Moist Healthy Banana Bread with applesauce is so easy to make in one bowl and is the perfect breakfast or snack. It is so delicious and full of sweet banana flavor, you would never guess it’s healthier!
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Healthy banana bread is a staple in our house and the first answer of to what to do with your ripe bananas! It’s made with 100% whole grains and naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup and applesauce.
When made with the right ingredient swaps homemade banana bread can be healthy!
This healthy banana bread recipe has a glossy, sticky top of the loaf with a slight crack. When you take a bite it is full of sweet banana flavor, has the right amount of sweetness and just melts in your mouth.
Enjoy for healthy breakfast with a cup of coffee, as an afternoon snack or a sweet treat after dinner.
It is unlike traditional banana bread recipes that call for loads of butter, refined sugar, and flour. This recipe has wholesome ingredients that keep you satiated longer.
- 100% whole grain: Whole wheat or spelt flour adds fiber that keeps you full longer.
- Low sugar: Naturally sweetened with bananas, plus only honey or maple syrup! Even better it uses only 1/3 cup of natural sweetener compared to a cup or more in other recipes.
- Minimal oil: It’s a tried and true low fat banana bread containing only 2 tablespoons of oil and no butter in sight!
- Applesauce or yogurt: Unsweetened applesauce or yogurt helps keep your bread moist, plus adds nutrients and helps reduce calories, too!
- Bananas: Extra ripe bananas add sweetness plus potassium.
Just check out the 140+ five star reviews from readers or test for yourself this delicious bread recipe!
This easy healthy banana bread recipe contains simple ingredients. Actually so easy, even my kids can make it!
I love that this applesauce banana bread recipe is lower in sugar and without a cup of vegetable oil. I honestly don’t know what I love better, this bread or healthy banana muffins!
- Ripe bananas: Ripe is a must! They make bread sweet and moist. Ripe bananas are very yellow with brown spots. The uglier the bananas, the better. Even uglier than in my photo and video are perfect.
- Applesauce or yogurt: Unsweetened applesauce is my preference, but sweetened works if that is what you have on hand. Substitute with extra ripe large banana, Greek yogurt or regular yogurt with 2% fat content and higher, or pureed fresh apples.
- Eggs: If you need egg free and vegan banana bread, learn how to make a flax egg.
- A bit of oil: Any oil works like avocado oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil.
- Maple syrup or honey: You can make this healthy banana bread with honey, maple syrup or any liquid sweetener like agave syrup or brown rice syrup. Sugar free liquid syrup might may work although taste might change. No dry sugar like white sugar, brown sugar or coconut sugar because batter consistency will be off.
- Whole wheat flour: Regular whole wheat flour is the default. Spelt flour will work as well. Both are staples in any of my healthy baked goods as they add fiber plus nutrients.
- Baking staples: Leavening agents like baking soda, baking powder, salt for taste and pure vanilla extract to add additional flavor.
How to “ripen” bananas faster? Bake yellow bananas with skin on for 20 minutes at 300 degrees F oven. Or place a few ripened bananas or apples with unripened ones in a brown bag, close tightly and wait 1-2 days.
How to Make Healthy Banana Bread Recipe
No mixer and 15 minutes prep time makes this the perfect healthy banana bread to whip up on a whim! All you need is one bowl and a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
Let’s go over a rundown of how to make banana bread healthy. See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full instructions.
- Mash bananas and eggs with a masher. I first like to mash bananas and then “whisk” eggs with the same masher.
- Add all other wet ingredients except flour. “Stir” mashed bananas, eggs, oil, applesauce and leavening agents with the same masher. I know, I’m fancy but there is really no need for extra tool and bowl. Quick bread is not a cake.
- Add whole wheat flour and stir gently until incorporated. Do not mix too much as healthy banana bread might come out rubbery. Batter should be thicker than pancakes.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour and then let cool completely before slicing. It will make all the difference because you will be able to slice the bread. Been there, done that haha.
- Remove and cool: Do not over bake and remove bread from the oven when toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then further on a cooling rack.
Tips for Best Results
Here are some bakers tips to make sure this healthy banana bread turns out perfect every time!
- Please follow the recipe for best results: I can’t stress enough that baking is a science and 99% times deviations from original recipe result in baking fails.
- Don’t over mix the batter. If you overmix the batter, gluten will develop causing tough banana bread. You only need to mix until wet and dry ingredients are combined. Apply this tip to any healthy muffin recipes you make in your kitchen, too!
- Don’t over bake: How to tell if banana bread is done? Remove bread from the oven as soon as toothpick comes out clean. Bread will keep cooking with residual heat and over baking results in dry bread.
- Use ripe bananas: You can use ripe previously frozen bananas or here is a tutorial how to ripen bananas faster.
Variations of Healthy Banana Bread
I am convinced this is the best healthy banana bread recipe and is delicious as is! But they say variety is the spice of life, so here are some ways to switch it up!
- Chocolate chips: 1/2 cup to a 1 cup of chocolate chips like I do in healthy banana chocolate chip muffins!
- Banana nut bread: A cup of chopped walnuts or pecans would add some nutty crunch.
- Fruits: Fresh or frozen blueberries add a burst of juicy sweetness. You could also add dried fruit such as cranberries, chopped dates, or raisins.
- Mini loaves or muffins: Bake mini loaves for about 35-40 minutes and check with a toothpick. This recipe can make 12 muffins, bake for 20-25 minutes in a regular muffin tin.
- Dietary restrictions: This bread is dairy free when using applesauce and can be egg free when using flax eggs. Use both applesauce and egg replacer for a vegan version!
Can This Healthy Banana Bread Be Made Ahead?
Yes, after baking keep in a cool dry place in a glass airtight container for up to 4 days. I never have it longer than that, but if you do, you might be able to refrigerate it for a few more days!
Can I Freeze This Bread?
Bake and cool completely. Place in a gallon size Ziploc container, let out as much air as possible and seal. Freeze healthy banana bread for up to 3 months.
I recommend you do not cut bread in individual slices before freezing. It retains its moisture better this way.
Defrost on a counter. Takes about 3-4 hours. Bread will taste just like freshly baked. Pop it into a toaster or toaster oven for a minute for that freshly baked bread warmth and aromas.
I hope you enjoy this easy and moist healthy banana bread with applesauce!
Absolutely. Do not throw away turning brown and going bad bananas. Freeze them whole right in the freezer, no need for a bag but you can.
Then thaw on a plate placed on a kitchen counter for a few hours, peel and use. Do not discard liquid that separates during defrosting, use it to make bread as well.
Yes. I have tested this recipe with white flour and you will need 2 3/4 cups. You may also try whole wheat pastry flour which is a lighter version of whole wheat flour. Also I believe white whole wheat flour will work in this recipe.
Baking is a science and almond flour acts differently because it doesn’t contain gluten like wheat. However, lucky for you I have this gluten free banana bread with almond flour.
Again, baking is a science and coconut flour is very “thirsty” and will not work as a substitute in this whole grain banana bread. However, check out my coconut flour banana bread recipe instead. It has rave reviews.
More Healthy Banana Bread Recipes
- Healthy zucchini banana bread
- Oat flour banana bread
- Protein banana bread
- Almond flour banana bread
- Coconut flour banana bread
Healthy Banana Bread with Applesauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9 x 5 loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork or a masher.
- Add eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk to combine (masher works fine).
- Add flour and stir gently just enough to mix.
- Pour batter in prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool off completely. Cut into 10 slices and enjoy.
- Store: Keep in a cool dry place in a glass airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Wrap tightly and store in freezer safe container up to 3 months.
- Can I use other flour? Please see detailed recipe post and FAQs.
- Yogurt: Substitute with extra ripe large banana, Greek yogurt or regular yogurt with 2% fat content and higher, or pureed fresh apples.
- To “ripen” bananas faster: Bake yellow bananas with skin on for 20 minutes at 300 degrees F oven. Or place a few ripened bananas or apples with unripened ones in a brown bag, close tightly and wait 1-2 days.
- Don’t over mix the batter: If you over-mix the batter, gluten develops resulting in tough bread.
- Don’t over bake: Remove bread from the oven as soon as toothpick comes out clean.