Whole-Grain Banana Bread

This one-bowl banana bread — our 2018 Recipe of the Year — uses the simplest ingredients, but is incredibly moist and flavorful. While the recipe calls for a 50/50 mix of flours (all-purpose and whole wheat), we often make the bread 100% whole wheat, and honestly? No one can tell, it's that good! And not only is this bread delicious — it's versatile.

Prep
10 mins
Bake
1 hr to 1 hr 15 mins
Total
1 hr 10 mins
Yield
1 loaf, 12 generous servings
Whole-Grain Banana Bread

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan; if your pan is glass or stoneware, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

  3. Weigh your flours; or measure them by gently spooning into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts into the banana mixture. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix again to thoroughly combine the ingredients.

  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the batter.

  5. Bake the bread for about 60 to 75 minutes, until the bread feels set on the top, and a paring knife (or other thin knife) inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs (but no wet batter). If you have a digital thermometer, the bread's temperature at the center should register about 205°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 15 to 20 minutes of baking. Note: If baking in a glass or stoneware pan, increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes.

  6. Remove the bread from the oven. Cool it in the pan for 15 minutes, then loosen the edges, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.

  7. Store leftover bread, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to bake and share? This recipe will make 15 standard-size muffins. Bake muffins in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 23 minutes, or until a thin paring knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Transition this recipe to gluten-free the easy way: substitute King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for both the the all-purpose and whole wheat flours in this recipe; no other changes needed. And yes, you can make this banana bread vegan as well as gluten-free; see our blog post, Gluten-free and vegan banana bread.
  • If you'd like to reduce the fat in this recipe, try any of these substitutions, which will yield a loaf very similar in texture and moistness to the original:
    • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) applesauce for 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) of the vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) yogurt (full-fat, reduced-fat, or nonfat) for 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) of the vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) full-fat yogurt for all of the vegetable oil (3 1/2 ounces)
    Want to lower the fat even further? Substitute applesauce or yogurt (full-fat, reduced-fat, or nonfat) for all of the vegetable oil. Understand that the resulting loaf’s texture will be notably less tender.
  • We love the slightly caramelized flavor brown sugar lends this loaf, but if all you have on hand is white granulated sugar — use it: 1 cup (7 ounces), same volume amount as the brown sugar. Or use 1/3 cup (4 ounces) liquid sweetener (honey, agave, or maple syrup) + 1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar; increase the amount of all-purpose flour by 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) if you make this substitution.
  • Want to reduce the sugar in this recipe? Start by lowering it by 25%, from 1 cup (7 ounces) to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces); the bread will (obviously) be less sweet, and also a bit less tender.
  • Prefer butter to vegetable oil? Substitute 2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) melted butter for the 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil.
  • If you enjoy this bread and want to try a 100% whole wheat loaf, go for it! Simply substitute 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour listed, no further changes necessary. Want to go the other way? Substitute all-purpose flour for the whole wheat flour for a 100% all-purpose flour loaf.