This vanilla honey banana bread is made with honey instead of sugar, making it incredibly moist with a tender crumb. The sweetness from the honey and bananas paired with subtle spice from the cinnamon makes it a go-to, slightly healthier banana bread recipe to make for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack.
If you're looking for a way to use up those overripe bananas sitting on your counter, you should try these other delicious banana recipes next- chia seed banana bread, small batch banana muffins, and almond flour banana muffins.
I love a thick, ultra-moist slice of banana bread in the morning with a cup of coffee. This honey banana bread has become my new favorite recipe and, honestly, might be the best banana bread I've ever had!
This quick bread is made with overripe bananas and naturally sweetened with honey instead of sugar, giving it a unique and irresistible flavor. It's super easy to make in one bowl with just a handful of pantry staple ingredients. It's perfect for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or even for dessert.
My favorite part about this recipe is the cinnamon sugar on top. Cinnamon mixed with coarse sugar creates a crunchy coating that perfectly contrasts the super soft texture.
And how do we get that soft, extra moist crumb? By combining brown overripe bananas, honey, oil, and a secret ingredient we'll talk about below. Everything together creates what will probably be your new favorite banana bread recipe!
Here are some notes about the ingredients used. For quantities and the full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Mashed bananas- It's time for those mushy, brown, super ripe bananas to shine! Contrary to popular belief, overripe bananas are actually the best for baking because they have a sweeter flavor and are easy to mash. Your bananas are ready when they're fragrant with lots of brown spots on the skin.
- Eggs- Two large eggs bind all the ingredients together. Make sure they're at room temperature to mix in evenly.
- Oil- Oil is key for making the bread super moist. You can use any kind of neutral oil, like vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado oil, or even olive oil. I don't recommend coconut oil because of the flavor.
- Honey- Choose high quality honey since it's the only ingredient sweetening the bread (besides naturally sweet bananas). I personally like wildflower honey, but I recommend raw honey if you're looking for more health benefits.
- Vanilla extract- 2 teaspoons of vanilla bring out warm, caramel-like flavors. It pairs perfectly with bananas and honey.
- Apple cider vinegar- Remember the secret ingredient I talked about earlier? This is it! Apple cider vinegar helps tenderize the gluten and make banana bread extra soft. And don't worry, you can't taste it at all.
- Flour- All purpose flour is best for a soft yet hearty texture.
- Baking powder and baking soda- These leaveners work together to help banana bread rise. Baking powder reacts with moisture and heat while baking soda reacts with acidic components of the batter to release gases and rise.
- Salt- Some salt enhances the other flavors and keeps the banana bread from being too sweet.
- Cinnamon- A little cinnamon adds a warm, cozy flavor.
- Turbinado sugar- A little turbinado sugar, coconut sugar (a refined sugar free option), or coarse sugar mixed with cinnamon creates a crunchy topping.
- Flour: To make this recipe gluten free, substitute Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour. You can also use whole wheat flour to make the banana bread a little more substantial and dense.
- Apple cider vinegar: White vinegar is the best substitute, but white wine vinegar and unseasoned rice vinegar work too.
Helpful Equipment and Tools
- You'll need a loaf pan to bake the bread in. I recommend a 9x5" or 1 pound loaf pan, but you can use a larger pan if needed or split the batter between a few mini loaf pans.
- For mashing bananas, there are many different methods you can follow. You can use a fork, a potato masher, a pastry cutter, or your stand mixer with the paddle attachment
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make honey banana bread! Before you start, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, line your loaf pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
STEP 1: First, mash your bananas in a large mixing bowl. It's ok if it's a little chunky. Then add the eggs, oil, honey, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar.
STEP 2: Next, whisk all of the wet ingredients together until smooth and well combined.
STEP 3: Fold the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula. Do this just until no dry streaks of flour remain.
STEP 4: Pour the batter into your loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Smooth out the top with a rubber or offset spatula.
STEP 5: In a separate small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar.
STEP 6: Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the banana bread and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with a few sticky crumbs.
Let the honey banana bread cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Allow it to cool completely before slicing and enjoying!
Expert Baking Tips
- Measure your flour correctly. Using a kitchen scale to weigh the flour in grams is best for accuracy and consistent results. If you don't have a scale, fluff up the flour first before gently spooning it into your measuring cup.
- Don't overmix. Once the dry ingredients are added, mix just until everything is combined with no dry pockets of flour. Overmixing can make banana bread tough and dense.
- Keep in mind that honey browns faster than sugar. So, if the top of the loaf starts getting dark before it's done, place a piece of aluminum foil over the top to slow the browning.
Additions and Variations
Here are some ways to mix up your banana bread with honey. Note that I haven't tested this recipe with any substitutions, so please let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
- Nuts: ½ cup of chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds add a crunchy texture to the bread and pair perfectly with honey and bananas.
- Chocolate chips: If you're a fan of chocolate, adding some semi-sweet, dark, or mini chocolate chips to the batter will take your banana bread to the next level.
- Dried fruit: Try adding some chopped dried apricots, cranberries, or raisins for a burst of flavor and chewy texture.
- Spices: In addition to cinnamon, you can experiment with other warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger for extra depth of flavor.
- Seeds: Adding ¼ cup chia, sesame, or poppy seeds to the batter gives the bread a slightly nutty flavor and extra crunch.
- Peanut butter: Swirl peanut butter, Nutella, or Lotus Biscoff spread into the batter for extra flavor.
Storage and Freezing
Banana bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. It'll last a couple days longer in the refrigerator, but be aware that the low humidity environment might dry it out.
After allowing your banana bread to cool, slice and wrap each piece tightly with plastic wrap. Once all the slices are wrapped, place them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to enjoy, simply take a slice out of the freezer, thaw it at room temperature or pop it in the microwave for a quick thaw, and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
To ripen your bananas quickly, place them in a paper or plastic bag overnight to speed up the process. You can also roast them at 300°F/150°C for 15-25 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Honey is sweeter than sugar, so it's not a 1:1 substitute. For banana bread sweetened with sugar, you can make my small batch banana muffins into a loaf! I don't recommend substituting it with maple syrup either.
Because of its thick and wet batter, this banana bread takes a while to bake. Make sure to bake it long enough to ensure that the center is cooked all the way through. Insert a toothpick in the center of the bread to check for doneness occasionally. If there's wet batter on the toothpick, put the bread back in the oven for a few more minutes before checking again. I also recommend using an oven thermometer to ensure your oven has a consistent temperature throughout.
More Breads to Try
Vanilla Honey Banana Bread
- 2 cups mashed bananas 4-5 overripe bananas
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup oil
- ⅔ cup honey
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease an 9x5" inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
- Mash the bananas in a large bowl and then whisk in the eggs, oil, honey, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar until well combined.2 cups mashed bananas, 2 large eggs, ½ cup oil, ⅔ cup honey, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Fold the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into the wet ingredients just until you can't see any dry streaks of flour.2 cups all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan and smooth out the top.
- In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and turbinado sugar.1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the banana bread batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the banana bread cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let it cool completely, slice, and enjoy.
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