This healthy olive oil banana bread with whole-wheat flour is moist, naturally sweetened and a great alternative to the classic variety made with refined flour and sugar.

Photograph of a loaf of healthy olive oil banana bread sliced on a wooden board

Can anyone deny a thick slice of moist banana bread, warmed and slathered with a bit of butter? I can’t think of anything else that’s harder to turn down. Whether it has nuts, chocolate chips, or a sugary crusted top, there’s just something about freshly baked banana bread.

Photograph of a loaf of healthy olive oil banana bread sliced on a wooden board with a slice setting on a white table.

Most banana breads are fairly decadent (or very) which, sure, makes a delicious breakfast. But is it realistic for everyday? To each their own, but for me breakfast needs to be a bit more filling and healthier.

That’s where this healthy olive oil banana bread comes in. It’s made with whole-wheat flour and olive oil, which together increases the overall fiber and adds healthy fats. It’s also completely naturally sweetened with honey, which has added health benefits as opposed to nutrient-void regular sugar.

Photograph of slices of healthy olive oil banana bread stacked on top of eachother.

How to make healthy olive oil banana bread with whole-wheat flour:

Whole-wheat pastry flour contains less protein and gluten than regular whole-wheat flour, making it ideal for creating a healthy banana bread that’s light and tender bread, and quite frankly, doesn’t taste “too healthy.”

Tip 1: Use one leavener (baking soda)

I tested this recipe multiple times and found that using only baking soda, no baking powder, resulted in the tallest and most tender banana bread. Yay for less ingredients!

Tip 2: Use honey to naturally sweeten the healthy banana bread

Natural sweeteners are still metabolized in the body as sugar, but they offer more nutrients than refined, processed white sugar does.

Photograph of whole wheat banana bread batter being mixed

Make whole-wheat olive oil banana bread muffins

You can easily bake this bread into muffins, here’s all you need to do:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F and line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Divide batter between muffin cups, sprinkle turbinado sugar over batter.
  3. Bake muffins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centers come out clean; 18 minutes.
  4. Let muffins cool in pan 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Looking for more healthy muffin recipes?

Check out these Bran Muffins that are more delicious and way healthier than the fat-filled ones you find at the bakery.

Need a gluten-free option? These Blueberry Mascarpone Muffins are an all-time fav around here.

Overhead photograph of banana bread muffins

Make this olive oil banana bread vegan

Swap Buttermilk for Vegan Buttermilk. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Combine ⅓ cup unsweetened almond or soy milk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar.
  2. Let the mixture rest for 5–10 minutes until curdled.
  3. Use as directed in the recipe.

Swap Egg for Flax or Chia Egg. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Grind 2 tablespoons flax seeds or 1 tablespoon chia seeds in a spice grinder.
  2. Combine ground flax with ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water or ground chia with ¼ cup water and let rest 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Use as directed in the recipe.

SWAP THE HONEY FOR BROWN SUGAR

Use ½ cup packed brown sugar in place of the honey.

If you want to keep it naturally sweetened you can also use coconut sugar (increase to ¾ cup) or pure maple syrup instead.

Photograph of a loaf of healthy olive oil banana bread sliced on a wooden board

If you give this bread a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

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Healthy Olive Oil Banana Bread with Whole-Wheat Flour

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1¼ hours
  • Yield: One 9×5-inch loaf (10 slices) or 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This healthy whole wheat banana bread is easy to make and takes just a few simple pantry ingredients. Made with olive oil and whole wheat flour, this banana bread is also naturally sweetened with honey.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (7 ¼ ounces; 204 g)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (from 2 large, very ripe bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Heat oven to 350°F.

Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides; coat paper with nonstick spray.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.

In a separate bowl, mash bananas until very smooth. Add eggs, honey, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Add the flour mixture to banana mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top, and bake until dark brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55–60 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

Let bread cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Turn bread out and let cool completely on wire rack.


Notes

Make banana bread into muffins:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners; divide batter between muffin cups.
  2. Bake muffins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centers come out clean; 18 minutes.
  3. Let muffins cool in pan 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Make banana bread vegan:

  • Use maple syrup, coconut sugar or brown sugar instead of honey.
  • Use 2 flax or chia eggs instead of regular eggs.
  • Make vegan buttermilk using non dairy milk and vinegar, and use in place of regular buttermilk.

Make it sweeter: Use ⅓ cup pure maple syrup and ⅓ cup packed brown sugar in place of the honey.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 234
  • Sugar: 17g
  • Sodium: 138mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 37g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 33mg

Keywords: Whole wheat banana bread, Olive oil banana bread, healthy banana bread, naturally sweetened banana bread

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. Hi! I would live to make this recipe but I only have Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Does it work with it or I need to use regular olive oil?
    Thank you!

  2. I ve been doing a lot of experimenting with white whole wheat flour and I LOVE it! I m a huge fan of banana bread so I ll definitely have to give this a try ??

  3. I’ve made the vegan version of this banana bread a few times now and I LOVE it. I find one chia egg (1 tbsp ground chia + 4 tbsp water) is enough to replace the eggs if you go the chia route. I have an insatiable sweet tooth so I replaced the honey with 1/3 cup maple syrup + 1/3 cup brown sugar but it was definitely sweet enough with just 1/2 cup sweetener. And the texture of the bread is just *chef kiss.* Not too dense, just sweet enough, lightly spiced. Thanks for this great recipe. 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh, Kayla thank you for the wonderful comment! Also, I LOVE that you make this vegan with a chia egg, that will be super helpful for readers to hear! I totally get it with the sweetness too—I’ve heard from a few people that they’d like it to be sweeter, so it’s good to know that it works with maple syrup and brown sugar! Even a bit of sugar sprinkled over top right before baking would be fabulous!

  4. WOW! best banana bread I’ve ever made, you’d never know it was healthier. Moist, just sweet enough, and not too dense. saving this and making it regularly!

  5. Hi, looking to make this for breakfast for myself and my baby who is doing baby led weaning. Is there a good substitute for the honey as that’s a big no before age 1. Thanks!

    1. Hi Renee, great question!

      You can use ½ cup packed brown sugar in place of the honey. If you want to keep it naturally sweetened you can also use coconut sugar (increase to ¾ cup) or pure maple syrup instead. I hope that helps!

  6. Delicious! I added chopped pecans and am eating it fresh from the oven now. I love how the flavor of the honey comes through.