Whole Wheat Banana Bread

While made without butter, oil, or white flour, this 100% whole wheat banana bread tastes just as flavorful and moist as my regular banana bread. In this healthier banana bread recipe, swap butter with unsweetened applesauce, all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, and replace some of the refined sugar with honey. With glowing reviews from taste-testers and readers around the world, this quick bread doesn’t even taste lightened-up!

whole wheat banana bread

I know I say I’m obsessed with a lot of different recipes, which might make convincing you to try something a little tough. If I love so many, which ones are actually the best?

My whole wheat banana bread completely blew my mind. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations. This loaf was merely a way to get rid of 3 overly ripe bananas and a random jar of applesauce. I make my regular banana bread with butter and all-purpose flour because that’s where all the goodness hides. Well, after 1 bite of this “whatever, it won’t be good” banana bread, I was proven wrong.

Healthy ingredients CAN make incredible things.

whole wheat banana bread slice

healthy whole wheat banana bread

This Whole Wheat Banana Bread Is:

  • Wholesome, healthful, & hearty
  • Extra moist and cinnamon-spiced
  • Not overly sweet, so the banana flavor shines
  • 100% whole wheat
  • Prepared without butter, oil, or white flour
  • Ready to bake in less than 10 minutes

Plus, this whole wheat banana bread slices and freezes like a dream. I love having a loaf on stand-by in the freezer for when I need homemade breakfast option or wholesome snack for al of us– adults and toddler alike. We all love it. (Especially with peanut butter spread on each slice!)

Let me quickly run through how you can make it.

mashed bananas in mixing bowl

Quick Tip: Mash Bananas with Your Mixer

Did you know you can use your electric mixer to mash bananas? Break or slice your peeled spotty bananas into large pieces and place in the bowl of your stand mixer– or use a regular mixing bowl and your hand mixer. Begin beating on low, then gradually increase to medium-high speed as the bananas break down into mashed banana. You can use this bowl for the rest of the banana bread ingredients. I do this for my banana cake, too!

You need 3 spotty medium size bananas for this recipe.

whole wheat banana bread batter in mixing bowl

How to Make Whole Wheat Banana Bread

After you mash the bananas with your mixer, add the remaining wet ingredients. You need:

  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Honey
  • Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Extract

Unsweetened applesauce takes the place of butter or oil. Additionally, I’m very light-handed with the added sugars–  we really want the banana flavor to shine through here. If you don’t want any added refined sweeteners in this healthier banana bread recipe, swap the brown sugar with coconut sugar. To keep this banana bread dairy free, use dairy free milk.

After that, mix the dry ingredients together and add to wet ingredients. You need whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mostly the same dry ingredients I use in my Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins. Lastly, fold in chopped walnuts. The nuts are completely optional. Sometimes I add chocolate chips and/or raisins instead.

whole wheat banana bread in loaf pan

whole wheat banana bread

More Healthful Baked Goods

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whole wheat banana bread

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


In this healthier banana bread recipe, swap butter with unsweetened applesauce, all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, and replace some of the refined sugar with honey. With glowing reviews from taste-testers and readers around the world, this quick bread doesn’t even taste lightened-up!


  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about a heaping 1 and 1/4 cups)
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsweetened applesauce*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (72g) honey*
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar*
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (215g) whole wheat flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (67g) chopped walnuts


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much too soon. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. You can use an electric mixer or mix everything by hand. I like to use an electric mixer because I use it to mash the bananas. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment on medium-high speed, beat the mashed bananas, applesauce, and eggs together until combined. (Or whisk by hand.) Add the honey, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed (or whisk) until combined. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Pour into the wet ingredients and beat on medium speed (or by hand) until combined. Fold in the walnuts.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
  6. 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.


  1. Freezing Instructions: The best way to freeze quick bread is to tightly wrap the loaf or slices (individually or grouped) in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place wrapped banana bread in a large freezer-friendly storage bag or reusable container. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Muffins: Use this banana bread recipe to make about 2 dozen muffins. Pour the batter into a lined or greased muffin pan and bake for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 16-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total bake time for the muffins is about 22-23 minutes. The initial burst of hot air helps those muffins rise nice and tall! Or try my whole wheat banana nut muffins.
  3. Applesauce: If needed, melted coconut oil (or canola or vegetable oils) can be used instead of applesauce.
  4. Sweetener: Pure maple syrup or agave can be used instead of honey and coconut sugar can be used instead of brown sugar.
  5. Milk: I use skim milk, but any milk fat is OK. Nondairy milks work too!

Keywords: whole wheat banana bread, healthy banana bread

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


Comments are closed.

  1. 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!

    1. Glad you made and love it, Robin! Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know.

  2. 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. 

  3. Can I use agave instead of honey?

    1. Yep, agave works.

  4. 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! 

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

  6. 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?

  7. 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!!! 🙂

    1. Claire this makes me so happy! Thank you so much for reporting back and the incredibly kind comment 🙂

  8. 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

    1. 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.

  9. 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!

    1. Yes, lining with parchment paper works!

  10. 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.

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

    1. See my make-ahead tip at the end of the recipe. 🙂

  12. 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 🙂

    1. They can both be in the oven at the same time!

  13. 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?


    1. 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. 🙂

  14. 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

    1. Yes yes! I’ve made and LOVED this homemade apple sauce: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/51301/sarahs-applesauce/

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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! 

  18. 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 😉

  19. 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

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

      1. 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.

  20. Is it okay to use white whole wheat flour? Would i need to lower the amount of wet ingredients?

    1. You can use white whole wheat. No need to alter the ingredients.

  21. Hi Sally, Can I use greek yogurt instead of the applesauce? 

    1. Sure can!

  22. I baked this yesterday and this whole wheat banana bread is so moist and delicious!  I did use pecans instead of walnuts as my daughter has a walnut allergy.  This recipe is a keeper!  

  23. Is it possible to swap about 1/4 cup or more of the flour for oats?

  24. Hi…i made this today with half wheat flour and half all purpose flour….it turn out to be fantastic…very moist, soft and perfectly sweet…Thanks u sally….u made my day…

  25. Paulette Mazur says:

    This is wonderful!

  26. Hey!
    Absolutely loved this recipe . I looked for hours till I found this one. I didn’t have applesauce so used butter. Sure to try it with applesauce next time . 

  27. Stephanie O'Neil says:

    I baked this a few days ago and it is so delicious!! I’ve tried many different varieties of “whole wheat/healthy” banana breads and they’ve all been dry and bland. This one was fantastic, I will definitely be using this recipe from now on! I didn’t have applesauce on hand, so used coconut oil but I definitely want to try it with applesauce too. Thanks so much for a fantastic recipe, Sally! I’ve made many things from your site and I can tell how much work you put in to every recipe to make sure they’re perfect. Please know your hard work is much appreciated 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful day!

    1. Thank you for such a kind comment, Stephanie! I’m so happy you enjoyed this banana bread! 🙂

  28. I made this today and it is DELICIOUS! I only had 2 bananas so I grated an apple and added that too. Also I used regular old vegetable oil as that’s what I had, ditto for regular white flour. Mine was a tad less healthy maybe… Thanks Sally!

    1. Glad you were able to make it work with what you had!

  29. Anjali Shenoi says:

    Do you think this recipe will work with a crumb topping also made with whole wheat?

    1. Definitely!

  30. This is exactly what I was looking for, healthy applesauce instead of butter or oil. Can’t wait to make this after work. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Great! I hope you love it!

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