Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Coconut and Flax: Serious monkey business

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Got banana bread? I think the question really is: “Who doesn’t have a trusty old recipe up their sleeve?” Like china sets and pieces of fine jewelry, they’re handed down through family generations, but much more often used and appreciated.

I have to admit that I am one of the few that was left without granny’s heirloom banana bread recipe, but I DO have her zucchini bread formula which proved to be a great starting canvas for the gluten-free recipe I’m about to share with you.

And for those of us whose fingers love to help themselves to an online search search now and again, banana bread is the top-most searched BREAD recipe, and within the top 10 of ALL searched recipes online, according to Google Trends.

Can you blame them? Maybe there are more people out there like me who never received a full recipe inheritance. Or maybe it’s just because banana bread is a true crowd pleaser – even for some who don’t care for the tropical fruit itself.

It’s star of the bake sales, beloved loaf of the potluck, and the happy ending hiding in the lunchbox. Beyond winning many popularity contests, banana bread has some important health benefits thanks to its main ingredient – the banana, of course! Whatever fruit is good enough for our primate ancestors is certainly good enough for me!

The lovely yellow fruit is high in potassium, great for muscle-building; vitamin C, an always-welcome immunity boost and infection-fighting warrior; and finally, digestible carbohydrates that will provide an effective source of energy without the risk of weight gain.

Isn’t this so typical? Small, flowing manuscript with uniform letters on an old weathered index card. I think the many different grannies out there all had the same handwriting! If you look closely, you can see the grease spots on the paper, a smudge of cinnamon, and some red ink spots.

I think banana bread or not, we all have a few of these antique, weathered recipe cards stashed away in boxes of accumulated treasures or between pages of old cookbooks, often well-loved and almost illegible.

I polled some of my fellow glutenivore employee-owners to learn a little about where their favorite banana bread recipes came from, and if there was a story behind their tradition.

I was surprised to find that about half of my panel have a go-to right in their favorite modern cookbook, while the other half shared a wide range of recipe origins – everything from great-grandma and childhood friend’s mother, to the acclaimed favorite recipe of Lyndon B. Johnson which, apparently for this person, had been a family and church community favorite.

Let’s have a little chat about bananas. What to do with the old, brown, wilted monkey food in your fruit bowl?  That’s easy! You can freeze bananas for making into bread, muffins, and cake; or adding thickening power to a smoothie.

Bananas can add a lot of liquid to a batter, which is easily seen here in this post-thaw photo.

My four bananas gifted over 1/4 cup of liquid to the cause– easy to measure if you’re using previously frozen fruit.

Of course, sometimes you’ll be pulling them straight out of their skins at room temperature and mashing them with a fork. These contain liquid, too; but until there is a temperature change during the baking, the moisture will not be released.

After some recipe demolition and rebuilding, I found a great way to pack this quick bread full of moisture and banana flavor without using a lot of sugar. I hope you’ll join me to make it here in the King Arthur Flour test kitchen! Have I given you any reason not to?

Preheat your oven to 350°F and begin by measuring the following into a medium-sized mixing bowl:
1 3/4 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour

1/4 cup flax meal

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Cake Enhancer

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Blend the dry ingredients together thoroughly and set them aside for now.

In your mixer’s bowl, combine 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup vegetable oil until well-blended.

Add 3 large eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.

Add the dry mixture and blend, then the 2 cups of bananas…

…1/2 cup unsweetened coconut and flavorings (1/2 teaspoon vanilla and optional 1/4 teaspoon banana flavor). Stir until blended.

Pour the fragrant batter into a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 210°F.

Can you make this one into muffins? Absolutely, and please do! Bake at 350°F, but only for 18 to 20 minutes.

Allow the loaf to cool on a rack in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning it out…

…to cool completely BEFORE cutting!

So tempting it is to stray from the law, but worth the wait… I hope!

Butter? Yes!

Nutella? To die for!

Throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce on top of a slice and get ready for heroism!

Wherever your banana bread recipe came from, I wish you a long future filled with good baking memories. I’m hoping that someday this recipe, too, will have its own special story, and many people who will begin a new tradition by passing it along to their gluten-free loved ones.

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Coconut and Flax.

Print just the recipe.

Amy Trage
About

Amy Trage is a native of Vermont where she spent much of her childhood skiing and training for the equestrian event circuit. With a strong desire to pursue food writing, Amy took her English degree from Saint Anselm College to the New England Culinary Institute ...

comments

  1. "Paul from Ohio"

    How true Amy – those weathered index cards from my Grandma! I don’t have one of hers for Banana Bread, and certainly not a GF one. I’ll print this one and share with a GF baking neighbor who I’m sure will be loving this as I’ll bet she doesn’t have a GF one from her Grandma – nor perhaps any GF ones for Banana Bread….and she loves to make loaves of bread. Good job Amy.
    I hope your neighbor loves the recipe, Paul- thanks for sharing and for reading! ~Amy

    Reply
  2. mi...

    hi amy, what mixer are you using? just curious…i am on the market for a mixer.. thanks
    That’s the discontinued Viking mixer in the photos. I’m sorry that we don’t carry that one anymore, but be sure to check out our Cuisinart mixer! ~Amy

    Reply
  3. tmeyer2

    By the way Amy, I just wanted to tell you that i just saw a GF recipe version of Biscoff spread. it involves making the cookies and then making the butter. I hope this helps. Can’t wait to try this!
    Thank you!! ~Amy

    Reply
  4. superreader

    Thanks for the GF quick bread recipe-it looks yummy & is a good template for further exploration. It’s great to have higher fruit levels instead of so much oil & sugar, though I’d love more whole grain content even more. I also enjoyed the very sweet story.

    One problem with this posting- right now it includes the line: “Biscoff? A must!” as a topping (near the end). Biscoff contains ground wheat-based cookies so definitely *is not* gluten free! When y’all advertise something as GF it’d be better not to have non-GF items as condiments, or at the least to mark them as for gluten-eaters only. :^)
    I am so glad that you noticed this. Since I avoid gluten but am not severely allergic, I DO have biscoff in my house and use it occasionally on treats like this. It’s easy to forget that a spread like that contains wheat- thank so much for the reminder, I’ll edit that out right away! ~Amy

    Reply
  5. Laura

    Could I substitute zucchini for the banana? I love zucchini bread!
    Sure! Give it a try with about 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini! Enjoy! ~Amy

    Reply
  6. Teri H.

    I love this banana bread,( I just discovered your site)on draining the bananas after freezing. Do not ues the liquid just the bananas drained.I am new at the GF cooking I will get better. All your measurements are in oz’s and cups not by grams.
    Thank You
    Teri
    Teri, the measurements are available in grams on the recipe page here. ~Amy

    Reply
  7. Teri Herzog

    Hi Amy,the bananas are draining, do I use the liquid
    off the bananas? Thanks Teri

    Yes, you would want to use the liquid in the recipe–the fresh bananas still contain the liquid, while the frozen ones will leech it out. Kim@KAF via Amy

    Reply
  8. Jill.J

    This was so perfect! I’m not a fan of shredded coconut so I left it out, and it still came out wonderful. My husband couldn’t even tell it was a gluten free bread. Excellent.

    Reply
  9. SteveF50

    I am trying to go sugar free what can I substitute for the brown sugar used in this recipe if anything?
    I don’t know for sure, but I believe Splenda has sugar free brown sugar substitute, as well as their white sugar one. It will change the texture of the cake somewhat, but should work out. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
    1. Lori

      I found a few sugar free subsititutes that are chemical free (unlike Splenda, Equal, Sweet & low): The first product is called “Zero”, the 2nd product is called “Xylitol” and the 3rd is called Lakanto (monkfruit/Erythritol blend). They are zero calorie substitutes and don’t spike blood sugar which is why it’s good for diabetics and those concerned with keeping a low glycemic diet. You use these products in the same quantitiy as you use sugar. All three can be found on Amazon but I’ve bought the “Zero” and “Xylitol” in health food stores. Suggestion: Grind in a coffee grinder to get a little lighter end result. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  10. Itsalulu

    What would you suggest substituting for the coconut? We have nut allergies in the house…Looks delicious!

    I would give our Baker’s Hotline a call, we should be able to help find an option for you.-Jon 855 371 2253

    Reply
  11. Amy

    Would applesauce, as an egg substitute, work in this recipe?

    You can certainly try experimenting, however I think the bread will be too heavy and gummy. Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  12. Lois

    Hi,
    I didn’t see any nutritional information, where would I go to find this information?
    Thanks,
    Lois Beekman
    HI Lois,
    If the nutritional information is not posted with the recipe, it means we do not have it for this recipe at this time. Sorry for any inconvenience. ~ MJ

    Reply
    1. Amy Trage , post author

      Unfortunately we don’t have this formulated to use carrots in place of the banana. Please check out our recipe for gluten-free carrot cake here! ~Amy

  13. Diane in Nebraska

    I have two questions.
    1) Do you add all that liquid drained from the frozen bananas or not? That seems like it would throw the dry:liquid ratio way off, but I have been wrong many times in my life.
    2) Is the cake enhancer absolutely necessary? Will the bread dry out too quickly otherwise? My banana bread, before gluten-free, never lasted long enough to worry about drying out, but I have to convince young men in their twenties that eating GF banana bread won’t kill them or I will be eating the entire loaf by myself. Perhaps making it into muffins and then freezing them would solve the staleness issue. I am very new at GF baking and can’t afford to waste ingredients, so I ask a lot of questions. Thank you for all you do to make our gluten free lives more enjoyable.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Diane, please do include the banana liquid in your bread. The cake enhancer helps keep the bread moist for a few more days. If you are able to convince your guys to eat the bread quickly, you may certainly leave it out.~Jaydl@KAF

  14. Patty

    Hi Amy,

    Can I use the blend for this recipe of Whisking together 6 cups (32 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch and continue the recipe as follows?

    Reply
  15. Tiffany

    The cake enhancer is a must have, because it will make your bread taste and feel like the bread you buy at bakery’s or coffee shops, heck even better.

    Reply

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