Soft naturally sweet banana bread spiced up with cinnamon and speckled with raisins for a healthy and simple breakfast, snack, or dessert!
The first time I tried cinnamon raisin toast (which is later in life than you might imagine) I expected it to be sweet. Or more like SWEET! Even though I heard “toast”, my mind interpreted that to mean “oatmeal raisin cookie in bread form”. Spoiler: it’s actually just subtly sweet raisin-speckled bread. Usually. Although I’m sure there are some sugar-loaded sticky swirled recipes out there that could prove me wrong, and undoubtedly a packaged loaf or two too.
So when I was brainstorming banana bread flavors that haven’t been done a million times a billion ways by a zillion people, that same naturally sweet fruit+spice concept came to mind.
It’s been a while since I’ve baked anything with bananas. So long that when I posted this teaser photo on Instagram a couple of days ago no one even guessed banana bread. Surprise. More than a month long banana-free recipe streak = broken.
There was a time when I had not one but numerous bunches of ripe/ripening/so-ripe-that-when-you-pick-them-up-they-suicide-squish-to-the-floor bananas in my house at all times. But then my body said: whoa too much. And my freezer agreed. So I backed off, created some banana-free recipes to satisfy my smoothie appetite, and found love for other fruits (hello all the berries!)
And guess what? Now I can eat bananas in normal human amounts and my stomach is cool with it. Or even go a little overboard with the pan of fresh baked banana bread and a fork sometimes (because warmandfluffy = irresistible) and still feel fine. Proof that sometimes temporary absence does make the
heart stomach grow fonder…or something like that.
When I start to crave all the baked and cozy and September-appropriate things, banana bread comes to mind almost immediately. It’s the epitome of healthy un-fussy baking. Tastes like cake. Feels suitable before 10am. Feels suitable again around 10pm maybe in combination with some form of chocolate this time. Basic in the best sort of baked good way.
I already have a couple of banana bread recipes on the blog – this basic oat flour version and this much more popular cornmeal one. This time my flavor brainstorming sesh led me down a long and decadent road of ideas involving streusel and chocolate and chocolate chips and chocolate chunks and chocolate glaze…
And then I remembered the last loaf thing I shared was chocolate. Back-to-back chocolate of the same shape, and you guys are going to think I forgot what the word “variety” means. I really should’ve invested in that bundt pan.
BUT. One bite into this cinnamon raisin BB and you too will be saying chocolate who? Jk we’ll never forget chocolate. For real though, if I could only bring one kind of banana bread to a deserted island it’d be this one. Two kinds of fruit, my fave spice, so much grain-free fluffy bread goodness – easiest hypothetical banana bread decision of my life.
Before we get to the recipe, allow me to use my powers of substitution telepathy and answer a few of your questions before you even ask…
Yes you can use oat flour, but know that the crumb will not be as nice. I set out with the intention of making this recipe with oat flour, but the texture turned out too gummy for my liking unfortunately. And I just couldn’t let that happen when I know there are better fluffier flour ways.
After the oat flour experiment, my next go to combination was almond flour + tapioca starch since I’ve been loving those two together lately. The texture was better this time around, but the crumb could still be better. Mashed bananas add so much moisture, it can be tricky to find the right dry ingredient mix to balance that out.
For batch number three, I swapped out the tapioca starch for flax meal. It tends to be a bit less sticky than tapioca and usually easier to find too. This batch was definitely my favorite of the three! The crumb was soft but not sticky, and I actually like the flax flavor in a wholesome bread like this too.
Oh wait! I almost forgot to tell you the thing. The thing that makes this loaf extra special and all-times-of-day apropos and…adult-y (although adding a -y to the end of words immediately cancels out any level of maturity, yes I know). There is no added sweetener in this recipe, just the natural sweetness of all the fantastical ingredients like almonds and raisins and bananas. It’s less sweet than you may be used to, but so perfect after your tastebuds settle into it. Sweeter than toast. Not as sweet as cake. It’s banana bread balance, friends.
But my favorite part of this banana bread? Three words: GOLDEN CRUSTY EDGES. Would it be weird to spread banana bread batter on a sheet pan and bake it flat like granola so it’s nothing but edges? Yes? Kay, never mind then.
Not toast. Not a cookie. Better!
Cinnamon Raisin Banana Bread
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 slices 1x
Soft naturally sweet banana bread spiced up with cinnamon and speckled with raisins for a healthy and simple breakfast, snack, or dessert!
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup almond butter ((or any nut/seed butter))
- 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar ((or lemon juice))
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 3/4 cup almond flour (*)
- 1/4 cup flax meal (**)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a blender or food processor or mixing bowl, blend/mash the bananas.
- Add the almond butter, non-dairy milk, baking powder, vinegar, and cinnamon. Mix until fully combined.
- Add the flour and flax meal. Mix until just combined, but be careful not to over-mix.
- Stir in the raisins.
- Spread evenly into a loaf pan (I actually used this 8×5.5″ glass container, but a standard loaf pan works too) lined with parchment paper or lightly oiled.
- Top with additional raisins and cinnamon.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350F, or until golden brown and firm if lightly pressed in the center.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and eating.
- Keep in an airtight container for up to a week, preferably in the fridge for optimal freshness.
*You can make this recipe with oat flour, although I recommend the almond flour for best texture. You will not need the flax meal, just 2 cups oat flour. And be sure to not over-blend!
**You can use tapioca or cornstarch instead.
Hi Natalie! This looks FANTASTIC. What size of loaf pan?
The one I used is on the small side, 8×5.5″. Any will work, it will just lose height if you use a bigger one. Hope you enjoy 🙂
looks amazing ah going to have to have a go at making this 😊
one question; do you think I could substitute almond flour for regular plain flour? as I find almond flour always leaves the bake with a very gluey, dense texture
I haven’t tested it, but AP flour should be fine. The amount may vary slightly as all flours absorb liquid differently, so if the batter seems overly dry or way too liquidy you may need to adjust with more/less flour. Good luck!
I made some cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookies on a whim yesterday because I had a sudden craving for something raisin-studded. And now I am majorly crushing on this bread – hello breakfast and dessert ALLLL weekend!
On a whim cookies are the best, I love just baking what you are craving right NOW😊 I haven’t made anything “raisin-studded” in so long, forgot how yummy they are in baked things. Well you are in for some spectacular banana breakfasts with this one🍌🍌
Gina Umstatter says
Would something like this hold up if I used it in some type of vegan “French toast” creation? Also I wonder how goji berries or another dried fruit would taste in place of raisins. I LOVE raisins but I seem to be putting them on everything lately! Can’t wait to try this, thanks for sharing so many recipes!
Hmm not sure it’s sturdy enough for that, you’d have to coat and flip it very carefully. But yes, you could definitely sub in any dried fruit you like–sounds delish!
I feel like the cinnamon + raisin flavor combo gets so much hate, for no reason!! I am with you on the whole, we’ll never forget chocolate thing, but if we’re going the cinnamon raisin route, banana bread sounds like perfection. I love the addition of the flax, too!! I’m suddenly craving a piece (five pieces) of this…have an awesome weekend, dear!
There’s room for all the choco-chip AND cinna-raisin goodness in this world. Haha! Yes five seems like a very appropriate serving size 🙂 Thanks Sara, and you too!
Agness of Run Agness Run says
This bread seems so finger-licking, Natalie! Would you recommend it with a cup of tea?
Oh yes, you definitely have the right idea…STRONGLY recommend from personal experience (kay fine it was actually a coconut milk latte but close enough!) 🙂
The Vegan 8 says
The fact that you dumped a whole bunch of my favorite all-time ingredient, cinnamon, on top of this bread, I majorly approve…even though it has banana all through it, hahahaa! So funny too, like you said in your post, nobody was guessing banana. I had NO clue because the color is so golden that for sure I thought it was pumpkin! See, you tricked everybody! This is a great idea for banana bread too because as you mentioned, it’s typically always chocolate chip banana bread that is floating around all over the internet. Nothing wrong with that of course, but this is a nice surprise. The fact that there is no sweetener is pretty fantastic too. So super healthy, 100% guilt-free! Now, that is what I’m talking about!! Great recipe Natalie!
Honestly while eating it I forgot it was banana bread–giant spoonful of cinnamon for the win!! I will still probably get around to some sort of chocolatey banana bread someday, but it’s nice to have snacks around to balance all the chocolate too haha 😀
Bianca / Elephantastic Vegan says
Oh this sounds perfect for the recent fall temperatures! And I’m so happy to hear that you broke your banana-free streak – don’t get me wrong, I love all the banana-free recipes you came up with. They are creative and beautiful. But I’m always on #TeamBananas. Bananas are probably the only fruit that I can eat (in moderate amounts) without my stomach being super upset. Why on earth does a thing like fructose intolerance exist?! I don’t get it. Sorry for my rambling. I love this banana bread! And I love that it’s not too sweet. Bananas are the best sweeteners anyways 🙂
How interesting that bananas DO work for you. And lucky since they are so versatile! Gah every stomach is so different it gets tricky (and annoying because fruit is sooooo good!) I’ve definitely found that with all fruits, amount make a huge difference, so all the banana free recipes mean a big loaf of banana goodness now and then is a-okay for me 🙂 Not as pretty as your swirled pb loaf, I still dream about that one!
Thank you for the banana bread recipe. I was very excited about it and used all the right ingredients (had to buy almond flour). Alas, it did not turn out for me. Must have done something wrong. Yours looks perfect. It didn’t ever seem to get done (even after 50 minutes). It seemed firm to the touch in the middle, but when I took it out of the loaf pan and removed the parchment paper I could tell the inside was not done when some of the bread came off on the paper. It was kind of mushy inside. I even tried to bake a piece in the oven to get it crispy but that didn’t work. I just put the rest of the loaf back in the oven at 350 to see what happens. Maybe I waited too long to remove the parchment paper and take it out of the pan. It was good with peanut butter on it. Sorry I can’t give it a better rating.
Hmm that’s very odd Karla, so sorry to hear it didn’t turn out well. I tested it 4 times and never had an issue with the inside being mushy, but slight variances can make a big difference. What size pan did you use? A deeper pan can make it take longer to cook through. Also was the batter similar to the texture in the video? It should be a very thick batter, and if your bananas are SUPER ripe that can sometimes lead too a thinner batter that may require more flour. Also ovens can vary a lot as well so that’s always a factor to consider. Perhaps try adding more flour next time and baking it at a lower temp for longer to give the center time to cook without the outside becoming over done. Hope some of those tips/ideas can help 🙂
Thank you so much for your suggestions!! I used a Pyrex 8 x 5 loaf pan. My batter seemed quite thick, but I will watch the video again to check on that. Also, I didn’t think the bananas were too ripe (just freckled), but next time I will try adding more flour. I will also try baking longer at a lower temperature. Since you tested four times, I am pretty sure the problem is with my baking and inexperience. Thanks again for your nice response and for your help.
Annette Fromhage says
Got the exact same mushy results. Bananas weren’t too ripe, baked it in the exact same glass container that is mentioned in the recipe,with the exact same measurements. Baked it twice, the second time with more flour for about an hour. Still mushy. Don’t think I’ll try it a third time due to the price of almonds. We’ll see. I do bake and cook a lot gluten and grain free recipes, inventing my own, so I know that some things can be tricky and may need some tweaking. Maybe I will go for a third try… Might it be an issue that I grind the almonds myself (whole, raw)? I really want to make this work!
Yes, making your own almond flour could definitely be the issue! Grinding your own is essentially making almond meal, and I have baked with almond meal before it is VERY different than flour. Different brands of almond flour can even yield quite different results, I stick with the Trader Joe’s or Bob’s Red Mill. If you do want to give it another chance, I think store-bought almond flour might be the key!
Annette Fromhage says
Perfect. Thank you SO much. Like I said, I really want to make this work. I’ll give it another try tomorrow. I use Bob’s Red Mill products for a lot of things.
Thank you for getting back to me so fast.
Keep me posted on how it goes! Also have you ever used the Bob’s Red Mill paleo baking flour? I’ve made this with that before and it works great to recommend that product because it’s quite pricey, but it can almost always be used where I call for almond flour (usually slightly less, like maybe 1 1/2 cup here) and works really well.
Thank you! It is delicious!
Yay! I am so happy to hear it Wanda, enjoy😊
I took it to work with me this morning and it went FAST! People were amazed and asked for the recipe. The down side is that I now have to make another loaf for myself! I think I will add some broken walnuts to the batter this time.
Haha a good and bad problem to have 😀 But I am so happy everyone loved it, that is wonderful to hear Wanda! Ooh yes, that sounds like a great idea. I am waiting for my bananas to ripen enough to make another batch as we speak actually, but may have to try the walnut addition too 🙂
Did you do it with almond meal or oat flour please ?
I used almond flour. I’m making it again today as I am in desperate need of some guilt-free yummy-ness!
Aw yay, so happy you are enjoying it🤗
Hello again. I don’t use baking powder because I had health problems. Can I substitute with psilium husk powder? Or do you sugest some other alternative? I also don’t use baking soda. Thank you and God bless you.
Baking powder/soda are leaveners while psyllium husk is a binder, they are not interchangeable unfortunately. You will need either baking powder or soda to make the bread rise, otherwise it will just be very dense and flat. The only alternative is eggs, and if you are vegan (??) that is obviously not an option. Sorry!
Ok, thanks anyway. 🙂
Gözde Arghan says
Can I use buckwheat flour instead of almond flour, you think?
I have not tested that swap myself, but you are welcome to try it! I think it will work, but may take some tweaking of amounts. Good luck!
mary colley says
would you knowhow many carbs are in it please?
Hi Mary! I do not, I don’t really count or calculate macros. But you can plug all the ingredients into an app like this and divide by the number of slices to find out 🙂 http://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/calculator
mary colley says
Hi Natalie! Thanks for reply. I have to count carbs to manage type 1 diabetes. The recipe looks delicious.
Ah gotcha! Hopefully that website can help and the recipe works for you🙂
Hi!!! I’ve been looking for a healthy banana bread recipe and this one looks so good!!! but i was wondering, can I substitute the flax meal for something else? I can’t find flaxmeal where I am from.
Sure–tapioca, cornstarch, or arrowroot starch will all work instead of the flax. Hopefully you can find one of those 🙂 Hope you enjoy!
Thanks I found cornstarch! Are the measurements the same? 1/4 cup?
Sue Murray says
This worked out pretty well for me. I could have cooked it longer as it was a little but mushy in the middle, but that isn’t a problem with the recipe, just my oven. I may try it as muffins next time. So happy to have a grain free, and egg free recipe!!
That can definitely happen with loaf breads, quite easily actually with the small variations in oven temp and pan size/depth. Longer and at a lower temp can help, or just longer in general. Or muffins would certainly solve the problem next time too! But I am glad you tried it, thanks for the feedback Sue 🙂
Lets say I want to sub pumpkin for banana- how many cups of pumpkin puree should I use? and any tips for stevia or should I leave it to the sweetener you use? Thanks in advance!!
It would be about 1-1.25 cups pumpkin puree. Because bananas are so naturally sweet there is no sweetener used in the recipe, but with pumpkin if you don’t sweeten it at all it won’t taste very good. You could try stevia, although I don’t ever bake with stevia so you’ll have to experiment yourself with that one. Or you could try this pumpkin muffin recipe instead that is date-sweetened: https://www.feastingonfruit.com/pumpkin-spice-cupcakes/
I was wondering… What if I use coconut flour?
Coconut flour will not work for this one unfortunately, it’s quite tricky to use in baked goods that don’t involve eggs. Sorry!
Hi! Would I be able to substitute the flax meal for eggs? Can’t wait to try this!
Eggs will likely work here but as I haven’t tested it it’s hard for me to say for sure. If you want to experiment my best suggestion would be 3 eggs in place of the flax meal and take out the non-dairy milk since eggs will add a lot more moisture on their own. Best of luck!
Nibbling on a piece that came out of the oven about 15 minutes ago. This is the best vegan recipe I have ever eaten. Have you worked out the nutritional info on it?
Wanda, I am thrilled to hear it turned out so well! Wow that is high praise, but this is one of my favorites too and I make it all the time (usually in mini muffin form for super easy snacking :)) If you go with 6 servings (that’s quite a thick slice) it’s 363cal/30carbs/25fat/13protein/14sugar. Hope that helps!
It does! Thanks so much. This makes an awesome breakfast food as it fills me up and keeps the munchies away until lunch time. Keep on cooking!
Can you substitute almond flour for coconut flour?
Coconut flour will not work here unfortunately, it’s way too dry and crumbly. Coconut flour can rarely work by itself in recipes that don’t use egg. Sorry!
Hiya Natalie! My nut butter (it’s one of those chunky all natural no added oil types) is really thick. Would it change the texture of the baked banana bread if I warm it to a softer consistency when I mix it with the nondairy milk? Just want to make sure I won’t have any oopsies on my hands especially because almond flour where I live is soooooo costly.
Hmm that should be fine, although you can always stir in a bit of extra oil to get it to a thinner smoother nut butter consistency. Haven’t tested it with a thick natural nut butter like that, but that would be my best advice. Happy baking!
Erin @ Texanerin Baking says
So I think I’ll be baking my way through your oat flour recipes the next few weeks. 😀 I found 3 black bananas in the fridge this morning and made the oat flour version of this in muffin form for my son. Like you said, it’s kind of gummy but he didn’t mind. They’re SO much better than the other banana-sweetened oat flour muffins I’ve tried. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
I am so happy he liked them Erin! So is it oat flour + fruit-sweetened recipes you are after primarily? No nuts? I’d be happy to point you to my faves 🙂
Erin @ Texanerin Baking says
It is! Unfortunately no nuts for us. And that’d be much appreciated. 🙂 Thanks!