This healthy banana walnut bread swaps butter and sugar for flavorful and nutritious extra virgin olive oil and honey. Warming spices and Medjool dates bring a Mediterranean flair, and the oil keeps this not-too-sweet treat fluffy and delicious for days!

Slices of banana walnut bread

This walnut banana bread is a total game-changer: delicious, super moist, and perfectly sweetened. I make a mean baklava if I do say so myself, but when it comes to cakes I am all for easy options that require one bowl and one pan. That's why this healthy banana bread is one of my favorite goodies to make.

Three super-ripe bananas turning brown on your counter are not much to celebrate. But just as a day-old loaf can become pan con tomate, overripe bananas can become a healthy breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up that still feels like a special indulgence. Particularly with freshly brewed coffee or Arabic tea!

Table of Contents
  1. Banana Walnut Bread Ingredients
  2. How to Make Banana Walnut Bread
  3. How to Store Banana Bread
  4. What to Serve with Banana Walnut Bread
  5. More Not-Too-Sweet Treats
  6. Buttery, Smooth Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil–Perfect for Baking!
  7. Banana Walnut Bread Recipe
Ingredients for banana walnut bread

Banana Walnut Bread Ingredients

You likely already have a lot of what you’ll need for this healthy banana bread on hand. Here are the ingredients for banana walnut bread: 

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Replaces the butter which is more traditional. Olive oil has a stronger flavor than butter so it’s essential to use a smooth, high-quality oil with a pleasant flavor. I like our extra smooth Private Reserve Greek or buttery Italian Nocellara.
  • Honey: Sweetens and holds the batter together. Use high quality, full flavored honey–I like our Greek Alfa Honey.
  • Eggs: Hold the batter together. 
  • Bananas: Allow the bananas to ripen on your counter until they turn brown; the delightful sweetness and tender texture of overripe bananas are best for banana bread.
  • Dairy: Fat free plain yogurt and low fat or nonfat milk add richness.
  • Baking soda: Gives the banana bread a nice rise.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds depth. 
  • Spices: Ground cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the major flavor-makers for this recipe. 
  • All purpose flour: You can substitute one for one with gluten free flour if you’d like. 
  • Medjool dates: Add bursts of sweetness and a pleasant gummy texture. They are also high in fiber, and packed with antioxidants and essential nutrients. You can substitute with other dried fruit, like raisins or blueberries, if you’d like. 
  • Walnuts: Unsalted, unroasted walnuts–sometimes labeled “raw”–add crunch and protein.

Whole loaf of banana walnut bread on wire rack
How to Make Banana Walnut Bread

Making healthy banana bread is easy, just be careful not to overmix the batter once you add the flour. This will keep your bread light and fluffy! Here’s how to make banana bread: 

  • Get ready. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a non-stick 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. 
  • Begin combining the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together ⅓ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of honey. Add 2 eggs and whisk again to combine.
  • Season. Mash 3 extra ripe bananas with a fork and add, along with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and ¼ cup of milk. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and vanilla extract, ½ to ¾ teaspoon of ground cardamom (start small if you’re unsure), and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk well to combine.
  • Add the flour, dates, and walnuts. Using a spatula, fold in 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour until just combined. Add 6 chopped dates and ⅓ cup of chopped walnuts and gently stir the batter once more.Mix for banana walnut bread in mixing bowl
  • Bake. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and shake or tap on your counter so it evens out. Bake on the center rack until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Banana walnut bread mix in baking pan
  • Cool. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool for another 20 minutes or so. Slice and enjoy!Loaf of banana walnut bread in baking pan

How to Store Banana Bread

This healthy banana bread will keep very well for up to one week in the refrigerator, and up to 3 months in your freezer. In fact, I often make an extra loaf or two to freeze for later use.

First, allow the bread to cool completely. Then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. From there, here’s how you store banana bread: 

  • On the counter: Set the wrapped bread in an airtight container and enjoy within four days.
  • In the refrigerator: Set the wrapped bread in an airtight container and enjoy within one week.
  • In the freezer: Wrap it with freezer plastic wrap or heavy-duty freezer bags. Enjoy within three months, allowing it to thaw overnight at room temperature.
Olive Oil Banana Walnut Bread with Honey and Dates

What to Serve with Banana Walnut Bread

I love healthy banana bread as a quick breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up. Serve at room temperature. Or, warm banana bread slices in your oven right on the rack at 325°F, in your toaster or toaster oven.

Delicious on its own, this walnut banana bread doesn’t need any embellishment. If you’d like to dress it up a little, try a drizzle of olive oil, some quick berry compote, and/or a scoop of Greek yogurt. If you’re feeling indulgent, spread on some butter, mascarpone, or cream cheese for a special treat, and serve alongside freshly brewed coffee or Arabic tea with fresh mint

More Not-Too-Sweet Treats

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A bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

Buttery, Smooth Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil–Perfect for Baking!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil from hand-picked, cold-extracted Nocellara olives.

5 from 5 votes

Banana Walnut Bread

Suzy Karadsheh
Slices of banana walnut bread
This healthy banana bread swaps refined sugar and butter for flavorful honey and extra virgin olive oil. Plus, it’s even better the next day. Make this easy banana bread for a nutritious breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up.
Prep – 15 minutes
Cook – 55 minutes
Serves – 9 Slices


  • cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 extra ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons low fat plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup low fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom (if you're not sure you'll like it, start with the smaller amount)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour or gluten free flour
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about ½ cup chopped dates)
  • cup chopped walnuts


  • Get ready. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a non-stick 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  • Begin combining the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and honey. Add the eggs and whisk again to combine.
  • Season. Now add the bananas, yogurt, milk, baking soda, vanilla extract, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk again.
  • Add the flour, dates, and walnuts. Using a spatula, fold in the flour until just combined; then add the dates and walnuts and gently stir the batter once more.
  • Bake. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and shake very gently so it evens out. Bake on the center rack until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
  • Cool. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool for another 20 minutes or so. Slice and enjoy!



  • Use the best extra virgin olive oil you can or you may risk a rancid or bitter-tasting loaf. I used our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil here; it adds great depth and keeps the loaf tasty and moist.
  • To store: Properly-stored, fresh banana bread will keep for 1 to 2 days at room temperature or up to 1 week in the fridge. Allow to cool completely, then wrap the banana bread in plastic wrap, then store it in an air-tight container to keep it moist. And because I use olive oil in this banana bread recipe, it is even more rich and moist the next day! I often make an extra loaf or two to freeze for later use. 
  • To freeze: Let your freshly-baked banana bread cool completely, then wrap it with freezer plastic wrap or heavy-duty freezer bags. Properly stored, it will keep well in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.


Calories: 290.1kcalCarbohydrates: 43.2gProtein: 4.6gFat: 12.1gSaturated Fat: 1.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6.6gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 142.8mgPotassium: 197.2mgFiber: 2gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 93.1IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 42.1mgIron: 1.5mg
Tried this recipe?

Note: This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in the fall of 2018 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy! 

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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  1. 5 stars
    I feel so guilty saying I subbed out the dates and walnuts for 1 cup of mini semi sweet chocolate chips but everyone who ate it said it's the best banana bread they've ever had, and one said it was the best thing he'd eaten in 2020 (obviously the bar is pretty low this year for some people who don't cook, but I'll take it). I'm not against the dates, but I personally do not like walnuts, and it turns out the people who ended up eating it also do not like walnuts, so that worked out. One person who tried it said she normally hates chocolate chips in baked goods, but this was her favorite thing I've ever made -- but the texture of everything was influenced by my putting it in the fridge as soon as it had cooled. It was very, very good cold. I may try again with dates and possibly a different type of nut like chopped pecans, but for now, I can say with some confidence that this recipe with one variable (the dates and walnuts volume) is fundamentally successful. It was super easy, and I'm going to have to make a whole second batch less than a week later because there wasn't enough to go around. I poured the batter into 2 9"x5" loaf pans and cut each loaf into 6 1" slices.

    Note: I was originally going to match the volume of the dates and walnuts with the chocolate chips but when I saw the density of the chips in the batter, like, visually, I decided to double it. So the whole texture would probably be influenced by that double volume, and yes, it was pretty chocolatey, but the batter itself was delightful and very easy to get right.

  2. 5 stars
    I accidentally left out the yogurt but since I added 3 eggs it was ok. I also added chocolate chips and subbed ground hazelnuts for the walnuts. I used a combination of organic whole wheat and AP flour. Nice that there isn't any sugar.

  3. My dad loves banana bread and has been asking me to make frequently. This week, Ive made it twice but I am in search of a healthier version because he loves it. My questions are the dates stay whole or melt away to disburse the sweetness in place of sugar? Also, is the Olive oil healthier than butter?

    1. Great, Monica! The dates are pitted and chopped, which allows them to melt a bit adding natural sweetness to this banana bread.

  4. 5 stars
    I baked double the size. I live on the equator so our Bananas are very sweet, our eggs are rich and our honey is to die for. I reduced the bananas to 3, eggs to 2 and honey to 2 tablespoons. I added Greek yoghurt and normal milk, as fat free means low quality milk in our country. Walnuts and dates are imported, expensive and difficult to get so I did not put them. Used a multicooker with automatic settings. Came out great!

  5. 5 stars
    I would love to try our your recipe. Is it ok to use almond flour instead of all purpose or whole wheat? Thanks a bunch.

    1. Hi Rad, I have not tried almond flour in this recipe. if you are looking for a gluten free option, I suggest a 1 to 1 gluten free baking flour.

  6. Hi tried the recipe as it looked very interesting. I did exactly as per the recipe just that I had a slightly smaller tin than yours. Initially I timed it for 40mns then checked, baked again for 10mns checked but it was gooey then baked for another 5mns. When checked inside was still little gooey but the upper crust was looking really brown. Bread tastes awesome but it is vey moist and wet. It’s cooked but wet. Taste wise it is beautiful. Oh ya one more thing I used self raising flour instead of all purpose flour and 2 large eggs. Can you suggest where I went wrong 🙁

    1. Hi there! Thanks for sharing. The change in the kind of flour and pan size does affect the result. But I'm glad you still enjoyed it 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I am soooo excited to try this recipe!!! but I have one question. can you do it in muffin pan? I usually do banana bread that way because I fined it easier to handle.

    1. Sure! I don't see why not. The baking time will likely be different, so just be sure to keep a close eye on them.

  8. Hi Suzy, this is amazingly delicious banana bread. I went with the 3/4 tsp. ground cardamom and you could really taste it - so yummy !! The only problem that I encountered was that although I baked the loaf for 55 minutes and tested it for doneness, it “sunk” after a few minutes, before flipping it out of the pan to cool. What could I have done wrong ? Other than that, the bread was very tasty !!

    1. Thank you for sharing Anastasia. The only thing I can think of is that maybe your banana bread was not fully baked...sometimes you may need a couple extra minutes. But I'll do some more research and let you know if I find something else.

  9. A delicious recipe for a healthier form of banana bread. Thank you! My only suggestion here is less plastic. I store mine in an airtight glass pyrex container with lid. There is honestly no need to also waste plastic wrap or to use heavy duty freezer bags (or plastic bags at all for that matter). I know it’s difficult but we really need to stop buying single use plastic for our house and to get in the mindset of reducing our waste. If corporations won’t change their ways, we must change our habits to force their hand. If we don’t buy it, they won’t make it.

  10. Hi Suzy, could I substitute dried cranberries for the dates as I don’t have any on hand right now. I look forward to making this tomorrow with my overly ripe bananas !!

    1. Hi, Anastasia! You could try the cranberries, but it will change the flavor profile a bit, as cranberries are tart, and dates have more sweetness.

  11. 5 stars
    I've made this two times now, it is great! I like that it is not too sweet, and all healthy ingredients.

  12. 5 stars
    Heavenly banana bread. To reduce the sugar, I substituted 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce for the honey, then reduced the liquid by eliminating the 1/4 cup of milk. Used the full 3/4 tsp ground cardamom.

  13. 5 stars
    This came out perfectly and is so scrummy even though I forgot to add the eggs! I therefore think you could adapt With almond or or coconut yoghurt and make a delicious vegetarian banana, nut and dare loaf. Thank you for this recipe.

  14. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite and go-to recipes, especially when I have bananas that are too ripe to put in my lunch bag for lunch. I don't change any of the ingredients but I bake it in mini-loaf pans at 325 and I start checking on it at 35 minutes. On average, I would say I bake it about 40 minutes in the mini-loaf pan. The recipe makes three mini-loaves - one for me, one to share and one to freeze. Thank you Suzy for another amazing recipe.

  15. actually a question.
    I do not want to use dairy ingredients. I am thinking coconut milk would be good to substitute for milk, but I don't know what to do about not adding yogurt. I love the idea of the dates & the spices you're using, so I'd like to try it.
    Do you have a suggestion for leaving out the yogurt?
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Cheryl, you can try something like almond milk or coconut milk. As far as the yogurt, there are dairy-free yogurt substitutes in stores. Some have used apple sauce. I can not tell you 100% as I have not tried that.

  16. This baby is baking as I type. Smells delicious! First off, thank you for all your amazingly delicious recipes!! I use them all the time. I just had a question on the size of the loaf pan. The size listed is for a mini loaf pan. I don't have that size so I just put it in a regular size loaf pan. There was plenty of batter to fill it up and could see there was no way all that batter could fit in a mini. So I checked out your video and it looks like you used a regular size pan. So is that the correct size in the recipe? Or am I missing something here? Thanks again for all your delicious recipes. Your website is the one I always turn to.

    1. Hi Connie, thank you for your kind note. You are right, this recipe is made in a regular loaf pan not a mini loaf pan.

      1. I do not have date so I added 1 more tbsp of yogurt 1 tbp of sugar to keep it sweet enough and moisturiser. And 2 tbsp of baking powder.It turn out comes sooo good and tasty ?and not too sweet, your recipe is amazing, I just never tried to delete butter in my bread/ cake but still taste super good or even better✨✨✨thanks! My boyfriend and I are enjoying this in Covid -19 at home happily now.

  17. One week in of a 3 week lockdown & can no longer resist the lure of Banana Bread.. Saw a saying the other day " You obviously not in Covid-19 lockdown if you haven't made banana bread!". I have an old faithful recipe & think I must give yours a bash as it sounds so delicious. Just one thing I need to check on. I see there is baking soda (bicarbonate soda) but no baking powder. Is this enough to make it rise? Thanks.