Whole wheat banana bread that is still super moist and delicious? I got you covered! This whole wheat pecan banana bread is so good, my family actually prefers this over my classic banana bread!
Incredibly light and moist banana bread made with whole wheat flour!
This whole wheat banana bread that I make with a mixture of whole wheat flour and rye flour is my absolute favorite version of banana bread.
I adapted this recipe from my classic banana bread recipe, so it’s still a super easy, quick bread recipe to make, and you’ll get consistently fabulous results every time.
Why this recipe is my favorite
- The whole wheat flour adds a lovely nutty flavor to the banana bread. And I love it even more when I add 50% rye flour!
- Since I add less flour to compensate for the texture and heaviness of whole wheat flour, the banana bread still comes out really soft, moist, and delicious.
- I love to make mine with brown butter, which adds even more flavor. You can do the same with the classic banana bread too.
- You can easily adapt this recipe and use honey instead of sugar.
- I increase the amount of baking powder to help the cake rise better and still maintain a nice crumb.
- I use pecans which are my favorite type of nuts to eat, so the whole wheat banana bread has fantastic flavor from the nuts as well.
Making brown butter
I’ve written a separate post on how to make brown butter and the different stages the brown butter goes through. You can check out that post here.
I upgraded the caramelized brown butter flavor by adding 1.5 tbsp of dry milk powder to the butter while it’s cooking. The milk powder caramelizes, forming more caramelized milk solids, adding even more flavor to the butter.
This is of course an optional step, and you can use plain brown butter, melted butter, or just oil instead too. Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or vegetable/canola oil are all good options.
How to make whole wheat banana bread
First, preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. This batter comes together very quickly, so you need to make sure there’s enough time for the oven to preheat.
Mash up the ripe bananas in a medium bowl and set aside. I like to keep the mashed banana mixture pretty chunky.
In a large bowl, place the sugar, salt, and brown butter (or any other alternative), and whisk to mix together. Whisk in the sour cream. The batter should become creamy and smooth.
Stir in the banana, followed by the eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the spices.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and fold them in. Add any other additions you like before completely incorporating all of the flour. I added chopped pecans, but you can also add chocolate chips, chopped dates, or dried fruits like raisins.
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Cut another banana lengthwise and lay it on top, cut side up, and sprinkle with some raw sugar AND salt (preferably maldon sea salt). The sliced banana makes the banana bread look pretty once baked, but you can leave it out, or top with nuts instead. I usually ALWAYS add some sea salt flakes though.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 60 – 70 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. The bake time is about 65 minutes for me.
Remove the banana bread from the oven, and carefully turn the loaf out onto a cooling wire rack. Let the whole wheat banana bread cool completely on the wire rack.
Enjoy this warm with a pat of salted butter (or more salt sprinkled on top). It’s just as delicious at room temperature or toasted!
Whole wheat banana bread variations
My favorite variation is adding chocolate chips. The added chocolate chips yield another layer of flavor to the nutty whole wheat banana bread.
I usually always make this with 50% Whole wheat flour and 50% rye flour. I prefer whole wheat and rye banana bread, because the rye flour adds even more flavor.
Instead of the sour cream, you can add peanut butter (plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar) to add peanut butter flavor to your banana bread.
To keep the banana bread dairy free, substitute the butter with oil or a dairy free butter, and substitute the sour cream with vegan yogurt.
To make a healthy banana bread recipe, you can use olive oil instead of butter, and honey or maple syrup instead of sugar.
If you don’t have raw sugar to sprinkle on top, you can use granulated sugar or leave it out.
How to prevent the nuts from sinking to the bottom of the banana cake
Mix in a little flour with the chopped pecans. Mix until the nuts are lightly coated with flour. Place the flour coated chopped pecans in a strainer to sieve out any excess flour (that is not coating the nuts). This can then be folded into the batter.
I love this recipe! It’s my favorite version of banana bread. The nutty, wholesome flavor of whole wheat and rye banana bread is one of a kind!
You can adapt this recipe to either be not too sweet, or a sweet banana bread. We love the not too sweet version, and then sprinkle some more salt on top. This is a great recipe to pair with your morning coffee. 🙂
Whole wheat banana bread
- 300 g overripe bananas about 3 bananas, or 1 ½ cups
- 115 g brown butter use avocado oil or olive oil if you prefer, see recipe notes
- 1 ½ tbsp dry milk powder if making brown butter, optional
- 125 g dark brown sugar 1 ¼ cups
- ½ tsp salt
- 60 g sour cream ¼ cup
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 225 g whole wheat flour 1 ⅓ cup spooned and leveled, I like to use half whole wheat and half rye flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 115 g pecans roughly chopped, about 1 cup
- Maldon sea flakes
- Extra chopped nuts
- Granulated sugar or raw sugar
- 1 banana sliced into ½ inch slices, or sliced in half lengthwise
- Preheat the oven to 350°F /180°C. Prepare a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan by buttering and flouring it, or lining it with parchment paper. Set aside until needed.
- Mash the bananas in a bowl using a fork. The banana mix can be smooth or chunky. Set aside.
To make brown butter
- Melt about 115 g butter in a saucepan over medium heat. You can add dry milk powder when the butter starts to foam (optional). Stir the dry milk powder (if using) into the butter mixture, and continue to cook until the milk solids start to turn dark golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Add an ice cube (about 1 – 3 tbsp of water) to cool down the butter mixture. It can be used while still warm.
To make the banana bread batter
- Whisk the brown butter (or oil), sugar, and salt together in a bowl until you have a smooth mixture.
- Add the sour cream, and whisk it in until well mixed.
- Mix in the mashed bananas.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and mix until combined.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg together (these are the dry ingredients).
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, in two additions, and fold them in until just combined.
- Add the pecans before all of the flour is incorporated into the batter, and fold in the pecans. Do NOT overmix the batter as this can result in the banana bread being rubbery in texture.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and spread it evenly in the pan.
- Sprinkle chopped pecans on top, along with a sprinkle of raw sugar and maldon salt (optional).
- OR, place the sliced bananas on top with a sprinkle of raw sugar and maldon salt (optional).
- Place the loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Turn the loaf out onto a cooling wire rack and let it cool more on the wire rack.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. You can also toast room temperature or cold banana bread before serving.