Banana bread is one of my favorite recipes to bake and eat. This low-sugar banana bread has all of the flavor, with less than a third of the sugar and fat. Sweetened with extra ripe bananas, this tender, healthy banana bread will be a staple in your kitchen. You can feel good about having a slice of banana bread for breakfast for as an afternoon pick-me-up!
If there was only one recipe I could make for the rest of my life, it would be banana bread. It’s one of the first recipes I remember making with my mom in the kitchen (I loved using the masher). I am picky when it comes to good banana bread.
The best kind of banana bread is moist, tender, and full of banana flavor. As much as I love banana bread, I can’t justify eating a slice of it for breakfast when the ingredients make it more like a dessert. This is where Joanne Chang’s Baking with Less Sugar comes in for the win! She took her original banana bread recipe and slashed the sugar.
From Joanne’s original recipe, I modified it a bit to suit my taste – adding another egg yolk and amped up the spices a bit, but retained the most important elements of her bread. I like to add amaretto to my banana bread, because I like the sweet, nutty flavor it offers (totally optional and you can leave it out!). I also swapped the creme fraiche for sour cream, because sour cream is far easier to find!
This is my favorite healthy(ish) banana bread recipe. It packs the flavor you’ll love, but without the added sugar and fat.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe:
- Ultra banana-y flavor (thanks to 4 bananas!)
- Dense and delicious, but tender
- No crazy ingredients or substitutions
- Easy to make
- Lasts for days – the flavor gets more rich!
- Freezes fantastically
- Great for breakfast or a snack
What’s in this Banana Bread? The Ingredients:
- Bananas – Get those bananas RIPE. They should be black and spotty on the outside, and super sweet on the inside.
- Oil – This recipe calls for vegetable oil. It keeps the bread moist and fluffy in texture!
- Brown Sugar – I love the addition of brown sugar with the white sugar. Brown sugar adds a more rich flavor to the bread.
- Sour Cream – This adds moisture without thinning out the batter, adding to the tenderness of the banana bread.
- Spices – I love adding a heap of spices to banana bread. For this recipe, I’ve used a healthy portion of cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg and cloves.
- Eggs and Egg Yolk – The extra egg yolk adds moisture, richness and flavor.
- Amaretto (optional) – Amaretto lends a nice rich nutty flavor to the banana bread.
Tips and Tricks:
- Can I use frozen bananas? If you have ripe bananas, but you’re not ready to bake with them, simply wrap them tightly in stretch wrap (or in a freezer bag), and throw them in the freezer. They can last up to 6 months in the freezer and make PHENOMENAL banana bread! When you defrost them, make sure to place them in a bowl so they don’t make a mess. Drain off the extra liquid and mash them as you normally would.
- Don’t skimp on whipping the sugar and eggs! Trust me, beat the eggs and sugar to the specifications of the recipe. You’ll be rewarded for your effort.
- Make sure to DRIZZLE the oil into the sugar and egg mixture. Make sure not to just dump it in. You don’t want to deflate the air you just beat into your eggs and sugar mixture.
- Can I freeze my banana bread? Yes! When I worked at Flour Bakery, the banana bread loaves would go right in the freezer. I’d recommend eating it within a month, but the frozen bread can last up to 4 months in the freezer. Make sure the bread is wrapped tightly in two layers of stretch wrap.
- How do I store the banana bread? I like to wrap my banana bread up tightly in stretch wrap or in an airtight container. I keep my bread out at room temperature if I plan on eating it within a couple days.
- How long will it last? This banana bread can last up to 3 days at room temperature, and up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Substitutions and Variations
- Sour Cream – This recipe calls for full-fat sour cream, but feel free to use reduced fat sour cream or full fat greek yogurt. Don’t use fat free yogurt or sour cream! If you can find it (or make it!), you may use crème fraîche (they do not sell it at my grocery store).
- Brown Sugar – If you only have white sugar on hand, you can substitute the same quantity of white sugar for brown.
- Whole Wheat Flour – For an even healthier banana bread, swap half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.
- Chocolate Chips or Other Mix-ins – Feel free to add a cup of chocolate chips or toasted, chopped walnuts to the mix!
- Amaretto – 1 tablespoon of hazelnut liquor or 1 teaspoon of almond extract work great in the place of amaretto if you want that similar flavor profile.
Low Sugar Banana Bread
- 9x5 loaf pan
- Parchment paper
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 bananas, super-ripe, preferably as brown as can be! (about 2 Cups)
- 6 tablespoon sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon amaretto, optional
- Preheat your oven to 325 °F and set the rack in the center of the oven. Grease and flour a 9-by-5 loaf pan (23-by-13 cm). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper so the sides hang over the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set the bowl aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, egg yolk, and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 5 minutes in the stand mixer or 8 minutes with an electric mixer. When you think you've beat the egg mixture enough, give it another minute.
- With your mixer on a low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Make sure not to pour the oil all in at once - this will deflate the batter you just whipped up!
- In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher or a fork until they are smooth without small lumps. Whisk in the sour cream, vanilla, and amaretto (optional, but so good!).
- Add the banana mixture to the egg mixture, and mix on low until just combined. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon until there are no streaks of flour left. Don't over-mix!
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until golden brown on the top. The bread should spring back when you touch the center. You can also insert a skewer into the middle to check for doneness - if it comes out clean - or with a few crumbs, the bread is ready.
- Let the banana bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Pop the bread out of the pan and allow to finish cooling on the wire rack. Cut and serve!
- Banana bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The bread can be frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to one month. Thaw the banana bread overnight at room temperature to enjoy.
- Brown Sugar - Feel free to replace some or all of the brown sugar for white sugar.
- Don't over-mix the batter! When you add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, carefully fold the batter so you don't flatten the air you incorporated into the mixture. You want it to be lumpy, but free of chunks or streaks of flour.
- Add-ins - Feel free to add a cup of chocolate chips or toasted, chopped walnuts. You may have to increase your baking time slightly.
- Substitutions - You can substitute the full-fat sour cream with low-fat sour cream or full-fat greek yogurt. If you don't want to use amaretto, simply leave it out or replace it with a teaspoon of almond extract.