This healthy banana bread recipe is super moist and easy to make. It has no refined sugar, oil or butter, and uses apple sauce instead to cut down on fat! Consider this a lightened up and healthier version of your favorite more indulgent banana bread. It is also dairy free, and can even be made vegan!
There is nothing like a good banana bread. The way it makes your house smell when it’s baking is just DIVINE. Typically when I bake with bananas I love to make these moist banana muffins, these banana bread brownies, or even this banana coffee cake.
As a trained pastry chef, I have had my fair share of delicious desserts. Sometimes though (like really, sometimes LOL) I need to balance out all the decadence with a healthier option, like this one!
This healthy banana bread recipe uses honey instead of sugar and applesauce instead of butter. This cuts down on the amount of sugar and fat in the recipe. It is also made with whole wheat flour, all without sacrificing on taste or texture!
It took me 7 tries (yes, 7!) to get this recipe but, but it was totally worth it, and now we get to enjoy it all the time!
This healthy banana bread makes a really great breakfast or afternoon snack slathered with any kind of nut butter- that’s the way I like to eat it!
Best Bananas to use
The best bananas to use for banana bread are dark brown and spotted bananas.
This is because as the bananas ripen and turn spotty, they sweeten naturally. So the spottier your bananas are, the sweeter the bread will be without relying on extra sweetener!
What makes this recipe healthy?
- This recipe uses honey instead of refined white sugar.
- Apple sauce is used instead of butter or oil to cut down on fat.
- It uses a blend of mostly whole wheat flour.
- Bananas – remember the browner the sweeter!
- Applesauce– you can use sweetened or unsweetened, whatever your preference is.
- Honey– honey is used to add sweetness and moisture without the addition of refined sugar.
- Eggs– Eggs bind the batter.
- Flour (I use a blend of whole wheat and white!)– I tested this recipe a bunch of times and found that using a small amount of white flour with whole wheat gave the best flavor.
- Kosher salt– Brings out the sweetness
- Baking soda– helps the bread rise.
- Vanilla extract- adds extra flavor.
- Optional Add ins-: your favorite mix-ins! Walnuts or chocolate chips would be so yummy.
Using Applesauce instead of butter
To up the health factor a little more and cut down on fat, you can use applesauce instead of butter. This is a 1-to-1 ratio, so instead of 1 cup butter, use 1 cup applesauce. It doesn’t give the bread an apple taste at all, it just makes the loaf a little extra moist
How to Make Healthy Banana Bread
This is a one-bowl recipe, so it’s minimum dish duty with maximum flavor. It’s the best of both worlds!
- Grease a loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350.
- In a medium size bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. This can be done to your preference. If you like some banana bits in your bread you can leave it a little chunkier, or you can put it in a blender and blend until super smooth.
- To the bowl add in the applesauce, honey, and vanilla. Then mix the eggs in one at a time.
- Fold in the flour, baking soda, and salt. I use 1 cup whole wheat flour, and 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour. You can make this recipe 100% whole wheat by using 2 cups of whole wheat flour.
- Spread the batter into your prepped loaf pan. I like to smooth the top and make it look a little extra pretty by slicing a banana and arranging the slices on top!
- Let the batter rest on the counter for 10 minutes before baking. It helps the gluten in the flour chill out a little.
- Bake the bread for 55-60 minutes. Check the middle with a toothpick or cake tester to make sure it comes out clean. You can put foil over the top if it’s starting to brown but isn’t done in the middle!
- Let the loaf completely cool off before cutting into it- it needs time to settle.
How to make a smooth batter:
If you don’t mind dirtying up another dish (dishwashers for the win) then you can use a blender to blend the bananas, applesauce, honey, vanilla, and eggs together. This creates a silky smooth batter and a really uniform slice of banana bread. It’s my favorite way to make this recipe!
How to make this a vegan
Since the butter is swapped for applesauce, this bread is halfway to a vegan recipe. Two more quick substitutions can make it completely vegan friendly!
- Swap the eggs for flax eggs. You can make a flax egg with 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal and 3 tablespoons of water. Mix them together, let it thicken (15 minutes in the fridge) and it’s ready!
- Use agave instead of honey!
Making these into muffins:
To make this banana bread into muffins- line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill 3/4 of the way. Bake the muffins for 20-22 minutes and cool completely before eating.
Freezing and Storing:
This recipe freezes really well. Wrap it well in foil or plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Store the bread in the loaf pan covered well with tin foil and leave on the counter for 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Use very overripe bananas. The darker and more spotted they are the sweeter they will be.
- This bread needs about 55-60 minutes of bake time. Don’t let it fool you- it can look like its done after 40 minutes but then when you slice into it, it will be gooey. If you are unsure just let it bake for a few extra minutes. Because it is so moist it is hard to over-bake!
- Let it cool completely before cutting into it. If you cut it too soon it will again be too gooey.
- If the top is getting too dark after 50 minutes, cover it lightly with foil and let it bake another 5- 10 minutes.
- Add some goodies into it- chocolate chips or nuts would work really well!
- You can substitute 100% whole wheat flour for this recipe by using 2 cups of whole wheat and leaving out the whole purpose flour.
More Banana Recipes
Moist and Easy Healthy Banana Bread
- 4-5 bananas overrripe, use one for optional garnish
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit and grease a loaf pan. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until mostly smooth and only small lumps remain. Add in the honey, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs one at a time. Mix until combined well. Alternatively you can blend all these ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Add the flours, baking soda, salt, and any mix ins, and mix just until combined. Do not overmix or the batter will be gummy.
- Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and top with the optional sliced banana. Let rest on the counter for 10 mins. Bake for 50-60 mins. The bread is done when the edges pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Make sure to let the bread cool completely before cutting, or else it can be too mushy.
- To make this recipe 100% whole wheat, use 2 cups of whole wheat flour and leave out the all purpose flour.
- Don’t forget to let the batter rest on the counter before baking. This well help the gluten in the recipe to relax a little resulting in a fluffier bread!
- Do not over-mix the batter. Mix until just combined.
- Make sure this cools completely before slicing!