Naturally sweetened banana bread is as tender and flavorful as classic versions, but is sweetened only with bananas and honey. Plus this one is dairy-free!
We’re winding up a four-day work week, a magical thing that has a knack for feeling even longer than five-day ones. Whyyy is that the case. Something tells me that I’m going to need extra coffee tomorrow morning and baking therapy to shake the work week blues.
And what better thing to bake than banana bread? It’s a classic, make-your-kitchen-smell-great treat that does double duty as an A.M. or a P.M. snack.
I’m pretty sure there are no fewer than ten million banana bread recipes out there. There’s even this fancy chocolate chip pumpkin banana bread from two years ago. But this time I wanted to keep things simpler and see what I could do with creating a banana bread recipe that is sweetened with just bananas and honey. And so I present – naturally sweetened banana bread! It’s tender and springy like traditional versions, and as a bonus is dairy-free. See my notes below if dairy-free isn’t a big deal for you and your family, because you can certainly use dairy ingredients if you prefer.
One of my favorite cooking-related books I treated myself to recently is Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. It features the basic ratios for all kinds of baked goods, sauces, and more, and gives you the tools (and a boost of confidence!) to get creative and create your own recipes. I used the quick bread ratio as a jumping off point for this banana bread, though I made several substantial, but careful modifications (see a few below).
This naturally sweetened banana bread recipe calls for an oven temperature of 325°F, which is lower than the standard 350°F that you’ll see in a lot of recipes. I lowered the temperature here because I substituted honey in for all of the sugar that traditional recipes call for. Using honey in the batter can cause baked goods to brown too quickly as they’re baking, so a lower temperature and subsequently a slightly longer bake time helped this banana bread become golden and not too browned when done.
You’ll also see there is both baking powder and baking soda in this recipe. The extra bit of baking soda reacts with the slightly-acidic honey to activate and helps prevent a squashed, too heavy banana bread. Because honey is heavier than sugar, baked goods that substitute it in instead of sugar could potentially not rise as much. This little bit of baking soda helps ensure that doesn’t happen to this banana bread!
Ways you can switch it up:
- You can definitely use dairy here if you prefer – regular milk, cream, or buttermilk, along with using 1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter in place of the coconut oil.
- I know everyone has their own favorite banana bread flavors, so you can certainly stir in whatever mix ins you like before pouring the batter into the loaf pan. Nuts (or not), chocolate chips (or not), both, none…whatever!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup mashed banana (from about 2 large overripe bananas)
- 2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk, use your preferred)
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9x5" loaf pan or spray with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg.
- In a separate, large bowl, add mashed banana, milk, melted coconut oil, honey, and eggs. Beat until everything is combined and creamy.
- Add dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and stir until just combined - do not overmix.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let bread cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
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