Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

These healthy banana muffins are made with lentils, oats, and whole wheat flour, and are sweetened only with overripe bananas and chocolate chips. Each bite is bursting with banana flavor and has just enough melty, chocolatey sweetness to make this healthy snack taste like dessert. Loved by kids and can easily be made with no added sugar.

Banana muffins don’t have to be made with wholesome ingredients in the easiest way possible (hello, blender), but honestly, when they taste this yummy and your kids are obsessed with them, why the heck not?

These Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins contai lentils (say what!?), whole grain oats, whole wheat flour, and have no added sugar aside from the chocolate chips — which add just enough melty, chocolatey sweetness to make these snack-worthy muffins feel like dessert. 

closeup photo at 45 degree angle of freshly baked chocolate chip banana muffins in an aluminum muffin pan on a light gray marble background

I know what you’re thinking: lentils and dessert do not belong in the same sentence. I thought so too until we tried my friend Lindsay’s blog-famous Lentil Banana Muffins and ate the whole batch in one day. Those little bites of lentil goodness are the inspiration behind these blender banana muffins that are naturally sweetened with overripe bananas.  

These Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana muffins are also one of the most forgiving and versatile baked goods of all time.

Want to add a boost of healthy fats to each bite? Add 1/3 cup of peanut butter to the blender! Or if you’re in a double-chocolate muffin kinda mood? Stir in 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and an extra dollop of oil to keep them moist. I’ve made these muffins every which way and they never disappoint.

Oh and if you have little ones, mini-sized muffins are fun to eat and perfectly portioned. Our kids have one or two for a bedtime snack pretty much every single night these days — a far cry from the Little Debbie cakes we used to eat as kids! 😂 

A few time-saving tips:

These muffins have become such a staple in our house I’ve found a few tricks to bake less, save time, and minimize cleanup. Here’s how: 

  • I cook extra lentils. The recipe calls for one cup of cooked lentils, approximately a generous ⅓ cup dry. Rather than cooking lentils every time I want to bake these muffins, I cook two generous cups of dry lentils at once and freeze what I don’t need in one-cup portions. This makes enough for 6 single batches, or three double batches! Then, all I have to do is grab a bag from the freezer a few hours before baking! 
  • I double the recipe and freeze the extras. These muffins don’t last long in our house, and probably won’t in yours either! I usually bake a double batch and freeze the extras. They defrost quickly and come out just as soft and spongy as fresh muffins. The kids never notice the difference!
  • I DIY my own muffin mix. We make these muffins so often I measure enough dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking soda, and cinnamon) for the next few batches and store my DIY muffin mix in mason jars in the pantry. The next time around all I have to do is pop the top and mix it in!
overhead photo of freshly baked chocolate chip banana muffins in an aluminum muffin pan with milk and chocolate chips in the background

Can I make healthy muffins with no added sugar? 

You absolutely can! The healthy muffins alone have no added sugar, so simply omit the chocolate chips or substitute sugar-free chocolate chips. I hear good things about Lily’s Dark Chocolate and Semi-Sweet chocolate chips which are sweetened with sugar alcohol and stevia.

Can I use frozen bananas? 

Yes, absolutely! In fact, I almost always use frozen overripe bananas.

To freeze bananas, place peeled bananas in an airtight freezer bag and remove as much air as possible before freezing. Frozen bananas can last up to 6 months, maybe longer. 

Be sure to let the bananas defrost completely, either overnight in the refrigerator or leave them on the counter for a few hours. I usually toss them into the blender in the morning and let them defrost on the counter over the course of the morning. Regardless, make sure you include the liquid from the bananas as it helps keep them nice and moist.

closeup photo at 45 degree angle of freshly baked healthy chocolate chip banana muffins in an aluminum muffin pan on a light gray marble background

Want more sweet, wholesome, good-for-you treats? Try these next!

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Recipe

Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

These healthy muffins are made with wholesome ingredients like lentils, oats, whole wheat flour, and sweetened only with bananas and chocolate chips!

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    35 minutes
  • Makes:
    12 regular or 32 mini 1x
  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    35 minutes
  • Makes:
    12 regular or 32 mini 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 1 cup cooked green lentils (from approximately ⅓ cup dry)
    • 9 ounces peeled, overripe banana (1 ¼ cups mashed; about 3 medium)
    • ¼ cup avocado oil or other neutral-flavored cooking oil 
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    •   cup old-fashioned oats
    • ⅔ cup white whole wheat flour (see notes)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ cup chocolate chips, plus more for topping if desired

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven and prepare the muffin pan. Preheat the oven to 325°F and lightly grease the cups of a muffin pan with oil. 
    2. Puree the lentils, bananas, and liquid ingredients. Combine cooked lentils, banana, oil, egg, and vanilla extract in the blender and blend just until mostly smooth, about 15-20 seconds.
    3. Stir in the dry ingredients. Using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, gently stir in oats, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Pulse the blender just until fully incorporated and oats partly blended, about 7-10 pulses. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
    4. Bake. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin pan, about ¼ cup for regular muffins, or 1 generous tablespoon for mini muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes for regular muffins, or 12-14 minutes for mini muffins. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. For easiest removal, loosen the edge of each muffin with a greased butter knife or plastic knife before lifting out of the pan.

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

    • Lentils: If you plan on baking these more than once, save yourself some time by cooking up 1-2 cups of dry lentils and freezing in 1-cup portions for future batches. 
    • Flour: I typically make these with white whole wheat flour however whole wheat pastry flour or a 50/50 mix of all-purpose and regular whole wheat flour also work great.
    • For muffins with no added sugar: Use sugar-free chocolate chips, like Lily’s Dark Chocolate or Semi-Sweet chocolate chips which are sweetened with a combination of sugar alcohol and stevia, or ChocZeros chocolate chips which are sweetened with monkfruit extract.  

    Ingredient Prep

    • Cook the lentils
    • Measure the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. While you’re at it, whip up a few mason jars of DIY muffin mix (oats, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) for future batches! 

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help: 

    • Toddlers: Peel the bananas; add ingredients to and help operate the blender; stir in the dry ingredients; taste-test the chocolate chips (because you know they’re gonna regardless!); portion 
    • Little Kids: All of the above! 
    • Big Kids: Give them the recipe and have them ask for help if/when needed!

    Freezing Instructions:

    Allow muffins to cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to an airtight freezer bag or container. Freeze muffins for up to three months. Frozen muffins will defrost in approximately 2-3 hours at room temperature.

    Nutrition Notes

    Nutrition information is for one standard muffin with regular semi-sweet chocolate chips.

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1 standard muffin
    • Calories: 175
    • Sugar: 9 g
    • Sodium: 80 mg
    • Fat: 8 g
    • Saturated Fat: 2 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 6 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 24 g
    • Fiber: 4 g
    • Protein: 4 g
    • Cholesterol: 16 mg

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    overhead photo of healthy chocolate chip banana muffins in a pan with melted chocolate chips and title text overlay

    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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    Recipe rating

    • I’ve Made this recipe about 4 times, doing one change every time and making now my own . “let’s try other oil, change for baking powder, add very ripe bananas, adding flaxseeds, add nuts” I said as Register dietitian myself and needing a desert like something I can eat feeling is something nutritious, and having little to no time in the middle of the week this are life savers.

      • I’ve never tried making them with that kind of flour, but it might work! Would love to know how they turn out if you try it. 🤗

      • Canned lentils should work! Look for no salt added lentils. If those don’t exist, I recommend rinsing them thoroughly before adding. 🤗

    • I make these every single week! They are one of the only snacks that satisfies this breastfeeding mama and I don’t feel bad about giving them to my toddler. I’ve tried countless healthy muffins recipes, and this is the first one my husband actually likes. I have made them without blending the oats (when I don’t feel like busting out the blender), and they do come out a little mushier that way. I definitely prefer the oats blended, but delicious either way.

    • Are th we supposed to be soft/ mushy in the middle? Mine came out like that not sure if that’s what the texture is supposed to be

      • Hi Laura,
        No, they’re not! Sounds like they might need a few more minutes in the oven. Other things that might make them mushy in the middle is not measuring out the mashed banana (using too much) or using cold bananas that were previously frozen. I make these weekly and they always turn out perfectly cooked in the middle. Sorry you didn’t get the same results!

    • Great for an easy to-go breakfast option that’s high protein + fiber and no added sugar. Recipe was perfect, moist and flavorful despite no added sugar, perfect for toddlers.

      Curious as to why it calls for baking soda when there is no acid? My go-to banana bread recipe has yogurt and baking soda to work together. For recipes without an acid it usually calls for baking powder. Did you experiment with this at all?

      • Hi Kirsten! So glad you loved them – and good question! My original recipe had a little yogurt, but then I decided to make them dairy-free for those who need to avoid it. I’ve tried them with 2-2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder twice now and think the baking soda still works best. 🤷🏼‍♀️

    • I was skeptical about putting lentils in muffins, but oh my word these are so good! Oh and the kids love them too. 😉 Perfectly sweet and nice that the only added sugar is from chocolate chips.