Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Gluten-Free Banana Bread Recipe

This is not the classic banana bread recipe of your childhood.

It is, however, quite similar in many ways. Like the loaves your mom made from her batter-splattered recipe and turned out of her dented metal loaf pan, it’s certainly moist and banana-y. It’s ridiculously aromatic. It presents a terrific use for those bananas you picked up on sale that are now forlornly browning on the counter. It’s got a familiar ingredient list that calls for pantry staples including butter, eggs, sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, and not much else. It’s quite a sight to behold. And, in the words of the talented baker who created this banana bread recipe, it is “divine right out of the oven with melted butter, supreme when toasted with a little butter and honey, and sinful with your favorite cream cheese frosting.”

Sound familiar?

Yet this banana bread is quite different in one important way. It’s gluten-free. Because of that, it simply can’t possess quite the same texture or mouthfeel as the loaf to which you’ve grown accustomed. It’s just a little denser, a little crumblier. We don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Not at all. Though it may not be quite the same in taste and texture as you’re accustomed, trust us when we say it’s the same in terms of temptation. Because perhaps what’s more important than what goes into a recipe is what comes out. Karen Morgan, who created this gluten-free banana bread, recalls that when she first tasted this bread, it inspired her to believe that “maybe, just maybe, life was going to be beautiful once again.” We don’t know how to improve upon that.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Roasted Bananas for Banana Bread Note

This really quite lovely banana bread recipe ingeniously calls for roasting the bananas whole prior to incorporating them into the batter. The technique sort of intensifies the banana-y flavor. (Clever, huh?) Although truth be told, we consider this step to be optional—especially those days when you want as little time as possible to elapse between the anticipation of banana bread and the actual incarnation of said banana bread.

Gluten-Free Banana Bread Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 4 very ripe bananas, roasted (recipe follows)
  • 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  • 1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  • 2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed until blended. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until blended. Add the eggs, increase the speed to medium and blend until smooth. Reduce the speed to low, immediately add the buttermilk, and gradually bring the mixer up to high speed. Continue to mix until the batter is light and fluffy, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • 3. Stir in the bananas, vanilla, and pecans just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  • 4. Bake the banana bread for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until a knife or wooden skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the banana bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and then carefully turn the loaf onto the wire rack. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. If serving the banana bread with cream cheese frosting—an act we heartily endorse—then let the banana bread cool completely before slicing. (Any leftover bread ought to be wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days.)

To roast bananas

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the bananas in a row on the prepared baking sheet. Using a paring knife, make 6 small slits in the top side of each banana peel. Roast until the peels are black and bulging, with juices oozing from the vents you created prior to roasting, about 15 minutes for regular-size bananas. Remove from the oven and let the bananas cool completely on the pan.
  • Hold one of the roasted bananas over a bowl and begin peeling the roasted banana. The flesh of the banana should fall out seamlessly. Holding the peel of the banana over the bowl, run your fingers or a spoon along the interior of the skins, as you would a squeegee down a window pane, to extract the caramelized juices. Mash the bananas in the bowl with a fork or a potato masher until no large clumps are visible.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Jeremy Schweitzer

Nov 11, 2010

While this wasn’t my favorite banana bread ever, this was the best gluten-free banana bread I’ve ever eaten. The recipe is easy to follow and creates a texture to regular banana bread that’s nearly spot on— without requiring fun with molecular gastronomy to achieve the results. My co-workers were big fans, too.

Testers Choice
Raye Tiedmann

Nov 11, 2010

We’re into muffins and cupcakes as they’re easy to store and a treat for the kids, so I made these as muffins, using King Arthur gluten-free flour mix. I roasted the bananas (as well as the pecans), and found that the roasted bananas made the flavor jump, and also sweetened the bread quite a bit. For future reference, I think 3/4 cup of sugar would be better for me. I froze the rest of the muffins so I can have them for longer than the five days. I am new to gluten-free baking, and this was a good choice.

Testers Choice
Ann Tousignant

Nov 11, 2010

WOW! As one who has friends and family who are gluten intolerant, I’m always on the the search for what I call “crossover recipes,” AKA food that I can serve that will delight all of my guests—those without allergies and those with sensitivities included. This recipe is fabulous.

Comments
Comments
  1. Veronica L. says:

    As a person with Celiac Disease who also loves to cook; I am very pleased to see gluten free recipes being represented. Thank you.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Our pleasure, Veronica. Let us know how you enjoy the recipe…

  2. Carrie S. says:

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it! (Maybe for Thanksgiving or Christmas?! Why not?!)

  3. What a great idea – roasting the bananas! Makes perfect sense. I can’t wait to try it. Come to think of it, I bet it would work well with my gluten free apple and pear quick breads and muffins.

    David – I heard you speak at blogher ’10 in SF – you are witty and approachable, and that’s a good thing!

    Ellen
    http://www.glutenfreediva.com
    http://www.Iamglutenfree.blogspot.com

  4. Tanya says:

    I made this gf banana bread last night. I was concerned when the batter seemed so thin, but it baked up superb. I didn’t have buttermilk, so I used regular milk instead, which was fine, but next time I will used buttermilk. What a wonderful recipe with great flavor and amazing texture. Thank you so much!

    • Michael says:

      Not having made it my guess would be that it would be much better with buttermilk. Without the buttermilk there isn’t any acidity in the recipe to react with the baking soda.

      • Brenda Carleton says:

        Having made this recipe numerous times (it still remains my favourite!) I always use buttermilk. As with other recipes using buttermilk it definitely adds great depth of flavour that would be lacking somewhat without. I agree that it definitely does need acidity to react with the baking soda (like in other quick breads, etc.).

        For Tanya or anyone else who finds they do not have buttermilk in the house, simply add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to the measuring cup and add enough regular milk to make 1 cup (or adjust accordingly) . Let stand 5 minutes before using.

        Hint: This recipe is also great with grated bittersweet chocolate!

  5. Twila Baker says:

    Roasting the bananas made a delicious difference. Great banana bread recipe and a wonderful GF recipe. Easy and delicious. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    • David Leite says:

      So glad you liked it, Twila!

    • Centella says:

      Hi,

      How exactly do you roast bananas? I would love to surprise my gluten-intolerant daughter with this goodie!

      Thanks

      • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

        What a lovely and thoughtful mom you are, Centella. Actually, the recipe, or rather the technique, that the author recommends for roasting bananas can be found directly beneath the recipe on this very same page. We’ve found that bananas can turn a little liquidy when roasted, so you may wish to drain that off prior to incorporating the banana mush into the batter. And if you’re short on time, you can actually omit the roasting–several of our testers used raw bananas and were quite pleased with the results. Roasting simply mellows and sweetens the banana flavor slightly. Whichever approach you take, please check back with us and let us know your daughter’s reaction…

      • Brenda Carleton says:

        Hi, Cantella! Glad to have you join us here.

        Having made this recipe several times (just because it is so darned good, plus I have celiac disease) I would encourage you to roast the bananas as recommended. All you do is poke 6 holes in each of the four bananas, place them on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet, roast about 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, and voila! They add a lovely flavor. I also recommend toasting or roasting the pecans, too, if you have the time. I made this recipe again this afternoon, but this time used my miniature loaf pans to permit me to freeze the breads individually. They turned out very well.

        All the best of luck with this recipe. Please let us know how it worked out!

  6. Holly says:

    I found out less than a week ago that I have celiac disease. I was pretty devastated, and on Valentiens day said “just one more time” and had a high-gluten meal. That went very badly for my poor gut.

    This is the first gluten-free baking I have done, and let me tell you, this bread is AWESOME. Granted, I have always preferred my banana bread just a tad dense and crumbly (though, like I said, it’s just a tad). Thank you so much for giving me hope for baking. I’ve always been a big baker, and this has let me see that I can still be a baker!

    I did use light brown sugar instead of standard granulated sugar. And I did roast the bananas. The bread fell apart a bit when transferring to the cooling rack, but the taste and mouth-feel are just superb.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Holly, I’m sorry to hear about the diagnosis. I understand your devastation. And because I understand, I’m over the moon to hear that you liked the banana bread. And we have more where that came from. If you go to our Advanced Recipe Search and click on Gluten-Free, you’ll see an array of options. Or you could just click on this link. Let us know what recipes—from our site or others—are satisfying your cravings. In the meantime, we’ll be thinking of you.

  7. Teri says:

    Thanks for including this and other GF recipes on your site. I had a surplus of both bananas and buttermilk, so this recipe called to me.

    Comments:
    I made the recipe as presented (including roasting the bananas) with the following exceptions: I roasted the nuts and sprinkled the top with sunflower seeds, and I made it in a food processor. I lined the pan with a parchment sling for easy removal. I am not sure why the cake would be covered with foil; I removed it after 30 minutes since it was sticking to the loaf (which rose quickly to the top of the pan).

    After 1hr15 minutes the toothpick came out clean, so I removed the loaf from the oven. It was gorgeous and brown, and came out of the pan without a fight. I sliced off the end after 15 minutes or so (I’m not a patient person, and the smell was torturing me) and found it to be still quite wet inside; popped it back in the oven for another 15… still wet. Left it to sit in the residual heat of the oven and hope it firms up as it cools.

    As for the piece that I ate, while a little sweet for my taste it did have a gorgeous banana intensity and was a good approximation of non-GF banana bread. I will try this again as mini loaves or muffins next time, cut back on the sugar, and perhaps add some lemon rind and extra seeds to the mix.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Thanks for sharing, Teri. I think the residual heat notion was a good one in your situation. I’m also going to hazard a guess that perhaps the roasting of the bananas made them a little runny, and perhaps the vast variance in size of bananas from one to the next could have resulted in your batter being particularly wet if you used large-ish bananas. I’m wondering if scaling back a little on the bananas next time, depending on their size, may work. Also, the foil serves not just to keep the surface of the bread from overbrowning, but it also traps some of the heat, which could have contributed, in small measure, to your situation. Let us know how it goes next time, and you’re very welcome for the other GF recipes. A popular one as of late has been the Sunday Morning Pancakes

      • Karen says:

        I’m so glad to hear everyone who has tried my banana bread has loved it as much as I do! Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses-a couple of which I would love to answer.

        First and foremost is the question of texture. As Renee very astutely pointed out, the size of your bananas will effect the texture and moisture of the bread. Gigantic under-ripe bananas will result in an almost damp, not fully cooked looking banana bread, which is why is is super important to always buy small bananas and to allow them to ripen until they are covered with a confetti party of brown spots for the very best taste, texture and appearance. The riper the bananas, the stronger the banana flavor after they are roasted. The roasting also lends a nutty flavor, which complements the sweet Texas pecans perfectly.

        When covering the banana bread, I always cover it loosely in the shape of a tent to prevent sticking. You can also lightly spray your foil with non-stick to insure a no-stick rising.

        Per the bread falling apart when transferring to a wire rack, this is due to substituting the granulated sugar with brown sugar. Brown sugar is extremely hydrophilic–meaning, it retains water beautifully. For cookies, this is a fabulous thing because it helps produce that nice moist crumb, but in breads, it causes weak channels to form, causing the bread to have a difficult time holding its’ structure and ultimately breakage to occur.

        I hope this shines some light on how to adjust your gf baking techniques and I love to see everyone adding little bits of their own creative flare to the recipes. That’s the heart and soul of cooking–to do what sounds good until you strike upon your own new way.

        I love helping out in any way I can, so please submit comments on my website for a more instantaneous response! (http://www.blackbird-bakery.com)

        Always,
        Karen

  8. Judith Rudolph says:

    My son has always loved my banana bread (almost straight from Fanny Farmer), and it calls for neither milk nor butter or oil, and it turns out great. His wife is gluten-intolerant, so I’m going to try it with rice flour. (Thanks for the hint about flax. I had been going to add some.) My only variations are that I always add orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Whenever I have oranges, I microplane the zest and freeze it, so always have some on hand–works for lemon or ginger, too.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Terrific tip on freezing zest, Judith! On behalf of everyone who will benefit from your sharing it, many thanks…

  9. Saba says:

    Loved this recipe. Tnx for posting. I use half the sugar it says here cuz I don’t like it so, so sweet. And I added some dark chocolate chips (can’t have anything wo chocolate in it!!!) Also I used Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo and Fava Bean Flour cuz they were out of all-purpose. Breaks apart a little too easy than I’d like, but I don’t mind cuz it tastes amazing!!

    • David Leite says:

      Saba, well, howdy-ho. I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe. Adding the chocolate chips–genius!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      You’re very welcome, Saba. So glad you loved it. Also so glad you were able to customize it. Baked goods can be temperamental, so the crumbly texture may have been a result of using different flours or even adding the chunks of chocolate–not that we would ever fault anyone for adding chocolate to anything! But seems as though there are no complaints. Do let us know if you make it again with other adaptations, as we’re always curious to learn variations that work…or not.

  10. Tom Anderson says:

    Ok, I made this bread last night. Although, I don’t have a problem with gluten, I thought I’d try it.

    A. I only used three bananas and I did not roast them. Didn’t have any more than that, nor time to roast.

    B. I forgot to add the butter and by the time I realized it, it was too late.

    Despite all that, the bread was superb and people didn’t even notice the lack of butter, but were able to add it if they wanted.

    • David Leite says:

      Ok. While I’m not a fan of people freelancing when making a recipe, especially for the first time, I think it’s fantastic that the bread turned out and that you and your guests liked it. It’s a sign of a great recipe when it can take such “punishment,” if you will, and still come out well.

      • Tom Anderson says:

        Ok, kids wanted me to make the banana bread again, but they were ok with me leaving out the butter. So, I made it AND I FORGOT TO PUT IN THE BUTTERMILK!! It was too late for me to take it out of the oven, by the time I figured it out, and warned the kids that we may be eating banana bread pudding. Guess what?! It turned out great! OMG, I wonder what I’m on to?

        We add butter when we eat it, if we want. The kids are getting a taste of what life will be like when I’m REALLY old.

        • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

          Tom, your comment has made my day. Definitely appreciate the chuckle–and the curiosity it’s inspired! What sort of other empty-pantry hijinx can this bread withstand?!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      That’s swell, Tom! And unlike David, I am a tremendous proponent of freelancing–so long as you’re aware of the potential perils. Love what you did…

  11. Teri says:

    I was reminded of this recipe when I was given a copy of the gorgeous Blackbird Bakery Gluten Free Cookbook for Christmas (score!).

    On this second try, I followed the recipe except for adding lemon zest and sunflower seeds on top; I used 4 medium-sized very ripe bananas, unbaked. This time I did the foil tent as instructed. Oven calibrated. Good to go.

    At 75 minutes I pulled the pan out. The foil tent meant that the bread steamed rather than baked, so the top didn’t brown as it did on my first try. I popped it back in the hot oven without the foil for 15 minutes to crisp it up a bit… that helped a little with appearance.

    I patiently waited 15 minutes for cooling and then took a slice off the end. Verdict: it tastes great but it is still VERY wet in there. No crumb at all, more like a dense steamed pudding; no sign of the texture or colour shown in the image. And there’s Tom, omitting key ingredients yet still finding success…argh!

    I welcome your thoughts… I would love for this recipe to work for me, but one more strike and its out!

    • Dan Kraan, LC Community Moderator says:

      We put the question to our panel of recipe testers, Teri. Let’s see what they can do to help you.

  12. Brenda Carleton says:

    Hi! Glad you did not give up on the first try. I have celiac disease and have made this recipe a few times now because I enjoy it so very much. It certainly is one of the most flavourful gluten-free banana breads I have ever made. Let’s see if we can help you here.

    When you mentioned the texture being too moist after baking, my first thought was the size of the bananas. Karen mentions that small bananas should be used in this recipe and that truly makes a big difference. It really does. This is likely the biggest deciding factor as per your trials. As an aside, next time try roasting them if you have the time – it really concentrates the banana flavour – sort of like roasting garlic mellows it. That makes a difference in the colour as well – it becomes darker. If your texture did not look the same as the photo perhaps you overmixed? When I make banana bread I strive for sort of a “tweed” look. Weird description, I know, but it’s true! :-)

    Another tip – were all your ingredients at room temperature? They should be for GF baking. Oh, and one more thing. Measuring GF flour is different than regular wheat flour – you measure by the spoon from the bag into the cup rather than scooping up the flour in the cup from the bag/container.

    I spray the tent with oil first and barely tent the loaf.

    Please don’t give up on this recipe as it is sooooo good! I, too, own the book and have made many delicious things from it. It is one of my favourite GF baking books to be sure.

    Have you tried toasting your bread or even using it as French Toast as it sounds as though it still is too moist?

    Hopefully your third try is IT. Let us know how it goes!

  13. Montana says:

    Hey! I just made the bread and it is delicious. I am allergic to wheat and thought I would give it a try. Instead of the suggested flour, I used 1 cup King Arthur Gluten-free all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup of spelt flour. It turned out perfectly!! Thanks…

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We love to hear stories like yours, Montana. We’re only too happy to do whatever small part we can to make a difference…

  14. Centella says:

    My daughter is gluten intolerant so I decided to try this recipe. Y U M M I E . . . is all I can say!!!! I even made a loaf for a potluck and it went like hotcakes!!!!! Though I have to say it didn’t look anything like the picture posted above. It was more like a bread pudding instead of bread.
    Any tips or suggestions?

    Thanks :)

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Centella, the size of the bananas can make a huge difference in the texture and consistency of the finished bread. Have a look at some of the comments above. The author, Karen, has a few tips as does one of our gluten free testers, Brenda. Let us know if you try it again and incorporate some of these suggestions.

  15. Emily says:

    Hi, just wanted to drop by to tell you I made some of your banana bread for my Dad! His fiancée now has a gluten intolerance and he’s on a fairly strict diet and doesn’t eat any added sugar, so I wanted to bake him something that they could both eat. I am vegan, so of course I made this bread vegan. The changes I made didn’t seem to affect the bread at all. It was perfect! Here are the changes I made:

    3 very ripe bananas, roasted (mine were very large!)
    1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour
    1 cup dates, soaked for at least an hour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 cup vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
    1/4 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
    2 egg equivalent (I used 2 tbsp. flaxseed meal + 6 tbsp. water)
    2/3 cup almond milk mixed with just barely 1 tbsp. white vinegar
    2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup chopped pecans – 2/3 for the batter, 1/3 for the topping
    zest from 1 lemon

    I had to use my food processor to break up the dates so the way I mixed the batter was a bit different.

    I’ll be posting this on my blog after my Dad gets his loaf. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Emily, first of all, how thoughtful of you to bake something so perfectly in step with what your dad and his fiancée can indulge in. And secondly, congrats on an endeavor that was so masterfully accomplished at the first go! We so appreciate you posting this for others to enjoy. Thank you…

  16. Lora Currie says:

    All I can say is…yum! Even my caterer friend loved it.

  17. Brittany says:

    This recipe was delicious just made it!! Will definitely make it again! Thanks.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Terrific! You’re very welcome. So glad to hear you like it as much as we do, Brittany.

  18. Betty says:

    This is the best banana bread i have had since going gluten free thanks for posting a reciept that does not need mulitple types of flour. It is super easy and best of all delicious.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      You are so very welcome, Betty. We, too, were wowed by the flavor and wooed by the ease with which the recipe comes together!

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