Lower-Fat Banana Bread

I always cringe a little when I hear someone saying “oh, but it’s healthy.” Most adjustments to baked goods really aren’t changing much — ranging from adding more processed laboratory food junk to the mix, or just using a different type of fat (e.g. using coconut milk — it might be better for you, but don’t think you can eat the whole pie), or half your dish is now applesauce. My general opinion is to whether you enjoy the full-fat, full-taste stuff or make all the substitutions you like, just remember to call a spade a spade, and eat in moderation, especially when the recipe contains a lot of the “bad stuff”: refined sugars and white flour. Well, other than “don’t eat processed junk,” which I am pretty adamant about.

So I was undoubtedly skeptical when I saw this recipe for low fat banana bread. I mean, one tablespoon of oil? You’ve got to be kidding me. But 471 positive reviews couldn’t be wrong… And I did have a bunch of bananas, almost black, on my counter…

The difference purported to be in the use of buttermilk, as well as the beating of eggs and sugar beforehand. I don’t keep buttermilk on hand (do you?), but I do keep one of my few processed foods around just for these purposes: buttermilk powder. The ingredient list isn’t bad, it just needs refrigeration after opening, and works well in a pinch.

What can I say about this bread? A total success. I added in some extra cinnamon, and was very pleased. It has a lovely texture and crumb, slightly spongy, low-rising, and will definitely not leave grease-spotted napkins at your table.

I love how it is so much lighter than most other quickbread recipes, and am brainstorming ways to adjust this recipe for other fruits, and will try this using whole wheat and almond flours. This may just become my go-to banana bread recipe. Perfect for slicing up and giving away…

Lower-Fat Banana Bread, via Epicurious/Gourmet
Makes one loaf


  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup smashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (my addition)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 325Β°F.
  • Lightly grease 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2-inch pan; dust with flour.
  • Using electric mixer; beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until thick and light, about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in smashed bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt over mixture; beat until just blended. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  • Bake bread until golden brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Turn bread out onto rack and cool.

5 thoughts on “Lower-Fat Banana Bread

    • I distributed them amongst the PhDs, although to be honest I baked these several months ago and just now got to posting it πŸ™‚ I am definitely taking requests for when I visit you, so let me know what you want me to bake!

  1. Good post, Lin. I agree with you about “healthy” food claims and calling a spade a spade.

    As for buttermilk, my mom uses it all the time! In baking, pancakes and I’m sure a bunch of other stuff. I will have to ask/tell her about this buttermilk powder…

    • Ooh, your mom uses buttermilk regularly? I kind of feel like I _should_, now that I am back down south πŸ™‚

      Yeah, even though I’ve shifted to a lot of “alternative foods,” I still feel strongly about being honest about what we put into our bodies! Hugs πŸ™‚

    • ah yes, and when I do use buttermilk (and don’t have the powdered stuff on hand) i usually do the quick substitution of milk + a few spoonfuls of vinegar. that hasn’t failed yet, but I do think fresh buttermilk would likely lead to tastier food!

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