This delicious, super moist, perfectly sweetened banana walnut bread is a game changer! A reduced-guilt banana bread recipe made with olive oil and naturally sweetened with honey and chunks of Medjool dates, which infuse the banana bread with rich flavor and a beautiful velvety texture. You won't miss the butter or refined sugar, I promise! Make an extra loaf or two to freeze for later use. Be sure to watch the video and grab my tips.
I make a mean baklava--award-winning, if I say so myself. But, when it comes to cake (like my Italian apple and my orange cardamom olive oil cakes), I am all for easy options that require one bowl to mix and one pan to bake. That's why, banana bread is one of my favorite goodies to make.
Three super ripe, brown-skinned bananas are not much to celebrate. But turn them into a moist, perfectly sweetened banana bread with walnuts, and the story completely changes.
Healthier Banana Walnut Bread
Bonus, this banana walnut bread recipe is a healthier option. Skip the heavy butter. Skip refined sugar. And try this olive oil banana bread that is naturally sweetened with honey and dates (nature's candy!) And if you're looking for warm cozy flavors, you'll love the hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cardamom in here.
This banana bread is moist, tender, and satisfying...without all the guilt!
If you're wondering why I added dates instead of, say, chocolate chips. Besides their velvety texture and rich flavor, dates are an instant energy booster, filled with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Just sayin, sneak some dates into your banana walnut bread, and you've got yourself a great post-work out breakfast!
This recipe is a snitch to make (watch the video below to see how me and my little one make it!) But a few tips make all the difference in achieving perfectly moist banana bread.
Important Tips for Moist Banana Bread:
If you're wondering, "how can I make banana bread more moist?" You'll want to check out these simple tips...
1. Use Extra Ripe Bananas.
Those ugly bananas with nearly black skins are what you're looking to use in this banana walnut bread recipe. And smash them up real well.
2. Skip the butter and use Extra Virgin Olive Oil Instead.
No need to use butter, really, save that for birthday cake. A better-for-you fat, and the secret to moist cake is extra virgin olive oil. Even die-hard butter fans agree that extra virgin olive oil makes exceptionally good cakes. Here, olive oil emulsifies the ingredients, which translates into super moist banana walnut bread.
As an added bonus, good extra virgin olive oil, like this one I used, will add a wonderful, rich and nuanced flavor to your cake without calling too much attention to itself.
3. Gently Fold Dry and Wet ingredients together.
Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to mix everything together gently for a tender crumb.
4. Begin Checking Your Banana Bread at 50 Minutes of Baking.
Even though it may take longer, I like to begin check my banana bread at 50 minutes or so of baking. Ovens do vary quite a bit, so it is always good to check to avoid dry banana bread. Use a tooth pick to check a few places, and when just a couple moist crumbs come up, remove the banana bread from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
5. Wrap Banana Bread Tightly To Store Overnight.
If you make this in the evening to have for breakfast the next day, be sure to wrap the banana bread in something like plastic wrap (even if it's still just a touch warm) to keep it from drying out. I also like to save it in a tight-lid container.
Step-by-step for this Banana Walnut Bead Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and honey. Now add the eggs and whisk again to combine. Now add the bananas yogurt, milk, baking soda, vanilla extract, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk again.
- Using a spatula, stir in the flour; then add the dates and walnuts and stir the batter again until everything is well combined.
- Lightly oil a non-stick a 9 x 5 loaf pan like this one (affiliate link.) Pour the batter into the loaf pan and shake very gently so it evens out.
- Bake. After 50 minutes or so, test by inserting a toothpick in a few places. If only a couple moist crumbs cling to it, remove it from the oven. If it needs a little more time, give it 5 more minutes or so.
7. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to cool on a wire rack for another 20 minutes or so. Slice and enjoy!
How Long will Banana Bread Keep?
Properly-stored, fresh banana bread will keep for 1 to 2 days at room temperature or up to 1 week in the fridge. I like to be sure and 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.
Watch the video for How To Make This Easy Banana Bread
More Desserts to Try
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Banana Walnut Bread with Olive Oil
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
Delicious, super moist Banana Walnut Bread made with olive oil and naturally sweetened with honey and dates! Be sure to read through the tips and watch the video tutorial just above this recipe.
- ⅓ cup Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup quality honey, organic if possible
- 2 eggs
- 3 extra ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 tbsp fat free plain yogurt
- ¼ cup fat free or low-fat milk
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom (if you're not sure you'll like it, start with the smaller amount)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (wheat flour if you prefer)
- 6 dates, pitted and chopped (about ½ cup chopped dates)
- ⅓ cup chopped walnut hearts
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and honey. Now add the eggs and whisk again to combine.
- Now add the bananas yogurt, milk, baking soda, vanilla extract, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk again.
- Using a spatula, stir in the flour; then add the dates and walnuts and stir the batter again until everything is well combined.
- Lightly oil a non-stick a 9 x 5 loaf pan like this one. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and shake very gently so it evens out.
- Bake in the 325 degrees F heated-oven. After 50 minutes or so, test by inserting a toothpick in a few places. If only a couple moist crumbs cling to it, remove it from the oven. If it needs a little more time, give it 5 more minutes or so.
- Remove from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to cool on a wire rack for another 20 minutes or so. Slice and enjoy!
- Pro Tip: use the best extra virgin olive oil you can or you may risk a rancid-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. I like to be sure and 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 online shop for quality olive oils, all-natural and organic spices and more.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 55 mins
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Banana Walnut Bread Recipe, Healthy Banana Bread Recipe, Olive Oil Banana Bread
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!
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.
Thank you so much for sharing your variation, Penny. Sounds like a winner!
Amazing, everyone loves it!
Yay! So glad!!
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.
Glad you enjoyed it, Pam!
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 ...do the dates stay whole or melt away to disburse the sweetness in place of sugar? Also, is the Olive oil healthier than butter?
Great, Monica! The dates are pitted and chopped, which allows them to melt a bit adding natural sweetness to this banana bread.
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!
Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks for sharing! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
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.
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.
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 🙁
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 🙂
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.
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.
ok, I did It for 25 mins and they turned out GREAT!!!
Awesome!! Thank you for sharing!
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 !!
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.
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.
Thanks for sharing, Terry! Glad you enjoyed it!
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 !!
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.
I've made this two times now, it is great! I like that it is not too sweet, and all healthy ingredients.
So glad, Kay! Thank you!
The best banana bread I've made in ages, love it!
Thank you! So glad
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.
Thanks for sharing you variation, Dayna! So glad you enjoyed it!
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.
Thanks for shaking, Nikki! So glad you enjoyed it!
Best banana bread recipe ever!
Thanks so much, Natalie!
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.
Thanks for sharing, Rosemary!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Awesome! So glad you liked it! Thanks for sharing your variations!
it is actually 2 tsp baking powder? make it again today
Ha!! Hope you enjoy the next batch 🙂
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.
Hi, Kathy! It always rises for me :). Hope you enjoy it!