Whole-Wheat Banana Bread

Ovenly’s whole-wheat banana bread recipe is a stealthy healthy indulgence. Full of whole grains, flaxseed, and maple syrup, it’s a breakfast or anytime treat.

A person cutting a slice from a loaf of whole wheat banana bread on a white cutting board.

Adapted from Agatha Kulaga | Erin Patinkin | Ovenly | Park Row, 2021

This banana bread recipe utilizes maple syrup and sour cream for moistness and flaxseed for earthiness. It’s one of the few recipes I’ve committed to heart—I’ve made it that many times. Try it toasted and smothered with thick, unsweetened Greek yogurt for breakfast.–Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin

Whole-Wheat Banana Bread

A person cutting a slice from a loaf of whole wheat banana bread on a white cutting board.
Ovenly's whole-wheat banana bread recipe is a stealthy healthy indulgence. Full of whole grains, flaxseed, and maple syrup, it's a breakfast or anytime treat.
Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin

Prep 25 mins
Cook 50 mins
Total 1 hr 15 mins
8 servings
335 kcal
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  • Mild vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for the loaf pan
  • 2 large ripe bananas* to make 1 cup of mashed
  • 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds or ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup the darker the better; we use Grade B
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream preferably full-fat


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177°C). Liberally coat a 9- by- 5-inch (23- by- 13-cm) loaf pan with oil or nonstick cooking spray.
  • Peel the bananas and place them in a small bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash them until smooth. Separate out 1 cup of the banana mash. If there’s extra, you can freeze it in an airtight container for later use, or purpose it for another recipe (or even add it to yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast).
  • If using whole flaxseed, use a coffee or spice grinder to grind the flaxseeds into a fine powder.
    If using ground flaxseed, proceed to the next step.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, eggs, oil, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the sour cream and the mashed bananas. Whisk until almost smooth and only a few lumps remain.
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Don’t overmix.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake on the middle rack in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, and the internal temperature is between 200 and 205°F (93 to 96°C), about 50 minutes.
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*How do I ripen bananas quickly?

We get it—you have a couple of greenish bananas but you need banana bread stat. There are a few tricks you can use to get your hands on fresh banana bread as soon as possible. If you can possibly wait a day or so, placing unripe bananas in a paper bag with a ripe apple will encourage those bananas to hit adolescence earlier. If you need ripe bananas NOW, you can sort of ripen them by placing them in a 300°F oven (unpeeled, on a baking sheet) until they begin to darken and soften. These bananas won’t actually be more ripe but they will be softer and a little sweeter.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 335kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 47g (16%)Protein: 6g (12%)Fat: 15g (23%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 51mg (17%)Sodium: 541mg (24%)Potassium: 302mg (9%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 23g (26%)Vitamin A: 150IU (3%)Vitamin C: 3mg (4%)Calcium: 154mg (15%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This whole-wheat banana bread is a nice moist loaf of bread. The banana flavor isn't as strong as other banana bread recipes I've made. The banana is subtle and there's more of an earthy flavor from the whole-wheat flour and flaxseed but a nice morning bread with coffee or afternoon snack.

I used bananas that had been previously frozen as I am a big believer of frozen bananas for banana bread. It seems to concentrate the banana flavor. After measuring, I used the extra banana to mix into plain yogurt as a sweetener.

A partially sliced loaf of whole wheat banana brad on a cutting board.

Family and friends wouldn't stop raving about this whole-wheat banana bread. It's very moist and delicious. There's a hint of earthiness and just the right amount of sweetness. Even using non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream, the bread was rich and flavorful.

The perfect texture is created by mixing the wet ingredients thoroughly before lightly folding in the dry ingredient mixture. I buttered the first piece of bread but decided it didn't enhance the bread. Everyone else ate the bread without butter.

I woke this morning planning on making the whole-wheat banana bread as I had purchased the sour cream and my bananas were at their peak of too yuck to eat. I loved the fact that the health factor was hopefully heightened with the addition of whole wheat and ground flax and wanted to give it a try.

This mixed together quickly, had a wonderful flavor without being cloyingly sweet, the crumb was just right and the instructions were clear and concise. In the spirit of full disclosure, I DID make a few minor changes: I doubled the vanilla, I added a cup of toasted, chopped walnuts and I baked the bread in 4 mini loaf pans in an effort to have mini-gifts. This is added to my cache.

Just when I thought I had already had the best banana bread recipe in my recipe arsenal, this lovely version came along. I find that with any banana bread recipe, I am always trying to swap in more healthful ingredients. If it calls for butter I try swapping in oil instead; if it is purely all-purpose flour, I try sneaking in whole wheat flour for a portion. Would adding oats or a touch of wheat bran into the batter change the texture? What would happen if I reduced the sugar? You get my drift. That, and I always seem to be adding more bananas than recipes call for.

The beauty of this particular recipe for whole-wheat banana bread is that I didn't have to do any of my usual tweaking! It already had whole wheat flour, oil instead of butter, a nice combo of maple syrup and brown sugar, and the healthy addition of flaxseeds which I love. The results were a perfectly moist and fragrant banana bread with a lovely crumb---and not too sweet.

The only couple of things to mention was that I did use 3 large bananas instead of the suggested 2, and my loaf only took 45 minutes to bake instead of the suggested 50-55 minutes. Totally adding this fabulous banana bread recipe into my recipe folder as we speak!

Really loved this recipe for a few reasons: firstly, it tastes GREAT - not overly sweet and "cakey" as some banana breads can be. Feels legit to be eating it at breakfast (as in, not a cake pretending to be a bread). Secondly, it comes together very quickly and uses mostly fridge and pantry staple items meaning you can whip it up on a whim. Make a loaf on Sundays and enjoy this through the week. It's great toasted with some butter and a bit of jam too!

Originally published April 20, 2021


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