This rustic and wholesome banana bread loaf has quickly become a favourite recipe to date (geddit? ba-dum-tss).
It’s sweetened with fruit alone, just overripe bananas and big juicy flecks of dates scattered throughout the batter. There’s no extra maple syrup, honey, or granulated sugars added. I promise, the fruit, along with cinnamon and vanilla, leaves it sweet enough.
Opt for really ripe bananas.Look for bananas that are yellow and streaked, with brown or black freckles. Absolutely no green! These will provide sweetness and a luscious deep banana flavour. An unripe green banana is up to 80% starch. As they ripen starches convert to sugars, until they end up being less than 1% starch by the time fully ripe (1).
Try a homemade date puree.Cooking dates into a puree will infuse a caramel-sweetness into the batter, while encouraging a moist and tender texture. Scattered chopped chucks provide a flavour burst, but not the even layer of sweetness we’re after.
Here are tips and tricks I’ve found help the baking flow and final outcome when making this recipe:
Cool your cooked date puree in the fridge or freezer. This speed things up while you prepare other ingredients. Otherwise, brew yourself a tea, or water the plants, or put away the washing and wait for it to reach room temperature!
Swift dry ingredients. Sifting promotes consistency in the batter by breaking up larger lumps. So easy to say ‘meh!’ and skip – but please don’t friends!
Gently fold. Folding is where you combine ingredients together without stirring, beating or agitating the mix. Instead, the lighter delicate mixture is placed on top of the heavier thicker one, again and again, until combined. Air becomes trapped into bubbles, helping it rise. Use a wide flexi spatula here.
Don’t overmix! This can lead to a denser loaf – boo! Mix ingredients until the batter is just evenly incorporated.
Size matters. My loaf tin was 25cm long x 12 cm wide. A different sized or shaped tin may mean you need to adjust baking time. Test done-ness with a fork or toothpick – if it comes out clean you’re good!
Cover with foil. If you notice the top of your loaf starting to over-brown in the last ten minutes or so of baking, use foil to your aid by loosely covering.
Mix-ins? Make this loaf your own. It’d be ace with a handful of chocolate chips, raisins or walnuts tossed through the batter before baking!
This banana date loaf is the perfect breakfast or snack slathered with nut butter, ricotta & honey or classic beloved butter. Kick back with a cup of tea and enjoy!
Serve warm as a wholesome dessert along with a dollop of ice cream.
Not feeling it anymore? Repurpose into a delectable bread and butter pudding! You’ll find oodles of inspiration online for recipes.
Thanks for reading! If you give this recipe a go, I hope you love it. It’s a favourite and took many loving attempts to get right. Are you a mega-fan of bananas, like me? Be sure to try this creamy banana porridge or these banana oat cookies next time you have spotty bananas in the fruit bowl!🍌
Finely chop dates. Add to a small saucepan with the water measure. Cook over a medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the water has evaporated – this will take less than five minutes.
Remove from heat and leave to cool to room temperature. To speed up the process, scoop date mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge or freezer.
Preheat oven to bake 160 degree Celsius. Line a loaf tin with baking paper (I used a 25cm long x 12 cm wide rectangular tin – a different shaped tin might produce different thicknesses and require a slightly different cooking time).
Add to a mixing bowl the bananas. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla essence.
Sift in flour, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the date puree. Using a spatula, gently fold together until just evenly incorporated.
Add yoghurt and gently fold through – be careful not to overmix!
Bake in the oven for 1 hour. It’s best baked in the middle the oven, not the top. If it looks like it’s starting to overbrown, cover loaf loosely with foil the last 10 or so minutes of baking. Check to see it’s cooked by inserting something thin and sharp into the middle to the loaf e.g. toothpick or knife (it should come out pretty clean, if not, keep it in for a smidge longer).
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in tin. Remove from tin, slice and enjoy!
*Almond meal is almonds that have been finely ground. In NZ you’ll usually find this in the baking section of supermarkets where the nuts and seeds are.** Feel free to sub greek yoghurt for a plant yoghurt.
Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe
If you enjoyed this dish, please consider giving it a star rating when you post a comment. Star ratings help others discover my recipes online (and your reviews make my day! 🙂 ). Happy cooking and baking. Danijela x
5 stars – loved it!
So happy to hear you liked it Jane! 🙂 Thanks for the feedback.
I’m so excited to have all (almost!) the ingredients to bake this tomorrow… is there anything I can use instead of yogurt since I have none? 🙁
Hi Krista! Oo exciting! I haven’t tried making it without yoghurt. You could try coconut cream maaaybe – but as I haven’t tried it, I can’t promise on the end product. I hope you enjoy it if you go ahead and make it x
If you have no yoghurt try butter milk.
Buttermilk can be made with ordinary milk add lemon juice or whit vinegar, leave to sit and it will curdle a bit, hey presto you have buttermilk.
I use yoghurt, buttermilk and even sour cream to lighten cakes and muffins, So should work for bana bread.
I’m looking forward th making this recipe as it does use copious amounts of vegetable oil.
Great tip Jenni! One to try for sure. Thank you for your insight.
Can I replace Almond meal with equal amount of flour or any other replacement?
Hey Amit – I haven’t tried replacing it, but I reckon you could replace it with flour and it should turn out okay! Happy baking – hope it turns out okay if you do.
I am SO excited to try this! Do you know how many calories are in each slice? Thanks so much 🙂
Hi Danielle! So nice to hear your enthusiasm, this is a favourite recipe of mine from the blog so I do hope you try it! I’m not sure the calorie/macro breakdown for it, sorry. A platform I used to use in Nutrition Practise to check the nutrition breakdown was Cronometer – they have a nifty free calculator (which also breaks down micronutrient comp too!). Depending on how you cut it (the thickness) will be a key consideration xx
Could you sub the flour for buckwheat flour?
Hi there, I have done some research and as buckwheat is a denser flour it may not be the best 1:1 swap – I think more so better in recipes that do not need to rise (e.g.cookies). You could probably use it in combination with lighter flours, maybe aiming to replace 50% of the regular flour. I hope this helps xx
Hi, would this work with whole meal spelt flour in place of the flour?
Hi Jen! Thanks for your message. I haven’t tried it myself, so I cannot say for sure. I’ve done a bit of research and I think white spelt is AOK in a 1:1 ratio swap with regular flour, but whole meal spelt may work better with just a portion swapped (e.g. 1/2 cup spelt, 1/2 cup flour). In saying that, it might be great!
If you do an total swap maybe just keep an eye on the texture – if it’s dry, it may need more moisture (the fibre in whole meal may soak up more liquid I am thinking?). I am all for adventures in the kitchen, so good luck if you give it a go 🙂 x
Thank you! The wholemeal spelt flour sub was a success. I added 1/4 cup more water to the date paste mixture and a little more yoghurt, and it was lovely and moist. 5 stars from me 😀
Jen, thank you for coming back and sharing your success! That’s awesome feedback for anyone else with wholemeal spelt in the kitchen. So glad you liked it xx
This ones a keeper recipe! Always go back to it when I have overripe bananas. A hit in this household🙌🏻
Hi Jill! Thank you for your kind feedback and rating. So happy to hear you reckon it’s a keeper! 🙂 Enjoy x
Have made this morning, omg it is sooooo good. I used 3/4 cup wholemeal flour as only had 1/4cup of almond. Added extra yoghurt & chopped walnuts. My yoghurt is sugar free & I left out the salt.
Absolutely delicious, I’ll be making again & again & again. A keeper of a recipe.
Thanks for your kind feedback Vicki! =) So glad you enjoyed it xx
I’ve made this three times in the latest lockdown and it has worked a treat every time. I find chopping the dates finely is key and the addition of Greek yoghurt is genius. Works well as muffins too. With a coeliac in the house we make it gf, but it stays lovely and moist all the way to the end, although that is not usually very long as it is so delicious !
Thanks Nicole! So neat to hear it has been a lockdown repeat in your household. Great tips with the dates! x
I love this recipe and have made a few adjustments to suit my taste. I used bran instead of flour and added walnuts. It is beautiful and moist and keeps well.Thank you for an amazing and healthy recipe
Hi Rosita – thank you for this lovely comment! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed it, and love the substitution ideas. I’m definitely going to give your suggestions a try myself – walnuts, yum 🙂
This worked well, thanks for the recipe! I substituted regular flour for the almond flour and coconut yogurt for Greek yogurt.
So happy to hear, thanks Stephanie! 🙂 Appreciate the substitute feedback – great to know. Enjoy x
I love this recipe. I have adapted it to substitute the bananas for cooked pumpkin and walnut or stewed apples and raisins. Sooo yummy
I’m so glad to hear Greg! Thanks for the feedback and tips – I will have to give both a go!
Can I make it without eggs? Would love to try it for my 3 years old if there’s some substitute for egg!
Hi Anushree! Thanks for your comment. I haven’t tried it with egg substitute, but it MAY work. The first place I’d start would be a flax eggs (flaxseed + water). Each ‘flax egg’ can substitute 1x regular egg. If you give it a go, I’d love to know how it works for you 🙂 x
This is a recipe you could try – https://minimalistbaker.com/how-to-make-a-flax-egg/
Rather than a loaf I make muffins…great for breakfast or a healthy protein enriched snack on the run. Always have some in the freezer followed the recipe as stated. It’s great thank you.
What a great idea – thanks for the tip! x
Delicious. I will make this again
So glad you liked it Yasmin! 🙂 Thanks for your feedback.
Thank you for this recipe, and I plan on making it.
The recipe calls for almond meal. Can I use almond flour? It does consist of almonds only. I am a Kiwi living in Canada, and sometimes the terminology gets a little confusing. Thank you Danijela for your reply.
Hey Yvonne, thanks for your question! Almond flour is AOK – as long as it’s 100% ground almonds it’ll work well. I prefer almonds that have had their skins removed and then ground, but you can also use ground almonds with their skin on (it’ll be a browner colour) – the latter will just be a bit more ‘rustic’ texture-wise, but it’s really just a small thing :). The terminology can get confusing for sure, it can mean different things in different places around the world! I hope you enjoy it, it’s one of my favourite recipes on here xx
Thank you for your reply Danijel. I am really looking forward to making this recipe. And no sugar which is wonderful for my health, and I’m sure for others also.
I appreciate the work you put into all your recipes.
Love this recipe. So easy, healthy and yummy. Thanks!
Thank you for your kind comment Sascha! So glad you like the recipe, it’s one of my favourites on the blog <3 x
Such a lovely change to the usual banana loaves I have found. My house smells amazing while it’s cooking and the family cannot wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing x
Thanks so much for the lovely comment Sophie, I hope you enjoyed the loaf xx
I use GF flour and added some Walnuts and Pumpkin seeds for a little texture with great success, Moist and very moreish.
Thank you for a great recipe. It has gone on my favourite list.
So lovely to hear Ann! Thank you for the kind review and tips xx Love your addition of walnuts and pumpkin seeds!
Delicious, light and fluffy, thank you 🙏
So great to hear, thanks Andrew 🙂
I replace the yoghurt with almond milk and it is just as good.
Thanks for the tip Christina! <3
Fabulous recipe, easy to make, quite healthy & super delicious!
Will definitely be making again & again!
Thank you for your kind comment and review Rach – so glad you enjoyed it! x
Just made it and it was so moist and flavoursome omg I will be making it again! Do you have the “Nutritional Information” please?
Thank you for your kind comment, I’m so glad you like the recipe Dawn! It’s a favourite of mine from the blog 🙂 I don’t post a nutritional information panel alongside recipes, but do recommend Cronometer for any nutrition analysis – it’s very accurate. I hope that helps xx
Hi, can I replace the plain flour for either another cup of Almond Meal or coconut flour?
Hi Rosi, you can swap the plain flour for almond meal in a 1:1 swap. I wouldn’t advise the coconut flour as it is much more absorbant so there would also need to be adjustment to wet ingredients too. I hope that helps xx
Easy recipe, delicious outcome will make this again and refer others. I added pecan nuts for a bit of variety. Thankyou Danijela for sharing this 👍🤣
So glad you enjoyed it Margot! I love the pecan idea – yum x
I love that the banana bread loaf is mixed all by hand – such an easy recipe with a delicious result!
Thank you so much for the kind words Chris =) I agree re mixing by hand – the less kitchen tools, the less clean up, the better!