Crazy for Crust

May 12

Healthier Banana Bread

Banana bread is so good – I love eating it for breakfast. For snack. For dessert.

Sometimes I eat it for lunch and I pretend I’m eating salad.

This Healthier Banana Bread is my new addiction because I feel like I can eat it for snack (or lunch!) without as much guilt.

Less guilt makes me happy.

Healthier Banana Bread Recipe |

This has nothing to do with banana bread, but watching my husband watch the NFL Draft is kind of like watching Good Will Hunting. Or maybe A Beautiful Mind. The guy is obsessed.

{If he were to read this he’d be thinking, One word: Scandal. Pot, Kettle, Black.}

Last Thursday night was the first night of the draft. (Yes, it’s on for multiple nights, didn’t you know? I know, because I didn’t get to watch Scandal for OVER 2 DAYS.) Jordan had theatre, so Mel set the DVR. But it was on at the place we had dinner, so he and all the guys in the restaurant stared slack-jawed at the TV.

He’d make a call before each pick, and except for 2 times, he was right. In fact, whenever we watch a sporting event Mel makes a call and the announcers say it two seconds later. (And when I say “we watch” I mean he watches and I read Twilight.)

Like I said, Good Will Hunting. But football.

I didn’t complain too much about not being able to watch Scandal for TWO WHOLE DAYS. I owed him one; during the NFL 2014-2015 line-up special (yes, that’s actually a thing on TV) I saw the 49ers were playing some important team on Thanksgiving and thought I was doing a favor and told him.

You should have seen the look he gave me.

So anyway, Banana Bread. I love it, like I love Scandal and he loves football.

I love it even more when it’s healthier. Because then I can eat more of it.

Healthier Banana Bread Recipe |

My all-time favorite banana bread recipe is my Mom’s Banana Bread. It’s perfectly sweet and soft, full of banana flavor, and is coated in a crunchy sugary exterior.

It also has 1/2 cup of butter and a full cup of sugar, plus that exterior. It’s a special occasion bread because I can’t stop eating it when I make it. One slice? Not so bad. The whole thing? #dontweighme

So I set out to make my mom’s recipe a little healthier. That way I can eat it more often. How is this healthier banana bread? Well:

  • There is no butter in this bread. To compensate, I added some unsweetened applesauce and an extra banana. I added one tablespoon of vegetable oil for some fat. (I haven’t done it, but I’m sure coconut oil or olive oil could be substituted.)
  • I cut the sugar down to 3/4 cup. That’s still a lot of sugar, but it’s better than a full cup!
  • I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but you can substitute non-fat. (Unsweetened vanilla almond milk has less calories than nonfat milk.)
  • I used a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour (equal parts of each).

I also added chocolate chips, but really that was to make it prettier. And, er, because I love chocolate. But they’re optional if you don’t want the added calories.

This bread bakes up beautifully. It’s a deep golden in color with a slight crack down the middle. You can sort of see from the pictures that mine still has a small river of gooey-underdone bread along the crack. That’s how I like my bread. If you want it more done, you can cook it longer (as mentioned in the recipe).

Healthier Banana Bread is the perfect recipe to make when you want something sweet and homey like banana bread…but you want it better for you. I love to slice this bread and freeze the individual slices in ziploc baggies. They’re the perfect grab-and-go breakfast or quick snack.

I may go eat some while I watch Scandal tonight, because the draft is over!

Healthier Banana Bread Recipe |

Don’t anybody ruin it for me. I’m only on the second season!

Healthier Banana Bread

My Mom's Banana Bread made with more banana, less oil and sugar...and chocolate chips!


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 medium tired bananas (brown spotted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk or nonfat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5x3” loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together sugars, applesauce, and oil. Set aside.
  3. Add bananas, eggs, milk, salt, and baking soda to a blender jar and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour half the banana mixture into the sugar mixture with 1 cup of all purpose flour. Stir until just incorporated, then add the remaining banana mixture and 1 cup whole wheat flour. Mix until just incorporated. Stir in mini chocolate chips if using them. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. The top will be a nice golden brown. I like mine to have an underdone river along the top, so I bake it closer to 45 minutes. If you want it to be done throughout, cook it towards the longer time.
  6. Cool completely before removing loaf from pan, but you can cut slices from the pan after it’s cooled for about 15-20 minutes.


Adapted from this banana bread recipe.

Mom’s Banana Bread

Banana Bread (7 of 7)w

Avocado Banana Bread

avocado-banana-bread (5 of 5)w


Skinny Chocolate Muffins



Sweets from friends:
Scotcheroo Banana Bread by Something Swanky
Toffee Sprinkle Banana Bread by Confessions of a Baking Queen
6 Banana Banana Bread by Averie Cooks

66 Responses to “Healthier Banana Bread”

  1. Mir posted on May 12, 2014 at 3:14 am (#)

    How can it be healthy if it looks so darn good? :)
    This is a great recipe! I’m going to try it later!
    Have you ever tried banana bread with oat flour? That’s another healthy fix that actually works out pretty well. Makes the crumb a little nuttier and denser.


  2. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness posted on May 12, 2014 at 3:23 am (#)

    I never used to like banana bread…had a bad childhood experience. Then I married my hubby (who is also like yours when it comes to anything sports. I only like figure skating..THE SPARKLES!) and he is obsessed with banana bread, and nooooww I am too! LOVE that this is healthier! Pinned!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Oh my gosh yes, the sparkles. Best sport ever!!


  3. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on May 12, 2014 at 4:29 am (#)

    I am so impressed that you took your beloved recipe and healthiefied it w/out compromising taste. Bravo! Because I can eat a half loaf of banana bread the day I make it. It’s one of very few things where I totally have zero control. Loooooove banana bread way too much :) pinned

    And here’s to gooey cracks :)


  4. How to Philosophize with Cake posted on May 12, 2014 at 4:48 am (#)

    Yum! I’m always looking for banana bread variations, and this one looks great. Love all the chocolate chips on top! :)


  5. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice posted on May 12, 2014 at 5:17 am (#)

    I love finding new recipes for healthy banana bread! Unfortunately, I’ve had some bad experiences with them tasting too blah, but this recipe looks like a winner! Can’t wait to try this!


  6. Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) posted on May 12, 2014 at 7:00 am (#)

    Now this is banana bread! It looks so fantastic Dorothy! I would never guess this was healthy!


  7. Kristine @ Kristine's Kitchen posted on May 12, 2014 at 7:21 am (#)

    I love healthier versions of breakfast treats (my favorite) because then I can eat them for breakfast or a snack without guilt! This loaf looks just perfect, especially with the chocolate chips. Those are totally not optional- chocolate has all sorts of health benefits, right?


  8. Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron posted on May 12, 2014 at 7:39 am (#)

    I’m the same! Whenever I make banana bread it gets eaten all day long. I pretty much hoard it :) Love that this is a healthier version!! Pinning :)


  9. Matt Robinson posted on May 12, 2014 at 8:37 am (#)

    Healthier banana bread? Sounds like heaven. Love hearing about the draft, that is too funny! My boys and I are sports fanatics too and had a blast watching it.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      I think my husband wishes he had a boy (or a girl who cared) at these times. Instead he just talks to me like I have any clue what he’s saying. :)


  10. Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen posted on May 12, 2014 at 9:20 am (#)

    I love that you took a favorite family recipe and healthified it! That’s always fun, and impressive when it works out!


  11. Mary Frances posted on May 12, 2014 at 9:26 am (#)

    WHY didn’t I see this sooner? I literally have banana bread in the oven – and yours looks incredible (aka better 😉 ) And this is even dairy free! Seriously, I need to learn the art of patience because I am now out of bananas. Oh well, pinning this because it is definitely happening! It looks just like your moms; never would’ve guessed it was healthy! (And I can totally hashtag relate #dontweightmeeither )


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Lol I can’t wait to see yours!!!


  12. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) posted on May 12, 2014 at 9:48 am (#)

    You’re a good wife!!! I don’t think I could do it-Michael has videogames instead of sports and I’ll take those any day lol.

    I am also SO HAPPY that you made healthier banana bread! It looks so amazing, I can’t believe all the healthy subs you used!


  13. Heather posted on May 12, 2014 at 9:58 am (#)

    I was so excited to see this that I decided to make it right away! I am currenltt making it ans got to step 4 and am confused, there is no butter in this recipe, so am I just pouring the banana mixture in the flour, not into a butter mixture? Help!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 10:26 am

      It should have read sugar mixture! Sorry about that, I thought I caught all the changes. Just mix the two mixtures together!


      • Heather replied on May 12th, 2014 at 8:55 pm

        Thank you! The bread turned out perfect! I made it in mini loaf pans so I felt like I had more but at the same time not feel as guilty for devouring an entire loaf to myself. Thanks for the recipe, it was delicious! :)!

        • Dorothy Kern replied on May 13th, 2014 at 6:49 am

          Yay Heather! I’m so glad! :)

  14. Kathy posted on May 12, 2014 at 11:03 am (#)

    This looks delicious, Dorothy! The healthier changes are great! I love a recipe like this where there isn’t much guilt involved!


  15. Samina | The Cupcake Confession posted on May 12, 2014 at 11:09 am (#)

    You know, I’ve been following a diet {read healthy eating} routine wherein I need to keep eating something or the other every 2 hours and it’s not just to lose weight but to also stay healthy. I’m thinking eating a slice of this SCRUMMMMMMY banana bread every 2 hours! I’m sure I won’t be able to resist! <3 I mean, look at THAT!!!!! I.CAN'T.EVEN!!!!!!! That is sooooo good and so much healthier! And I wouldn't skip those chocolate chips EVER! <3


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      I have a bunch in the freezer still and it’s so hard not to just eat it all!!


  16. Leslie posted on May 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm (#)

    I love banana bread! I’m so pinning this and it will be used a ton this summer haha. Thanks for sharing!


  17. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar posted on May 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm (#)

    I love banana bread! Even though it’s healthier, this version still looks delicious! Yay for Scandal and the draft being over! My husband was pretty glued to it too :)


  18. Risa posted on May 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm (#)

    Years ago I conducted a blind taste test with banana bread. I prepared one traditional loaf and one healthy loaf. In the blind taste test, the healthier loaf won 4 out of 5! This looks divine (i have a thing for banana treats)


  19. Jessica @ Sweet Menu posted on May 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm (#)

    Love it! Looks like a delicious banana bread recipe. Your photos are so sweet too!


  20. Kate @ Coffee with Kate posted on May 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm (#)

    I’ve been obsessing over banana bread lately .. seems so random! I’m definitely trying this recipe out. I’d like to use only whole wheat flour … I hope it works.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Let me know how it does with all whole wheat. I’m always nervous subbing it all!


      • Kate @ Coffee with Kate replied on May 18th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

        Hi Dorothy! I wanted to give you an update. I made the bread today and used all whole wheat flour. It turned out great! I also subbed 1 tsp molasses for the brown sugar. Simply because I happened to have molasses on hand and no brown sugar! Still tastes awesome. Thanks for the recipe!!

        • Dorothy Kern replied on May 18th, 2014 at 3:38 pm

          Awesome!! Thank you so much for the info Kate!!

  21. Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking posted on May 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm (#)

    Can your husband and I watch sports together sometime?? My dad does the same thing where he says whatever the announcers do 15 seconds earlier, and I’m always tempted to just put the TV on mute and listen to my dad instead. Sounds like it’d be the same awesome experience with Mel! (Although I am sorry you had to miss Scandal; I know how addictive TV shows are!) Hmm, maybe we could go to a Rivercats game sometime… Do you think Jordan could be convinced if I promised to buy her a churro and show her how to “color” a scorecard? :) And you know me — this banana bread is SO right up my alley!! I love all of your healthy swaps, especially the chocolate chips (they’re a vegetable, right?) and that you still left in a little oil. As much as I adore low-fat baked goodies, fat-free ones tend to have a strange texture. I bet between the two of us, this loaf would disappear in less than 24 hours!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      I still can’t believe we’ve never been to a Rivercats game. We’ve been meaning to go for 6 years!!


  22. Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen posted on May 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm (#)

    Yah, I can’t control myself with banana bread either. My moms is made with a crunchy sugar topping too- more sugar the better LOL then we toast it and spread a big ol slab of buttah on it. Wow maybe I should stick with healthier banana bread too!!! Love that you used both flours and applesauce! And thank you for linking my unhealthy banana bread haha!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      You’re welcome! A little bad with the good. :)


  23. Laurie F. posted on May 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm (#)

    Just in time for summer, and all the swim parties! Yea! I, too, got soooo tired of hearing all the yakking the commentators did during the interminable wait between picks ( and I kept hearing, ” who the hell is Mel Keiper? “, evidently a classic moment in draft history). I even went to see the movie about the draft. (It actually was interesting).


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      It was so funny watching Mel know he couldn’t watch it live b/c of Jordan’s theatre shows…but sensing he’d really rather be at home…or watching on his phone.


  24. Ashton posted on May 12, 2014 at 7:20 pm (#)

    Such gorgeous photos!!! Loving this recipe 😉


  25. Tieghan posted on May 12, 2014 at 8:47 pm (#)

    I will take healthy banana bread anytime because I love banana bread will eat a whole loaf in a day. This looks amazing!


  26. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting posted on May 12, 2014 at 10:17 pm (#)

    I guess I lucked out in that the only sport my boyfriend watches is snowboarding :) but he does love banana bread and we are kinda on a health kick right now so perhaps I need to try this bread soon!


  27. Emily @ Life on Food posted on May 13, 2014 at 3:56 am (#)

    Lately I have been playing with sugar amounts. Slowly cutting back until you can tell. It is crazy how much you can leave out and still make something delicious. We love banana bread. Biggest problem is making sure we get enough bananas to actually have extra for the bread.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 13th, 2014 at 6:46 am

      I need to do that too! And yes – the bananas always disappear so fast!


  28. Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen posted on May 13, 2014 at 6:59 am (#)

    I’m loving everything about this healthy banana bread !! I can’t seem to get enough banana bread in my life 😀 Pinned!!


  29. marcie posted on May 13, 2014 at 8:31 am (#)

    I love banana bread, and this healthier version still looks moist and delicious. It’s one beautiful loaf! :)


  30. Chichi posted on May 14, 2014 at 2:07 am (#)

    I love banana bread and your healthy version looks so delicious


  31. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent posted on May 14, 2014 at 9:49 am (#)

    I totally read while any sports activity is on at my house. The joy of sports for me comes in making the yummy food before hand… ! Right now I’m addicted to Game of Thrones… so that was what I was reading during the draft :)


  32. Janet posted on May 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm (#)

    We had that on too but in intervals not constantly :)
    This bread looks delicious!
    I am thinking cinnamon chips would be good to use too.


  33. Jennie @themessybakerblog posted on May 15, 2014 at 11:52 am (#)

    I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only wife with a football-obsessed husband. Our basement is decorated from ceiling to floor in Raven’s colors. We even have a purple Christmas tree. I feel your pain. I love that this bread is guilt-free; it looks amazing. Pinned!


  34. Kristyn posted on May 16, 2014 at 10:02 am (#)

    This look so stinkin’ good, Dorothy!!


  35. Crystal posted on May 16, 2014 at 7:57 pm (#)

    I love banana bread, but it is sooooo unhealthy. I can’t wait to try your recipe. Looks amazing. Thanks so much :)


  36. Paty posted on May 19, 2014 at 11:43 am (#)

    Just made this banana bread and it tastes good :) Its a bit crunchy on the sides and perfect soft inside, baked it at 45min and luckily it turned out great for us. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


  37. dallas posted on May 28, 2014 at 7:14 am (#)

    Thanks for the delish recipe! Been looking for a healthier version. This was soooo good.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 29th, 2014 at 6:40 am

      I’m so glad you liked it!! :)


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  43. Beth posted on February 17, 2015 at 4:11 am (#)

    Made the banana bread last  night.  Had “tired” bananas but no butter in the house for my usual recipe.

    LOVED the results of yours.  Mmmmmm.  Thanks for posting for us – we loved it.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on February 17th, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Yay!! So glad you enjoyed it!!


  44. Vikki posted on March 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm (#)

    Is there a substitute for the applesauce? My sons allergic.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      You could probably use more banana, or some vegetable oil!


  45. Joleen posted on April 13, 2015 at 2:48 pm (#)

    Applesauce?! WOW, I need to give that a try! Keeping this in mind for next time! Also, your photos are #goals. Love it.


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