Healthy Banana Bread
This healthy banana bread recipe is so easy to make and bakes up super moist and tender with the most amazing banana flavor. So delicious that you’d never guess it’s healthy! It’s the perfect snack or dessert option and can be frozen for later use.
This banana bread recipe was a winner for sure! My whole family LOVED it, it didn’t last but one day!— Kelly
This healthy banana bread is made with good-for-you ingredients and is 100% whole grain. When eaten in moderation and with the right ingredient swaps (like yogurt, less sugar, and whole grains), banana bread can be nutritious and even good for weight loss.
It’s a delicious, healthier alternative to other baked goods packed with butter and sugar, and the filling ingredients can help to keep you satiated for longer.
- 100% whole grain. White whole wheat flour and oats add fiber and beneficial nutrients.
- Low sugar. This bread is naturally sweetened with maple syrup or honey. And I like to add just 1/4 cup brown sugar for extra deliciousness.
- Yogurt. Instead of sour cream, a trick that is often used to make banana bread moist, this recipe is made with yogurt, which is high in protein and low in fat.
- Bananas. The addition of bananas fills the bread with potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. Ripe bananas make the bread moist and add natural sweetness, so you can use less added fats and sugars.
Seriously, this bread is the easiest to make and always gets rave reviews – even my kids can’t get enough! I love to bake up a loaf when I’m craving something sweet and chocolatey. So good!
Quick breads like this banana bread are actually really easy to make healthy. I honesty love this recipe just as much as a classic banana bread and I love that it’s lower in sugar, calories and fat. Let’s talk about those ingredients:
- Eggs. Using 2 large eggs in this banana bread recipe, gives it a tender texture and also adds protein. To make this recipe vegan, you can use flax eggs.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is a great replacement for the oil and/or butter that you would typically find in banana bread. For a vegan and/or dairy-free banana bread, use a coconut or almond milk yogurt variety. Use Greek yogurt for a boost of protein!
- Bananas. Two or about 1 cup bananas add moisture and do a great job of replacing oil in baked goods. For best results, use extra ripe bananas that have some brown spots.
- Maple syrup. Maple syrup (or honey) is an all natural sweetener that’s actually sweeter than sugar. There’s only 6 tablespoons in this entire recipe.
- Brown sugar. Adding just a tiny amount of brown sugar gives this bread the perfect amount of sweetness. This is completely optional, though. I actually had some Splenda brown sugar blend on hand and used 2 tablespoons of that. It was perfect.
- Flavor makers. Ground cinnamon and pure vanilla extract give this quick bread a wonderful warm, cozy flavor.
- Quick oats. Adds fiber and delicious texture to the bread.
- Baking soda. To give the bread the perfect rise and texture.
- White whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour works great in this recipe and is a healthier alternative to white flour. White whole wheat flour has more nutrition than regular all-purpose flour. It also adds a nutty delicious flavor to the bread. You can also use whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. All are 100 percent whole wheat. The difference is in the variety of whole wheat. White whole wheat flour is made from hard white spring or winter wheat, which has the exact same nutritional value of whole wheat flour, but because of the variety used, has a milder flavor and paler color. Whole wheat pastry flour is milled to a very fine texture. It is also lower in protein and gluten. Add all these things together and you have a flour that’ll yield a light and tender bread.
- Optional mix-ins. We love this healthy banana bread with the addition of chocolate chips! You can even add in 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans!
Pro tip: If your bananas aren’t quite ripe enough, you can ripen them quickly by wrapping them in foil and popping them in a 350°F oven for 10-15 mins!
How to make this recipe
This banana bread recipe is super easy to whip up and only requires about 10 minutes of hands-on time. You only need one large bowl and a loaf pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. You can also grease with oil or butter, if preferred.
Here’s a quick rundown of the process, but for full (printable) instructions, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Mix wet ingredients. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs until the yolks break apart. Whisk in the yogurt, mashed banana, maple syrup, sugar, and vanilla; mix until smooth.
- Add dry ingredients. Stir in the oats, baking soda, and cinnamon. Finally, spoon in the flour and gently stir it in until just combined. If you’re adding chocolate chips or any other mix-ins, toss them in about 1 tablespoon flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the bread, then gently fold them into the batter. Stir with wet mixture until just combined. Do NOT over-mix. Over-mixing the batter can lead to a tough texture and can make your bread sink.
- Bake. Pour batter into loaf pan. For a pretty presentation, sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips over the top of the batter before it goes into the oven. Bake at 350ºF for about 45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Allow bread to cool. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. Use a butter knife to loosen around the edges and carefully remove the bread from the pan. Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing. Enjoy!
Pro tip: Loosely cover the chocolate banana bread with aluminum foil after 30 minutes of baking to help prevent the top and sides from getting too brown.
This easy banana bread recipe is very simple to make, but here are some tips to make sure it’s incredible every time!
- Extra ripe bananas. For perfectly sweet banana bread, use bananas that are VERY ripe. The more brown spots the better! However, if they have mold or a strange odor, those bananas are too ripe and unsafe to eat. If your bananas are nearing expiration, but you don’t have time to bake banana bread that day, peel and freeze the bananas.
- Measure the flour correctly. Too much flour can cause bread to be dry and crumbly. Whisk the flour first, then spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the top (without shaking the measuring cup). If you have food scales, use those for even more precise measuring.
- Do NOT over-mix batter. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together by gently folding them with a large spoon or spatula and mix just until moistened. Do not use a whisk. Over-mixing the batter can produce tough bread.
- Do not over bake the bread. Ovens can vary so be sure to check the bread after about 40 to 45 minutes. The bread is done baking when a skewer, butter knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Baking bread. After about 30 minutes of baking, I suggest lightly covering the bread with foil, to avoid the top from getting too brown.
While this banana bread is delicious as-is, you can add other ingredients to switch up the flavor profile. Here’s some options:
- Banana nut bread. Mix in your favorite chopped nuts. About 1 cup of chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts would give this bread a delicious nutty crunch.
- Chocolate chips. While I really like semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe, feel free to use dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips or even mini chocolate chips.
- Dried fruits. For bursts of chewy sweetness throughout, add one cup of cranberries, raisins or chopped dates.
- Flour. Spelt flour or all purpose flour are great substitutes for white whole wheat flour. If that’s what you have on hand, give it a try!
- Banana muffins. Turn this quick bread recipe into a muffin recipe. This will make 12 muffins and you can shorten the cook time down to 20-25 minutes.
- Dietary restrictions. I have successfully made this bread this bread vegan, dairy-free, egg free, and gluten free. See the notes in the recipe card (below) for details.
Frequently asked questions
BEST WAY TO MASH BANANAS?
Use a fork to mash your bananas or, to get the bananas mashed really well (so you don’t end up with big chunks in your bread), try mashing them with a blender or an electric (hand or stand) mixer. Not only do they get completely mashed up, it’s quick and easy.
CAN THIS BREAD BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! This bread will stay fresh covered at room temperature on the counter for up to about 2 days. You can store the bread in the refrigerator for longer, up to 7 days. If you want to enjoy the refrigerated bread warm, you can heat it in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds or in a toaster oven for a short time.
CAN YOU FREEZE THIS BREAD?
If you don’t happen to finish all of the banana bread, or you simply want to save some for another day, you can easily store your loaf in the freezer. Tightly wrap the whole loaf in plastic wrap, then place it in a resealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw your bread at room temperature when you’re ready to enjoy it. The other option is to wrap up individual slices in plastic wrap and store them in a resealable bag. You can then thaw your slices at room temperature or microwave them for about 20-30 seconds.
Once you try this healthy banana bread, you’ll never want to go back to regular old banana bread. My kids love to take this bread in their lunch and with the addition of chocolate chips you can even call it a dessert!
If you try this delicious banana bread recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re baking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Healthy Banana Bread
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (115g) plain or vanilla Greek yogurt*
- 2 medium-size (200g or 1 cup) ripe bananas, mashed
- 6 tablespoons (90ml) maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar, coconut sugar or 2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar blend
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (60g) quick oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cup (150g) white whole wheat flour**
- Optional add-ins: 1 cup chocolate chips, dried fruit or chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (176ºC), and lightly grease a 9 x 5" loaf pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs until the yolks break apart. Whisk in the yogurt, mashed banana, maple syrup, sugar, and vanilla; mix until smooth.
- Stir in the oats, baking soda, and cinnamon. Finally, spoon in the flour and gently stir it in until just combined. If you're adding chocolate chips or any other mix-ins, toss them in about 1 tablespoon flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the bread, then gently fold them into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it out evenly. If you're making chocolate chip banana bread, add some extra chocolate chips to the top for a pretty presentation.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to help prevent the top and sides from getting too brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Cover and store banana bread at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Banana bread tastes best on day 2 after the flavors have settled together. See notes below for freezing instructions.
Vegan banana bread: Use maple syrup (not honey), use flax eggs and choose non-dairy yogurt.
Gluten-free: I like to use Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten-free 1-to-1 flour blend.
Flour options: An equal amount of all-purpose flour can be used in place of the white whole wheat flour. You can also use an equal amount of whole wheat flour, but the texture may change some.