This banana bread without butter is the ultimate quick bread! It's a healthy banana bread that is ready in one bowl and doesn't require any butter or oil!
- 3 bananas extra ripe (nice and brown)
- 1 ½ cup oat milk unsweetened (cow's milk works too)
- ½ cup cashew butter any unsweetened one (including peanut butter) will work
- 3 teaspoon vanilla extract pure
- ¾ cup maple syrup 100% pure, honey or agave will work too
- 1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 3 cup all purpose flour 1:1 gluten free flour will work too
- 3 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cup chocolate chips we like dairy free and vegan ones!
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan/bread pan with parchment paper or grease it with oil.
- Mash the bananas in a large bowl until mostly creamy.
- Add the wet ingredients to the bananas and combine. Then add the dry ingredients and fold until just mixed. Don't over mix the batter or the bread will be tough.
- Fold in the chocolate chips into the batter. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 65-75 minutes until golden brown and baked through. It will start to turn golden WAY before it's done baking. Check that it is done by either inserting a tooth pick to see if it comes out clean or gently press the top and see if the bread springs right back.
- Green banana = under ripe
- Yellow = ripe
- 10-20% brown = slightly overripe
- 30-40% brown = ripe (perfect for bread!)
- %50 or more brown = borderline you may not be able to use it anymore
why you need this easy banana bread!
Are you ready to take your classic banana bread recipe to a whole new level? We're diving headfirst into the world of banana bread without butter, and let me tell you, this easy recipe is a total game-changer.
We're talking about a moist, flavorful quick bread that's going to make you forget all about that butter. So, strap on your aprons, grab those overripe bananas, and get ready to conquer the kitchen like champions!
More reasons why this banana bread with no butter is truly the best!
- Healthy Swaps: Instead of butter, we're using protein-packed nut butter. This adds a delightful richness without sacrificing taste or texture. And instead of sugar, we use pure maple syrup which also adds a caramelized flavor.
- No-Fuss Ingredients: You won't need a laundry list of ingredients. Just everyday pantry staples like flour, ripe bananas, and maple syrup.
- Flexible and Flavorful: This easy banana bread recipe is all about flexibility. You can switch up the mix-ins. Chocolate chips are our favorite, but you could also add nuts or dried fruit.
ingredients and substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted. See recipe card for quantities.
Banana: The star of the show! Overripe bananas will infuse your bread with the perfect natural sweetness. Be sure to check out our fun fact at the bottom of the post about why bananas get sweeter when they're mashed up!
Substitutions: Sorry, no substitutions for these!
Expert tip to quickly ripen bananas! Mostly brown bananas are generally at the right level of ripeness. If your bananas aren't ripe enough yet, place them in a paper bag overnight to ripen quickly!
Milk: We use oat milk, which makes this a vegan banana bread. But you can use your favorite milk like cow’s milk, almond milk, or soy milk.
Substitutions: Feel free to use any milk you like! The only milk that won’t work is canned coconut milk.
Nut Butter: Cashew butter is our favorite nut butter because the flavor is so neutral. Normally a recipe would use an oil such as vegetable oil, coconut oil, or olive oil to replace butter, but we like nut butter! They add fat (replacing the butter) while also adding protein and girth to the bread.
Substitutions: Feel free to use any nut butter! Peanut butter can be used but it will give this banana bread an overpowering peanut butter flavor.
Vanilla Extract: Vanilla adds a richness that emulates butter without the butter.
Substitutions: We recommend using pure imitation but you can use imitation vanilla or it can be left out in a pinch.
Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is a great natural sugar option that adds cozy warm notes to banana bread. We recommend using only pure maple syrup.
Substitutions: If you can’t find pure maple syrup, I recommend using honey or agave in place of it. I don't recommend syrup made of butter or granulated sugar like white sugar, coconut sugar, or brown sugar.
Spices: We use a combination of cinnamon and salt to enhance the natural sweetness of the bananas.
Substitutions: The cinnamon can be left out but there are no substitution options for salt.
All-Purpose Flour: Flour provides structure to ensure the bread is stable but light and fluffy.
Substitutions: A 1:1 gluten-free flour or bread flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour. Coconut flour, almond flour, and oat flour should not be used.
Baking Soda: Our leavening agent to make it rise and shine.
Substitutions: Sorry, no substitutions for this.
Chocolate Chips: Because who can resist chocolate chips?!
Substitutions: Feel free to use any chocolate chips or chocolate bar you like. We like to use Enjoy Life dairy-free mini chocolate chips.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
recipe testing notes
Throughout our testing of this healthy banana bread, we learned what worked and didn't work. Here are the key takeaways!
- Flour types: We tried this with 1:1 gluten-free flour and all-purpose flour. Both worked great but the all-purpose flour had a slightly better texture and gave the bread a more golden color.
- Peanut Butter vs. Cashew Butter: We tested this with peanut butter and cashew butter but ultimately landed on cashew butter due to its neutral flavor. Peanut butter works and can be substituted but it will taste more like peanut butter than banana.
- Have an extra banana? We also tested this with a banana sliced vertically and laid on top of the bread as decoration. This made no difference in flavor and just added a visual element. If you have an extra banana to use up then definitely give this a try!
how to make this - step by step
Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full banana bread recipe!
Step one: prep
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil or line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper. A standard loaf pan or bread pan is 8.5” x 4.5” x 2.5”.
Step two: mash
In a large bowl, mash those ripe bananas until mostly creamy.
Step three: combine
Add everything else to the bowl to combine with the mashed bananas.
- Adding the wet ingredients first - This does two things. First, it makes it easier to mix because sticky things like cashew butter mix better with wetter things like eggs. Second, it ensures the dry ingredients are evenly incorporated when they're added.
- Don't over-mix the batter - a few lumps are perfectly fine and will make your bread tender. Over-mixing will develop the gluten and therefore produce a denser and more gummy bread.
Step four: add chocolate and transfer
Gently fold in the chocolate chips and then transfer to the lined or greased loaf pan.
Step five: bake
Bake 65-75 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Let cool for at least 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan. It's helpful to place it on a wire rack to continue cooling once removed from the pan. Otherwise, the hot bottom can stick to a plate.
Expert tip to tell if your bread is done - There are two ways: First, you can check by inserting a toothpick to see if it comes out clean (the toothpick test). However, this can be difficult because of the chocolate chips. The second method is what I prefer: gently press the top of the bread with your finger and watch to see if it springs right back. If it does, then it should be done.
watch how to make this - step by step
Absolutely! White whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour are excellent alternatives for a heartier version of this bread.
Yes, definitely! Simply wrap individual slices in plastic wrap, then store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer for a delicious treat anytime. To enjoy, let them thaw on the counter for a few hours or overnight.
You can swap in a different nut butter or use seed butter (like sunflower or pumpkin) if allergies are a concern.
Yes, this makes delicious banana chocolate chip muffins! To make these into muffins, follow the steps below. Or, head over to our Banana Muffin For One recipe.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and make batter as directed.
2. Pour into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners (this will make about 18).
3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until baked through and enjoy!
Banana Bread Variations
- Mocha Banana Bliss: Add 1-2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder to the batter for a caffeinated kick!
- Banana Nut Bread: Stir in chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans for a tasty crunch.
- Humming Bird: Mix in some pecans and dried pineapple for a similar flavor profile to a hummingbird cake.
- Pumpkin Banana Bread: To make this fall twist, simply swap 1 banana for half a cup of pumpkin. Then add in ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg for a cozy flavor.
If you have special dietary restrictions, here are some substitution ideas to keep this quick banana bread safe for everyone!
- Gluten-Free: For gluten-free banana bread swap all-purpose flour for a 1:1 gluten-free blend.
- Dairy-Free and Vegan: To make this dairy-free or as a loaf of vegan banana bread, just be sure your milk and chocolate chips are dairy-free!
- Nut-Free: Use sunflower seed butter instead of another nut butter.
Fridge: To store it in the fridge, place it in an airtight container or in a ziplock bag. This will keep on the counter for 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezer: Wrap your banana bread in plastic wrap as a whole loaf or in individual slices. Then, place in a plastic ziplock bag for ultimate freshness. This will keep it good for 3 months.
To defrost it, let the bread sit out on the counter for a few hours prior to serving.
Reheating: Pop slices in the microwave for a quick warm-up (about 15 seconds), or enjoy cold or at room temperature.
ways to use leftovers
- Banana Bread French Toast: To make this tasty bread into French toast, simply use the slices as you would normal bread in your favorite French toast recipe.
- Banana Bread Parfait: Layer crumbled banana bread with yogurt and fresh fruits for a tasty treat (or breakfast)!
If you’ve ever wondered why bananas seem to get sweeter as you eat them, you’re not alone. This is due to an enzyme called amylase that is also present in our saliva. So, as you mash the banana or eat one, this enzyme breaks down the carbohydrates and turns them into glucose or sugar, thus making it sweeter!