Vegan Banana Bread

Overripe bananas and other baking ingredients in bowls on marble benchtop

Written by Liz

I’m Liz, I share recipes and easy substitutes to make plant-based living simple!

December 12, 2022

Sweet, moist, fragrant – the best quick and easy Vegan Banana Bread!

Everyone loves a sweet, comforting treat, especially when it’s as easy as vegan banana bread. For those of us looking for a vegan-friendly alternative to traditional baking recipes, this quick and easy recipe is a great option! It uses simple ingredients like overripe bananas and vegetable oil, which are both affordable and accessible. As a bonus, this recipe also only requires one bowl for a low-fuss clean up!

What do you need to make Vegan Banana Bread?

Banana bread is a classic comfort food, and this vegan version is just as delicious as the original! The recipe calls for simple ingredients like overripe bananas, vegetable oil, and self-rising flour. These ingredients work together to create a moist, sweet loaf with a delicious banana flavor. Additionally, this recipe also includes optional extras like walnuts, sultanas, or dark chocolate chips. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy vegan-friendly baking option, look no further than this Banana Bread recipe! Here’s what you’ll need to add to your shopping list:

  • Overripe bananas
  • Plain flour
  • Baking powder
  • Vegetable oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • Plant-based milk
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon

Overripe bananas and other baking ingredients in bowls on marble benchtop with text labels

Why can’t you use ripe bananas for banana bread?

Bananas are a fruit that come in different stages of ripeness. Normally when you buy them from the supermarket, their skins are bright yellow, sometimes with a hint of green. This may be great for eating raw, but for baking the perfect Vegan Banana Bread you’re going to want to leave those bananas to get super funky and ripe!

The difference between overripe and regular bananas is that overripe bananas are softer, have more brown spots, and are darker in colour. Overripe bananas are also sweeter than ripe bananas because the starch has converted to sugar and they have a much more pungent fragrance. This makes them a bit gross for eating but absolutely perfect for baking! The extra sweetness means that we need to add less sugar in our batter (yay health!). It also builds depth of flavour and keeps the banana bread extra moist. If you use regular bananas, your banana bread will likely be drier, not as sweet and have less banana flavour.

How do you make Vegan Banana Bread?

Are you ready to bake the most delicious vegan banana bread in town? Grab your apron and let’s get started!

First things first, preheat your oven to 180C/355F. Grease an 11 x 21cm (base measurement) loaf pan or line with non-stick baking paper.

Time to mash up those overripe bananas! Peel the bananas and mash them in a large bowl until they form a smooth paste.

Next, add all your wet ingredients, plus sugar and salt. Stir the mixture until everything is combined evenly.

Sift in plain flour, baking powder and ground cinnamon into the wet mixture and stir. If you’d like, you can also add some extra ingredients such as walnuts, sultanas or dark chocolate chips. These will give your vegan banana bread an extra indulgent twist!

When everything is mixed together nicely, pour the batter into the loaf pan. Slide it into the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. To check if it’s done, insert a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean then your vegan banana bread is ready!

Time for a little patience here – leave that freshly baked vegan banana bread to cool in its pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer it onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into slices and savour that sweet, moist aroma of your freshly baked vegan banana bread! The perfect comfort food on any day of the week – enjoy with a generous spread of vegan margarine or smooth peanut butter on top!

What can you substitute for eggs in banana bread?

The cool thing about this Vegan Banana Bread recipe, is that unlike many other vegan baked goods, it doesn’t require any egg alternatives. The bananas naturally act as a binding agent to hold everything together! So there’s no need to do a trip to the health food aisle for flax or chia seeds.

What is the number one mistake when making banana bread?

The number one mistake when making banana bread is overmixing the batter. When mixing the flour and dry ingredients, it is important to stir only until just combined, otherwise it can make the banana bread tough and chewy. Overmixing develops too much gluten which causes the structure of the loaf to become dense and heavy. It also prevents air bubbles from forming during baking so there’s no rising or soft texture in between slices. This can result in a dry and dense banana bread with little flavour. To avoid this problem, take extra care not to overmix when combining your ingredients.

Another common mistake people make when making banana bread is not using overripe bananas. While it’s tempting to use bright yellow bananas, it makes all the difference if you use overripe black spotty bananas for your recipe. Overripe bananas have developed a deeper sweetness that adds complexity and moisture to your final product. Plus – they’re softer so you save some elbow effort on mashing them up! So next time you’re making banana bread, skip out on those pretty yellow ones and opt for some freckly black ones instead!

What is the best flour substitute for banana bread?

I personally love this recipe with regular plain flour – it’s neutral in flavour and gives that delightful soft fluffy texture. But I understand when baking vegan banana bread, many people look for options that are healthier or more nutrient-dense than plain white flour. Fortunately, there are many suitable alternatives to choose from.

  • Whole wheat flour is a great alternative for those looking for a more robust and nutty flavour in their banana bread. It also contains higher amounts of fibre and nutrients than regular plain flour, making it a healthier option. Keep in mind that it is heavier and denser in texture though, so you may need to add an extra splash of plant milk to the batter if it looks too thick.
  • Spelt flour is another popular choice due to its lighter texture and mild nutty flavour. It also has similar levels of protein to whole wheat while being slightly lower in gluten which makes it easier to digest. Since spelt has a slightly sweet taste, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar called for in your recipe if using this alternative.
  • Oat flour is perfect for those who prefer a light and fluffy texture in their banana bread. It’s made by grinding oats into a fine powder, which gives the baked goods a subtle sweetness. It also adds nutrients like iron, magnesium and vitamin B6. Oat flour can be used in place of wheat or spelt flour but keep in mind that it will add an oaty flavour as well.
  • Gluten free all-purpose flour – this is a great option if you’re gluten intolerant.

My tips for the best banana bread

  • Use overripe bananas for the best flavour – trust me, I know it’s tempting to use bright yellow bananas but it makes *all* the difference if you use overripe black spotty bananas. The depth of flavour, moisture and sweetness is your reward! Plus, if you’ve accidentally bought to much fruit for the week this is a delicious way to use up any sad leftovers in the fruitbowl.
  • Do not overmix the batter – when combining the flour and dry ingredients, stir only until just combined, otherwise it can make your banana bread tough and chewy.
  • Get creative – if you want to make an extra indulgent loaf stir through some extras like walnuts, sultanas or dark chocolate chips.
  • Grease and line your loaf pan for easy removal.

Substitutions

  • Brown sugar – this can easily be swapped for your sugar of choice. Raw cane sugar, coconut sugar or even regular white sugar will all work well. Keep in mind that these will make the loaf slightly less sweet (brown sugar has that yummy caramel richness). If using raw or white sugar the colour will also be lighter.
  • Plain flour – if you’re looking for a healthier alternative you could substitute this for spelt, wholemeal or whole wheat flour. Keep in mind these flours (particularly wholemeal / whole wheat) will affect the final flavour and texture. Add an extra splash of plant milk if the batter looks too thick.
  • Vegetable oil – I use a regular everyday vegetable oil blend, but any mildly flavoured oil will work well. You could try macadamia oil, light olive oil, sunflower oil or even melted vegan margarine. If you like coconut oil, this is also a great option but keep in mind it will impart its own flavour.

How to store Vegan Banana Bread

If you’ve just baked a delicious vegan banana bread, it’s important to know how to store it so that it lasts as long as possible. Here are my top tips for keeping your loaf fresh and moist!

  • On the benchtop – your vegan banana bread will last for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. By the 4th day, it’s probably going to taste best if you microwave o