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 (220g) whole wheat flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (67g) chopped walnuts
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Applesauce: If needed, melted coconut oil (or canola or vegetable oils) can be used instead of applesauce.
- Sweetener: Pure maple syrup or agave can be used instead of honey and coconut sugar can be used instead of brown sugar.
- Milk: I use skim milk, but any milk fat is OK. Nondairy milks work too!
Keywords: whole wheat banana bread, healthy banana bread