A recipe for Gluten Free Banana Bread that has been declared ‘the BEST banana bread’ by wheat eaters… It’s moist, packed with banana, perfectly balanced and completely delicious. Easy to make dairy free too.
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This recipe was first published on Gluten Free Alchemist on 18th April 2013. Post updated 31st March 2022
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Legendary Gluten Free Banana Bread… It’s BETTER than the ‘original’
Apparently, this recipe for Gluten Free Banana Bread is the BEST… That is according to a whole raft of gluten-eaters. Yes. You read that right! People who normally eat wheat. And by my recollections of what I ate before being gluten free, I’m totally with them.
Adapted from an original recipe by Adriana Rabinovich, this Gluten Free Banana Bread has become a bit of a legend… With an ever-growing fan club. It’s not just that it is one of the most requested recipes for bakes sales and work-sharing either. But because it is SO good as to have fooled and persuaded even the most cynical gluten eaters… As doubters have looked confused while asking ‘is that cake really ‘unleaded’?’, I’m not sure whether it is they or I who have been most surprised by the answer. But either way, THIS recipe for Gluten Free Banana Bread is a keeper!
Actually… we can go one better… A few years ago, my daughter got invited for afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace (for real!) as part of a prize for a national cyber-safety competition. Being Coeliac, they had made her gluten free banana bread. Her reflection on the efforts of the queen’s kitchens? ‘It wasn’t as good as yours, mum’. 😂
Never accept less – The importance of high expectation when eating gluten free
I don’t know why I am surprised. As a gluten-eater for over 40 years before Coeliac Disease came to live with us, I have a lengthy ‘normal’ foodie history. I know what ‘real’ food tastes like. And I have refused to accept anything less… Coeliac or no Coeliac.
I get endlessly frustrated for people who feel sad that their food days are done. And yes… A lot of the gluten free bakes available on supermarket shelves are dry, gritty and unpleasant to eat… Particularly when compared to what we had before.
But here’s the thing… So much of the food I now bake at home (which is by necessity gluten free), tastes BETTER than what I made with wheat flour. It’s simply a question of finding or developing the RIGHT RECIPE. And that (I guess) is the secret. NEVER accept less. Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded that eating dry and tasteless alternatives is what you should expect, just because it’s on the shelves. Hold out for and demand moistness, flavour and decadence. This gluten free Banana Bread is a shining example of ‘better than wheat’!
Banana Bread or Banana Cake… What’s the difference?
And so to the conundrum… Is Banana Bread different from Banana Cake?
Search the internet and there are literally thousands of recipes pertaining to be either banana bread or banana cake. Both are made using (usually overripe) mashed bananas. But while recipes vary in ingredients and appearance, they are all fundamentally the same whether they are called bread or cake. And apparently, even award-winning chefs like David Lebovitz, are hard pushed to define the difference.
Trying to decipher which is which myself, I’ve seen everything from suggestions of difference based on density and shape, to how the final bread or cake is decorated. As far as I can see, all are a stab in the dark. Banana cake is ultimately the same as Banana Bread and vice versa. And either way… who cares? All I know, is that it’s super-delicious and an international favourite (particularly when there are over-ripe bananas to be used).
What are the best bananas for making Gluten Free Banana Bread?
Which brings us to the use of over-ripe bananas. Does baking banana bread (gluten free or not) NEED the bananas to be over-ripe? Most banana bread recipes specify that the bananas should be either ‘ripe’ or ‘over-ripe’. And yes… it helps. But it is not essential.
The riper the banana (providing it has not turned to complete sludge) the sweeter it will taste and the easier it will be to mash into a blended cake batter. Even bananas with black skin are mostly still good on the inside.
But I’ve made banana bread (and cake) with less ripe, yellow bananas too. They may be harder to mash and break down, but they still translate into delicious banana sponge when baked.
However… There’s one amazing trick to guarantee the most incredible banana bread ever. Are you ready for a game-changer? It’s using ROASTED bananas. Whether the bananas are just ripening, or on the turn, roasting them before peeling and mashing creates the most intensely divine banana flavour and sumptuously rich texture. Simply roast them in their skins on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes until the skins turn black. Leave to cool in the skins before you peel and use.
Is Gluten Free Banana Bread safe for people with Coeliac Disease?
The banana bread recipe shared here has been developed to be entirely gluten free. Thus it is completely safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease). Just remember, as always, to check labels for any hidden or unexpected gluten or ‘may contain’ warnings. Particularly if the people eating the banana bread are Coeliac, allergic or have a gluten-related health condition.
Can this Gluten Free Banana Bread also be made Dairy free?
Yes. Like many of the recipes here at Gluten Free Alchemist, my Gluten Free Banana Bread can easily be made to be dairy free with a couple of simple subs. And those are to switch the dairy butter for a good dairy free alternative (I recommend using either Stork or Flora dairy free block). And change the buttermilk or yoghurt for a dairy free yoghurt (not the thick variety).
Key ingredients used to make Gluten Free Banana Bread
Gluten Free Flour Blend
It is important to use a gluten free flour BLEND when making Gluten Free Banana Bread. Unlike wheat flour, one single origin flour won’t have the qualities needed for the texture and structure of the bake.
I have made this banana bread with both my white Gluten Free Alchemist Blend A (cake flour) and also my Gluten Free Alchemist Rice Free Wholegrain Blend B. Both produce fabulous results. You can find the recipes for both blends at the bottom of my Gluten Free Flours and Flour Blending page. But other flour blends should also work well too.
Ground Almonds (Almond Meal)
The addition of ground almonds brings both structure and moisture to the bake, as well as offering a delightfully nutty texture. Ground almonds are a secret weapon in the world of gluten free baking. Because of their particular qualities, they contribute incredible shelf-life and support to cakes…
Xanthan gum and raising agents
The xanthan gum is a necessary binder to the bake. Even with the ground almonds and carefully structured flour blend, it honestly makes a difference. If you are unable to tolerate xanthan gum, substitute with 2 teaspoons of psyllium husk or use an alternative binder of choice.
Gluten Free Banana Bread uses a combination of both baking powder and bicarbonate of soda for best raising. However, if you prefer not to use bicarb, sub with baking powder at twice the quantity of the bicarb.
Butter (or dairy free block alternative)
I always use unsalted butter in baking and add the salt separately for greater control. If you choose to use either salted butter or dairy free alternative, omit the additional salt from the recipe.
My Gluten Free Banana Bread uses a combination of both caster sugar (preferably golden) and soft light brown sugar. This offers a balanced sweetness with gorgeous caramel undertones, that you simply don’t get from using white caster sugar alone.
I currently don’t have a vegan option for this recipe and use UK Large sized eggs when making it. Be aware that not all eggs are measured or sized equally round the world. If you are unsure what size your local eggs are as an equivalent, check out my International Egg Size Comparison Chart.
It is possible that the recipe will work with an egg substitute such as aquafaba or egg replacer. If you try it, please do let me know how it came out.
The ripeness of the bananas used has been discussed above. The size of banana may also vary from fruit to fruit. I use medium-sized bananas. Be aware that the larger the banana, the more moisture will be added to the mix and the longer it will take to bake. Extra-large bananas will also affect the final structure and ‘wetness’ of the bake. Medium or small to medium bananas are best.
Buttermilk or plain yoghurt
The addition of buttermilk or yoghurt adds richness to the banana bread. If using yoghurt (whether dairy or dairy free) make sure it is the standard ‘looser’ variety (not thick Greek yoghurt).
I weigh yoghurt/buttermilk in grams. However, if the bananas are on the larger side, you may need less yoghurt than stated, because the banana will add more fruit moisture. I would suggest starting by adding about three-quarters of the yoghurt/buttermilk and folding through, particularly if using larger bananas. If the mixture seems too dry (you are looking for an easy dropping consistency) then add more, just a tablespoon at a time, up to the maximum full amount stated.
Variations – How to ‘pimp’ your Gluten Free Banana Bread
This Banana Bread is versatile enough to take any number of add-ins and to work with any number of bakes. Try…
- Chopped, toasted nuts (hazelnut; almond; pecan; walnut, etc) – Up to about 100g
- Chocolate chips or chunks – Dark, milk or white. About 100g max
- Dried Fruit – Gluten Free Banana Bread is particularly good with sultanas or large juicy Flame Raisins. But dried blueberries are also a favourite of mine. Just a small handful.
- Desiccated Coconut – 15 to 20g is enough to add a little texture and bite.
- Pineapple (chunks or crushed) – Make sure it is thoroughly drained and just add a little, to speckle through.
- Toffee – I’ve done the hard work for you and created decadent Banoffee Loaf Cakes based on the recipe shared.
Shape and style
- Standard Banana Loaf
- Mini Banana Loaves
- Layered Banana Cake – Utterly divine layered with Chocolate Butter Icing.
- Cupcakes and Muffins – Perfectly portioned. You can even fill and decorate to make gluten free Banoffee Cupcakes.
- Traybake/Sheet Cake
- Celebration cake – Check out my decadent Roasted Banana and Chocolate Cake.
- Use it in trifle… Specifically the most delectable Banoffee Trifle!
Have you made my Gluten Free Banana Bread?
If you make this recipe for Gluten Free Banana Bread or Cake (in any shape or form), do let me know. Leave a comment, rate the recipe, or tag me on social media with your yummy banana bread photos. I love seeing what you guys make and when I’ve inspired time in the kitchen. Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.
Always shared with my love
Other yummy banana recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist
Gluten Free Banana Bread
- loaf tins (2x 1 pound or 1x 2 pound) (or use cake tins, mini loaf tins or muffin cases)
- 210 g plain gluten free flour blend I use GFA Blend A or B (see NOTES)
- 100 g ground almonds almond meal
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 ¼ tsp baking powder gluten free
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 100 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) softened
- 150 g caster sugar preferably golden caster sugar
- 125 g light soft brown sugar
- 2 large eggs At room temperature (UK large = Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 medium bananas preferably very ripe or roasted (see notes) EACH banana should weigh in the region of 160g (in skin) and approx 115g banana flesh (after peeling).
- 175 ml buttermilk or standard plain yoghurt See NOTES (important)
- Chopped Nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds (approx 100g) best oven-toasted
- Chocolate chips or chunks (approx 100g) dark, milk or white
- Base-line a large non-stick loaf tin or two medium loaf tins with baking paper or prepare cake tins or a muffin tin with muffin cases.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside. TIP: Weigh into a large airtight container and shake vigorously).
- Using an electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl, until light and fluffy.
- Lightly beat the eggs together in a small bowl to combine yolk with white, before adding to the butter-sugar mix a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add and beat in the vanilla extract.
- Remove the bananas from their skins and mash with a fork in a separate bowl.
- Gently fold the mashed bananas into the wet mixture.
- If using, add the nuts and/or chocolate chunks and fold through gently.
- Using a large spoon or spatula, gently fold in the buttermilk/yoghurt alternately with the dry mix about a third at a time, ensuring all the ingredients are JUST combined. Do not over-mix. (IMPORTANT: See Notes below re the gradual adding of buttermilk/yoghurt if using larger bananas).
- Transfer the batter into the prepared tin(s)/cases.
- Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes (large muffins); 30-35 minutes (cake); 45 to 55 minutes (large loaf), until a skewer/toothpick inserted into the centre comes out almost clean and the top is firm to the touch but springs back.
- Leave to cool in the tins for about 10 to 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Decorate as you choose or just enjoy as it is.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist