These Protein Cookies contain just 5 ingredients, are naturally sweetened and super simple to prepare! Best of all, this protein cookie recipe is easy to customize for healthy snacks to your dietary and flavor requirements!
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Bananas are one of those weekly buys that are so easy to forget about. Sometimes they’re gone within days, and other times it seems like everyone in the house has forgotten they exist, and you have a fruit bowl filled with spotty overripe bananas to deal with.
As much as I love healthy banana bread with applesauce and banana applesauce muffins, for all those who want a new way to enjoy their overripe bananas, these protein cookies are the way to go! This is a recipe I’ve been using since 2012! – it’s so versatile and such a crowd-pleaser that it’s in constant rotation at my house along with whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and sugar free cookies.
If you’re interested in following a high protein diet, then you’ve probably noticed the homemade protein bars and cookies in grocery stores. While they advertise tons of delicious sounding options, they’re usually filled with odd ingredients, lingering aftertastes, and a whopping price tag per cookie!
In comparison, these banana oatmeal cookies are naturally sweetened, use almost entirely normal pantry ingredients, and are more cost-effective due to the cheap ingredients like oats and peanut butter.
Plus, they’re perfect for meal prepping too and enjoying as part of breakfast (no child will complain about that!), a healthy snack, dessert, or addition to lunchboxes. Best of all, each peanut butter protein cookie contains just 92 cal and 6g protein!
How Do Protein Cookies Taste?
These oatmeal protein cookies are a combination of some of my favorite flavors, combined with protein powder, and wrapped up in a super nutritional cookie-shaped package. They are packed with healthy carbs, fiber, and protein.
They are also naturally gluten free, flour free, egg free, butter and oil free, and even sugar free! Instead, the banana oat cookies rely on the natural sweetness of the super overripe bananas.
Taking a bite into these protein cookies is like eating a comforting bowl of oatmeal in healthy cookie form. Though, if you’re expecting the usual cookie texture, then prepare to be surprised.
The combination of peanut butter, banana, whey protein, and oats yield protein cookies that are dense and chewy. Meanwhile, the lack of sugar means these banana oatmeal cookies don’t have the ‘crisp’ top of traditional cookies made with sugar and butter.
Ingredients for Protein Cookies
- Bananas: Use overripe bananas for this recipe, as they’re sweeter. Choose bananas with lots of brown spots or almost entirely brown for the best results.
- Peanut Butter: I prefer to use organic natural peanut butter with no additives; just pesticide free peanuts and salt. However, technically any peanut butter will work.
- Oats: You can use rolled oats or quick oats. Please do not use steel cut oats. Rolled oats are my preferred option.
- Protein Powder: I use whey protein powder (non-vegan) – unflavored or vanilla. I recommend using a brand with minimum ingredients, preferably organic and grass-fed. (Check FAQs about plant-based protein powders).
- Chocolate Chips (OPTIONAL): I like to use either semi-sweet, dark, or even sugar-free chocolate chips. Cacao nibs would also work but won’t add sweetness at all.
If you need these 4-ingredient banana cookies with oatmeal to be gluten free, make sure to use certified gluten free oats and protein powder!
I love how easy it is to adapt these oatmeal protein cookies. The amount needed will vary based on personal preference, but I usually add about ¼ cup of add-ins altogether.
- Flavored Protein Powder: The easiest way to adapt the flavor of these protein cookies is with flavored protein powder—cookie dough, chocolate, peanut butter, coffee, etc.
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, pumpkin spice, vanilla, ginger, etc.
- Nuts/Seeds: Add in crushed nuts like pecans, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc. Seeds also work, chia, flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.
- Dried Fruit: Dates, cranberries, blueberries, raisins, sultanas, etc. You could also use fresh citrus zest like lemon, lime, or orange.
- Fresh fruit or veggies: These can affect the cookies’ texture based on how ‘wet’ they are, so will require experimenting. Mango, apple/pear, raspberries, strawberries, shredded carrot, or zucchini, etc.
- Sweetener: These protein cookies are naturally very subtle with sweetness. Add a little low GI coconut sugar, maple syrup, date syrup (or honey) for added sweetness.
- Coconut: A little shredded coconut or flaked coconut will add flavor and texture to the protein powder cookies.
How to Make Protein Cookies
- Preheat the oven: To 350F/175C, then line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or use a silicone baking mat sprayed with cooking spray.
- Mash the bananas: In a large bowl with a fork. You could also do this in a food processor/blender, but it’s not necessary.
- Add the remaining ingredients: Add the protein powder, oats, and peanut butter to the bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined. If you’re using them, add chocolate chips (or any add-in) now too.
The oatmeal protein cookie dough consistency should be fairly runny. Depending on the type of oats, peanut butter, ripeness of the bananas, and the protein powder used, this may vary. If you find the batter a little dry, then just add a little milk, one spoonful at a time, until the batter is the correct consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking tray: Using a measuring spoon/small scoop for even-sized cookies. The cookies don’t spread, so you can ‘shape’ them now. Use damp fingers to press down the top/shape them, as preferred.
- Bake the protein cookies: For smaller cookies, they’ll need about 12 minutes. For larger cookies, try 14 minutes.
- Allow the protein oatmeal cookies to cool: On a cooling rack for a few minutes before enjoying!
You can enjoy these oatmeal protein cookies cold or warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds, first. I love one cold in the summer with healthy frappuccino recipe!
How to Make Ahead and Store
Make Ahead: Prepare the protein cookie dough and freeze it for up to 3 months, then thaw before shaping and baking; you can also pre-scoop and shape the cookies before freezing.
Storing: The baked peanut butter banana oatmeal cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week.
Can I freeze protein cookies? Absolutely. You can freeze these oatmeal protein cookies for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
Peanut butter is an integral part of these healthy banana oatmeal cookies. However, if you’re unable to consume peanut butter, you could try this recipe with almond butter or hazelnut butter. For a nut-free version, sunflower seed butter may work well.
Just note that changing the nut butter will affect the protein levels and flavor.
I’ve tried this protein cookies recipe with several protein powder types, and I’ve never been happy with the plant-powered protein version.
Whey protein is made from cow’s milk, and the way it interacts with the other ingredients creates a runny cookie dough. In comparison, plant-based protein powders can contain very absorbent ingredients like peas, rice, etc., which yields dry cookies. For that reason, I don’t recommend the substitution.
However, if you want to experiment with vegan protein powder, I recommend using ½ the amount, to begin with. You can then naturally boost the protein with additions like chia seeds and other high-protein nuts/seeds.
This could be due to using instant oats/oat flour in the recipe rather than whole oats. If you haven’t thoroughly mashed the banana, that can yield gummy areas within the protein cookies too.
This recipe makes 12 small cookies or 10 large cookies. Each peanut butter banana oatmeal cookie contains 6 grams of protein. As well as 11g carbs and 4g sugar.
Just make sure to thaw it before using.
You can technically – however, there is a caveat. Due to them being more finely milled, they tend to dry out the banana oatmeal cookies, so I avoid them, if possible.
- For those wanting exact nutrient calculations: I suggest plugging this protein cookies recipe into a nutrient calculator yourself as the peanut butter, protein powder, and any add-ins can affect the values.
- For more protein: You can sub some of the oats for quinoa flakes. I suggest using 2 parts oats to 1 part quinoa flakes (I haven’t tried this).
- Use protein powder you like: This is critical- it will affect the flavor of the protein cookies a lot, so don’t use protein powder you’ve bought, hated, and are trying to use up (Been there. Done that)
- If you add dried fruit: It’s a good idea to soak them in boiling water for 1 minute first. This will stop them from burning when baked in the oven.
More Healthy Cookie Recipes
- Healthy pumpkin cookies
- Almond flour skillet cookie
- Gluten free snickerdoodles
- Oatmeal cranberry cookies
- Healthy oatmeal cookies
Healthy High Protein Oatmeal Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper or silicone baking mat, and spray with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add whey protein powder, oats and peanut butter; stir well to combine (batter’s consistency will be runny). Add chocolate chips and give a few more stirs.
- Spoon mixture onto prepared baking sheet (cookies don’t spread, so shape them now) and bake for 12-14 minutes (depending on size). Cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Freeze: For up to 1 month. The best way to defrost protein cookies is in a microwave. That way the moisture and softness is restored.
- *You can use vanilla whey, just make sure you buy unsweetened one.
- Can I use plant-based protein powder? It contains very absorbent ingredients like peas, rice, etc., which yields dry cookies. For that reason, I don’t recommend the substitution.However, if you want to experiment with vegan protein powder, I recommend using ½ the amount, to begin with.
- Can I use previously frozen bananas? Just make sure to thaw it before using.
- Can I use quick oats? You can technically – however, there is a caveat. Due to them being more finely milled, they tend to dry out the banana oatmeal cookies, so I avoid them, if possible.
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