Better Banana Bread

Most people make banana bread because they have nearly spoiled bananas. It’s more of an afterthought than a planned baking event. The bread is gummy and tough in the middle and the crust is overcooked. It’s loaded with sugar and oil and what seems like a healthy option is really just dessert masked with a Banana title. There is a secret to making great banana bread, and it all comes down to your prep work.

This recipe uses poppy seeds; however, you can omit them and still have a great loaf of banana bread! Please don’t skip the rye flour though!


  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 2 Tbl poppy seeds
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (4-5)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free milk
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Opt: 1/2 cup chopped dates and/or 1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil a bread pan.

Whisk together all dry ingredients. Whisk well.

Mash bananas in a separate bowl. Add liquid ingredients to mashed bananas.

Make a well in the dry ingredient bowl by scraping the mix to the sides. Pour in wet ingredients and fold together until there are no more lumps of dry ingredients present. The trick is to not over-mix!

Pour batter into oiled bread pan, top with more poppy seeds, and bake for 45-50 minutes. An inserted toothpick should come out clean (the center of the loaf should be between 190-205 F if using a thermometer).

Pro Tips:

Most people start their banana bread baking by mashing their bananas and then adding ingredients to the banana mash. This overworks the dough and makes the end result less than ideal.

Your bananas should be slightly overly ripe, lots of black spots, but not completely black and liquidy in the center. Why? If the bananas are too broken down by ripening your bread will cook unevenly. Quick breads usually need lots of sugar and oils and eggs. Banana bread cuts all that for the natural sweetness of banana and the fruit fibers help give shape. Too ripe and you run the risk of a sad loaf of bread that is burnt on the outside and wet on the inside.

Quick breads, like pancakes and muffins and cakes, are best when you’ve worked the batter as little as possible. Fold rather than mix. The more you mix, like with a standmixer, the more gluten you’ll develop which makes your bread tough and gummy.

Why a little rye? It adds another dimension of flavor that helps balance out the sweetness of the bananas. When you think of “rye bread” what you’re tasting is caraway seeds. Rye flour is a little more bitter version of standard wheat flour.

Nutrition Information provided using the LoseIt app

Serving size: 1 slice (Yield 16 slices) | 147 calories per serving

2.6 g Protein, 3.8 g Total Fat, 26.2 Total Carbs, 0 mg Cholesterol,  123.7 mg Sodium, 2.3 g Fiber

*Take note that Carbs here also include the natural carbohydrates in fruit.


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