This healthy banana bread is made with whole-wheat flour, olive oil, yogurt and honey. It’s moist, and packed with healthy fats, whole grains, and protein!

When you think of whole-wheat quick bread, light, tender and moist doesn’t often come to mind. But this recipe for healthy banana bread will surprise you! It’s 100% whole-wheat, naturally sweetened, and low-fat. And yet—it’s as moist as ever. This healthy banana nut bread will give every other banana bread recipe a run for its money.

banana bread, partially sliced, set on a piece of white parchment paper set on wood cutting board

What you’ll need:

  • White whole-wheat flour
  • Baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • Baking soda
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Large, very ripe bananas (so ripe they are nearly all brown or completely brown)
  • AE Unsweetened Whole Milk Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Walnuts
  • Demerara sugar, optional 

How to make banana bread with yogurt

  1. Combine the dry ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingred and mix until nearly combined, but a few large pockets of dry flour remain.
  4. Add the chopped nuts, if using, and mix until combined. 
  5. Transfer the batter to the parchment-lined loaf pan and smooth top. Evenly sprinkle sugar over top.
  6. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moits crumbs. 
  7. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Using the parchment overhang, lift the bread out of the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

How to make Yogurt Banana Bread (photo step-by-step)

step-by-step grid of images showing how to mix up banana bread batter
step-by-step grid of images showing how to bake banana bread

Why add yogurt to banana bread?

Any kind of quick-bread recipe (banana bread, zucchini bread, carrot bread) benefits from a creamy dairy-based product. Why? For one, the acid in the dairy activates with the baking soda. And two, dairy helps to create a baked good that’s tender and airy. 

Common dairy products used in quick breads include yogurt, Greek yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk. This healthy banana bread recipe calls for unsweetened whole milk yogurt, which makes the bread tender and moist, and adds protein and calcium. Yogurt also reduces the amount of oil needed.

Use high-quality whole milk yogurt

For this easy banana nut bread, it’s important to use unsweetened whole milk yogurt. Choose a high-quality yogurt and be sure to use regular yogurt, not Greek. 

Here in Iowa, the best yogurt comes from AE Dairy. AE Dairy, an Iowa-based dairy company, is known around Iowa for its dedication to creating high quality dairy products through innovation. 

Plus, AE serves Iowa, Kansas City, and the bordering states, which means the yogurt doesn’t travel far. So if it’s on the shelf, you know it’s incredibly fresh! 

I love AE Dairy’s Unsweetened Whole Milk Yogurt for a variety of reasons. It contains no added sugars (which I love!), it’s incredibly creamy and mild in flavor (a blank canvas!), it’s high in protein, and it contains billions of probiotics which is great for gut health. 

Not only is AE Dairy’s whole milk yogurt great for healthy baking, but it’s also great for quick, on-the-go snacks or breakfasts. I like to stir in a splash of honey or apricot jam and top with almonds, flax seeds, and a handful of berries. 

slice of banana bread set on a white plate with a wooden knife with butter on it

How ripe should the bananas be?

The more brown your bananas are, the better. Ideally bananas should be almost completely or completely brown. The reason you want super brown bananas comes down to sweetness. The more ripe the banana, the more sweet it is.

A great way to ensure having super ripe bananas on hand at all times is to keep a stock of them in the freezer. Peel and store very ripe bananas in resealable zipper-lock bags in the freezer.

When you’re ready to use them, thaw the frozen bananas overnight in the refrigerator, or zap them in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl until soft. Drain any excess liquid released from thawing, then mash the bananas and use as directed in the recipe.

sliced of yogurt banana bread stacked on a white plate with a bite taken out of the top slice

What kind of nuts to use for healthy banana nut bread

I prefer toasted walnuts, but pecans would also be delicious here. To toast walnuts or pecans, arrange nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in a 350ºF (176ºC) oven until lightly browned and fragrant, 8–12 minutes. 

Let the nuts cool slightly, then chop into ⅛–¼-inch pieces.   

Variations on this easy healthy banana bread:

  • Add dark chocolate chips or chunks.
  • Use pecans instead of walnuts.
  • Add a halved banana or banana slices to the top for a stunning presentation.
  • Instead of demerara sugar, finish the loaf with a sweet and salty seed topping, or buttery oat topping
  • Use melted coconut oil instead of olive oil.

How to store banana bread

Store bread wrapped in parchment paper (I just use the paper from baking) and foil, or in a zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days, though it’s best within 2 days. If you need to store it longer, pop it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

How to serve banana bread

Aside from enjoying a big fat slice, I like to also serve banana bread with some high-quality butter and flaky sea salt. A slathering of almond butter or tahini is also divine.

And lastly, one of my favorite ways to enjoy banana bread is to briefly pan-fry a slice in a skillet with some butter. Crispy, buttery exterior and warm, moist interior. The best!

sliced of yogurt banana bread stacked on a white plate with a bite taken out of the top slice

You may also like…

If you give this Healthy Yogurt Banana Bread recipe 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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sliced of yogurt banana bread stacked on a white plate with a bite taken out of the top slice

Healthy Yogurt Banana Bread

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes + 1 hour cooling time
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf (10 servings) 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Moist, tender and featuring a crispy sugary topping, this healthy whole wheat banana nut bread will rival even the most decadent of banana breads. This bread is 100% whole-wheat, naturally sweetened, and made with heart-healthy olive oil and protein-packed yogurt. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour (8.8 ounces; 250g)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (from 2 large, very ripe bananas) (8.3oz; 234g)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup AE Dairy Unsweetened Whole Milk Yogurt (4.2 ounces; 120g)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup chopped walnuts, dried fruit or chocolate chunks
  • 2 tablespoons demerara or turbinado sugar 

Instructions

Heat oven to 350°F (176ºC) with rack set in middle position. Coat an 8½ × 4½-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, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt.

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

Add flour mixture to banana mixture and mix until nearly combined but some packets of flour remain. Add walnuts and mix just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top, and sprinkle sugar over to.

Bake bread until dark brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs, 55–60 minutes. 

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



Notes

Store banana bread at room temperature for up to 3 days (though best within the first 2 days), or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

DO NOT use the convection setting on oven when baking quick breads. This will result in dry, over-baked bread.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 219
  • Sugar: 17g
  • Sodium: 135mg
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 34mg

Keywords: banana bread with yogurt, yogurt banana bread, healthy banana bread, whole wheat banana bread, healthy banana nut 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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  1. Moist and lightly sweet banana bread. Perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth. Love your tips and tricks selection.

    1. Hi Karen! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! It’s one of my favorites, thanks for letting me know how it went!