This wholesome whole wheat banana bread with applesauce is made without white flour, half the sugar, and partly sweetened with maple syrup. It’s a lightened-up version that’s soft and full of flavor, just like my original banana bread recipe!

Overhead view of two slices of healthy banana bread

Wholesome Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Today’s whole wheat banana bread recipe is just as soft, moist, and full of flavor as my favorite original banana bread, with a few health-conscious twists. This recipe opts for unsweetened applesauce in place of butter, whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose, and cuts some of the sugar with maple syrup. After one bite, all I could think was, “Mission: Accomplished!” The softness, the banana flavor, the spice, it’s all there, wrapped up in an ultra-moist crumb. You’d never guess that this is a lightened-up version.

Why You’ll Love This Banana Bread Recipe

  • Less oil and butter. This recipe trades most of the oil and butter for unsweetened apple sauce and a touch of olive oil. Banana bread with applesauce is super moist and loaded with subtle sweet flavor.
  • Less sugar. We’ve reduced the sugar by half and added some maple sugar as a natural sweetener.
  • Whole wheat flour. Swapping out the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour makes this banana bread healthful, wholesome, and hearty.
  • Easy to make. This recipe comes together so easily. All it takes is 10 minutes, and it’s ready for the oven.
Front view of a slice of banana bread

Ingredient Notes

Just like my classic banana bread, this lightened-up whole wheat banana bread uses pantry staples. I’ve included some notes on the important ingredients below. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below the post for the full ingredients list and recipe details.

  • Bananas – Brown, spotty, overripe bananas have the best sweetness and flavor. The riper they are, the better the bread will be, and it will stay soft and moist for longer. It’s the perfect excuse to use those neglected bananas on your counter!
  • Applesauce – Unsweetened applesauce is an excellent replacement for all or some of the butter and oil in recipes. When it comes to baking lighter, applesauce keeps the bread loaf soft and moist.
  • Olive Oil – You can also use coconut oil or vegetable oil.
  • Maple Syrup – Replaces some of the sugar with a bit of natural sweetness.
  • Whole Wheat Flour – For added nutrition. You can also make this recipe with equal parts all-purpose flour.
  • Spice – Ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Chopped Nuts – Optional, but walnuts or pecans are nice choices for extra crunch.

Can I Use Frozen Bananas?

Yes! If you have frozen bananas stashed in your freezer, they’ll work in this recipe. Just make sure to thaw them and drain the excess liquid before you mash them. Frozen bananas hold a lot of water, which can leak into the batter and make it runny.

Angled view of a loaf of banana bread

How to Make Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Like most quick bread recipes, this whole wheat banana bread keeps the steps super simple. It’s a great activity for kids, too! Here’s a short overview:

  1. Combine the wet ingredients. First, mash the bananas and combine them with the wet ingredients.
  2. Add the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until the batter just starts to combine. Lastly, stir in the nuts if you’re using them.
  3. Bake. Bake the banana bread in a loaf pan at 350ºF for 50 to 60 minutes. Let the bread rest in the pan for 30 minutes before removing it to cool completely.
A loaf of healthy banana bread with one slice cut off

Recipe Tips

Here are a few things to make this whole wheat banana bread recipe even easier.

  • Use parchment paper. Lining the pan with a piece of parchment paper will make it so easy to remove this bread from the pan.
  • Prevent the bread from burning. If the top of the bread to browning too fast, tent with aluminum foil after about 40 minutes.
  • Make sure the bread is fully baked. Test the bread in several spots to make sure it’s baked through all the way, the toothpick should be clean, with no crumbs sticking to it or wetness.
  • Add your favorite mix-ins. The chopped nuts are a completely optional mix-in. If desired you can also stir in some chocolate chips or dried fruits.

Serving Suggestions

There’s nothing quite like a warm, freshly baked slice of banana bread, especially when it’s this wholesome! This banana bread can be served for breakfast just as easily as it can be served as a snack. Enjoy a slice as-is or add a little bit of butter to a warm slice. You can also add a layer of peanut butter to make it a heartier treat.

Close up of two slices of whole wheat banana bread stacked on a white countertop.

How to Store Leftovers

Store whole wheat banana bread in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge. At room temperature, it will last for 3 days. Refrigerating extends the shelf life to 6 days. I love having an extra slice or two around so that I can grab and go on busy mornings.

Can I Freeze Banana Bread?

Absolutely. This banana bread will last for up to 2 months when frozen.

Allow the bread to cool completely then wrap in one layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. Thaw on the counter overnight before enjoying. Alternatively, you can also freeze individual slices of the bread, which thaw more quickly.

More Quick Bread Recipes

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Close up front view of a slice of whole wheat banana bread leaning against the rest of the loaf.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

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  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 10 slices
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This quick and easy recipe for whole wheat banana bread is made with applesauce, olive oil, and maple syrup. It’s a wholesome treat that’s soft, moist, and full of flavor!


Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (4oz) unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (110g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ¾ cups (245g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F: Generously grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside. Line the pan with parchment paper if desired.
  2. Peel and mash the bananas with a potato masher or fork.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients: Combine the bananas with all the wet ingredients: eggs, apple sauce, oil, maple syrup milk, and vanilla extract. Beat all the ingredients together until well combined. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and beat just until it starts to combine then add the nuts. Stir the mixture with a spatula to finish incorporating the flour.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 219
  • Sugar: 14.8 g
  • Sodium: 324.8 mg
  • Fat: 8.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.2 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 37.3 mg

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2 comments on “Whole Wheat Banana Bread”

  1. Avatar photo
    Julieta Martinez

    Amazing!!
    I’ll cook it! How much butter?????
    Excuse my wraiting please!!
    I’m from Mexico!