Banana Bread Without Sugar Recipe

Banana bread without sugar recipe from

Recently, my sister-in-law asked if I had a recipe for banana bread without sugar. I didn’t, but since I’m the kind of person who loves a good cooking challenge, I decided to give it a try — make that several tries — until I came up with a winner.

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Shortly after my husband’s cancer diagnosis, I began doing research into dietary and lifestyle changes we could make that would complement his medical treatments. Dr. Patrick Quillin’s book, Beating Cancer with Nutrition (with CD) is one I turn to time and again. (Others include The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and Anticancer: A New Way of Life.)

My husband and his sisters have a history of cancer on both sides of their family tree. I’m adopted, so I don’t know my inherited medical stuff. As a result, we’re all trying to be proactive with nutrition changes to counteract whatever hand genetics dealt us. That’s why coming up with recipes that don’t use refined white sugar or white flour is important to me. It’s also why I place such an emphasis on natural, homemade cleaners and replacing processed food with homemade mixes.

But I don’t want to spend my life eating food that tastes like cardboard, either. So, last week I bought three dozen bananas and set out to create a recipe for banana bread without sugar that we’d all enjoy. Now that I’ve done it, if I don’t see another banana before the end of the year, I’d be fine with that.

Replacing Sugar In Banana Bread

I tried a number of things to replace the sugar in my normal banana bread recipe. Both honey and agave are on the no-no list according to Dr. Quillan, so I tried batches with straight stevia (awful!) and 100% maple syrup (which changed the flavor too much). What I needed was something unrefined yet sweet.

TIP: Don’t worry if your bananas aren’t ripe yet. Just wash and dry each one, then put them on a cookie sheet and pop it into a 300F/149C oven for an hour. The skins will turn black as the heat converts the fruit’s starches to sugar, which is exactly what happens in the ripening process.

Then I remembered having breakfast at a vegan-friend’s home one morning. She served toast with raisin puree in place of butter, and it was delicious. Incredibly sweet, but delicious. How would that work in bread? Turns out: brilliantly! By that point, my bananas were almost too ripe so I needed to come up with a good recipe. Fast.

How convenient that together those things — raisin puree and incredibly ripe bananas — produced the sweet, moist taste I was looking for! Even better: the raisins didn’t compete with the banana flavor.

Banana Bread Without Sugar Recipe

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Banana Bread Without Sugar
Prep time
Cook time
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100% Whole Wheat Banana Bread Without Sugar: true comfort food, without the guilt!
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: American
Serves about: 1 loaf
  • 1 oz. raisins
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 5 very ripe, large bananas
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (or 1 whole wheat and 1 all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon stevia (optional)
  1. Soak raisins in the warm water until they're swollen, preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Grease a 9x5" loaf pan.
  4. Drain raisins and put in food processor or blender.
  5. Add the bananas to the raisins and process until pureed.
  6. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  7. In bowl of stand mixer or large bowl, beat butter and eggs until fluffy.
  8. Add vanilla to mixer bowl and continue beating.
  9. Add banana/raisin mixture and continue mixing until well-combined.
  10. Taste, and add stevia if desired.
  11. Stir in dry ingredients until just mixed. Do NOT over-mix. (Batter will be very thick.)
  12. Scoop batter into loaf pan and smooth top.
  13. Bake in preheated oven 60-75 minutes, or until toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
  14. Remove loaf from oven, let cool 10 minutes, then tip loaf out to continue cooling on wire rack.


You’d think that people who’d tried four unsuccessful banana bread recipes in the past two days wouldn’t have been all that interested in eating more, but you’d be wrong. As soon as this loaf was cool enough to eat, we could see how incredibly moist it was even without slathering on the butter. After the first nibble, my husband and I broke into wide grins… which we quickly shoved full of more banana bread.

This one’s a winner. Enjoy!

Equipment I Used Making This:


  1. Gayla Mitchell says

    My Mother has cancer also and trying to find ways to cut white flour and sugar out of my banana bread, I found that the riper the sweeter the bananas are so I let them get real ripe almost black and I put them (peeled) in the microwave for 5-7 minutes. Then I run them through a sieve and boil the juice down until it is clear but real thick.(That way it has concentrated the sugar instead of evaporating while cooking). It helps sweeten the bread as well as giving the bread an extract banana flavor. This might help you as my Mom doesn’t feel like eating, but will not turn banana bread down.

    • Gayla Mitchell says

      PS Your recipes have helped us a lot. Thank you for your time in keeping this web-site and God Bless you.

    • Katie Berry says

      Thank you so much for those tips, Gayla! My husband won’t turn down banana bread, either. (He even ate two of my four earlier attempts which I thought weren’t fit for human consumption.) God bless you and your Mom. We’ll keep you both in our prayers!

  2. Alex says

    Thanks – I’m excited to try this bread, it’s in the oven now! I’m trying to cut down on sugar, and am on my second week of no sugar, cold turkey. But mama wants some banana bread! I wanted to let you know about a small typo on step number 7, which, because i didn’t fully read the recipe before starting I made a minor misstep (my fault!). You write to put the butter AND EGGS in the mixer. Funny thing, I paused and had several conflicting thoughts at that step, but justified following it to the letter because you normally do butter/sugar first then eggs (but I didn’t read the very next step, duh). Anyhow, that part didn’t work out too well, but I’ll expect it’ll taste just fine. If you remove ‘and eggs’ from step 7, ridiculous people like myself *might* not make this misstep! 😉

    Thanks again!

    • Katie Berry says

      Ah, thank you for pointing that out, Alex — it’s fixed now! Good for you, going without sugar. It’s difficult to do cold turkey, but you’ve about turned the corner now that you’re going on week 2. I think it was close to that before we really started noticing changes. Of course, we ignored it over the holidays and now are weaning ourselves again. Oh, the horror!

  3. Paddycake says

    Your recipe is sweet and delicious. I used olive oil instead of butter, whole wheat flour only, and omitted the salt and the stevia. I added the eggs, vanilla and olive oil to the bananas in the blender. Without fluid the bananas would not puree. Best wishes to you and your family.

  4. Jeannette says

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work in refining this recipe. I always feel so inept trying to make substitutions. I am eating my first piece right now and it is even a hit with my kids. I am transitioning into a life without refined sugar and this was a real gift. Thank you and God bless you.

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