Healthy Banana Bread | Rachel Cooks®

This healthy banana bread recipe swaps oil for applesauce for an easy, low-fat quick bread that’s tender, moist, and full of banana flavor! Enjoy a slice as a light breakfast or as a snack with coffee or tea.

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This moist banana bread recipe is lightened up with applesauce in place of butter and oil, so you can enjoy all the cozy flavors, guilt-free!
How long it takes: 1 hour from start to finish.
Equipment you’ll need: a pair of bowls, and a loaf pan.
Servings: 12 slices.

Overhead view of slices of banana bread cut from a loaf on a parchment-lined cutting board, next to yellow bananas.

Easy Homemade Banana Bread

This healthy banana bread is one of the first banana bread recipes to hit this blog, and it holds a special place in my heart. I’ve made chocolate banana bread and a handful of other variations since. Still, there’s something nostalgic about a classic, tender banana bread recipe that you can always come back to.

Even though this recipe is lower in fat than your traditional banana bread, it’s still unbelievably moist, delicious, and above all, easy to make! It’s a healthier version of my mom’s recipe, without the copious amounts of butter. Instead, this recipe uses applesauce and just a touch of oil to bring irresistible moisture to the bread. 

Close up of slices of banana bread on a parchment-lined cutting board.

Why You’ll Love This Quick Bread Recipe

Who doesn’t love sinking their teeth into a slice of soft, tender homemade banana bread? Here’s why this recipe is a keeper:

  • Healthier. With a couple of easy swaps, like trading oil for applesauce and using whole wheat flour, you can make a perfectly healthy banana bread that’s totally moist and flavorful while keeping things low-fat.
  • Easy to make. I think just about every family has a cherished banana bread recipe, and it’s no wonder because it’s so darn easy to make! This recipe uses simple ingredients, with zero rising time.
  • Freezer-friendly. Make one loaf to enjoy fresh, and another to freeze. Homemade banana bread freezes like a champ!
The ingredients for healthy banana bread.

What You’ll Need

You probably have the ingredients for this easy banana bread in your pantry already. Below is an overview of the ingredients, with the full recipe details available in the recipe card below the post.

  • Flour: You can make this recipe using all-purpose flour or whole wheat. Whole wheat is a bit healthier and still tastes great, though the loaf will be slightly more dense.
  • Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt: Leavening essentials. I use a combination of both baking powder and baking soda, plus a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor.
  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar works perfectly, or you can use light brown sugar.
  • Applesauce: I use the individual servings of applesauce that you can buy for kids’ lunches, as these are exactly ½ cup.
  • Vegetable Oil: Just 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, or another mild-flavored oil like canola oil.
  • Vanilla: For the best flavor, stick with real vanilla extract.
  • Eggs: Eggs bind the ingredients together while adding richness to the bread.
  • Bananas: You’ll need about 4 large bananas or enough to make 1 ½ cups when mashed. The best bananas for banana bread are extra-ripe ones. See below for details.

How Do You Ripen Bananas Quickly?

You want your bananas for banana bread to be overripe: streaked with black and/or brown. There’s really no such thing as a banana that’s too ripe for banana bread (OK, except maybe a rotten banana). Sometimes, when I have a bevy of overripe bananas, I’ll peel them and then freeze them specifically to make banana bread. I even have a post dedicated to freezing bananas.

If you have bananas that aren’t quite ripe enough, the easiest way to ripen them quickly is to place the unripe bananas in a brown paper bag overnight. To speed up the process even more, add another ethylene-producing fruit, like a ripe banana, apple, or avocado to the bag.

How to Make Banana Bread

You’re going to be blown away by how easy this quick bread recipe is to make. Let’s make some banana bread!

  • Prepare the pan. While you preheat the oven to 350ºF, lightly coat a metal loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  • Combine the dry and wet ingredients separately. First, whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the sugar and wet ingredients, followed by the eggs. Lastly, stir in the mashed banana, and finally the dry ingredients. Be careful to not over-mix the batter.
  • Bake. Transfer the batter to your greased loaf pan, then bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes. Once your banana bread is out of the oven, leave it to cool in the pan for a few minutes. After, run a knife around the edge to help loosen it from the pan, then invert the bread and leave it to finish cooling on a wire rack.

How Do I Know When Banana Bread Is Done?

To check if your banana bread is ready to come out of the oven, stick a toothpick into the center of the loaf. The toothpick should come out clean, or with a couple of crumbs, indicating it’s done. If it comes out streaked with batter, your bread needs to stay in a little longer.

Overhead view of a banana bread loaf on a cutting board lined with a sheet of parchment paper.

Tips for Success

It isn’t hard for this recipe to come out perfect every time! Don’t you just love no-fuss baking? Here are some final tips for the best banana bread:

  • Use ripe bananas. See the ingredients section for details, but make sure you’re using the elderly bananas of the bunch to make banana bread.
  • Measure the flour correctly. The number one culprit for banana bread that comes out dry is too much flour in the mix. Use a kitchen scale if you have one, otherwise, the “spoon and sweep” method is best. Spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then level it off with the back of a knife.
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Over-mixing the banana bread batter can result in bread that’s rubbery and tough, rather than soft and tender. Only mix the ingredients until they’re just combined.
  • Let the banana bread cool in the pan first. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before removing it. Removing the bread from the pan right away might cause it to crumble, and letting it cool completely in the pan can result in sticking. 
Overhead view of a slice of buttered banana bread laying next to a loaf on a parchment-lined cutting board.


Is banana traditional bread healthy? 

Banana breads are comfort food and are traditionally high in carbs and sugars. However, with a few tweaks to the ingredients, this banana bread recipe is both comforting and healthier for you.

What can I use in banana bread instead of oil?

I swap nearly all the oil for applesauce in this healthy banana bread recipe. It works perfectly and doesn’t affect the texture or flavor.

Can I freeze banana bread?

Yes! Banana bread freezes well. I almost always double the recipe to have one loaf for now, and another to freeze for later. See below for detailed storage and freezing tips.

Side view of a loaf of banana bread with a yellow banana in the background.

Make This Banana Bread Your Own

Quick bread is fast and simple, leaving lots of room for customizing. Here are some of my favorite banana bread variations and add-ins:

  • Add nuts. We’re a nut-free family, but you can turn this into banana nut bread and add chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter.
  • Add chocolate chips. Stir chocolate chips into the batter for chocolate chip banana bread.
  • Cocoa powder. Make chocolate banana bread using unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Spices. A teaspoon of cinnamon, mixed spice, or nutmeg mixed in with the dry ingredients adds another layer of cozy flavor to this banana bread.
  • Add a glaze. If you’re feeling extra indulgent, borrow the brown sugar glaze from these baked banana donuts and drizzle it over the finished banana bread.
  • Gluten-free. Swap all-purpose flour for your preferred gluten-free baking flour to make gluten-free banana bread. 
Slices of banana bread cut from a loaf on a parchment-lined cutting board, next to yellow bananas.

How to Store Homemade Banana Bread

I love doubling this recipe to have an extra loaf of banana bread for later! Here’s how to keep your banana bread moist and fresh whether you’re storing it or freezing it:

  • To Store: Once your banana bread has cooled completely, store it on the counter for up to 4 days, either wrapped in foil or in an airtight container. To help keep the bread fresh, line the bottom of the container with a paper towel.
  • Freezer: Banana bread freezes well. Wrap the cooled loaf in foil, then place it into a zip-top bag and store it frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the bread in the fridge before serving.

More Easy Quick Bread Recipes

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Loaf of healthy banana bread, partially cut into slices.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

12 slices

Prevent your screen from going dark

This healthy banana bread recipe is an easy, low-fat quick bread that’s tender, moist, and full of banana flavor! A simple swap of oil for applesauce is all it takes.


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare 9 by 5 loaf pan by lightly spraying with nonstick spray, set aside.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, applesauce, oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk in eggs until combined. Using a large spoon, stir in banana. Gradually stir in flour mixture until just combined. Evenly pour batter into prepared pan.

  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer bread in pan to a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around edges of bread to loosen from pan. Invert onto rack and turn bread topside up. Let stand until cooled completely (if you can wait that long). Cut into slices.


  • This freezes well. I almost always double the recipe and wrap one loaf in foil, then put in a freezer zip-top bag and freeze.
  • Bread in images is made with 100% whole wheat flour and the nutrition information is calculated using whole wheat flour.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 177kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 217mg, Potassium: 192mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 62IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

Did You Make This?Be sure to upload a photo & tag me at @RachelCooksBlog. I love seeing what you made!

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