra moist. I bet bananas do the same kind of thing.

The banana ripening lesson is great. I have to admit, though, that I let mine get slightly more ripe than you do. We're actually talking mushy and black with possible spots of mold on the skin. Scary, yes, but they make the most incredible banana cake!

I think the brown paper bag thing Ali asked about might be the same as what they say about ripening avocados and tomatoes in bags. In very non-scientific speak: something (gas?) in the bag seeps out and then somehow helps the fruit ripen. I think. I've never actually tried it.

I am so loving the new look of Kitchen Parade, Alanna! You did such a beautiful job with the remodeling--everything is so well laid out and easy on the eyes. The triple photo layouts are fantastic. You manage to pack in so much great info (including all those yummy links) without it feeling packed at all! : )
Oh, thank you, Alanna! My mom always made me the most delicious banana oatmeal bread (which I have never been able to replicate),but I'm better with cookies, so I still have a chance. :)

I love your new layout,Alanna, especially the photos.

If I could jump in about the bag...there is a gas called ethylene (thank my husband for that)and when other fruit comes in contact with it, they ripen. Putting them in a paper bag traps the gas within, helping to speed the process along. Trust me, it works; I do it all the time, and it works for other fruit such as peaches or nectarines too.
I have a question. Could one use Organic cold pressed Coconut oil inlieu of the butter in this wonderfully sounding receipe?
Farmgirl ~ You're going to laugh but I actually go MUCH blacker than shown -- I didn't think people could stand it. And the bananas I've had ripening on the counter for 2+ weeks aren't THAT ripe yet. I'll add a picture when they get there.

Susan ~ Thanks to you AND your husband. I must try that to really shorten the timing. (And thanks for the compliments, too. The new site is still feeling good to me, too. No regrets!)

Sunny ~ I've got no experience with coconut oil so must say, I just don't know.
When I try to make this cookie receipe, I will try and incorporate the VCO into it. I have been reading alot about this oil and if it works, it will be a very healthy substitute. Thanks.
mmmm...these look good! I laughed at your hint b/c I do the exact same thing. it works, but I also think it's called laziness! :-)
I thought you were supposed to put an apple in the bag with the bananas to speed up ripening (the ethylene comes from apples - and some other things - I thought!). But the real reason I'm posting is because the link to Graham Cracker Toffee was busted. I did manage to track it down, through your index, but you might want to update the html for that one.
Oh dear the bad girl's come to call, I'm going to need at least a few chocolate chips in there and then maybe a couple of peanut butter chips!
I once had a similar recipe and am so excited to find one again. I would love to add chocolate chips to this recipe, have you ever done so Alanna? Wondering if you have any tips or can tell me how much to use along with this recipe? Thanks so much, the site looks GREAT by the way!
Briarrose ~ Chocolate chips, of course! And in fact I wish I remember, a blogger made them with chocolate chips. I would recommend the 'mini' chips that would easily disperse throughout the dough, and just a few, so not to overwhelm what's special about this cookie, the real banana flavor.
These are delicous! A wonderful pairing of banana and coconut. Sweet yet not overly so....and best yet low in fat and calories.
I am looking for good Weight Watchers recipes. I calculated these to have 2 points, not one. Thanks for the ideas!
Hi Anonymous, If you're using the cardboard 'slide' counter from Weight Watchers, it always measures high -- frankly, it's just hard to read where points fall. That's why I use the actual mathematical calculation, not the slide.

These cookies, for example, with just two more calories would yes be 2 points but with 98 points, they're 1 point.

And it would be easy to bump to 100 calories per cookie, by making just one or two fewer cookies, by natural variations in the relative ripeness (sweetness) of bananas, the use of a lower-fiber flour, etc.

THAT is why Weight Watchers points should always be considered -- why I always call them -- an estimate, not some exact-exact-exact measure.

Hope this helps: rest assured, I take the calculations of points VERY seriously although of course human errors are, of course, possible.

Just a suggestion: start leaving comments on all the magazine websites asking for nutrition information. FEW GO TO THE EFFORT, a real disservice.

I hope you'll come back often - bring your slide if you like, or rely on the stated points and be grateful they're available at all.

These cookies stuck to my pans really bad - I tried to use 1/2 cup of oatmeal in place of the 1 cup coconut (I didn't have it and didn't want to go get it). When I realized this might be part of the problem, I put it back in. It worked better, but I was still having issues, so I sprinkled some flower on top of the pam spray I used and that did the trick. The cookies came off super easy.

Thanks for the great recipe!
P.S. It was still very yummy without the coconut!
Becky ~ Just want to point out that the recipe calls for parchment on a baking sheet -- because they do stick. Glad you worked it out on your own.
Hi Alanna,
Made these today as per recipe but with a wheat free flour mix subbed in. I love them - a soft cookie that really feels like a treat with my afternoon cup of tea, whilst not being too naughty!
I just made these and they turned out great! Love the coconut touch. Thanks for a new favorite recipe!
I'm so happy to find this great-sounding recipe! We have bananas growing in the yard, and when a stalk comes ripe we "go bananas" for a while, but still can't keep up. From experience, I recommend peeling before freezing, even if it is a bit goopy, because when you want to make that frozen banana smoothie it can be difficult to peel the frozen banana, if thin-skinned, and if you defrost, then it isn't frozen anymore. I freeze mushed ripe bananas in ice cube trays and then store in a ziplock bag and have frozen banana-cubes available as necessary. This works for many other seasonal fruits (around here e.g. passionfruit, calomondin, lemon juice, etc).
Hi! When you say coconut, do you mean shredded coconut. Also, do you fluff to aerate the flour before measuring or after?
Elena ~ Nice name! :-)

Yes, the coconut is shredded - flaked - the small pieces. I've used both sweetened which in the States is easier to fine but prefer the unsweetened.

Yes, "fluff to aerate BEFORE measuring". Use this technique with other recipes too, it'll make a world of difference in the lightness.

PS For awhile now, I've added weight measurements to recipes, this one needs them too!
Hi :) Great recipe, but I baked this without the coconut and the result was...well, very cakey and sticky. I also reduced the amount of sugar to three-fourth; is that why it is not crunchy?
Hi KJenny, Ah yes, making adjustments to recipes, it's something that I do all the time. You might have been okay with one or the other, doing both affects not only volume but also the proportions of fat:flour:sugar. But yes, your changes would, I believe, result in something cakey and sticky.

FYI my recipes are nearly always lower in sugar, already, than many American recipes, it's because I like things to taste like their primary ingredients (here, banana and oatmeal) not just sweet.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna