Friday, February 23, 2024

Healthier sugar-free banana bread

Everyone loves banana bread, but the most annoying part is waiting for your bananas to ripen. Fortunately, there are a few tricks. The first is the brown paper bag trick. The ethylene from the fruit will circulate and speed up the natural ripening process for the bananas. Naturally ripened bananas are the best bananas to use, and there’s no such thing as too black or brown when it comes to using bananas for bread. Unfortunately, this option still takes several days. 

The next best option is to use previously ripened bananas that you’ve frozen. You can freeze ripe bananas for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to use them, let them thaw on the counter for several hours. They’ll emit a brown liquid, but I recommend discarding the liquid because it may mess up the liquid levels in your recipe. The problem with this is it requires you to have previously ripened bananas. 

So let’s say you went to the store today and bought bananas and you want to use those for banana bread. I have one last trick—you can bake the bananas. Baking the bananas at a low temperature with help to break down the starches and concentrate the sugars. They won’t be as sweet as naturally ripened bananas, but they’ll work in a pinch. 

Random fact: Did you know there are over 1,000 varieties of bananas? But the only banana we see at stores is Cavendish because they’re easy to transport. But that wasn't always the case! The Gros Michel banana was the banana of choice until the 1950s when a fungal disease called Panama disease wiped them out. Guess what—that same disease is now attacking the Cavendish bananas, and there’s no way to stop it. So when it spreads, that will be the end of the banana as we know it. Scientists are working on a variety of solutions.

Healthier sugar-free banana bread

Yield: 1 loaf

Time: About 90 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups (400 grams) mashed overripe bananas
  • 1 cup (226 grams) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) coconut oil, melted
  • 2 large (100 grams) eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Optional: 3/4 cup (85 grams) chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons (30 milliliters) maple syrup


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease metal 9 inch x 5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract in large bowl.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until no flour pockets remain. Don't overmix. Fold in nuts if using.
  5. Pour batter into baking pan. It will be thick! Bake 55 - 60 minutes. Bread is done when top springs back and internal temperature registers around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 1 hour before removal.
  7. Store bread at room temperature for up to 2 days, in refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in freezer for up to 3 months.

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