by Olena

Healthy Banana Bread

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 130 votes

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Moist and tender Healthy Banana Bread made with whole wheat flour is so delicious you would never guess it’s healthy! It’s easy to make in one bowl and is the perfect breakfast or snack, you can even freeze it for later.

Sliced healthy banana bread on a cutting board and bananas.

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 maple syrup and applesauce.

When made with the right ingredient swaps banana bread can be healthy!

This banana bread has a glossy, sticky top that is slightly cracked. When you take a bite it melts in your mouth.

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 honey or maple syrup only! 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 tbsp 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: Ripe bananas add sweetness plus potassium.

Just check out the 98+ five star reviews from readers or test for yourself!

Ingredients Needed

Bananas, maple syrup, whole wheat flour, eggs, applesauce and baking staples.

Quicks breads like this are simple to make, actually so easy even my kids can make it! I love that this 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 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 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: Any liquid sweetener is OK like agave syrup or brown rice syrup. Sugar free liquid syrup might may work although taste might change.
  • Whole wheat or spelt flour: These flours 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 This Recipe

No mixer and 15 minutes prep time makes this the perfect healthy quick 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 you make it and see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full instructions.

  1. Mash bananas and eggs with a masher. I first like to mash bananas and then “whisk” eggs with the same masher.
  2. Add all other wet ingredients except flour. “Stir” 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.
  3. Add whole wheat or spelt flour and stir gently until incorporated. Do not mix too much as bread might come out rubbery. Batter should be thicker than pancakes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Baking Tips

This is an easy banana bread, but here are some bakers tips to make sure it turns out perfect!

  • Please follow the recipe: 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: 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.

Recipe Variations

This banana bread recipe 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.
  • 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!
Healthy banana bread on a counter with bananas nearby.

FAQs

Can I freeze overripe bananas to use in banana bread?

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.

Can I use all purpose flour?

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.

Can I make this banana bread with almond flour?

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 almond flour banana bread recipe.

Can I use coconut 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.

Can This 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 banana bread for up to 3 months.

I recommend you do not slice bread 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 for a minute for that freshly baked bread warmth and aromas.

I hope you enjoy this clean eating banana bread!

More Healthy Quick Bread Recipes

Healthy banana bread in black loaf tin.
Healthy Banana Bread

Healthy Banana Bread

Delicious and moist Healthy Banana Bread with whole wheat flour, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. One bowl and no mixer is required.
4.98 from 130 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 206kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 296mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 14g

Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.

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232 comments on “Healthy Banana Bread

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  1. 5 stars
    I want to make this recipe tomorrow and would like to know about the banana on top of the bread, it isn’t mentioned anywhere.
    Do you half a banana and put it on the bread before you bake it or after you bake it? Thank you

  2. 5 stars
    Wow. I JUST made this. I was amazed at how *unsweet*, yet so bananalicious (lol), this was!! Warm and with a little smattering of real butter (that it didn’t need, lol)… Oh, and I added pecan cookie pieces to mine. Mmm…! All I can say is: Wow! I didn’t feel like I was cheating on my glucose levels or undoing my walk this AM! Lol! Plus, it was really moist!! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us! I’m new on here and I can’t wait to try your others! Continued blessings, success, and great recipes! 🙂 Stay safe and be well.

  3. Hello. Your recipe looks terrific! I currently don’t have applesauce and am.wondering would I really have to have it when a mashed banana can be used as an oil /egg substitute…..? Do you think simply adding extra banana? Thanks in advance!

  4. 5 stars
    Just made these this morning. SUPER YUMMY and so moist! You don’t need butter or anything with them! I added walnuts to mine. Definitely making again! Thanks!

  5. 4 stars
    It didn’t turn out very moist for me, at least compared to the banana bread I usually make with butter and sugar. Is there a way to make these extra moist using the healthier ingredients in this recipe? Maybe using less flour? Not sure why mine didn’t come out as moist as everyone said theirs did even though I followed the recipe exactly. Any tips would be appreciated!

    1. It could be bananas were not ripe enough or not large enough. Or a bit too much flour – even a few tbsp could do that. Do you know how to measure flour properly? Scoop then skim the top off with a knife.

  6. 5 stars
    This is the absolute BEST banana bread. I tried a number of recipes when we first had to shelter at home. I kept going back to this. When I ran out of maple syrup, I used agave. I also always add plenty of cinnamon (just my preference.) My son’s girlfriend is dairy free and she could not believe how wonderful this was. I always make two loaves so I can share. Thank you soooo much!

  7. 5 stars
    The third time I baked this I adjusted the ingredients a little. Added about 3/4 cup of broken walnuts to the mix and used agave syrup as the sweetener. I also substituted 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of crushed natural oats to make the banana bread even more healthy. Topped with 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts sprinkled with a bit of raw sugar. Yummy.

    1. 5 stars
      Oooooh I’m going to try that next time! I love crushed oats in my cookies, why wouldn’t I love them in my banana bread!?! Thanks for the idea!!

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