Moist Whole Wheat Banana Bread

As if the world needs another banana bread recipe, right?

Well, if you’re conflicted like I am about balancing pure culinary delight with a modicum of health and nutrition, then you’ll find this moist whole wheat banana bread recipe a worthy contribution. It satisfies on all levels.

This is straight out of Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour. I tweak it very slightly in the video but I’m not sure it’s to any advantage. The video, by the way, is quite unnecessary as the instructions below are more than adequate. But I do have fun shooting them and like to think there’s a chance someone will pick up a thing or two from watching.

Note: If you want to get wild and crazy, try adding a half cup of dried sweetened cranberries or, as my chocoholic wife quickly discovered, a half cup of semi sweet chocolate chips will send banana bread lovers over the top and maybe convert a few critics.

Enjoy!

Moist Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe and Instructions:

Be sure to use ultra ripe bananas for this. Their skins should be mottled black and they should feel soft to the touch. Using what you would normally consider to be ripe bananas will diminish the bread’s rich flavor.

½ cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter
½ cup (3 ¾ ounces) packed light or dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (~ 12 ounces) mashed ripe banana (3-4 medium to large bananas)
¼ cup (3 ounces) honey (I used sugar – works fine)
2 large eggs
2 cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat (I found that 2 cups was closer to 10 ounces – guess my whole wheat is heavy)
½ cups (2 ounces) chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Beat together the butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the banana, honey and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour and nuts, stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and let it rest at room temperature, uncovered for 10 minutes.

Bake the bread for 50 minutes. Lay a piece of foil gently across the top and bake until a cake tester (like a toothpick) inserted into the center comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.

Handy Tip: If you don’t happen to have ultra ripe bananas around and don’t want to wait for yours to get that way, click here for an easy work around. Thanks to Melody for this.

High Altitude Baking Notes: Barbara posted some successful high altitude adjustments she made to this recipe. She lives at 6000 feet. Thanks Barbara!

{ 226 comments… read them below or add one }

Arun July 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Hi,

Why does the recipe call for just baking soda as opposed to that plus baking powder? The KAF AP wheat recipe includes both.

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prachi July 16, 2014 at 11:25 am

I have made this banana bread many times and loved it. But today for the first time I substituted fresh, overripe jackfruit for the bananas (jackfruit are in high season here right now, and when overripe have a similar texture and very sweet taste). Also, since they are so sweet I substituted 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger for the nutmeg and vanilla. The cinnamon and ginger made a nice spicy contrast to the sweet taste. Finally, I used 1/4 cup grated jaggery (molasses?) and 1/4 cup sugar. It’s made for a fine, fine jackfruit bread, I was so happy with how it turned out! :-)

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Emily Sharp June 27, 2014 at 5:55 am

This is in the oven now. Can’t wait. Smell’s great. I substituted butter for avocado.
I’m going to have a tasty lunch today.

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Linda Mitchell June 8, 2014 at 11:01 pm

I just finished my third piece of my version of this recipe…fantastic. I used coconut oil in place of the butter and organic 7-grain pancake mix instead of the flour, salt, and baking powder.

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Sammi May 18, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Also, if you find that you don’t have any ripe bananas and haven’t frozen any for later use, I recently tried a trick I found at the website I’ve linked. It worked very well, and the people who tested out my banana bread said it tasted great! So, it works really well if you only have good-to-eat bananas! I had 3 semi green ones and I oven-baked mine for about 35 minutes. :)

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Gabriella March 6, 2014 at 9:41 am

HI, found your recipe on Pintrest when I searched for whole wheat banana bread. I just made it with my boys and it is in the oven as I write. I showed my almost 5 year old your video, he watched intently before we started and he was able to help by calling out what ingredients we needed to get out of the cabinets, and then remind me of the steps “mom, now we need to let it rest for 10 minutes” and “Later we have to put the foil 0n top” – Awesome!
No matter how the bread turns out ( I substituted 1/2 the whole wheat flour with oat flour, added 2T of flaxmeal, palm sugar instead of honey, used a bigger loaf pan, and forgot to set the timer…), your video made our morning baking project very special – Thank you!

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Breadtopia March 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

I love it! That is indeed awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Eric

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Vrushali January 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Great recipe! Tried it and turned out very well. Thank you!

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barbara November 27, 2013 at 9:48 am

Never put honey, cinnamon or nutmeg in my banana bread, im going to try this

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Reshmi October 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I tried and it came out very well. Very yummy.

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Rita September 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I’m a little confused because you wrote mix sugar twice. And you used sugar AND honey? I’m going to use honey…so should I beat the honey with the butter and spices etc, or when I add the bananas? Also, I will be doing it manually without a stand mixer.

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Breadtopia September 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm

That should be fine. The recipe is flexible and forgiving.

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Sarah February 24, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Brown sugar and regular sugar were used (the latter Breadtopia used in place of the honey). If you use honey, add it when you add the bananas – as it says above. The brown sugar is added with the “butter and spices etc,” before the honey/regular sugar (which is added with the bananas and eggs). Does that make sense? I also hand-beat the ingredients together and it turned out great!

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carly August 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

To your comment about whole wheat flour being closer to 10 ounces….different flours are different weights. That is why bakers use measures of weight instead of cups!

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Ginny July 21, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Looking for a banana bread recipe, found this one. I doubled it and substituted one cup of flaxseed for one cup of the whole wheat flour. No unsalted butter so I added just half the salt I should have. One pan has pecans and chocolate chips and the other has dried apricots and dried dates. I’m taking them to work for taste tests. People at work eat anything but they’re honest! Thanks for this recipe.

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Victoria May 21, 2013 at 11:01 am

Update on my last post. I’ve been making it with dark organic buckwheat flour. This makes it GLUTEN FREE!! It’s still fabulous and also very light! I also love walnuts and dried cranberries so I upped them both to 1 cup each. Still FAB! I also cut the Demerara sugar to 1/2 cup and no honey, but used 5 bananas…STILL fabulous!! Oh, BTW, I use only a wooden spoon, potato masher and a fork to beat eggs. AWESOME!! In other words fine folk, use what you got, cooking is very forgiving. Just remember you RATIO….2 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt. 1 tsp. baking soda. 1/2 cup butter. The rest is pretty much up to you. This is the best basic recipe!! Love it!

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Angelica April 17, 2013 at 3:28 am

I needed a light sweet fix and this was perfect! I’m allergic to nuts so I substituted diced apples instead ^_^ So yummy and fruity <3 love it!

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Nina April 11, 2013 at 8:31 am

Made it again today subbing diced apples and an organic harvest mix baby food jar for the bananas. Love the bread!!

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Rebekah March 24, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I just took this bread out of the oven. If it tastes anything like it smells and like the batter tasted, oh my goodness it is going to be the best ever!!!!!

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Lizelle February 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

Omg it really is yummy. I rarely comment and I just started baking. I was a fear of baking person, I love to cook and experiment, and recipe challenged. All the wonderful reviews you received are so true. Thank you for sharing!

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Vicki February 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I’ve followed your recipe and it is baking in my oven as we speak. TBC.

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Deborah February 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I think the problem with moist vs. dry bread is a result of bagged vs. freshly ground whole wheat flour. If it’s freshly ground, it’s kind of naturally sifted and I think that’s what the recipe lends itself too. If you’re using old flour that’s been sitting in a bag for a while, maybe try sifting it first and then measuring. Measuring the bananas might make the difference too as they come in so many different sizes. It might make all the difference. Enjoy!

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Abby February 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Hi,

This was my first time making banana nut bread ever as I am a cook but I never bake. This recipe was remarkably easy! I substituted pecans for walnuts and cut out the nutmeg as I did not have any, but everything else I left the same. My bread came out rather dry, any thoughts or suggestions?
Thanks!

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Lisa February 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm

I use whole wheat pastry flour (instead of regular whole wheat which can be heavier). I bake with gas (rather than electric) and test for doneness at about 50-55 minutes to avoid over-baking. Also, sometimes banana bread needs to sit overnight, wrapped, in order to get a little more moist.

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Lisa February 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Used coconut oil for the butter; toasted 1/2 cup of oatmeal and replaced 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour with this. Also used 1/2 cup toasted almonds in place of walnuts and tossed in 2 T of ground flaxseed for good measure. Amazing. Sliced it and in the freezer it goes for a quick breakfast.

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Aysha February 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Hi, great recipe. I cooked mine as muffins. Do you know how many days they stay good for? Is it best to refrigerate or store at room temp? Would storing in the fridge diminish or enhance flavour?

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Laura January 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Has anyone tried using this recipe to make muffins? Any suggestions with timing? I’ve made the bread twice and it has been AMAZING each time! But I would love to make it into muffins with a little girl I watch…just not sure how long and at what temp.

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Kat D December 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I made muffins out of this recipe. I cooked at 350F for 25 minutes and they were perfect.

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Deborah January 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

Any ideas on how to sub some healthy oil for the butter?

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Cady January 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm

I substitute applesauce for butter and it surprisingly turns out great. 1/2 cup butter = 1/2 cup applesauce (regular jar, nothing special)

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Victoria January 31, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Extra virgin coconut oil, tastes devine! Same amount as the butter.

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Alison January 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Wow – thank you 4 an awesome recipe! I substituted 1/3 cup my “Black Magic oil” (mj oil) for the butter, and substituted dessicated coconut for the walnuts as I didn’t have any. The rest I followed faithfully – and created a masterpiece thanks to you! Blessings!

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Arras January 10, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Wish I had what a few fortunate others who have posted comments have, namely wheat they ground themselves. But mine is from a local grower. From a life long baker, this recipe is great! I changed nothing though I rarely measure anything when I bake. Pretty sure I had more bananas than the recipe called for, but no big deal in the end result.

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Virginia January 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Must I use unsalted butter?
I see you add salt, so why unsalted butter?

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Karla January 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I use salted butter and it is great. I also use the salt called for in the recipe. If you read all the comments, nearly every person makes changes. My judgement is “salted or unsalted” either will be great.

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dulcian August 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Using unsalted butter in recipes makes it easier to control the amount of seasoning in the final product, because salted butters aren’t all equally salty.

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Erica January 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I just made this and it is delicious! I try to keep things healthier for the sake of my son, but I’m not a big fan of things that taste “healthy.” This definitely doesn’t! It is sweet but not overly so and is very moist and tender. I will be making this regularly I’m sure. Thanks for the recipe!!

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deb December 17, 2012 at 11:03 am

Sarina,
You asked the reason for the 10 minute cooling. Here’s why;

When breads come out of the oven they are puffed. Rest it 10 minutes
so the air inside escapes and the loaf shrinks away from the sides of the pan.
If there is sugar in the recipe, the shrinkage also keeps that stickiness
from holding onto the sides of the pan.. so by waiting that 10 minute
cooling time it gives you a better chance that loaf will turn out freely.

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Cecilia December 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Use pure unrefined coconut oil instead of butter and you can also cut back a bit on the sugar. Also you can use a small amount of dark chocolate mini morsels (which is better for you than sugar) and cut back a bit more on the sugar.

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prachi October 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm

This is a great recipe – my bread turned out wonderfully! I wasn’t sure if the Indian atta (whole wheat flour we use for flatbreads) would work the same as American whole wheat flour, so I used half-atta and half-maida (all purpose). Also, I didn’t have nutmeg, but otherwise followed the recipe. I’ve never had such moist and crumbly banana bread – will definitely make this again and again.
And I just wanted to say, your videos are very very helpful to a baking newbie like myself. Watching the process helps demystify it for me, and makes me less nervous about it. So do continue the videos!

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Sarina October 18, 2012 at 10:46 am

I am also curious what the reasoning is for letting it rest for 10 minutes. I’ve recently discovered a love for baking so I’m still learning all the little tricks and tips. Thanks!

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Vicky December 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

There’s a few reasons to let something cool after cooking it.
1. It’s fresh out of a 350 degree (or more!) oven and it’s HOT. I can certainly attest to painful burns after trying to eat something straight out of the oven.
2. Oftentimes, recipes will tell you to pull something out of the oven and let it “rest” for 10-15 mins. Usually it is meat that rests. Depending on what you’re cooking, letting the food rest will help it regain some of the liquid that was pushed out in the cooking process, and it also allows the heat to be distributed.

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Sarina October 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

I agree with Rebecca above, the nutmeg and cinnamon combo give it a holiday feel, which is great since the holidays are approaching :) Made it with flour I ground myself (not sure the specific type) and the texture was perfect. Making it today for a second time this week, this time trying it out with just cinnamon, and will try it again next week with choc chips (my hubby loves banana bread with choc chips!) Great recipe, thanks for sharing :)

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Tammi Russell September 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I plan on adding orange zest when I make it to give it an additional holiday feel. I have not made it yet because I just came across it for the first time today.

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Breadtopia September 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Sounds great.

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Christopher October 15, 2012 at 9:54 am

Yummy I doubled all the spices!

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Katerina September 23, 2012 at 7:13 am

Loved this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

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Christy September 11, 2012 at 7:26 am

This is the best whole wheat banana bread I have ever made. Thanks for such a great recipe

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Melissa August 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

Any idea what the calorie count on this is?

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karla August 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Calories dont count. It is that GOOD.

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Melissa August 27, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Ha! I don’t care but my husband is on a health/ weight loss kick :)

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Abigail July 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm

This was great! Thanks! (I used some applesauce to make up the full portion of fruit, since my two bananas only made 3/4 cup mashed, and it was still pretty good.)

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Sue July 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Hi Eric,
I tried to click on the ‘link’ to learn the trick when there is no ripe bananas (Melody’s tips), but the link doesn’t work. I am very keen on learning what the tip is. thanks

Sue

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Breadtopia July 25, 2012 at 3:49 am

Hi Sue,

Thanks for catching that broken link. It should be working now.

Cheers.

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Maria July 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm

This was fool-proof! So moist and delicious, easily the best banana bread I’ve ever made (whole-grain or regular!). I used 4 ounces of organic whole spelt flour and 4 ounces of organic kamut flour–worked perfectly. I had four bananas which totaled 13.85 oz so I only used 1.15 oz honey. Sounds picky I know but I wanted it to be perfect!

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Maria July 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Why do you let it rest for 10 minutes before baking? Aren’t you supposed to put it in the oven as soon as possible after mixing so that the baking soda reacts properly?

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Rebecca July 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I have been searching for years to find a GOOD whole wheat banana bread recipe. I absolutely LOVE this one, my search is done! I use whole wheat from Grandma’s wheat farm, ground myself. I double the recipe and use 1/4 of the nutmeg. In the Fall and Winter, I will probably use more nutmeg, just in the Summer, it tastes too “holiday” like. Thank you SO very much for posting this recipe! I can’t wait to make it again and again, trying new and different yummy add-ins each time!

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Breadtopia July 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm

This is my favorite comment EVER. Thanks Rebecca!

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