This healthy banana bread is packed with wholesome, nourishing ingredients. It’s oil-free, butter-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and contains no added sugars- but is still moist and delicious!
Through all the years that I’ve been making vegan, gluten-free banana bread (like this chocolate chip banana bread, chocolate marbled version, or banana blueberry bread), I’ve somehow never made a recipe that relies wholly on the sweetness of the overripe bananas as the primary source of sweetness… until now. And I’m definitely regretting not doing it sooner! This sugar-free banana bread with dates is honestly the most delicious and BEST healthy banana bread recipe I’ve tried!
Easy Good-For-You Healthy Banana Bread
This healthy banana bread recipe almost entirely eliminates ’empty calories’ in favor of healthier fats, gluten-free flour, whole grains, and nuts (or seeds). It is also naturally sweetened with the power of overripe bananas and some strategically dispersed chopped dates. Now that’s a recipe I can get behind!
Plus, the recipe requires just a couple of bowls and a few minutes of hands-on prep before baking until moist, tender, and subtly sweet enough to enjoy for breakfast or a snack/dessert without tasting too ‘healthy’. So it’s official, with this banana date bread, you really can have your cake and eat it too – preferably slathered in almond butter with a cup of tea/coffee on the side.
The Dry Ingredients:
- Flour: I used a combination of oat flour and all-purpose gluten-free flour (like Bob’s Red Mill), but regular all-purpose flour would also work. Whole wheat flour/ spelt flour may also work, though I haven’t tried, so I can’t guarantee results.
- Nuts/Seeds: Use the ground nuts or seeds of your choice. i.e., almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, etc. Note that they will affect the color and flavor differently and will provide natural fats for this no-butter banana bread.
- Leavening agents: This eggless banana bread relies on baking powder to provide lift and a fluffier texture.
- Salt: Just a pinch enhances the various flavors in this sugarless banana bread.
The Wet Ingredients:
- Banana: You need three small bananas in the cake batter and an extra to top it. Use ripe bananas with plenty of black spots, as they’ll be the softest and sweetest.
- Vanilla extract: Use natural, pure vanilla for the best flavor.
- An acid: You can use either lemon juice (fresh or bottled) or vinegar (regular, apple cider vinegar, etc.).
- Dates: I recommend using Medjool dates, which are plump, tender, and sweet – perfect for this low-sugar banana bread. Other dates will work, though they may not be as sweet, and you may need to adjust the amount used.
- Plant-based milk: Any should work; almond milk, oat milk (gluten-free), soy milk, etc.
- Chocolate: Add 3 tablespoons of chopped dairy-free chocolate (or chocolate chips) for extra decadence. I used sugar-free chocolate, so it’s still banana bread without sugar (added).
- Chopped nuts: This banana date bread recipe already contains ground nuts/seeds. However, if you want the added texture, add a handful of roughly chopped walnuts, pecans, shredded coconut, etc.
- Other dried fruit: Feel free to substitute the dates for other dried fruits like raisins, etc.
- Spices: You can subtly boost flavor in this no-sugar banana bread with the addition of spices, including cinnamon or ground ginger. Add a large pinch and increase to taste.
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete pineapple bread recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Sugar-Free Banana Bread?
- First, preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line an 8-inch (20 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper.
I recommend leaving overhang’ flaps’ so it’s easy to pull it from the tin after baking.
- Next, add all the dry ingredients (except chocolate, if using it) to a large bowl and mix well with a spoon.
- In a separate bowl, mash the banana well with either a fork or potato masher.
You could also use a blender to do this.
- Add the vanilla, vinegar (or lemon juice), dates, and plant-based milk to the mashed banana, and stir well.
- Transfer the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined.
If you plan to add chocolate or other mix-ins like chopped nuts, you can fold them in at this point. OR sprinkle them over the top of the banana date bread (as I did with the chocolate).
- Pour the banana oat bread batter into the prepared loaf tin and top with a sliced banana.
- Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. A few slightly sticky crumbs are fine, but it shouldn’t come out wet.
- Finally, remove the healthy banana bread from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying!
How to Store Banana Bread?
Store: Store this dairy-free banana bread at room temperature, covered, for up to two days. For longer-term, transfer it to an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days.
Freeze: Freeze the loaf whole or pre-sliced for up to 3 months. If doing the latter, place sheets of parchment paper between each slice to avoid sticking). Wrap the loaf in plastic wrap tightly and then place that in a freezer-safe bag.
If sliced, you can thaw slices in a toaster/microwave. Alternatively, allow the whole loaf to rest at room temperature for several hours to defrost.
How to Serve?
After years of banana bread obsession, I’ve found many ways to enjoy this snack (chilled, at room temp, or warm), depending on how healthy or decadent you’re feeling. Some of my favorite options include:
- With a mug of tea or coffee as a mid-afternoon snack
- Enjoy with the nut or seed butter of your choice
- Spread over some homemade vegan Nutella
- Add a dollop of yogurt and berry compote or raspberry jam
- Enjoy the warm sugar-free banana bread with a scoop of ice cream (like this chocolate one)
Can I make mini loaves or muffins with this recipe?
Yes, you can make both. Instead of one large loaf, you could use two half-loaf pans (and reduce the baking time by 5-10 minutes) OR even smaller mini loaves (20-25 minutes should be enough).
I haven’t tried adapting this low-sugar banana bread recipe to muffins yet, but I’d recommend checking at 18-20 minutes and every few minutes afterward.
Can I use bananas that are medium ripe but not overripe?
Technically yes, but the sugar-free banana bread won’t be as sweet (and as the overripe bananas are the primary sweetener in this recipe, that’s key!). It may also affect the moisture, so I prefer not to. You may also find it beneficial to microwave not very ripe bananas for 20-30 seconds to make them easier to mash.
How to ripen bananas quickly?
If your bananas aren’t quite at the level needed for this healthy sugar-free banana bread, no problem. Spread them on a parchment-lined baking tray at 350F/176C for 15-20 minutes, or until the peel is completely blackened, and they’re tender to touch. This will soften and caramelize the sugars within the banana to mimic the texture and flavor of overripe bananas.
Recipe Notes and Top Tips
- Measure the flour correctly: Use the spoon and level method to ensure you don’t add too much flour and end up with a dense bake. How? Rather than scooping it into the flour bag, use a spoon to transfer it to the cup. Then use the back of a knife to level off the top. Even more accurately, I always recommend using the weight amounts and scales for any baked recipe.
- Allow it to rest: It’s important not to remove this healthy banana bread from the pan too soon, as it will be delicate straight from the oven. Instead, allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan, then allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make oat flour: Add the rolled oats (regular or gluten-free) to a high-speed blender or coffee/spice grinder and process until floury. You can do the same to make the ground nuts/seeds.
- For sweeter sugar-free bread: If you have a sweet tooth, add a small amount of sugar-free sweetener to the recipe. Using Stevia drops is the best way to avoid changing the ratio of wet to dry ingredients. Otherwise, I recommend a granulated option (like monk fruit sweetener, Erythritol, etc.).
More Vegan Banana Dessert Recipes
- Peanut butter banana ice cream
- Vegan banana pudding
- Simple banana milkshake
- Easy banana oat pancakes
- Banana stuffed chocolate crepes
- Banana chocolate bundt cake
If you try this sugar-free healthy vegan banana bread recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan—I love seeing them.
Healthy Banana Bread (Sugar-Free)
- You can watch the short video for visual instructions.Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Add all dry ingredients (except the chocolate) to a large bowl and mix with a spoon.
- In a different bowl, mash the bananas really well (e.g. with a fork).
- Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, dates, and plant-based milk and stir well.
- Transfer the wet to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and optionally add the chocolate on top.
- Bake the banana bread in the oven for about 45 minutes. Check the center with a toothpick- if it comes out dry or slightly sticky/crumbly, that's fine, just not wet.
- Let the banana bread cool, slice it, and enjoy (optionally with a vegan chocolate spread)!
- Flour: I used a gluten-free flour blend consisting of 50% buckwheat flour and 50% rice flour. However, you can also use an all-purpose GF flour blend or regular flour.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically