You can never go wrong with banana bread and this healthy version is as good as any other! It’s easy to throw together and all you need to make it are a few basic baking staples you might already have on hand!
Banana bread and I have a funny relationship. You see, there were many a-years where I just stayed away from making the thing altogether. Why you ask? Because it was always something the boyfriend liked to make, one of his signature dishes, as I like to refer to them as. And, if I do say so myself, he nearly perfected his version. So, really, what did I ever need to make it for?!
Fast forward a few years (not sure if you noticed that I was speaking purely in the past tense up there), where the boyfriend AND his signature dishes, kinda took a back burner in the kitchen. Which basically means that he hardly ever cooks anymore. And when he does, his heart always leads him to wanting to make something admittingly a little bit more fun/adventurous than banana bread. So, needless to say, I automatically took over the role of banana bread maker in our house. I mean, someone’s gotta make use of those next to rotten bananas, now don’t they?!
Other than being the hero that saves forgotten about bananas from the garbage (not all heroes wear capes, am I right?!), banana bread is good for so many other things! I mean, don’t you remember just a couple years back when it took the world by storm and re-invented itself in the peak of the covid-19 pandemic? It’s like the whole world and their mother interpreted the stay at home order as stay at home and make banana bread.
There are so many different variations and too many ways you can make it your own. If you’re a chocolate lover, try adding chocolate chips or cocoa powder. If you love nuts, well, I ain’t ever met a banana bread with nuts in it that I didn’t like. Like things a bit on the sweeter side? Add more sugar, natural sweeteners or spices. If you like it extra moist, try adding berries like blueberries or strawberries. But, if you like your banana bread as healthy as can be, then you’re gonna wanna go ahead and make this recipe for healthy banana bread.
I got you, boo.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
If you’re big on baking, then you likely have most of these ingredients kicking around in your pantry already. And if you’re not, this easy recipe for healthy banana bread is a great place to start! Let’s talk about the ingredients in a little bit more detail down below:
- Bananas: Add natural sweetness, moisture, and flavour to this recipe for banana bread. Bananas are a good source of potassium and dietary fiber. Ripe, or should I say OVER ripe bananas (think brown spots), generally work best for all banana bread recipes.
- Eggs: Act as a binding agent, providing structure to the banana bread. They also contribute to the moistness and richness of the final product.
- Coconut Oil: Adds moisture and a subtle coconut flavour to this healthy banana bread recipe. It also contains healthy fats and has potential health benefits. If you prefer, you can use another oil instead, such as olive oil or even melted butter.
- Maple Syrup: A natural sweetener that adds sweetness to the bread. You can use honey instead, if you prefer.
- Vanilla Extract: Enhances the overall flavour of the banana bread. It adds a sweet and aromatic element to the recipe.
- Whole Wheat Flour: The base and bulk of the banana bread giving it structure. It provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Whole wheat flour is a healthier alternative to refined white flour, adding extra nutritional value to the banana bread.
- Baking Soda: A leavening agent that helps the banana bread rise. It reacts with the acidic components in the batter, such as the mashed bananas, to create carbon dioxide gas, which expands the batter.
- Salt: Enhances the flavor of the bread and helps balance the sweetness. It also plays a role in the overall chemistry of the recipe. As in most baking recipes, a little bit of salt goes a long way in this recipe.
- Cinnamon: Adds warmth and depth of flavour to the banana bread. It’s optional but can enhance the overall taste.
- Chia Seeds: Add texture, crunch and additional nutritional value to this healthy banana bread recipe. You can use a different kind of seed or nut, if you prefer. Walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds are common choices.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY BANANA BREAD (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make this healthy recipe for banana bread in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure your bananas are ripe. And I mean EXTRA, EXTRA ripe. Like spotted brown, lookin’ like they’re on their last legs kinda ripe. Ripe bananas not only provide natural sweetness but also mash more easily, distributing their flavour throughout the bread. EXTRA TIP: If you have a batch of bananas you realize are about to go bad but you’re not ready to make banana bread yet, freeze them until you are!
- Use high-quality ingredients for the best flavour. Opt for pure honey or maple syrup, good-quality vanilla extract and fresh nuts or seeds. With a recipe with such few ingredients, you will taste them shine through.
- When combining wet and dry ingredients, mix gently and only until just combined. Overmixing can lead to a denser texture in the final product. EXTRA TIP: No need to use a mixer to make this banana bread recipe. Using a mixer can overmix the batter, potentially leading to a denser final product. So, go ahead and mix it by hand for best results.
- Grease your loaf pan well to prevent the banana bread from sticking as it bakes. You can also line it with a piece of parchment paper hanging off the edges so it’s easy to lift out when it’s done.
- Preheat your oven before baking to ensure that the banana bread starts cooking at the right temperature, promoting even baking throughout the entire process. EXTRA TIP: Place the rack in the center position of your oven. This allows the heat to circulate evenly around the banana bread resulting in even cooking all the way around.
- Use a toothpick or a skewer to check for doneness. Insert it into the center of the bread, and if it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (not wet batter), it’s done.
- Allow the banana bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. This helps prevent it from sticking to the pan, and the cooling process sets the texture. It may be a tough challenge to wait but I wouldn’t skip the cooling process as it also helps with getting those perfect slices.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The healthiness of banana bread can vary depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used. Generally, traditional banana bread recipes can be high in added sugars, refined flour, and unhealthy fats, which may contribute to a less nutritious overall product.
However, you can make banana bread healthier by incorporating certain modifications like we do in this recipe. For example, we use whole and minimally processed ingredients, such as whole wheat flour instead of refined flour, and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup instead of refined sugars.
Baking soda is a leavening agent commonly used in baking, including in banana bread recipes. Its primary purpose is to help the bread rise by producing carbon dioxide gas during the baking process. It’s important to note that the use of baking soda is often paired with an acidic ingredient in recipes, and the correct balance between the two is crucial for achieving the desired results. In the case of banana bread, the natural acidity of ripe bananas complements the use of baking soda, creating a well-risen and tender loaf.
There could be various reasons why your banana bread did not turn out as expected. Here are some common issues and potential solutions:
Underripe or overripe bananas. The ripeness of bananas matters. Overripe bananas can make the bread too moist, while underripe ones may not provide enough sweetness. Use ripe bananas with a good balance of sweetness and moisture.
Incorrect measurement of ingredients. Baking is a science, and precise measurements matter. Using too much or too little of an ingredient can affect the texture and taste of the banana bread. Ensure you measure ingredients accurately.
Overmixing the batter which can lead to a dense and tough banana bread. Mix the ingredients only until they are just combined to avoid overdeveloping the gluten.
Cutting into the banana bread too soon which can result in a gummy texture. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store your banana bread in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
Banana bread stored at room temperature is typically best within the first 2-3 days.
Refrigerated banana bread can last for up to a week.
Frozen banana bread can last for several months, but for the best quality, consume it within 2-3 months.
- 3 (very) Ripe Bananas
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
- 1/3 cup Maple Syrup (or honey)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1.5 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 cup Nuts or Seeds, chopped (i.e. walnuts, almonds or chia seeds)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a loaf pan with oil or butter.
- In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork.
- Add the eggs, melted coconut oil, maple syrup or honey and vanilla extract. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon if using.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the chopped nuts or seeds.
- Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the banana bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2046Total Fat: 105gSaturated Fat: 55gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 42gCholesterol: 372mgSodium: 2183mgCarbohydrates: 244gFiber: 28gSugar: 83gProtein: 51g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
LOVE BANANA BREAD? TRY MY PUMPKIN SPICE BANANA BREAD RECIPE NEXT!
MORE HEALTHY RECIPES TO SATISFY THE SWEET TOOTH