Basic Healthy Banana Bread

I’m a big banana fan. I eat one every morning with my breakfast. Every morning. If we’re out of bananas, it’s probably going to be a tough day for me. That means we go through a lot of bananas. And I’m pretty picky about my bananas. I like them best when they’re yellow, maybe with a tint of green. A few brown spots? Ok, I’ll still eat you. Lots of brown spots? Nope…you’re done. After lots of practice, I’ve gotten pretty good at my banana math. I know how many I need to buy to keep us out of the brown banana zone. But every so often I miscalculate (or we eat waffles for several days in a row…) and we end up with brown bananas. And then it’s time for some cookies. Or…everyone’s favorite bread: banana bread!

Basic Healthy Banana Bread

I have a few different banana bread recipes that I like, but this one comes America’s Test Kitchen and their Healthy Family Cookbook, and it’s one of the better ones I’ve used. It’s a pretty healthy recipe as it only calls for half a stick of butter. The best banana bread we’ve ever had was on the big island of Hawaii – it’s sold out of a little shack on the far side of the island – but I once ran across a recipe for it and it’s packed full of vegetable oil, which…though it sounds better, isn’t much healthier than butter.

I’m usually pretty strict about no nuts in my banana bread, but I threw some toasted walnuts in here and they made for a nice little crunch.  So the next time you’re left with bananas that are too ripe to eat, give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Basic Healthy Banana Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This banana bread is a great way to use up those brown bananas that are sitting around on your counter. Add in nuts or chocolate chips if you want a little extra kick.
Serves: One loaf
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 large, ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup lowfat/nonfat plain yogurt (regular is best, but Greek will do in a pinch)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped coarsely
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 and lightly coat a 8½ x 4½ loaf pan with vegetable spray.
  2. Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Gently mix in the walnuts.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla together.
  4. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until mixed.
  5. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top down if needed.
  6. Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs (and no liquid) attached to it, about 55-65 minutes.
  7. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 mins then turn it out onto a wire rack for another hour or so..if you can wait that long.

Note: When you are picking your bananas, make sure they’re ripe. Like really ripe. When bananas ripen, their starches are converted to sugars, so you’ll have a sweeter banana bread. If your bananas aren’t totally ripe, you can throw them in the oven for about 20 minutes, until they’re black and soft. This will help pull out the sugars. But this only works with yellow bananas – if they’re still green, you’re just going to have to wait a little longer.


  1. says

    Oh how I love banana bread!
    I also tend to eat bananas almost every day for breakfast, but when they do go a bit too ripe their fate changes to become something deliciously baked.

    Love the cloth you use btw!! So cute!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  2. says

    I’m a huge banana bread fiend too! There’s a small cafe near my work that does a version with dates and walnuts and I’m hooked! Your recipe sounds delicious – will have to give this a go!

    • says

      Oooh dates would be a good addition! I keep reading recipes that use chopped dates to add in moisture and flavor. I might have to try that next time!

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