Banana Bread Without Sugar Added

Healthy Banana Bread Without Sugar: It’s Amazing!

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My sister-in-law once asked if I had a recipe for healthy banana bread without refined 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.

Why Banana Bread with No Sugar?

Shortly after my husband’s cancer diagnosis, we started cutting out sugar for a variety of reasons. Like many families in that situation, we wanted to be proactive about our health.

But I don’t want to spend my life eating food that tastes like cardboard, either. So, I bought three dozen bananas and set out to create a recipe for a refined sugar free banana bread.

The Sugar Swap that Works

I tried many things to replace sugar in banana bread. I tried making banana bread with stevia in a 1:1 swap for sugar but found it bitter. On the other hand, using maple syrup changed the flavor too much. What I needed was something unrefined yet sweet.

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!

Healthy Banana Bread Without Sugar Recipe

You’d think that people who’d tried four unsuccessful banana bread recipes in two days wouldn’t have been all that interested in eating more, but you’d be wrong.

Pro Tip

Need to ripen bananas quickly? Pop them into a 300°F/149°C oven for an hour. The skins will turn black as the heat converts the fruit’s starches to sugar—the same that happens when they naturally ripen.

As soon as this loaf was cool enough to eat, we could see and smell that I’d succeeded in my task. After the first nibble, my husband and I broke into broad grins… which we quickly shoved full of more banana bread.

This one’s a winner. Enjoy!

Banana Bread Without Sugar Added

Banana Bread Without Sugar

This Banana Bread Without Sugar recipe creates the sweet, moist banana bread you love without the refined white sugar you're trying to avoid.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 296kcal
Author: Katie Berry
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana bread without added sugar, lower-carb banana bread, no sugar added, no white sugar

Ingredients 

  • 1 oz. raisins or sultanas
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 5 large bananas very ripe (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour or 1 cup (120g) whole wheat and 1 cup (120g) all-purpose
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp stevia optional

Instructions

Soak the raisins

  • Soak the raisins in the warm water until they swell. (At least 10 minutes or up to overnight.)

Make the bread

  • Preheat the oven to 350F / 180 C / gas mark 4. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.
  • Drain the raisins and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the bananas and blend until they’re pureed.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. These are your dry ingredients.
  • In the bowl of stand mixer or large bowl, beat butter and eggs well. Add vanilla to the mixer bowl and continue beating. Add banana/raisin mixture and continue mixing until well-combined. Taste, and add stevia if desired. These are your wet ingredients.
  • Stir the dry ingredients by hand into the wet ingredients. Do NOT over-mix. (Batter will be very thick.) Scoop batter into loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake in preheated oven 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Remove loaf from oven, let cool 10 minutes, then tip the loaf out to continue cooling on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with or without butter.

Notes

Each loaf makes 8 slices. Nutrition facts are estimates based on 1 slice. I am not a nutritionist and this information is only provided as a courtesy. If you have a specific health concern, you should consult your physician or registered dietician before consuming this food.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 350mg | Potassium: 417mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 450IU | Vitamin C: 6.6mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1.6mg
Did you try this?Let me know how it was!

Now try my high protein, three ingredient homemade cottage cheese recipe!

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58 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Katie, have you heard about Spelt Flour or Khorasan? You may like to try them as they are much healthier than Modern Wheat Flours. Both the Spelt and Khorasan also taste nicer than Wheat Flour. They are Ancient Whole Grains that can be a Nutritious addition to our diet. And the Gluten content is healthier. Whole grain Spelt flour is alkaline once digested, whereas Wheat is acidic in nature. This grain is also more water-soluble than Wheat and has a more delicate gluten structure, making it easier to digest. It also has a Low Glycemic Index, and is unlikely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which is also beneficial to our health. Wheat flour has a mild sweetness and nutty flavor, whereas Spelt flour has a pleasant sweetness and nutty flavor. Khorasan tastes yummy, and also has a very Nutritious profile. Some people who can’t handle Wheat can tolerate Spelt and Khorasan. Celiacs should avoid. I thought you might be interested. (independent researcher)

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Janet,
      I’ve tried spelt and einkorn, another ancient grain, in the past, but haven’t heard of khorasan. The texture is different and, although I love the taste, my family wasn’t as fond.

  2. Phyllis West says:

    Followed recipe to a T and this is the driest bread ever.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience with it.

  3. 5 stars
    Amazing texture and taste! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Megan!

  4. Please could you tell me the size of your cup. My cup says 240ml.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      To convert the measurements from US to metric, click on the “metric” option below the ingredients.

  5. Great recipe, Thsnk-You Katie. I love the taste, very satisfying without the sugar. I read the comments and used apple sauce instead of butter.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Var. Applesauce really does work well in place of butter in baked goods, doesn’t it?

  6. 5 stars
    Wow.
    I just put it in the oven. So my five star rating is for the batter at the very least. I can only imagine how delicious it will be when it comes out of the oven.
    I only had white flour on hand, my kids and I are doing no refined sugar for the month of January. I found your recipe, and though I didn’t have any raisins, I used some very ripe/sweet grapes I had on hand. I found a recipe for roasted grapes, which in essence makes a raisin purée and a sweetened syrup (which I didn’t need to use). It’s similar to reconstituting raisins like your recipe calls for. (So i omitted the hot water/raisin step..and used the pulp from the grapes). I blended them along with the bananas. The batter tastes amazing. As good or better than typical banana bread batter. Delicious! I don’t typically like things overly sweet, so this is an exciting alternative to using refined sugar in baking.
    I realize nutritionally, white flour is bad and turns to sugar in your body, or something like that.. so I’ll try to use whole wheat flour next time. Also roasting grapes creates a sugary alternative to refined sugar. But it still feels great to use a more natural process.. Thank you for the amazing recipe. I added some walnuts because they are yummy 🙂
    Blessings to all you bakers out there!

  7. 5 stars
    Wow!! Excited! At last you answer my prayer for baking without sugar. The alternative is a welcome. I have baked sweet potato pudding with the same alternative, raisins, and it was a winner. GOD BLESS!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Barbara,
      Sweet potato pudding sounds delicious!

  8. 5 stars
    This is such a great idea. I have used gluten free flour and it comes out just fine. I also have tried added 4 tsp baking powder and putting it in a muffin tin instead. It cooked really fast and they look like muffins but taste like banana loaf. I am planning on freezing them for future breakfast treats and serving them with butter.

    thanks so much!!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Paula!
      I’m so glad you liked it. Good to know it works with gluten-free flour, too. Which flour did you use? I’d like to give it a try and maybe let people know about the GF option. Thanks so much!

  9. I’m happy to give this recipe a try. I wondered if you had tried using dates in lieu of the raisins as one of your experiments. They seem to be a likely substitute. I also wanted to thank you for posting your ingredients with gram measurements. Cheers!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Suzanne,
      I haven’t tried dates but I bet they’d work brilliantly! And you’re quite welcome for the metric measurements. I hope you enjoyed the recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    Thank you! I wanted to say thank you for this great recipe. My son loves banana bread but was eating way too much sugar and not eating enough slow burning carbs and experiencing overnight hypoglycemia. He loves this bread and couldn’t even tell the difference or liked it better I’m not sure. I have baked the bread three times now and substituted some of the banana for pumpkin. He eats it everyday. I really appreciate your work in creating this recipe and sharing it with us.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad your son enjoys this!

  11. Hi Katie, I’m very excited to try this recipe! I’m no baking expert – do you think this could work with, say, walnuts or whole raisins or dried cranberries mixed in?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Oh, that sounds delicious, Willem! It should work fine with them mixed in, but don’t swap dried cranberries for the raisins in the sweetening puree. Let me know how it turns out and how much you used.

  12. 5 stars
    This one is a keeper.. I replaced half of flour with mixed millet flour and added cinnamon too

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Your changes sound delicious!

  13. 5 stars
    yum! i substituted coconut oil for butter and this recipe still tasted great despite no added sugar. thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! I’ll have to try it with coconut oil soon. Love that stuff. 🙂

  14. Anne Spence says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe .. We love it .. I have made it at least 7 times… I have never had to add any sweetener it is great without .. To change it up a bit I will add blueberries and or strawberries, respberries in place of 2 bananas and it works every time …

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you like it, Anne! Adding raspberries sounds absolutely delicious. I’ll give that a try, too. Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  15. Jan MacQuarrie says:

    5 stars
    I have a sugar allergy , it goes straight to my brain and is alarming.
    However for 15 years now I have had to live with out even milk . starched foods except some veg for 15 years
    not exciting especially when I travel but necessary. if I am to enjoy life
    What I have learned is that so many things turn to sugar forms ,even milk so our own assessment etc is up to each of us.
    in the end sugar is a real addiction in any form and yes our body needs some for energy and processing other things but we take in too much
    I am now 80 and still fine and long for some good fruit . that is all
    So bets of luck on your searches and knowledge gathering

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you, Jan. I cannot imagine the difficulties you must face with a sugar allergy! Best of luck and health to you.

  16. Keri Grogan says:

    5 stars
    I absolutely love this recipe!! The only things I change are I use gluten free oat flour, raw butter and I use 4 oz of homemade date paste instead of puréed raisins…my favorite treat! And now that I am pregnant, it satisfies my sweet tooth so I can stay on a healthier diet..,

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Keri! Your date paste sounds delicious. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. 🙂

    2. Keri how did you make your date puree, I have my own fig bush so I want t
      o try it ? Thankyou

  17. Mae Huber says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I tried it because I realized that I was out of sugar and everyone loved the banana bread! I will be substituting from now on since my blood sugar level is extremely high! I especially loved your recipe since I love organic or golden raisins!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Mae!

  18. 4 stars
    Do you think this would work with dried cranberries in place of raisins?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I really don’t know but I don’t think they would. They’re not as sweet as raisins. If you give it a try, let me know how it turned out with the dried cranberries, please?

  19. Hi! I was wondering if you would have any ideas for using coconut flour in replacement of the flour used in your recipe, I’m new to the ingredient and I’m trying to incorporate it as it’s not refined. Thanks in advance ?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m sorry, but I haven’t tried it with coconut flour. To be honest, I haven’t had a lot of luck baking breads with that since it absorbs so much liquid.

  20. 5 stars
    My husband and I have gone mostly sugar-free for the last 6 or so weeks, so I’ve been trying a lot of sugar-free desserts. I just made this tonight. I soaked the raisins for only about 1.5 hours. I used 5 ripe bananas, but they definitely weren’t extremely ripe. They liquified easily in the blender. My loaf pan is kind of long and narrow – I ended up taking it out of the oven after about 53-55 minutes. It turned out of the loaf pan perfectly (I used Pam spray). It is AWESOME. Oh yes, I added a cup of chopped pecans. Thank you so much for developing and sharing this recipe. I will definitely make it again!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Mary! Thank you for the tip about shortening the soaking time. I’ll give that a try when I next make it — planning my baking ahead is not my strong suit. 🙂

    2. You’re welcome! 🙂

  21. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I only used 4 bananas and it turned out awesome! I know it’s refined sugar free, but do you know how much sugar (from raisins, bananas) per slice is in the loaf?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I really don’t, but you should be able to run the ingredients through a nutritional site to find out. 🙂

  22. Did anyone try to replace the butter with applesauce? This recipe sounds great! Thanks for sharing it

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t tried it, but can’t see why it wouldn’t work!

    2. 5 stars
      I added apple sauce to mine. Used Kerry Gold butter. The flour I have to use (no gluten, wheat or grain) tasted a bit thick without it.

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Kerry Gold butter is delicious stuff!

  23. 5 stars
    This banana bread is delicious, you would never know that it has no sugar and whole wheat flour. My kids and I loved it! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  24. I’m curious, do you prefer it with only whole wheat flour, or the 1/2 and 1/2 way?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I prefer it half and half. It’s lighter, and has a nicer mouth-feel.

  25. Jeannette says:

    5 stars
    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.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Jeannette!

  26. Paddycake says:

    5 stars
    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.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Paddycake! It’s become a family favorite around here.

  27. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

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