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Eat Well Mar. 29. 2013

Grain Free Banana Bread

Mar. 29. 2013
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN


Grain free, gluten free banana bread.

I’m sure you’re not used to seeing or hearing of grain-free breads, understandably so as they’re a newer trend hitting food blogs everywhere (especially after the popularization of Paleo). Well, I’m here to introduce, broaden your horizons, banish any fear of carbohydrates from breads, and rekindle your love of bananas. This recipe so simple to make using only all natural ingredients and it’s also incredibly delicious. JUST LIKE MAMA MADE (ha).

I went into making this recipe as a complete experiment with my pessimistic side saying “this is probably going to turn out too dry, too mushy, too sweet, etc.” Needless to say, while this bread was baking away in the oven, the aroma of classic fresh baked banana bread filled my entire house (who needs air freshener when there are baked goods?). When I pulled the bread out of the oven, sliced in and tooka bite – It. Was. Heaven. I laughed out loud and said, “Wow, I can pull off baking?”

You see, I’m not much of a baker. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love baked eats, but when it comes to developing baking recipes and bread from scratch, that’s not my forte. Cooking is where I find my creativity pouring out of me, it’s where I can add a little of this, a dash of that and voila, a simple masterpiece! Baking requires much more measuring and skill using the ingredients in the right proportions (I feel it’s the chemistry department of the culinary world for type A’s). I have tremendous respect for the bakers of this world, especially ones in my family and close friends (you know who you are) who have taught me the basics.

Back to the bread. You’ll find in this recipe I use a couple grain free flours of choice, coconut flour and almond flour. What are these flours and where can you find them? Coconut flour is simply dried and ground coconut meat. It’s one of my favorite flours to use as it’s extremely versatile, nutrient dense, lightweight in texture, and has a sweet and nutty flavor. Coconut flour has a couple unique properties compared to most other flours; it’s similar to a sponge as it loves to soak up the moisture around it, which is perfect for moisture retention in baking because no one wants to bite into a dry piece of banana bread. A couple of my favorite brands to use are: Bob’s Red Mill, Tropical Organics, Benefit Your Life, and Alhola Nu Coconut Flour.

Almond flour shares a similar story, it’s highly nutritious, has a slightly sweet and nutty taste with a moist texture. Almond flour is a little more hearty than the lighter coconut flour which makes it great to use when you want to add more density to your baked goods. You may see two different types of almond “flour”; almond meal, which is the whole almond containing the skin ground into a flour consistency and almond flour, which is blanched almonds (without the skin) ground into a flour consistency. Honestly, I find using both interchangeably hasn’t changed the outcome of my recipes. A couple of my favorite almond flour brands to use are: Trader Joe’s, Honeyville or Bob’s Red Mill. Since coconut flour and almond flour are naturally sweet, these both are perfect for baked goods without needing to add extra sugar.

You can purchase both coconut and almond flour at health food stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, local co-ops, local health food stores, and online. After the first use of these flours, I suggest storing them in a tightly closed glass or mason jar in the refrigerator or freezer to keep the natural oils from oxidizing or becoming rancid.

Typically when I hear the words grain free or gluten free with bread, I don’t think of a fluffy, moist slice of bread. THIS recipe is so delicious, sweet, and moist and gluten free, grain free and paleo friendly! If you know my story, you know that gluten doesn’t play well with my body. We’re just not friends. So I’m always looking for recipes that are gluten free, and this gluten free banana bread takes the cake!


Grain-free Banana Bread
Recipe Type: Entree, Small plates
Cuisine: bread
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
A classic banana bread recipe made grain free, gluten free, and paleo friendly.
  • 4 bananas, fairly ripe
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons. of coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons of cold pressed organic coconut oil (or you may use grass-fed butter), melted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease (with coconut oil/butter) a bread loaf pan (or you could use a tin for muffins).
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients (vanilla, eggs, coconut oil/butter, bananas) into a bowl with a hand mixer (or Vitamix).
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon).
  5. Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients.
  6. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the batter has come together.
  7. Pour the dough into your lightly greased pan.
  8. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes (depending on your oven settings, mine took about 45min.). Check after 30 minutes.
  9. Let set and cool (this is the hard part!).
  10. Slice and serve with a spread of coconut oil, grass-fed butter, peanut butter, almond butter, jam… the possibilities are endless!
Serving size: 1/10th of recipe Calories: 190 Fat: 11 Carbohydrates: 16 (net 12) Sugar: 6 Fiber: 4 Protein: 6

This recipe results in a slightly sweet, very moist gluten free bread with a hint of banana. I love how this recipe isn’t so sweet, but for those of you who would enjoy a banana bread with more sweetness or eaten as a “dessert”, feel free to add in stevia or sugar, honey, etc. (I haven’t tested this with added sugar, but you can try and let me know how it goes!). The cinnamon cashew butter pictured below adds a perfect sweetly spiced, nutty, and creamy addition to the banana bread. This is one of my favorite combinations for banana bread that’s gluten free, grain free, and Paleo friendly!

What’s your favorite way to top banana bread? Are you a baker, a cook, or both?

Happy baking everyone!

xo McKel


Coconut flour:

 Per 2 Tbs. | 10g of carbohydrates 9g from fiber (1g net carbohydrates!), 2g of protein, 1.5g of fat (1g from saturated fat in the form of medium chain triglycerides a.k.a. MCT’s).

Almond flour:

Per 1/4 cup | 5g of carbohydrates 3g from fiber (2g net carbohydrates), 15g of fat (mostly monounsaturated), and 7g of protein. Minerals such as copper, magnesium, vitamin E, and potassium.

The Recipe

Serves 10



4 bananas, fairly ripe

4 whole eggs

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons. of coconut flour

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of almond flour

4 tablespoons of cold pressed organic coconut oil (or you may use grass-fed butter), melted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon (heaping) of ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt


For the Cinnamon Cashew Butter:

1 cup soaked raw, unsalted cashews

1 heaping tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of stevia or stevia extract (depending on the brand- 1 serving size)

a dash of sea salt




Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease (with coconut oil/butter) a bread loaf pan (or you could use a tin for muffins).

Combine all the wet ingredients (vanilla, eggs, coconut oil/butter, bananas) into a bowl with a hand mixer (or Vitamix).

Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon).

Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients.

Mix well with a wooden spoon until the batter has come together.

Pour the dough into your lightly greased pan.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes (depending on your oven settings, mine took about 45min.). Check after 30 minutes.

Let set and cool (this is the hard part!).

Slice and serve with a spread of coconut oil, grass-fed butter, peanut butter, almond butter, jam… the possibilities are endless!


LOWER FAT // use 2 whole eggs + 2 egg whites OR use only 2 tablespoons coconut oil

HIGHER PROTEIN // Add 2 additional egg whites (note, this will change the overall texture and will create a more spongy texture)

For the Cinnamon Cashew Butter:

Soak cashews overnight OR at least 2 hours. This will help soften them a bit.
Combine all ingredients into a high speed blender (such as Vitamix).
Start by gently pulsing the cashews and breaking them apart.
Increase the speed to high (don’t worry if your Vitamix sounds like it’s about to blow-up).
Scrap the sides of the blender and stir the cashews manually to redistribute.
Keep the blender on high until it forms a creamy texture, continually scraping the sides as needed.
Store into a tight glass jar or mason jar in the refrigerator.
Serve on your favorite dishes!<


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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • Yum!
    I made this as muffins tonight (full disclosure: I cut the recipe exactly in half because I only had 2 bananas) and it made 6 really good sized muffins. Baked at 350 for 30 minutes and they could have used maybe 1 less minute of cooking.
    At first I was glad they were muffins and not a loaf, because they were delicate and fell apart (like, enough to require a fork for eating), but as they cooled a little more (like you said to let them do), they firmed up. Ahhhh, so hard to wait, though!!
    I added about 2 tablespoons of honey to the batter. It worked great. The batter smelled like banana pudding — YUM!

    • Hey Molly! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Wasn’t that waiting to let them cool part difficult? haha. Excellent that you experimented with adding in some extra sweetness with the honey. Have a great Easter 🙂

  • I am so with you–cooking is much easier for me than baking. Although I try to bake just to have some variety on my blog. 🙂 I’m impressed that you were able to get grain-free bread right on the first try! Isn’t it nice when your kitchen experiments work out?!

    • Agreed Kiersten! I was on a baking high when it turned out this great haha, but that was also 1 out of hundreds of past baking failures (aka cookies turned into crumb toppings). 😉

  • Elizabeth

    Can i sub the coconut flour for all almond flour? Maube even oat flour?

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      I haven’t tried using all almond flour, as the coconut flour gives the bread a really moist and bread-like consistency. I would first try it with oat flour, using all almond flour may make the bread less bread-like and more dense. If you try it out with oat flour, comment and let me know how it goes!! Experiment your way 😉

  • Making again today — this is now my go-to banana bread recipe for when those 2 bananas just don’t get eaten by the end of the week. Cut the recipe in half, added honey, made 4 JUMBO muffins with it… perfection for breakfast.

  • Marlies

    How much flax would you use for the flax eggs? Thanks!

    • 1 flax egg= 1 Tbs. flax + 3 Tbs water.; in this recipe 4 Tbs. flax + 12 Tbs. water. Thanks for asking, I’ve updated the recipe to include this (I thought I did!). Let me know how you like it Marlies!

  • Stacy

    So good! I need half a batch with one very ripe banana and some applesauce, then added some chopped crystallized ginger at the end. Delicious! Thanks!

    • Stacy

      Made, not need!

    • Wow that sounds amazing, I love the addition of ginger! Thanks for sharing 😉

  • Mishologist

    Absolutely amazing recipe. My first ever attempt of grain free ‘clean’ bread and it turned out great! I followed the recipe exactly and I’m extremely happy with it. Will add a sweetener next time and turn it into sweet muffins when I’m in need of a sweet treat. Congratulations!!!

    • Thank you very much! I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I do, I love this recipe as well. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back soon 🙂

  • I had been looking for a healthier bread/muffin recipe and this was excellent! Your grain-free banana muffin + a peanut butter-filled center = perfection. 🙂

    • Woo! That sounds amazing, I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe- it’s one of my favorites as well. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon:)

  • Daniella


    I see you’ve added no sweetner, is it sweet enough without?

    • Hi Daniella, there are 4 bananas in the recipe, it’s sweet enough! You can add more sugar if you’d like

  • Emily

    These look Delicious! i’m actually about to make them right now. Do you think it would be ok to add a cup of sugar to the recipe to sweeten these? Someone mentioned honey, but how much? I’m horrible at baking. HELP!

    • If you’d like it more sweetened you can use a bit of sugar, although I try to use natural sugars in the form of all the bananas used or use dates. Sugar may alter the end result and texture as I haven’t tried it. If you do try added sugar, please leave a follow up comment for others to follow! Thank you 🙂

      • Emily

        Thanks for getting back to me. I did try it with the sugar and butter option and my muffins wouldn’t bake in the center and stay together. I had to cook them a lot longer at a lower temp. In the end they were really tasty, just crumbly, but hey they still got devoured. Tomorrow I’m gonna try using the coconut oil option, 2 eggs instead of four, and honey instead of sugar. I’m also baking at high altitude, so I think this might have something to do with it.

        • Hi Emily, you’re cooking up a storm in that kitchen of yours, great to hear you’re experimenting with what works for you.

  • Sonya

    This sounds absolutely amazing – I can’t wait until I have some ripe bananas again (I usually just freeze them for cold desserts)!

  • This sounds amazing! I am right there with you as a non-baker, but this seems worth trying. Can’t wait to make some!

  • Kaila

    Any ideas on using all coconut flour instead of a mixture of almond and coconut?

    • I haven’t attempted that because coconut flour is very soft and the bread may not hold up in density without the almond flour. Let me know how it goes if you try!

  • Fernanda

    Hi McKel! A quick question about the cashews, do you dehydrate them after soaking?

  • sheri

    a substitute for stevia?

    • I don’t recommend any other sweeteners out there besides stevia and then of course all natural sources like maple syrup, dates, or honey. You can use any of those to sweeten!

  • sheri

    Hi I have these in oven right now! Never cooked with coconut oil (or flour) before. It was strange to see the oil in the batter once it hardened again. I guess this is normal?
    I added blueberries!

  • I struggle to find true almond flour… those I find are almond meal/flour which I suspect would not work as well. What do you think? Worth a try?

    • Hi Jessica,
      Great question- you can use either meal or flour, although I tend to like the flour a bit more because the meal is more dense and contains the outer coating, almond flour is finer in texture and is made from blanched almonds. Use whatever you have on hand- it’ll taste great either way!

  • Alex

    Made this tonight – YUM! Ran out of coconut flour so used all almond meal and the texture worked out great.
    Loving your site 🙂

  • Birgit

    I’m obsessed with this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it. I made it for the first time two weeks ago, and it has already become a favorite. I divide the recipe in two, which is enough for 6 muffins. Because I eat it just the way it is, without any butter or so, I add 3-4 dates for some extra sweetness. I have already made this recipe twice since discovering it, and bring one muffin to work every day. Best part of the day!

    • Hi Birgit,
      Thank you so much for your kind words- I’m so happy you enjoy it as much as I do!

  • Olivia Royea

    This just came out of the oven literally 10 min ago. It is sooooo yummy. Perfect amount of moist and still delicately crumbly. I had to make a couple adjustments to the recipe; I didn’t have nutmeg or vanilla extract with me so instead I just added two tablespoons of pure maple syrup. I baked mine for 45 min. and could have possibly left it in for another 5. Any-who! Spreading grassfed butter is a necessary treat! So delicious. I’ve also baked many other grain free, coconut flour and almond flour banana breads and this recipe is by far the best. Must be the right amount of everything! 🙂 thank you and I love your beautiful, creative site!!

    • Hi Olivia,
      SO happy you enjoyed it even with your modifications for what you had on hand! Thank you for your kind words and for sharing 🙂

  • Lana

    This is such a lovely recipe, I cant’ wait to try it! Thank you for sharing! I have a question, though it may seem funny; I am from Europe (Slovenia) and am curious – is the info about baking degrees in Farenheit or in Celsius? 🙂 Thank you very much and snowy greetings from Slovenia! 🙂

    • Hi Lana,
      Wonderful, I hope you love it! The baking is for Fahrenheit- I use “F” to indicate this in the recipe. Thanks again and enjoy 🙂

  • Jamie

    Just made this as muffins. Fantastic and baked just perfect. Most of my baked goods don’t so I am so happy and so are my kids 🙂 . Thank you !

  • Sujata rai

    hi mckel, this recipe looks awesomr and i m definately tryin this but as i was going through review about almond flour…i came across one article stating that almond flout is not good for health….what is ur take on that…and if i choose to avoid using almond flour…will the bread still turn out as its supposed to be…..thank u

  • Samantha

    Hi McKel,

    I tried out this recipe last week, although made a few variations. I didn’t have a bread loaf pan so made muffins instead! I have a huge sweet tooth so added one table spoon of raw honey and 2 date/coconut rolls.
    They turned out AMAZING! So most and tasty, everyone loved them! I served them with a raspberry chia seed jam.

    Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes!

    • Hi Samantha, So glad you made some alterations to fit what you had on hand. I’m so glad you loved it, it’s one of my personal favorites! xx- m.h.

  • Bananaone

    Looks and sounds delish!! Has anyone tried using less coconut oil or replacing it all together to decrease the fat content of the bread?

    • You could use less coconut oil and actually try using no coconut oil and just using a bit more banana or applesauce. The texture will change a bit, but do try! xx m.h.

  • Banana1

    I made a 1/2 batch as muffins today, with 2 ripe bananas from the freezer and used 1T EVOO instead of 4T coconut oil. Baked 35 mins and they are so much better than my regular banana bread, definately going to stock up on bananas to go ‘bad’ and make more bread ASAP!

    • So glad you’re enjoying this recipe! It’s one of my favorite baked goods to make xx m.h.

  • Steph

    Hey could you post the nutrition breakdown of this? Also, what food group would you classify this as…ex. carb, fat, protein etc?/ If its a combination, what would you guess the ratio would be? LOVE your site, especially the photography and organization.

    • Hi Steph,
      Feel free to enter the recipe into a myfitnesspal.com or livestrong to obtain the nutrition information 😉 I’ve updated it as well!

  • Madison

    Will it turn out the same if i cut the recipe in half?

  • Milly

    Hi McKel,

    I made this cashew butter about a week and a half ago for the first time and love it! I was wondering how well/long it keeps in the fridge?

    Would you say to freeze it immediately in the future if I don’t consume it all within a few days?

    • Hi Milly,
      I keep it for about a week and I wouldn’t freeze it, the texture will be odd!

  • Nora

    Hi McKel,

    I absolutely love this delicious recipe! I’ve made it twice in the past two weeks. I love having slices around for snacks and dessert. Although it is tempting to eat it all in a few days I’m doing my best to eat it slowly. How long does it keep for and how do you recommend storing it? Can I put individual slices in the freezer to eat later?

    Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes and tips!

    • Thank you so much Nora, I’m glad you enjoyed this one! I store it for up to a week, if I don’t eat it first haha! You can slice and freeze, it’ll be best toasted after freezing.

  • Jodi

    This banana bread recipe is by far the BEST one I’ve ever made. I made a half size batch and got 6 muffins out of it. Absolutely perfect! Not too sweet and fluffy and moist inside. The Cashew Butter is also absolutely delicious and will be making both recipes again and again! I used a little molasses instead of the stevia to sweeten the cashew butter. Thanks so much!

    • Isn’t it amazing! I’ve had such great feedback from this recipe it seems to be the crowd pleaser. Thanks for sharing Jodi and I’m so happy you gave it a try 🙂

  • Aarati

    Just made it – it tastes yum. But it didn’t have the same color as the one in your photos/rise as much. Any suggestions for watch outs the next time I make it? Thank you! This is really yummy.

    • It’s okay if it doesn’t look exactly the same- I also have to make it look great for photography too! As long as it turned out well and tasted great that’s all that matters 🙂

  • Sarah Herrington

    This recipe honestly restored my faith in healthy baking. Very few of my previous experiments have worked out, but this banana bread came out absolutely delicious, especially with the sugar-free carob chunks I added to the batter 😉 thank you so much!

  • Gemma

    Hi 🙂 love this! How long does the banana bread keep for? Can I store it in the fridge for a few days? Thanks.

  • Cristina

    Hi McKel!

    I love the way this recipe sounds… If i wanted to make it a pumpkin bread instead of banana, how much pumpkin would I substitute for the banana (assuming a swap like that would still turn out a great bread.)


    • 1 banana is a heavy 1/2 cup mashed, so adjust it to about that! I’ve never tested it with pumpkin xx

  • Jude Whitburn

    This looks lush! Any ideas on how to make it Vegan?

    • I haven’t tried making it vegan, the eggs really bind this together and give it an amazing moist texture- you can try flax eggs!

  • Sophia Cleverly

    Hi! Congratulations on the website. I wonder whether I could substitute almond flour for another grain free (or grain) flour (apart from wheat). My daughter is allergic to almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts and I am wheat intolerant. What do you think? Sophia

  • Paige

    Hello, I’m confused as to why I can’t seem to get this to turn out right. I’ve tried the recipe dozens of times over a year now and the center never gets cooked. I cook it for up to an hour and the center is still doughy. I’ve even ordered and used the bread pan you suggest. HELP! I’ve tried tons of other recipes that all turn out perfectly, but they aren’t grain free. I’m desperate to master this!

    • McKel Hill

      It may be your oven settings, I’ve never had an issue! This bread is moist in comparison to others out there, but it will still be cooked through. Try with your oven to increase the temperature or simply cook longer- hope it works!

      • Paige

        I’ve tried that! I’ve also tried my oven and a friends. The same thing happens when I make the regular bread loaf too. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. I’ve baked them both 30 min longer than the time specified and the middle is still not cooked. I think I have to give up.

  • Emily

    This is soo delicious! I made it vegan by using 3/4 cup almond butter in place of eggs (I blended it with the banana in the vitamix). I also used garbanzo flour instead of coconut because that’s what I had on hand, same proportions 🙂

    • McKel Hill

      Great, so glad those worked out for you and I’m sure others will appreciate your experiments! xxM

  • Lilli

    Can I sub Buckwheat flour for the Coco Flour?

    and if so does it need same proportions or more?


    • McKel Hill

      I haven’t tried it with any other flour than those in the recipe so I can’t say! If you use buckwheat you’d need to add more liquid since coconut flour is naturally a bit more dense with moisture 😉

  • Elli

    Hi McKel!

    How would this be with only 3 bananas and and all-purpose flour as a substitute for the almond flour (keeping coconut flour)?

    • McKel Hill

      I haven’t tried it that way- you’ll have to experiment!

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