Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Muffins

These whole wheat banana walnut muffins are easy, wholesome, and satisfying. They’re just as moist and flavorful as classic banana muffins, but they’re made with whole wheat flour, pure maple syrup, coconut oil, and whole oats.

Recipe updated & improved in August 2021.

whole wheat healthy banana muffins on yellow cake stand

I originally published this recipe in 2018 and have made them dozens of times since. I began adjusting the leaveners so the muffins rise a little taller, taste a little fluffier, and no longer have a chemical aftertaste from excess baking soda. I also slightly increased the milk so the muffins don’t taste as dense. The written printable recipe below includes these slight changes. I know you’ll love the muffins even more now!


Why You’ll Love These Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Muffins

  • Wholesome, healthy, and satisfying
  • 100% whole wheat
  • Moist and delicious
  • Not overly sweet so the banana flavor shines
  • Oats add a delicious whole grain and chewy texture
  • Flavored with cinnamon
  • No refined sugar– just pure maple syrup and bananas
  • Dairy free if using a dairy free milk

Big sugar-filled muffins are great (looking at you, double chocolate muffins!) but a healthy muffin that’s also an easy and delicious muffin is wonderfully useful. Just like whole wheat banana bread, today’s muffins are moist, hearty, and flavorful. They’re also kid-friendly. In fact, whenever a reader asks me for kid-friendly recipes that are also a little healthy, I always suggest muffins. Muffins are quick, manageable, portable, acceptable for breakfast and snack time, and usually require very little clean-up. Today’s whole wheat banana walnut muffins are no exception!

healthy whole wheat banana muffins with oats on top

Simple and healthful ingredients can produce delicious-tasting baked goods if we use them right. I used my morning glory muffins as the starting point for this whole wheat banana muffins recipe. I added some oats and mashed banana, as well as a few other small changes.

Overview: Ingredients in Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Here’s a run-down of the ingredients you need and why they’re important:

  • Whole Wheat Flour: We use 2 cups of whole wheat flour as the base of these muffins. You can switch out with all-purpose or white whole wheat flour if needed. I have not tested this recipe with any gluten free flour alternatives.
  • Oats: Oats are an add-in and leave a wonderful texture. I wouldn’t compare these to blueberry oatmeal muffins, though. In that recipe, oats are more like the base of the recipe as opposed to a small add-in.
  • Cinnamon, Salt, & Vanilla Extract: All add flavor.
  • Baking Powder + Soda: Help the muffins rise.
  • Bananas: Use 1 and 1/3 cups of mashed banana, which is about 3 medium size bananas. If you’re ever looking for an easy way to mash bananas, just use your mixer. It’s what I do whenever I make regular banana bread. Peel and break up the bananas, place in a large bowl, then use your mixer to blend them. You could also use a blender. If your bananas are soft enough, you could easily mash them with a fork.
  • Eggs: Eggs add structure and help bind everything together.
  • Oil: Oil replaces butter and adds moisture. I love using melted coconut oil, but vegetable oil works if that’s all you have.
  • Pure Maple Syrup: Maple syrup replaces refined sugar in this muffin recipe and pairs wonderfully with the sweet bananas! You can use honey instead of the maple syrup, but the flavor will be different.
  • Milk: I typically use unsweetened vanilla almond milk in this recipe. The whole wheat banana muffins will be dairy free if you use dairy free milk.
  • Nuts: Use any kind of chopped nuts in this recipe or leave them plain. I usually use chopped walnuts, but we also love them with chocolate chips if we’re craving a sweeter treat.

whole wheat banana muffins batter

whole wheat banana muffins batter in muffin pan

whole wheat healthy banana muffins

inside of a healthy banana muffin

Toppings for Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Muffins

For some flair, top the muffins with oats and/or a sprinkle of coconut sugar. Both are optional, but I think you’ll enjoy the extra caramelized crunch from the coconut sugar on top. Instead of oats and coconut sugar, add some sprinkles on top of each before baking. Boom! A healthy muffin that seems *almost* like a sprinkle cupcake!

Print
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whole wheat healthy banana muffins on yellow cake stand

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These whole wheat banana walnut muffins are easy, wholesome, and satisfying. They’re made with whole wheat flour, pure maple syrup, coconut oil, and whole oats.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (245g) whole wheat flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup (40g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/3 cups mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) melted coconut oil (or use vegetable oil)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup*
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (any kind– I use 120g walnuts)
  • optional: 3 Tablespoons oats and/or coconut sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners. This recipe makes 15 muffins, so prepare a second muffin pan with 3 liners or bake in batches.
  2. Whisk the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, mash the bananas. Then whisk in the eggs, oil, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add the nuts. Fold everything together gently just until combined and no flour pockets remain.
  3. Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Top with oats and a light sprinkle of coconut sugar, if desired. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 15-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20-21 minutes, give or take. (For mini muffins, bake 11-13 minutes at 350°F (177°C) the whole time.) Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  4. Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days, then transfer to the fridge for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: For longer storage, freeze muffins for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or warm up in the microwave if desired.
  2. Maple Syrup: You can use honey for the maple syrup, but the flavor will be different.
  3. Initial High Temperature: The hot burst of air will spring up the top of the muffin quickly, then the inside of the muffin can bake for the remainder of the time. This helps the muffins rise nice and tall.
  4. Nutrition Information: Using VeryWellFit calculator and calculated using coconut oil, skim milk, and walnuts, these muffins come out to 190 calories, 8.5g fat, 25g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugar, and 4g protein each.

Keywords: whole wheat banana walnut muffins

Whole wheat and healthy without lacking flavor or moisture! These delicious whole wheat banana nut muffins are made without refined sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

110 Comments

  1. I have made so many recipes from this site and they are all amazing! I think that’s what makes these mediocre muffins particularly hard to swallow. I mean that quite literally as they are dry and bland. I made the recipe exactly, using coconut oil and very ripe bananas. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I will not be trying them again.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Ash! I really appreciate it as I always strive to provide the best recipes I can.

    2. I found that mine were done a few minutes earlier than the time suggested in the recipe, and they still seemed a little overdone. Perhaps too long of a bake time was the issue with yours? I’ve also tried a bunch of the recipes from this site, and I love it!

  2. Sheri Cadman says:

    Hi!
    I’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes. I’m switching to almost no sweeteners. I did find that I can use Splenda, so I bought some. And I should use the whole wheat flour, which I bought.
    Do you think I can use Splenda in this recipe? I’m having a difficult time finding any recipes.
    Our library is closed, and I’m under quarantine in my apartment, here in Avalon, Ca. I just mean I can’t get to the mainland to get to a better grocery store! We are limited, to say the least.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheri, We haven’t tested this recipe with a sugar substitute, but let us know if you try. While we are not the best source for diabetic recipes, we do have a section of “healthier” recipes that you might wish to browse through.

  3. Very dense and no taste. And they cooked super fast almost burned them. 425 for 5 min then 350 for 22-23. Maybe they need raising to add sweetness.

  4. I absolutely love this recipe. I tweaked it to make it low carb, using almond flour, sugar free syrup, almond milk, and almonds instead of walnuts. While it comes out super moist, almost wet, its the best tasting low carb baked good I’ve managed to make using almond or coconut flour. I’ve used this recipe twice now, and its just delicious!

  5. Very good! I used half maple syrup and half honey, olive oil, quick oats, and a sprinkle of shredded coconut instead of nuts. I also only baked them for 15 minutes after turning down the temperature, and they were cooked through. I like them with a little butter, but they’re great on their own! Cream cheese icing would make these a lovely dessert.

  6. I would echo Jess’s comment above–these absolutely DO NOT NEED to be baked at 425 for 22-25 minutes! They’d be lumps of coal! I baked mine at 400 for about 12 minutes and they were perfect. Also, I take issue with the leavening–and I’ve made this comment before on this site. Using all baking soda, especially this much, doesn’t work well for me. I will admit that I live in Denver and so am baking at a higher altitude, but HA problems would be more of a function of amount of leavening, not type. I used 1 tsp. soda and 1/2 tsp. baking powder and these muffins rose perfectly, with beautiful round domes. I wonder if you could consider making these changes. This recipe is so, so good–in spite of all my carping, that’s really my ultimate comment here. They come out with this lovely almost caramelized outside and moist insides. The oats and walnuts add great texture and nutrition.

    1. Debi, these notes are very helpful. We take feedback very seriously and when I review recipes each year for possible updates, I take it all into consideration. So thank you. Just a note– these do not bake at 425 for that long. (Only 5 minutes before you lower the temperature.)

      1. Thank you, Sally! And yes, I did realize later that you only have it at 425 for 5 minutes. Interestingly enough, Cook’s Illustrated magazine has an article in its latest issue on popovers, and they address the issue of the starting-out-high/lower-the-temp technique, and they say that it’s kind of iffy since every oven is different–loses heat at a different rate, etc., and that they found that a consistent temp worked better. I know you develop your recipes very carefully and that this two-temp idea works well for you, but it might not for everyone. Anyway, I plan to make these muffins again soon.

  7. I just made these today and they are delicious! I added 1/2c semisweet chocolate chips and highly recommend! 🙂

  8. HI sally would it be already to make these in a mini cupcake pan? I think I would be super cute to have little muffins for a family gathering next week! If so would how much would I lower the baking time?
    Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Klailea, you sure can! For mini muffins, bake 11-13 minutes at 350°F.

  9. Yum! Love these! Question: Is there a way to make them gluten free? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leah, we’re so glad you love these muffins. We haven’t tested them with GF flour, but let us know if you do!

  10. Made these this morning on a whim. Easy and delicious. My kids (5, 9, and 10) helped make them and loved them. We had to use brown sugar instead of maple syrup and it worked out just fine. I ended up baking 5 minutes at 425 and 15 at 350 and they were gorgeously domed and cooked perfectly. My bananas were pretty big, so that may have contributed to them being nice and moist. We loved them!!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beth, We are so glad you loved them.

  11. Hi Sally!
    I can’t find old fashioned oats at all! Do you think instant/ quick oats will be ok?
    Thank you !

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Irina, quick oats will work in a pinch.

  12. These were really delicious! I think the people who had poor results did something wrong in their cook time or temperature. I followed the recipe exactly and topped with oats and a bit of sparkling sugar. Mine were perfectly done (moist and delicious) after 5 minutes at 425 and 15 minutes at 350. I got 12 muffins out of the batch, which happens to me often with Sally’s recipes. I think I must have a slightly larger muffin tin. These are going into the freezer for postpartum snacking!

  13. Just made the whole wheat banana muffins, they are so good ,I didn’t have walnuts but I did use pecan nuts and they are so delicious.
    Thank you for this recipe.

  14. Kristen Chang says:

    I did not fully read about the temperature change and baked them at 425 for 17 minutes-dry! My bad. I do question the true need to do the two temps and I do not think it’s necessary except in the case of baking pies.

    1. The higher temperature gives you a ‘muffin top’ which Sally mentions if you read the notes! If you baked them for the same temperature, you’ll get a flatter top – cupcake style which for most isn’t appetising unless you add a topping

  15. This recipe is AMAZING!!! It’s healthy and tastes so great. It’s moist and looks so pretty. I replaced the coconut oil with applesauce and didn’t add walnuts. This made them come out to only 140 calories!! I absolutely love this recipe and I will definitely be making it again in the future.

    1. How much apple sauce did you use?

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