Healthier Banana Bread Muffins
Easy Wholemeal Banana Bread Muffins
Here’s my quick & easy, Healthier Banana Bread Muffins recipe. Using wholemeal flour, bananas & less butter & sugar, these will be your new favourite Banana Bread Muffin!
WHY USE MY RECIPE? 1. Quick & Easy 2. Healthier & Tastes Good 3. No Special Ingredients or Equipment 4. Easily Add Inclusions 5. Inexpensive
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1. Quick & Easy Recipe
My banana bread muffin recipe, is so quick to make. Using digital scales you can even measure, make & bake in one bowl. Not only saving you more dirty bowls to wash, but time too. You can easily prepare, bake and cool these muffins in an hour or less.
The process could not be simpler too. Beginner bakers or kids can even make these. Simply ‘creaming’ butter & sugar together and then adding in the other ingredients, before dividing up into the muffin cases, before baking. No special baking techniques required.
2. Healthier & Taste Good
These are named Healthier Banana Bread Muffins, for a few reasons. I use wholemeal/wheat flour, including the bran. I use butter and sugar, but I use less butter than regular muffins or cupcakes, and I like to use dark brown sugar. I have also made using unprocessed Coconut Sugar, (which also requires a little less sugar – see Ingredients & Alternatives section below).
I use a small amount of real honey just to give a hint of sweetness, as the brown sugar is there more for helping with structure of the muffins.
For the recipe, I also increase the fat & dairy content (that is required for the bake), by using some full fat Greek yoghurt. You could also use any plain/natural thick-set yoghurt.
Of course there’s bananas too, which are providing the recipe and us with many things. Once the bananas are ripe, the starch converts to sugars (glucose, fructose & sucrose). Bananas however have a relatively low glycaemic index (GI) of 42-58 dependent on how ripe they are. The fibre in bananas is believed to have benefit to our gut health, and of course they are rich in potassium, vitamin B6 & Vitamin C. They are also great if you are dehydrated, and especially good for post workout, as they are rich in electrolytes that you might have lost.
(See in the photo my Easy Banana Bread Recipe, that actually inspired this muffin recipe.)
As for the muffins, the bananas are providing sugar (once they are ripe), as well as helping with structure of the bake. You might know that banana can be used in replace of eggs in some recipes. But they also can be used as substitutes for butter and oil. I do advise caution however, and not to just change a recipe without checking first. Baking is a science and often takes lots of practice bakes to get them right.
3. No Special Equipment Or Ingredients
You don’t need any special equipment or ingredients for these muffins. Most ingredients are found in your kitchen. Ripe bananas will always be best, & a good tip I have is to freeze bananas that are starting to go bad.
Tip For Black Bananas
My habit is to freeze in the banana skin, as I find it is the banana’s own natural protection. I will freeze them by wrapping in baking/parchment paper and then a food baggie. You can also mash them and just freeze the flesh, but make sure to well wrap and a good idea is to weigh it too and write on the bag, the date & weight.
Once you leave the frozen banana out to defrost too, it will mean once you come to open the skin, the banana will be pretty much mashed for you already. While it doesn’t look great, it is perfect for Banana Bread Muffins.
4. Easily Add Inclusions
Now by that I mean things like chocolate chips, dried fruit, sugar nibs/pearls etc. And yes that will make them a bit less healthy, but things in moderation, right? And don’t have them with home-made salted caramel sauce (only joking). See the photo.
These banana bread muffins are relatively inexpensive compared to other muffins or cupcakes. Not using lots of butter, frostings, and bananas that are past their best, these can work out cheap to make. I have not included the cost, as that is going to vary from country to country.
Notes On Ingredients & Substitutes
Instead of the Greek yoghurt, you can use any plain/natural, thick-set yoghurt.
The alternative to UK Mixed Spice, is US Pumpkin Spice. You can make your own, from cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, mace & anise.
Make Your Own Mixed Spice
Check out my friend Tanya’s website Global Bakes, and her recipe for Speculaas Spice Mix. It is very similar, but I would just omit the coriander and white pepper, and reduce the cinnamon by half. And if you can’t get mace or aniseed, replace with anise or ground star anise.
Alternatively, you could replace this muffin recipe’s Mixed Spice, by increasing the Cinnamon by 1/2 tsp & Ginger by 1/4 tsp.
I use dark brown sugar, light brown will work too but dark is better. Also if you want to use unprocessed Coconut Sugar, I recommend using 136g (2/3 cup) for a good result.
The ‘healthier’ recipe is for 100% wholemeal/wholewheat flour. However, I first developed the recipe using 50% white flour, so that my youngest son would eat them. He is now used to a mix between white and wholemeal flour in things like bread & pasta, that he eats the 100% wholemeal ones now too.
He actually used to have spasms in his stomach when he was younger, and it was because of too much white ‘heavy’ starchy foods. So a swap to half wholemeal, half white bread each day and less pasta, and he is now much better.
To make your own Vanilla, go to my Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe.
Healthier Banana Bread Muffins
- Scales or measuring cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Medium to large mixing bowl
- Bowl for flour
- Electric Hand/stand mixer
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Fine grater (optional)
- 12-hole Cupcake tray/sheet
- 12 paper muffin liners
- Cooling rack
- 57 grams Butter, unsalted, cubed & softened (¼ Cup, ½ stick, 2 oz)
- 170 grams Dark Brown Sugar (¾ Cup, packed, 6 oz. See notes)
- 39 grams Pure Honey (40ml, 1 fl oz, ⅛ Cup, 8 tsp, or 2 tbsp + 2 tsp. See notes)
- 2 Medium-Large Eggs (Large – XLarge US size eggs)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (for how to make your own Homemade Vanilla extract, see notes below).
- 120 ml Greek Yoghurt (½ cup, 4 oz, Full or low fat, thick plain yoghurt)
- 281 grams Wholemeal/Wholewheat Flour (2 cups + 1½ tbsp. *Plain/A.P. wholemeal/wheat version)
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¾ tsp Baking Powder
- 1¼ tsp Cinnamon, ground
- ½ tsp Ginger, ground
- ¾ tsp Mixed Spice (Or Pumpkin Spice – see notes above)
- ½ Whole Nutmeg, grated (or 1 tsp ground nutmeg)
- 178 grams Mashed Banana (6 ¼ oz, ¾ Cup, mashed)
Extras – optional
- 100 grams Milk or Dark Chocolate Chips (3½ oz, Semi-sweet or bitter. Or a combination of both. Optional)
- Sugar Nibs/Pear Sugar (optional)
- Begin by cubing your butter & letting it soften & come to room temperature. Cubing roughly to about 1cm (less than ½ inch) cubes as a smaller surface area will soften faster. (See ingredient photo before recipe). If you forget to take out to soften, here's a hack I reviewed to soften butter in about 10 minutes.
- Once softened enough (see my video of how to check if it's soft enough), add the butter & your dark brown sugar to a large mixing bowl, and give a little mix with a wooden spoon. And then use a hand/stand mixer to 'cream' the butter and sugar together, for about 1 or 2 minutes. Do this until the mixture is smooth. See Photo 1 below.
- Next mix in the honey, before breaking in one of the eggs, and mixing with the electric mixer only until the egg is completely mix through. Then repeat for the second egg & add in the vanilla. To make Vanilla, go to my Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe.
- Heat the oven to 180°c/160°c Fan Oven/350°f/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with paper muffin liners.
- Place to the side & in a separate bowl, measure out the wholemeal/wheat flour over a sieve, & then add the spices – cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice & also the salt and mix till evenly distributed. ( I like to tip the bran in to the mixture too, that's left over when sieving the flour. When I make for my younger son, I sometimes freeze the some of the bran and use for smoothies and protein shakes). See Photo 1 above.
- Add these dry ingredients to the mixture already prepared, firstly mixing a little by hand. Then fold in the yoghurt, & mashed banana, before using the mixer to mix through. (See Photo 2 above). You can even do by hand. Mix just until evenly distributed and don't over mix. The mixture will be quite thick.
- Grate in the nutmeg now too (if using ground nutmeg, add in with the other spices). You can also fold in chocolate chips now if using. See Photo 3 above.
- Divide the batter up into the muffin cases (they will be quite full, at least 80%). Give the tray, a few bangs on the counter/worktop, before popping in the oven to bake. See Photo 4 above.
- Cook for 15 – 20 minutes until risen and a deep golden colour. You can add sugar nibs/pearls to the top of the muffins if you like. You can add before placing in the oven, but I find they stay a nice white colour if you add after the half-way mark of baking (try at 11 minutes). See Photo 5 above.
- Test the cakes are done by inserting a wooden cocktail stick in the centre most part of the biggest muffin, and it should come out clean of crumbs. See Photo 6 below.
- Leave the muffins in the tin and place on top of the cooling rack for about 5 – 10 minutes, before transferring the muffins to the rack only, to cool down completely. See Photo 7 below.
- Eat now, or store in an airtight container. I prefer cake tins and they can last at least 3 days. You can also freeze once cooled, by wrapping individually in baking/parchment paper, before adding some cling film/plastic wrap and a food baggie. They can be defrosted at room temperature.
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DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Simple, beginner
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