This naturally-sweetened honey banana bread is as tender and flavorful as classic versions, but is sweetened only with bananas and honey. A few tricks ensure that this moist quick bread bakes up nice and tall.
I'm pretty sure there are no fewer than ten million banana bread recipes out there (including variations like this pumpkin banana bread). But the classic, gold standard banana bread in my house? It's this recipe right here.
Perfectly tender and extra moist without being heavy, this naturally-sweetened honey banana bread only relies on bananas and honey to provide all the sweetness you need. I love substituting honey for granulated sugar in my honey cornbread, and the ingredient swap and bonus flavor pay-off continues on here with a quick bread.
Note: This recipe received new photos in December 2022 and was previously titled "naturally sweetened banana bread" if you're returning from a saved link.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Intentional tweaks (lower baking temperature, two leavening agents) ensures this honey-sweetened banana bread bakes up perfectly golden and tall.
- It's naturally sweetened with only bananas and honey.
- You can really taste the honey flavor shine along with the banana flavor.
- It's been tested and can easily be modified to be dairy-free.
- Bananas: Overripe bananas (ones with lots of brown spots) are preferred for baking as they're sweeter and mash up well. You'll need one cup of mashed banana, which comes from approximately two large/three medium bananas.
- Milk: Any variety works, though I usually use 2%.
- Butter: As the butter will be melted, you can substitute it with vegetable, canola, or melted coconut oil.
- Honey: The co-star of the show, honey brings lots of moisture, delicious flavor, and just enough sweetness.
- Leavening: While banana breads are typically made with baking soda, this recipe benefits by the use of both baking soda and baking powder to counter the extra weight from the honey and ensure it rises tall.
- Spices: Ground cinnamon and nutmeg boost that classic, cozy banana bread flavor.
- Mash bananas in a bowl using forks, a whisk, or an electric mixer, then whisk in the rest of the wet ingredients. Separately whisk the dry ingredients then pour them into the bowl of wet.
- Stir by hand until everything is just combined and no dry flour streaks remain. It's normal for the batter to be lumpy.
- Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and pour in the batter. Level off the top until it's even.
- Bake at 325°F for 55-65 minutes, or until golden and a tester inserted in the tallest part comes out clean. Let honey banana bread cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Oven temperature: This is a bit lower (325°F) than other quick breads because honey can cause baked goods to brown more quickly. A lower, slightly longer bake time ensures this honey banana bread bakes up nice and golden.
- Pan size: A pan with slightly different dimensions can be used. You may require extra bake time if using an 8 ½-inch by 4-inch loaf pan as the center will be taller.
- Dairy-free: I have made this bread dairy-free with good results. Replace the milk (almond and oat milks are my top choices) and use melted coconut oil or other oil instead of butter.
- Prevent a sunken loaf: Only grease the bottom and very first inch of the loaf pan so that the batter can easily "climb" the sides of the pan as it bakes. Also don't open the oven door for the first 75% or so of the bake time, as that allows cool air to enter and can interfere with the banana bread rising.
- Keep an eye on browning: While I have not encountered this issue with this recipe, if your loaf is browning too quickly, loosely tent aluminum foil over the pan once it hits your preferred level of golden-brown and continue baking until finished.
Once cooled completely, place the loaf in an air-tight container or zip-top bag wrapped with a paper towel. Store at room temperature for 3-4 days. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture that develops.
Absolutely! Honey makes an excellent natural sweetener for banana bread. Follow the tips in this recipe to ensure success, including lowering your oven temperature and increasing the leavening agents.
Throw in your favorite add-ins like chocolate chips or walnuts, replace up to half of the flour with whole wheat flour, replace the basic cinnamon and nutmeg with other spice blends (like chai spice), etc.
Yes. While you can freeze a whole loaf, I like to cut a loaf into slices and individually wrap them in plastic wrap. Add wrapped slices to a large zip-top freezer bag with the air pressed out and freeze for several months. Simply remove a slice or two at a time and thaw.
Source: I used the quick bread ratio in Ratio by Michael Ruhlman as a jumping off point for this naturally sweetened banana bread, though I made several substantial and careful modifications.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Honey Banana Bread
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (228g) mashed overripe banana about 2 large/3-4 medium or small
- ⅔ cup (157 ml) milk any variety
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter melted
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup (112g) honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease the bottom and first inch up the sides of a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
- In a separate large bowl, add overripe banana and mash with a fork, whisk, or electric mixer. Add milk, melted butter, eggs, honey, and vanilla extract. Whisk/beat until everything is combined and creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and stir until just combined and no flour streaks remain, taking care not to overmix. The batter will be lumpy.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and level off the top. 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.
- To make dairy-free: Replace the butter with vegetable, canola, or melted coconut oil and use dairy-free milk.
- Pan-size: A slightly smaller pan may be used (like an 8 ½-by-4-inch loaf pan) though you may need to increase the bake time a bit.
- Browning: If necessary and you find your banana bread browning too quickly, loosely tent a sheet of aluminum foil over top to prevent excess browning and continue baking.
- Storage: Once cool, wrap loaf in a paper towel (to absorb excess moisture) and store in an air-tight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for 3-4 days. Replace the paper towel as needed.
- Freeze: Wrap the whole loaf or individual slices in plastic wrap, then place in a zip-top freezer bag with excess air pressed out. Freeze for several months.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer