Whole Wheat Banana Bread.

No butter, no oil, 100% whole wheat, 100% actually tasting good.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com No oil, no butter, whole wheat, and actually tasting GREAT.

I know I say I’m obsessed with a lot of recipes which may be convincing you that I’m either (1) out of my mind or (2) just really in love with a lot of food. Or both? Definitely both.

This whole wheat banana bread is absolutely no exception. It blew my mind. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations. It was merely a way to get rid of 3 overly ripe bananas and a random jar of applesauce. I usually make banana bread with butter and/or oil because hello! That’s where all the goodness hides. Well well well. After 1 bite of this “whatever, it won’t be good” banana bread, I was left proven completely wrong.

Healthy ingredients CAN make incredible things.

Take that, full fat white flour banana bread.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com No oil, no butter, whole wheat, and actually tasting GREAT.

Before we get into some details on the ingredients, let me tell you exactly how this deeply satisfying, yet lightened-up banana bread tastes. It’s hearty and thick. Pairs wonderfully with a cup of coffee in the morning. Dense and tight-crumbed like regular banana bread, but definitely not as sweet. The bread is slightly nutty from the whole wheat flour (and, uh, the walnuts) and tastes incredibly tender thanks to the bananas, applesauce, and eggs. You’ll taste a lot of pure banana flavor. Complimenting the banana’s flavor are vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey. I am very light handed with those last two ingredients as I don’t want sugar to overpower the banana’s flavor.

Power Ingredients

Applesauce. Why? Applesauce takes the place of oil and butter in this banana bread recipe. I am very careful saying this because this isn’t a universal rule in the baking world. It requires testing. Oftentimes when applesauce is subbed for butter, you’re left with a very mediocre baked good. I would rather eat a plate of raw broccoli than pound cake made without butter. Ick. Some recipes just cannot be made without fat. But banana bread is not one of them. In fact, applesauce is a wonderful, healthier ingredient you can work into a lot of breads and muffins. Again, some testing is often needed before you land on the perfect combination of ingredients. If you’d like to include the wildly popular ingredient that I am personally obsessed with (see? obsessed)– coconut oil– then feel free to use that instead of applesauce. I’ll note that in the recipe notes for you.

Eggs. Why? Like I tell you all the time, eggs do about 1,000,000 things in baking. Binding, structure, texture, coagulating, emulsifying, and moisture to name a few. Most importantly, they provide some fat (i.e. richness) to this bread.

Bananas. Why? Well, duh. Besides the obvious reason (flavor!) the bananas lightly sweeten the bread. As I mention above, this banana bread isn’t overly sweet. Naturally sweet bananas are supplemented with a little honey and brown sugar. The mix of these three ingredients make the bread pleasantly sweet. You won’t feel like you just ate a banana bread sugar bomb. Not only this, bananas provide moisture. So much moisture! Bananas are a bread maker’s dream. Oftentimes, low fat baked goods are dull, flavorless, and (I shudder!) dry. Not this bread. Bananas, applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, and milk to the rescue. Talk about moisture!

Remember… the riper the bananas, the better. Go for yellow and spotty.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com No oil, no butter, whole wheat, and actually tasting GREAT.

Like I mentioned last week, whole wheat flour is a finicky ingredient. It loves to be difficult! I’m here and I’m going to make every baked good I touch heavy and tough. To counteract with whole wheat flour’s… uh… hefty attitude, I add a little milk to lighten up the batter. Also, just the right amount of baking soda aerates the bread so you’re not left with a whole wheat hockey puck in your loaf pan.

There’s not much else to it! I don’t add any crazy ingredients; rather, just a few simple and healthful foods come together to make one surprisingly outstanding bread.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com No oil, no butter, whole wheat, and actually tasting GREAT.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. ♥

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

No butter, no oil, 100% whole wheat, 100% actually tasting good.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsweetened applesauce1
  • 1/4 cup (72g) honey2
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk3
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about a heaping 1 and 1/4 cups)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (215g) whole wheat flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (67g) Diamond of California (my favorite!) chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much too soon. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the applesauce, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and milk together until combined. Then, whisk in the eggs and bananas until combined. The mixture should be smooth. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and walnuts together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and slowly whisk until *just* combined. Absolutely do not overmix this batter. I like to add the walnuts to the dry ingredients rather than mixing them in last because it helps avoid overmixing. Overmixing = too heavy tasting.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be before or after 60-65 minutes depending on your oven, so begin checking every 5 minutes at the 55 minute mark or so. I strongly suggest using an oven thermometer to test your oven's temperature.
  4. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before slicing.
  5. Make ahead tip: The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container (it tastes better on day 2!) at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. But it won't last that long. For longer storage, baked bread can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

For 14-15 muffins, bake at 350F for around 18-20 minutes, give or take. Use a toothpick to test doneness.

  1. Melted coconut oil (or canola or vegetable oils) can be used instead of applesauce.
  2. Pure maple syrup or agave can be used instead of honey.
  3. I use skim milk, but any milk fat is OK. Soy, rice, coconut, and almond are also fine.

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More banana goodness: Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies made with wholesome, healthy ingredients. 1 bowl, ready in less than 25 minutes!

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Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com No oil, no butter, whole wheat, and actually tasting GREAT.

I’m working with Diamond of California to bring you this recipe!

Here's how to make healthy whole wheat banana bread with applesauce! You can't taste the difference!

171 comments

  1. When I make banana bread I get good results using whole wheat pastry flour.
    Still the advantages of whole wheat, but gives a lighter texture than
    regular whole wheat flour.  I also like w/w pastry flour for cookies and biscuits as
    well.

  2. Hi

    I would love to make this with no sugar while maintaining its original sweetness. So should I simply omit the sugar entirely or would u recommend adding more honey to replace the omitted sugar? If I need to add more honey, how much?

  3. Really good! To be honest I thought I would end up with a brick but it was yummy. My husband had two slices and noticed that it could be used to make muffins. This is definitely a keeper/

  4. I was so surprised with all the healthy substitutions that this bread turned out tasting like real banana bread the texture was perfect too! bravo Sally! And I love the little tips about the possible substitutions of  maple syrup and coconut oil!

  5. After we scarfed down an entire loaf because it was so delicious, I realized I totally forgot to add the eggs. Duh!! That’s what happens when you work from home and bake while you’re on a conference call!!!  Anyway, it was so good and the texture was dense and moist but cooked just right, I’ll leave the eggs out every time!  Makes it even healthier with less calories so I can eat another slice. 

  6. Can I use agave instead of honey?

  7. Great recipe! Thank you a good balance between indulgence and extremely healthy baking (which often times is not as satisfying)
    I used Sprouted Spelt flour and 1 plantain because I was short ripe bananas. The result was great, very moist and not too sweet.
    Thank you for doing all the testing! 

  8. Do you think this recipe would work in a bread maker?!

  9. Hi Sally,
    I love your recipes. I have made countless number of baked goods using your recipes. Needless to say each and every baked good has turned out to be outstanding.

    I have made this banana bread couple of time before and love it. However, I was thinking of substituting some part of whole wheat flour with cocoa powder. Do you think it will work and what changes will I have to make?

  10. SALLY!!!!!!!! I made this last night and it was delicious!! I was a little concerned that the bread wouldn’t be sweet or fluffy but turns out I had nothing to fear, because it turned out fantastic! I didn’t have applesauce on hand so I substituted it for the coconut oil and did 1 cup wheat flour and 3/4 cup all purpose flour (just to be on the safe side) and it still tasted great! My parents and sister ate it and they couldn’t even tell the difference between your recipe and the less healthy version my Mom usually makes. I absolutely LOVEEEEE your blog and getting to know you through your posts!

    Thanks Sally!!! 🙂

  11. Hi Sally,

    If I was to make muffins with this recipe, do you think the batter would hold raspberries or blueberries? Or would they sink? If so, how much (in grams) do you think would be suitable? Thanks! xxx

    • I’d toss them in a little flour before adding to the batter. 1 cup of either, so about 125g raspberries or roughly 150g blueberries.

  12. Hello Sally! For quick breads (in general), is it okay to line the the pan with parchment paper instead? nonstick sprays are not easily available from where i come from (tropical island).

    thanks a lot!
    cee

  13. This banana bread was so good. This will be my new go-to lighter banana bread. I was using another skinny recipe from another site I visit often. Love the other blog but this by far is so much better. No oil, no butter. Hardly miss it. Thank you! Looking forward to trying other recipes.

  14. Hi Sally,
    May i know what is the shelf life of this bread, at room temp and refrigerated ?
    Thank you.

  15. I’m planning to make a double batch (at least) of this yummy bread this weekend and since each loaf takes so long to bake, can two loaf pans be in the oven at the same time baking? I know with cookies its always recommended to do one sheet at a time. Just was curious on your thoughts! Thanks 🙂

  16. Hello! Thanks so much for this healthy n yummy recipe! I enjoyed baking it and my husband and I just enjoyed toasted banana bread this morning 🙂

    Just one concern which I need help with. My bread didn’t cook through a 100% even after 65 minutes. I popped it back in but it wasnt cooking much more.
    The middle was still a bit moist and tasted slightly undercooked even though the toothpick came out more or less clean …

    How many minutes do I preheat the oven? Was it because I didnt preheat enough?

    Thanks!

    • Try lowering the temperature by 25 degrees F and baking for a little longer next time. This will help the bread cook through evenly. You can also loosely cover with aluminum foil during the last several minutes of baking– this prevents the top and edges from over-browning, while the center will still cook through. 🙂

  17. Hey Sally, first let me say i love your recipes! Ive never tried one that wasnt absolutely delicious!!
    I have one question regarding applesauce, can you share a good homemade one so that i can make it at home as i can only find ones with sugar in store!! 

    Thankss a lott

  18. Hi sally,

    Got my hands on cheap bananas and plan to make few batches of this recipe to freeze. So how do you freeze this banana bread, i mean wrap the whole in cling and then freeze or slice and then store it in some container and then freeze. I have baked many of ur recipes but never ventured into freezing my baked goodies. Please help me out since now im a mother of a toddler aged 1 plus 2 school going kids aged 9 and 6 and do need to do some freezing whenever i can bake

    Thanks a ton

  19. Thanks for the great fat free, hearty, whole wheat BANANA BREAD recipe!
    Approximately how many slices should you get per loaf and how many
    CALORIES are there per slice?  

    Thanks again

  20. Hi Sally!  How long do you think these would take in mini loaf pans, and how many mini loaves do you guess this recipe would make?  Thanks! 

  21. this is by far the best [healthy] banana bread i’ve ever made… thank you!!!

    i have worked off this recipe 4 times now, and in today’s iteration, bc i ran out of applesauce, i used 3 tablespoons applesauce and 3 tablespoons of high quality EVOO (nice herbal tones in the finished product); substituted walnuts for pumpkin seeds, and added 1.5 cups blueberries. i topped it with sliced almonds and cinnamon swirl… i can’t even tell you how delicious and the slight addition of oil makes such a huge difference without much compromise 😉

  22. Dear Sally, what will happen if i completely omit honey and brown sugar from the recipe? I wish to bake the cake for my baby’s first birthday.  Thanks for your kind response

    • The bread won’t be as moist and may be a little bland without *some* sugar.

      • Dear Sally, many thanks for your quick response. The ‘bland’ ness will be OK for my baby and even for me coz the bananas are naturally sweet.  Nevertheless what substitute can i use to keep the bread as moist? Should i add more  applesauce or more banana perhaps? If yes, How much?  And, last but not least, im planning to use yogurt instead of soymilk, is it OK? Thanks again for your insights. I have attempted to make banana cake twice using whole wheat flour applesauce yogurt no sugar no salt (from other recipe). And i had failed big time.  So, im considering to use a different recipe and i stumbled upon yours. So i am now a bit cautious to make my third attempt, but i wont give up. Thanks again for your help. Cheers.

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