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.
This recipe is a community favorite for good reason; it only requires 20 minutes of hands-on work so it’s the epitome of low-effort, high-reward.
This post will teach you how to make the best vegan banana bread. After over 15 rounds of testing, I’m certain it’s fluffier, more tender, and less dense than any other banana bread you’ve tried.
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.
PS: If you don’t have a working oven or just love your Instant Pot, be sure to check out my vegan Instant Pot banana bread in my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook!
Light, moist, tender. This is the most tender and moist banana bread I’ve ever tasted thanks to my secret ingredient, aquafaba. It lends a light, almost fluffy texture resulting in a banana bread that melts in your mouth.
Simple, forgiving, and foolproof. The ingredients and method are simple. Even baking beginners can nail this 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.
How to make this banana bread
Gather your ingredients.
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.
Tips for making the best banana bread
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 your flour using a digital scale, or to measure it properly. If you don’t have a scale, please do not scoop the flour straight out of the bag. This always results in over-measuring, 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. Want to see the spoon and level method in action? Watch my Youtube video on banana bread (also at the end of this post), starting at the 5:20 mark.
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).
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 overripe bananas
More on this in the “Frequently asked questions” section.
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. In my last oven, 45-50 minutes was the sweet spot. In my new oven, 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aquafaba is one of the secrets as to why this banana bread is the most tender, moist, and light banana bread ever! Vegan banana breads are often too dense and heavy, but the aquafaba really helps lighten things up here.
BUT, if you really don’t have a can of chickpeas (aquafaba is just the liquid from a can of chickpeas), then substitute with 2 flax eggs. For 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.
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).
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.
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:
1. 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 for 15-35 minutes, or until the skins turn black all over. If they’re already somewhat ripe, stick to the lower range.
2. Strain bananas over a strainer to get rid of excess moisture, as baked bananas will have more moisture.
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 – a much better test for doneness. There should be a few moist crumbs attached to the toothpick. If there’s runny batter, it needs more time.
You can use an 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) square baking pan. Reduce the bake time to approximately 25 minutes.
To make muffins, fill a standard 12-muffin tin about 3/4 full. Bake at 350°F/176°C and reduce the bake time to 20-25 minutes (check at 20 minutes). Or bake at 375°F/190°C and reduce the bake time to 15-22 minutes (check at 13 to 15 minute range).
Try vegan chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate; chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds; or blueberries. Add between 1/2 to 1 cup total of mix-ins. If using chocolate chips, consider reducing the sugar by a few tablespoons.
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.
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.
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) organic brown sugar or coconut sugar ***
- 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.