There’s nothing quite as comforting as a warm slice of vegan banana bread. It evokes childhood memories I didn’t even know I had. And this vegan banana bread is guaranteed to create new happy memories for you. It’s the epitome of a low-effort, high-reward recipe and a community favorite for good reason.
This post will teach you how to make the best vegan banana bread. It’s fluffier, more tender, and less dense than any other banana bread you’ve tried.
Table of Contents:
1. Why you’ll love this recipe
2. Ingredients for a tender and moist banana bread
3. Tips for making the best banana bread
4. How to make this banana bread (photos and video)
5. Frequently Asked Questions
Why you’ll love this recipe
Less than 10 ingredients + budget-friendly. Very simple and no fancy ingredients required.
Easy to make. This requires only 20 minutes of prep time and 50 minutes in the oven. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool.
Light, moist, tender. Oftentimes, vegan banana breads are too dense and heavy. Banana bread should be a little dense, but you don’t want it to be heavy. This is the most tender and moist banana bread I’ve ever tasted. Vegan or not.
Simple, forgiving, and foolproof. The ingredients and method are simple, and even baking beginners can nail this recipe. One reader misread the ingredients and used 1/3 of the sugar called for and said it was still delicious (and made it twice in a week), so this is definitely a forgiving recipe.
Pure comfort food. Despite being vegan, nut-free, and soy-free and made with some better-for-you ingredients, this banana bread is pure indulgence.
Note: This vegan banana bread is not gluten-free, but if you’re looking for one, try this gluten-free kabocha squash banana bread (you can sub kabocha with pumpkin puree). And if you’re a sucker for an Instant Pot recipe, try this instant pot banana bread recipe, which is from my cookbook, the Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook.
Ingredients for a tender and moist banana bread
Since banana bread, especially vegan banana bread can be dense and heavy, I decided I wanted to incorporate aquafaba, aka canned chickpea water, as the egg substitute.
And my hunch paid off because this banana bread is the most tender, moist, and light-textured banana bread I’ve tasted (and according to many of my readers, it’s the same for them!). Imagine a banana bread that melts in your mouth. This is it. Thank you, aquafaba!
Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar
I have made this recipe with both brown sugar and coconut sugar, and both work great. Brown sugar, in particular, has molasses in it, which baked goods moist and more flavorful than white sugar.
If choosing between light and dark brown sugar, dark brown sugar has a deeper molasses flavor, so the bread will be richer in flavor. Using dark brown sugar or coconut sugar (instead of light brown sugar) will also make the loaf darker in color. For instance, the below photo was made with coconut sugar; the loaf in the step-by-step photos and video was made with light brown sugar.
Vegan “buttermilk” is simply a mixture of plant-based milk with lemon juice or vinegar and works great in baking. Here, the lemon juice brings additional lift to the cake, which makes it more tender and less dense.
Oil, not Butter
Butter is great in cakes, but butter/vegan butter tends to make banana bread a bit drier and crumbly. You can use any oil you’d like in this recipe. I’ve made this sunflower seed oil, regular olive oil, and canola oil. It works with all of them.
Tip: If you use coconut oil, melt it beforehand and bring your plant milk to room temperature. Otherwise, cold causes the oil to turn back into its natural solidified state.
Tips for making the best banana bread
Use overripe bananas
More on this in the “Frequently asked questions” section.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet (not the wet into the dry). According to Cook’s Illustrated, this order promotes better incorporation, a more supple batter, and allows to you to mix things together without overmixing (see below).
When mixing the dry and wet ingredients, switch to a silicone spatula (or wooden spoon) and use a gentle touch. And don’t overmix! Mix until the batter is just combined. It’s okay if there are light traces of unmixed flour remaining.
Overmixing causes the loaf to become dry instead of moist. This is because the more you mix the batter, the more gluten develops, resulting in a chewy, dense texture (great for a ciabatta, not great for a soft banana bread).
Measure your flour!
It is essential to weigh or measure your flour properly. I am a strong proponent of using a digital scale for all baking purposes, as it yields the most exact results.
But if you don’t have a digital scale, please, for the love of all that is good in the world, DO NOT SCOOP YOUR FLOUR STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BAG. This always results in getting too much flour in your measuring cup, and too much flour = dry banana bread.
Instead, use the spoon and level method. Spoon your flour out of the bag/jar into the measuring cup until almost full, then use a butter knife to level it off.
If you think I’m being overly cautious, I have tested this numerous times using a digital scale. Usually, when you scoop 1 cup of flour straight out of the bag/jar, you’re actually scooping closer to 1 1/4 cups in grams. In this recipe, that means, instead of using 2 cups of flour, you’re getting 2 1/2 cups of flour (not an insignificant difference).
Want to see the spoon and level method in action? Watch my Youtube video on banana bread, starting at the 5:20 mark.
Bake the bread as soon as possible
Once you mix the wet and dry ingredients, the baking soda starts producing gas bubbles (reacting with the acidic lemon juice), which start trying to escape. If you let the batter rest, your banana bread will be less fluffy and light.
Use an oven thermometer and start checking at 45 minutes
Every home oven is different, and many are not calibrated, so temperatures can be inaccurate. The minimum bake time for any banana bread is 45 minutes. At my last apartment in NYC, 45-50 minutes was the sweet spot. But now, in my new kitchen, this banana bread takes 55 minutes. The exact bake time also hinges on how moist and ripe your bananas, as the the sugar content affects the bake time.
Allow the banana bread to rest
Lift the banana bread out of pan after 10-15 minutes. This helps prevent a soggy bottom. Then transfer it to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you slice too early into banana bread, you risk cutting into a gooey, underbaked loaf.
How to make this banana bread
In a medium bowl, whip the aquafaba with an electric mixer until foamy. Mash the ripe bananas with a fork. It’s okay if there are some chunks.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the brown sugar and oil. Then add the whipped aquafaba and mix again to incorporate. Add the vegan “buttermilk” and vanilla and mix again.
Fold in the mashed bananas and mix again until the liquid ingredients are well mixed.
Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon to the wet ingredients. Gently stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until just incorporated. The batter should become airy and a bit bubbly.
Transfer the batter to a lined loaf pan. If desired, arrange a sliced banana on top of the batter and sprinkle with brown/coconut sugar.
Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
And here’s a video of how to bake this banana bread:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I substitute the aquafaba?
Aquafaba is one of the secrets to getting this banana bread so tender and moist. BUT, if you really don’t have a can of chickpeas, then substitute with 2 flax eggs (mix 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal with 5 tablespoons water, stir and let sit for 15 minutes to thicken). Several readers have made this recipe with flax eggs and said it was very tender, so rest assured, it’ll still be tasty.
How do I make banana bread gluten-free?
I have only tried this recipe with all-purpose flour. However, last year I made a vegan, gluten-free kabocha squash banana bread with all-purpose gluten-free flour and it was great. I used this variety of gluten-free flour from Bob’s Red Mill. Many readers have used an all-purpose gluten-free flour like this with fairly good results (it’s going to be less fluffy and a bit more dense but overall pretty good).
Many readers have tried this recipe with a variety of other flour combinations if you’re interested in alternative flours, though none of these combinations is gluten-free. Some combinations include: (1) whole wheat pastry flour; (2) a mix of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and oat flour; (3) whole grain spelt flour; and (4) a mix of whole wheat flour (1 1/2 cups) and almond flour (1/2 cup).
How ripe do my bananas need to be?
Overripe. The peel should be in the range of very spotty to black. Overripe bananas are key because (1) they’re very sweet, as the starches have converted to sugar; (2) they’re easier to mash and incorporate into the batter; and (3) they have deeper banana flavor, which means your banana bread will be more flavorful.
Below is an example of about the minimum ripeness you’re looking for.
How can I quickly ripen bananas?
The best banana bread is made with naturally ripened bananas. However, if you must make banana bread today and your bananas are not yet overripe, here’s what to do:
- Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C. Place whole, unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet (line it with parchment paper for easy cleanup).
- Bake the bananas for 15-35 minutes, or until the skins turn black all over. The time range depends on how ripe the bananas already are. If already somewhat ripe, stick to the lower range. If not ripe at all, bake them for the longer time range.
- Strain them over a strainer to get rid of excess moisture, as baked bananas will have more moisture than naturally ripened bananas.
How can I tell when banana bread is done?
Insert a toothpick into the center and tops of the cake. Don’t just insert a toothpick vertically down into the bread. Instead, insert it at an angle – that’s a much better test for doneness. There should be a few moist crumbs attached to the toothpick. If there’s runny batter, the bread needs more time.
Can I make this without a loaf pan? Can I turn this banana bread into muffins?
- You can use an 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) square baking pan. Reduce the bake time to approximately 25 minutes.
- To make muffins, use a standard 12-muffin tin and fill each tin about 3/4 full. At 350°F/176°C, reduce the bake time to 20-25 minutes (check at 20 minutes). Or at 375°F/190°C, reduce the bake time to 15-22 minutes (check at 13 to 15 minute range).
Can I add chocolate chips or other mix-ins?
Sure! You can add vegan chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate. Or chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. Or even blueberries. Add between 1/2 to 1 cup total of mix-ins, depending on the vibe you’re going for. If using chocolate chips, consider reducing the sugar by a few tablespoons.
How to store banana bread?
Allow the banana bread to cool completely before wrapping it in plastic or placing it in a sealed container. Store at room temperature for 2-4 days. If you use a very ripe banana for the optional 4th banana as decoration, it can get pretty black after a day so you might want to refrigerate it.
If you want to extend the shelf life, omit that optional banana on top. But, to be perfectly honest, this banana bread never lasts more than 24 hours in my household of 2, so that might not be a problem. You can also extend the shelf life by storing in the fridge.
Can you freeze this banana bread?
Yes, but I would omit the decorative fourth banana on top, as it will get really black and mushy in the freezer. Wrap cut slices or half a loaf tightly in foil (to prevent freezer burn), transfer to a reusable ziptop bag or an airtight container. Thaw on the countertop.
Where can I find even more quick bread recipes?
If you give this Easy Vegan Banana Bread recipe a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram with your recreations and please comment with your feedback below!
- 6 tablespoons (90 mL) aquafaba*
- 3 medium very ripe bananas, plus 1 ripe banana for decoration (this last one is optional)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 mL) oat milk, or unsweetened plant-based milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) sunflower oil, olive oil, or any neutral-tasting oil
- 3/4 cup (115g) coconut sugar or organic brown sugar, loosely packed***
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (see tips above, as well as substitutes section)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Line a 9×5-inch (23×13 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the long sides to form a sling.
- Pour the aquafaba into a medium bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, whip the aquafaba on medium speed for 45-60 seconds until uniformly foamy.
- Wipe out the bowl used for the aquafaba. Add the three bananas to the bowl and mash with a fork until smooth and no lumps remain (or, for a more rustic banana bread, leave a few chunks in). FYI: the 3 mashed bananas should weigh around 300g.
- Stir the lemon juice into the oat milk and set aside. This is the vegan "buttermilk."
- In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and oil. Mix using the electric mixer or a whisk until well combined.
- Add the whipped aquafaba and mix until well incorporated. Add in the vegan "buttermilk" and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the mashed bananas and mix until well incorporated.
- Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon to the wet ingredients. Switch to using a silicone spatula (if you don’t have one, use a large wooden spoon). Gently stir until the ingredients are just barely combined. It’s okay if you can see a few traces of flour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top of the batter using a spatula or spoon.
- For the optional decoration, keep the peel on the reserved banana and slice it in half, lengthwise; then peel the banana. Sprinkle a little coconut sugar or brown sugar on the cut/interior sides of the banana. Gently arrange the bananas on top the batter, sugared side side up.NOTE: This might create a dome in the middle of the bananas, where the batter bunches up in the middle. Use a spoon to move some of the batter around the pan so that the bread doesn’t bake unevenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center top (insert the toothpick at a slight angle) comes out mostly clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan and cool on the rack for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing (the bread is still cooking and setting up, so don't slice too early).
- To store, place completely cooled banana bread in an airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic and leave on the counter for 2-4 days. If you don't include the decorative banana on top, it will last longer. You can also freeze the banana bread. If you freeze the whole loaf, allow it to defrost on the countertop for 2-3 hours. If you freeze individual slices, defrost on the countertop for 20-30 minutes.