Vegan banana bread is here to put those spotty brown bananas to great use! This recipe is flexible, uses standard ingredients, and comes together in a pinch. We use 4 whole bananas in this recipe for a big banana flavor.
Banana bread can be an excellent mid-morning or afternoon snack, or slice it and slather it with nut butter for a more filling option.
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Ingredients For Vegan Banana Bread
This recipe is no-fuss and flexible. It’s best with 4 large, ripe mashed bananas but it’s flexible. If you only have 3 bananas, it will work! No chia eggs, no vegan buttermilk, no measuring the mashed bananas.
For the wet: Mashed bananas, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Depending on how many bananas you use, a dash of milk may be necessary to form the batter.
For the dry: All-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
We always add both ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg to our banana bread for a subtle spice flavor! This is completely optional.
Expert Tips For Vegan Banana Bread
Butter vs Oil: Melted butter or oil may be used interchangeably in this recipe, but each creates a slightly different result. Vegan banana bread with melted butter has a better storage life and a nice buttery flavor. Vegan banana bread baked with oil is incredibly moist and tender but doesn’t store as well.
Frozen Bananas: Frozen bananas work well in banana bread! Anytime we have bananas that are too far gone but we don’t have time to use them up, we toss them whole into the freezer. To use frozen bananas, fully defrost the bananas. As they thaw, they will shed liquid. Pour this liquid out before peeling. Dab peeled bananas lightly with a paper towel to remove additional liquid. Then mash and continue with the recipe.
Baking Powder: Many baked goods with bananas have a signature deep golden brown exterior. Baking soda assists with browning and thus is called for in banana baked goods! You can omit the baking soda and simply use 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder but the top may not be as golden in color.
Visual Cues: For beginner bakers, banana bread (and banana muffins) can be difficult to test doneness with the toothpick test, as you can confuse a chunk of banana for the wet batter. The loaf should be deeply golden brown and the edges will have pulled in a bit from the pan. Using an instant-read thermometer in the center of the loaf, the internal temp should be about 205-210*.
Fancy Up The Loaf
We’re sure you’ve seen those decadent and gorgeous loaves scattered across social media– banana bread with halved bananas on top, marbled patterns, and perfect ‘cracks’. You can achieve that level of banana bread mastery, here are the tips:
Halved Banana: Once your batter is poured into the loaf pan, peel a banana and cut it in half. Place either one of both of the halves cut side up into the batter and press down gently. Alternatively, you can slice the banana and add slices to the top!
Marbled: This is a chocolate spin on things! Reserve about 1/2 of the batter and add 2 tablespoons of sifted cocoa powder, mix well. Alternate regular batter and chocolate batter into a loaf pan. Use a knife to swirl the chocolate batter into the regular batter then bake as directed.
Perfect, Centered crack: Most loaves of quickbreads will develop a ‘crack’ somewhere across the top of the loaf during baking. This is due to air escaping as the loaf bakes. You can help control WHERE the crack forms 😉 Place cold butter down the center of the loaf before baking for a perfectly centered crack in your banana bread! So impressive.
A Note On Loaf Pan Sizes
There are two common loaf pan sizes available in the US and they will play a role in bake time and the appearance of your banana bread! They are 9×5″ and 8×4″.
Using 8×4″ loaf pans creates a taller loaf of bread, while the 9×5″ pans are wider and less tall. We recommend using the 8×4″ size if you have it!
Banana bread cooked in a 9×5″ pan might be finished closer to the 50-minute mark, whereas the 8×4″ size will likely need the full hour to bake.
Substitutions & Additions
There are a couple of swaps in this recipe that work wonderfully if you need the options.
- Butter: If you don’t want to melt butter, you can use 1/3c of liquid-neutral oil in its place. Or use melted coconut oil for a coconut flavor!
- Cane sugar: White, brown, or coconut sugar may be used in place of cane sugar.
- Baking Soda: If you don’t have baking soda, you can use 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder.
Try adding in the following:
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder for a coffee flavor
- Chocolate banana bread: 1/2-3/4c chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate chunks. Mini chocolate chips work the best in our opinion! Large chocolate chunks may cause slices to fall apart as you cut them.
- Add a streusel topping for a banana bread/coffee cake mashup!
- Nuts: Add 1/2-3/4c chopped walnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts.
- Coconut: Mix 1/2 cup finely shredded coconut into the batter.
Freezing & Storage
To freeze: Vegan banana bread freezes well! It’s easy to double the recipe, bake two loaves, and freeze one for later. For best results, freeze the entire loaf of banana bread instead of slices.
Let the loaf cool completely to room temperature, for about 4-6 hours. Wrap the loaf several times with plastic wrap then place back in the loaf pan and freeze. (Freezing in the loaf pan helps keep shape!) Once frozen, you can remove the loaf pan.
Defrost on the counter overnight to enjoy the following morning!
To store at room temperature: We like to store banana bread in the loaf pan it was baked in and wrap the tin with a clean kitchen towel. You can use plastic wrap as well. At room temp, banana bread will last for about 2 days post baking– pop it in the fridge to keep it fresh for up to 5 days.
Vegan Banana Bread FAQs
- Can I double this recipe? Yes, this recipe doubles easily, just bake a second loaf!
- Can you use vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract? We love love love the flavor of vanilla paste! You can use vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract, simply ensure the paste is fully mixed into the wet ingredients.
- Can I use yellow bananas? Yellow bananas can be used. They are firmer and less sweet so banana bread made with yellow bananas isn’t as moist, as sweet, or as ‘banana’ flavored.
- How to ripen bananas quickly? If you know you want to make banana bread soon, place a bunch of bananas in a brown paper bag. If you have an apple, add an apple to the bag. If your bananas have plastic wrapped around the cut at the top of the bunch, remove it to help expedite the ripening.
Here is our recipe for the best vegan banana bread that is sweet, moist, and full of banana flavor. This beginner-friendly recipe comes together in a pinch and tastes amazing.
- 3–4 large mashed bananas (4 is preferred, but 3 will work) see notes
- 1/3 cup melted butter or sub-neutral flavored oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cane sugar (brown, coconut, or white sugar all work)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- Measure and melt the 1/3 cup butter in a large pot. Let cool.
- Add the peeled bananas. For best result, mash thoroughly until no large chunks remain. Add the vanilla extract and milk and stir to combine.
- You can use a mixing bowl the mix all wet ingredients- but melting the butter in a large pot and using this as your mixing bowl eliminates a dish!
- Measure and add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Stir until just combined, a dry spot of flour here or there is fine.
- Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and bake in a pre-heated 350* oven for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing, cutting before cooling can cause bread to crumble.
If only using 3 bananas, you may need a splash (1-2 tablespoons) of non-dairy milk to create the batter.
To omit baking soda: Use 2 teaspoons baking powder. Baking soda assists with browning so the loaf will not be as deeply brown, only golden around the edges.
If swapping melted butter with oil: If using oil, the loaf will be more moist and more tender. This will also make it a bit more difficult to cut and the top will get slightly sticky with storage.
We recommend an 8×4″ loaf pan instead of a 9×5″. This delivers a taller loaf! If baking in a 9×5″ pan, the bake time will be on the lower end.
The type of pan you use will play a role in how long the loaf takes to cook.
Dark metal pans: may cook up faster, but a bit uneven. Tent with foil if the edges are getting too brown but a toothpick still shows batter. Try reducing the heat by 25*.
Light metal pans: Are preferred as they likely won’t stick and will evenly distribute heat.
Glass pans: Behave similar to dark metal- the edges will likely cook up faster than the middle. If the edges are too brown but the center is underdone, tent with foil. Also try reducing heat by 25*.
Keywords: Vegan Banana Bread