A one-bowl, healthy whole wheat banana bread recipe that has a special banana topping. A bread that is so moist and just sweet enough that you’ll forget it’s healthy!
After trying this whole wheat banana nut bread recipe once, I was surprised at how good it tasted despite how healthy I made it. Banana bread is one of the most popular recipes that almost all home cooks have made when there are overripe bananas. My family usually does not have overripe bananas, so we do not eat banana bread very often. However, this recipe is incredibly easy and healthy. Plus, by making banana bread with banana on top, the bread looks extra impressive. This healthy whole wheat banana bread is also an easy one bowl banana bread recipe so that the post-baking clean up is a breeze!
How to Make Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread
Mash the Bananas and Mix in the Wet Ingredients
First, mash your bananas. Make sure the bananas you are using are very brown for your banana bread to have the best flavor. (See tips down below for more details). Then, add in the coconut oil, maple syrup, and eggs.
Add in the Flavorings
Next, whisk in the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
If you would like to experiment with different spices try adding some nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, anise, ginger, or allspice.
Add the Flour and Optional Add-ins
Then, add in the whole wheat flour and gently fold it in until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter to help keep the bread as soft as possible.
After mixing in the flour, gently fold the optional add-ins into your banana bread. Here, I added pecans. See the tips for additional notes on adding nuts.
Bake the Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread
Pour the batter into a greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. To make banana bread with banana on top, put a halved banana on top of the loaf and press gently to adhere. Then, bake at 350F for 65-75 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean, or the center of the loaf should register at 200 F.
Let the Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread Cool and Enjoy
Finally, leave the bread in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing it for easier removal.
Tips for the Best Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread
- Overripe Bananas: The best banana bread is with truly overripe bananas (almost blackened). One trick to make your bananas “ripen” faster is putting them unpeeled in a 350F oven for around 15 minutes. The bananas will turn black. Then, proceed with the recipe as normal. Even if your bananas are very ripe already, baking can help the bananas develop a more complex, caramelized flavor.
- Roasting nuts: If you add nuts, you can intensify the flavors by roasting the nuts in a 350F oven for 5-8 minutes. Some nuts requires a few more or less minutes. (ex: pecans require less time at around 6 minutes, whereas almonds require more time at around 8-10 minutes). Make sure to keep a close eye on the nuts while they toast because nuts have a tendency to burn quickly.
- Testing for doneness: This banana bread is quite moist due to the large amount of mashed banana it requires. While this makes for moist bread, it makes the toothpick test more unreliable. If the toothpick comes out moist, it is difficult to tell whether it is due to under baked banana bread or the banana chunks in the banana bread. The best practice is to use a food thermometer to check if the bread reaches 200F. Otherwise, poke the toothpick in several different places to test for doneness.
Want more healthy sweets like this easy one bowl banana bread? Try these out:
Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread (One-Bowl)
- 1 3/4 cup mashed bananas, 4 medium bananas (140g)
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (56 g)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (140 g)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (240g)
- 1/2 cup add-ins, optional (chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit etc.)
- 1 banana, halved
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- In a bowl, mash the bananas. (Note 1)
- Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and eggs to the same bowl and whisk together.
- Whisk in the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour into the bowl and fold gently until combined. Fold in add-ins, if using. (Note 2)
- Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan.
- Cut another banana in half lengthwise and place on top of the bread. Press gently to help the banana adhere.
- Bake for 65 to 75 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean, or the center of the bread should register at 200F. Leave the bread to cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing. (Note 3)
- The best bananas to use for banana bread if when they are almost black. If your bananas are not ripe/brown enough, you can bake them whole (with the peel on) in an 350F oven for up to 15 minutes or until deeply brown.
- If you choose to add nuts into your batter, I recommend toasting the nuts first to intensify their flavors. You can either toast the nuts in a pan over medium heat or put them in a 350F oven for 5-8 minutes.
- When doing the toothpick test, insert the toothpick in more than one place because chunks of unmashed banana may make it seem like the bread is not done baking.