Guilt-Free Healthy Banana Bread

How to make healthy banana bread that actually tastes good! This recipe has lower sugar, healthier fats and adds whole grains. Jump to the Healthy Banana Bread Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

Watch us make thee

How to Make Healthier Banana Bread

We’ve shared banana bread on Inspired Taste before and love the recipe. This healthier version takes everything we love about the original, but makes a few smart changes to make it lower in calories, sugar, and fat. Plus, we swap butter for better-for-you olive oil and add whole wheat flour.

We both love the original recipe and were determined to create a guilt-free version that stood up to it. This banana bread bakes up to be moist, dense, and delicious. [For more quick bread inspiration, take a look at our easy apple bread]

baked banana bread made with lower sugar, healthier fats and added whole grains

The first change was to add whole wheat flour. We use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. You could use 100% whole wheat, but keep in mind that the loaf will taste nuttier (not necessarily a bad thing) and will be a bit more dense. White whole wheat flour is also a great option. In fact, we use a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour for our Whole Wheat Pancakes. They are so light and fluffy!

Banana bread dry ingredients

Next, we significantly reduced the sugar. In our original recipe we call for a 3/4 cup of brown sugar. This makes the bread incredibly moist and delicious, but since we were looking for healthy banana bread most of the sugar had to go! We have reduced the sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/3 cup. A major savings and your blood sugar will thank you. We also call for unrefined pure cane sugar. If you don’t have it on hand, granulated or brown sugar will work in it’s place.

Speaking of sugar, we add an extra secret ingredient to the batter — black strap molasses. Just one tablespoon packs in lots of flavor and adds a richness to the batter.

Banana bread wet ingredients

Finally, we swap melted butter for olive oil. Not only that, but we reduce the fat from 8 tablespoons to 5 tablespoons. If you use a fruity olive oil, it adds a lovely richness to the bread. It also keeps the bread dense and moist. No one wants dry banana bread, right?

And that’s it. How to make healthier banana bread that is moist and tastes great!

Slices of healthy banana bread

More Banana Recipes

Guilt-Free Healthy Banana Bread

  • PREP
  • COOK

This healthy banana bread stays moist and actually tastes good! This recipe has lower sugar, healthier fats, and adds whole grains. For tips on making this gluten-free or vegan, check the notes section below. A note on pan size: We use a 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan; if you only have a 9- by 5-inch pan, start checking for doneness 5 to 10 minutes earlier.

Makes 1 loaf or 12 slices

You Will Need

3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (95 grams) whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large bananas, heavily speckled or even black bananas are best, about 1 cup mashed

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or substitute melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon molasses

1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice


  • Make Batter
  • Center a rack in the oven and heat to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 1/2-inch-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly grease. Place the loaf pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.

    Whisk the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together, set aside. In the bottom of a medium bowl, mash bananas into a chunky paste. Whisk the olive oil, molasses, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the vanilla into the bananas until blended.

    Switch to a large rubber spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, stirring gently until they disappear and the batter is smooth.

    • Bake Bread
    • Pour batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake 40 to 65 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. After 30 minutes in the oven, check the bread for color. If it looks like it is browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil.

      When the bread is done, transfer it, in the pan, to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the bread and place right side up on the rack. Cool completely.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Store the banana bread at room temperature up to 2 days, in the refrigerator up to 5 days, or in the freezer up to 3 months.
  • How to make healthy banana muffins: Divide the batter between muffin cups then bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Gluten-free banana bread: Use you favorite store-bought gluten-free flour blend. We are partial to Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Vegan / egg-free banana bread: Replace the eggs with flax eggs. To make 2 flax eggs, mix 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed) with 5 tablespoons water. Set it aside for about 5 minutes to thicken then use to replace the eggs in the recipe.
  • Use 100% whole wheat flour: Replace the all-purpose flour with an equal amount of whole wheat flour or use white whole wheat flour. If the batter seems too thick, thin it out with a tablespoon or so of water or milk.
  • Using less oil: 5 tablespoons of olive oil seemed just right for lowering the fat, while keeping the bread nice and moist. To reduce the fat even more, you can try replacing some or all of the oil with applesauce.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1 slice / Calories 164 / Protein 3 g / Carbohydrate 24 g / Dietary Fiber 2 g / Total Sugars 10 g / Total Fat 7 g / Saturated Fat 1 g / Cholesterol 28 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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29 comments… Leave a Comment
  • AMIE April 30, 2020, 2:07 am

    i don’t usually comment on recipes but i think i finally found a banana bread recipe that i love and will do it over and over. i added crushed pecan and 1/3 cup of low fat sour cream, it’s so soft and delicious even when it’s cold.

  • Nancy Olinger July 1, 2019, 8:28 am

    Love this recipe! The whole family, down to my two year old grandson, gobbled it up. Very moist and full of flavor. Quick and easy, too.

  • Emma Johnston May 16, 2019, 8:13 pm

    I am a 66 year old lady and my mom died before she could teach me to cook and bake. I have looked at so many sites to teach me but YOUR SITE IS THE BEST I’ve ever come across. Your Recipes are precise and clear to the understanding. I just want to THANK YOU for such an AUTHENIC site!! I believe everything you say. It really makes sense to me. Nothing ever did before. I hope and Pray you NEVER STOP Posting your knowledge and your recipes. I just love the two of you. You were made for this and God has Blessed you both with incredible Food talents.
    Soft Regards, Emma Johnston

  • Maggie O’Grady September 4, 2018, 7:11 pm

    Hi Guys I baked your Healthy Bluberry Muffins, quick and easy too. My family and I really enjoyed them. Thanks great recipe. Cheers Maggie

  • Charlotte May 9, 2018, 5:50 pm

    I think this banana bread is sublime. I used coconut oil instead of the olive oil, and added chocolate chips. I’ve made the bread twice now and will be making it again tomorrow as it is so popular! I baked it for 45minutes the first time and it was perfect, the second time I left it in for 50, it was still good but a little more dry. I couldn’t get my hands on liquid molasses so ended up with it in a sugar form and melted it with some of the coconut oil. I also didn’t have ripe bananas so had to pop them in the microwave for 40 seconds and that seemed to do the trick!

    • Val September 9, 2018, 11:06 pm

      Why all the molasses and sugar?! Ripe bananas are so sweet already. I make this bread, no sweetener added, use 4 bananas & it is delicious.

      • Kiwi October 10, 2018, 5:00 pm

        I was wondering just the same and did just the same and the bread came out came out very sweet. This is a great recipe! Thank you.

  • Missrose April 17, 2018, 10:33 am

    I used Flax eggs and eliminated the oil. I added extra Bananas and eliminated sugar all together. I love the molasses though. Great touch.

  • connie brasher February 1, 2018, 12:33 pm

    Haven’t others will substitute with stevi and applesauce. Can yo u Bread this down in calories and sugar carb amts?

  • Jessee January 20, 2018, 11:33 pm

    This was delicious and so easy to make! I didn’t have molasses and so I used maple syrup. Lovely but probably a richer flavor with the molasses. Def would make again.

  • Jackie January 19, 2018, 11:49 pm

    It turned out beautiful. It only took 40 mins to cook. Instead of sugar i put a few drops of natural stevia. Best banana bread. Not too sweet but just right

  • Mallory S January 7, 2018, 12:04 pm

    I made this but instead of whole wheat flour I used Bob’s Buckwheat flour (which has its own flavor). This turned out great! It was a little dry, which I could use some advice on. I followed recipe to a T as aboce w exception of whole wheat flour replacement. Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Patysays May 6, 2018, 9:39 am

      Whenever you alter a recipe it’s going to create something different buckwheat flour requires more liquid so you needed to have added more of the liquid

  • Wendi Parker December 20, 2017, 12:36 am

    Splenda is really a bad substitute. I have MS and it is one of the causes of MS. I would try finding a sweetener without aspartame. Honey is a better choice and is just as sweet, otherwise you might as well be using sugar.

  • Heidi S. Soleymani November 24, 2017, 3:02 pm

    This recipe is similar to the one I make, except I use whole wheat pastry flour instead of a blend of different flours. I also use more bananas (4-5, depending on how big they are), and I substitute honey for sugar. 1/3 cup should do it.

  • Rose November 5, 2017, 8:04 pm

    Yum! Just what I was looking g for. Keep an eye on it, was done in 40 minutes in my oven which may run hot…

  • Dom Wells October 28, 2017, 6:43 am

    This looks perfect! I’ve never made banana bread before and can’t wait to try yours! Love how easy it sounds!

  • PTRICIA June 8, 2017, 6:00 pm

    Looks great and I will try it. However, what would be the problem of using Splenda if trying to avoid sugar. Although I don’t know if you are against that. Thanks!

    • Joanne June 12, 2017, 12:54 pm

      Hi there, We have never tried replacing the sugar called for in the recipe with Splenda. We recommend checking the package and finding out what Splenda recommends when substituting for sugar in baked goods. Since this is a quick bread, the recipe should be a bit more flexible than if you were making a more complicated baked goods.

      • Elaine G. King August 10, 2017, 8:01 pm

        I use Splenda in all my baking, which includes baking all my own bread. It works fine, and substitutes cup to cup with sugar.

        • Elaine Betterton November 6, 2017, 7:53 pm

          I’d be interested in replacing sugar as well, but never with Splenda, which I understand to be an unhealthy fake sugar. I’d be interested in a healthy sugar substitution like a combination of stevia and applesauce.

    • Marsha Gainey December 21, 2020, 11:53 pm

      Whenever I replace white sugar in a recipe, I use half of the white sugar called for and I replace the other half with Splenda. Never replace all of the white sugar with Splenda; I learned the hard way that it will give a bitter taste to your baked good and it will be nearly inedible.


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