Grain-Free Banana Bread

August 23, 2013

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Once you are released from gluten, you find out something you didn't know when you automatically reached for that bag of all-purpose bleached wheat flour. Flours have flavors.

It's true. Flours have flavors. Quinoa flour is a little grassy, very savory. Buckwheat is nutty, sometimes toasted nutty if you use toasted buckwheat flour. Teff flour has a faint chocolate, molasses taste. If you choose the flours you use for the baked good you want to make by the ingredients you intend to stir together, you might stop thinking about gluten altogether. You'll choose the flours you have for how they can make a banana bread good enough to make small children say yum after they take their first bite. This is that banana bread.

Serves: 8


  • 100 grams finely ground almond flour
  • 60 grams arrowroot powder
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (we prefer grade B)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80 grams coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe large bananas
  • 3/4 cup crushed hazelnuts
In This Recipe


  1. Preparing to bake. Heat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 1-pound loaf pan.
  2. Mixing the dry ingredients. Whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot powder, and buckwheat flour in a large bowl. (If you want to really aerate your flour, pulse them together in the food processor before beginning to bake.) Add the baking soda and salt and whisk them all together. Set aside.
  3. Combining the wet ingredients. In another bowl, stir together the maple syrup, eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla. Mash the bananas, add them, and whisk until everything is combined well.
  4. Finishing the batter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring as you go, a bit at a time. When all the flour has disappeared into the batter, and you can't find any more hiding at the bottom of the bowl, add the hazelnuts and stir.
  5. Baking the banana bread. Pour the banana bread batter into the greased pan. Bake until the banana bread is springy to the touch, the edges are pulling away from the pan, and the top is browned, about 45 to 60 minutes. Cool before slicing.

More Great Recipes:
Bread|Banana Bread|Maple Syrup|Hazelnut|Spring|Winter|Summer|Fall|Gluten-Free

Reviews (66) Questions (3)

66 Reviews

Cookie November 25, 2016
This turned out great even with the improvisations I made due to ingredients on hand. I used 1 cup GF pastry flour, 1/2 Cup buckwheat flour, a TSP arrowroot for dry ingredients. For wet, I subbed Agave for the maple syrup and walnuts for the hazelnuts and canola oil for the coconut oil. Added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon per comments. It turned out delicious but cooked far faster than noted in recipe -- at 40 minutes, the edges were burning although the rest was done perfectly. I'd go 35 minutes next time.
Girlfromipanema September 6, 2016
This was not a success for me, unfortunately, but in light of all of the glowing reviews, I am sure it is a mistake I made myself. I don't have a scale, so looked on the King Arthur website for volume conversions; I also used olive oil instead of coconut oil and kind of guesstimated the equivalency in weight/volume. I followed everything else to a T (and included cinnamon- which is a must!). The banana bread tasted good but was dry and crumbly. I definitely think I did not include enough liquids somewhere, I am sure it has to do with a shoddy conversion (I also was a bit low on maple syrup- that may have been part of the problem). I would certainly try this again and increase the liquids. Thank you Shauna!
Girlfromipanema October 10, 2016
Apologies if I am posting my reply twice, I can't see my comment anymore. I remade this with 3/4 cup olive oil and came out amazing. Don't have a scale, but just make sure to keep texture wet enough and you will be fine.
Lyn August 23, 2016
Could I substitute the arrowroot and buckwheat with an all purpose GF flour (Pamela's)? I'm really glad to see your recipe, and I look forward to trying it in the next few days - the bananas are almost ready!
Adrienne January 19, 2016
Hope you can tell me the dimensions of a one pound loaf pan, as written in this recipe. Thanks!
Steve August 2, 2015
To "prep" ripe bananas easily: every time you have a banana that is getting too ripe, put it in the freezer-peeled or not. If peeled, put it in a freezer bag. When you are getting ready to bake, put it on the counter for an hour or two to thaw. Slice off the end of the thawed unpeeled banana, and squeeze it out like a tube of toothpaste.
Windischgirl April 29, 2015
This smelled wonderful and tasted delicious too! I used sliced almonds for the nuts since I had them on hand, olive oil for the coconut oil. Not too sweet , which is how I like it. The buckwheat flour added a nice complexity. Yum!
Shari K. February 15, 2015
Mine also turned out great. I added a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, because I love the flavor combo and texture. Thank you Shauna!
Lisa December 29, 2014
Scrumptious! Mine turned out much darker than the photo, I don't know why, but it was delicious. It didn't need butter, but I slathered some on it anyway and made a meal of it. Several meals, actually.
ReeceAmy November 22, 2014
Every week I get 3 bananas in my CSA box. Every weekend I make your amazing bread and we feast on it all week! Thanks for all the effort you put into creating your recipes. <br />PS am so looking forward to my Kickstarter flour mix!
scrapper November 22, 2014
pub-lish<br />1. (of an author or company) prepare and issue (a book, journal, piece of music, or other work) for the public.<br /><br />Shauna, since your recipes are published, for the public, not just for your own personal use, I think it would be doing a great service to people who have followed and loved your books from inception, if you would include both weight measurements and volume measurements in all your recipes. Yes, it's a little extra work for you as the author but it shows a tuning-in and respect for your readers. <br />I purchased your book, Gluten Free Girl, the moment it became available. I have made many of your recipes and purchased every other book that you and the Chef have written. But I find myself becoming increasingly irritated and aggravated by assumptions that you seem to make as far as availability of ingredients to the average person living in the average community. Most people do not live in wonderful Seattle where you can literally get anything you want as far as ingredients go. When you publish a recipe and blithely assume that everyone has a local pig farmer that they can consult about the exact cut of meat and the pigs diet, I start to roll my eyes and lose interest.<br /><br /> I also bake using weight measurements but most people don't. When I share a recipe with a friend who I know does not have a gram scale I am always careful to give them the approximate equivalent in a volume measurement. I realize that this is not an exact science but the recipes turn out fine and lovely even when the volume measurements are used.<br /><br />We all live in a real world. Your readers, and fans, live in a wide assortment of communities. It would be much appreciated if you were able to acknowledge this fact.<br /><br />Many thanks
Kris November 20, 2014
Poor Shauna! I was amazed to read some of the nit picky and outright aggressive comments below. People, figure out how you need to eat for 'you' and your needs. If you don't eat sugar, or meat, or dairy that's just super. But why beat someone up for being patient enough to deconstruct a much loved baked good recipe so that it's grain free? And then shares it! I have to shake my head at people who have nothing better to do than whine that a recipe wasn't custom made for them or worse: accuse a kind and well meaning person of being disingenuous.
babs1652 May 7, 2015
taryn February 10, 2014
I made this nut-free and it is honestly the best banana bread I've ever had! I have a whole grain GF mix of equal parts buckwheat, millet, and sorghum so I used 150 grams of that in place of the buckwheat and almond. Also used tapioca instead of arrowroot because that's what I had in my fridge, and butter instead of coconut oil. I upped the butter to 90 grams to account for the lack of almonds but it may not have been necessary. I also used chocolate chips instead of hazelnuts. :) Of course, it's no longer grain free or dairy free at this point, but this recipe will definitely be my go-to for banana bread from now on. Thanks, Shauna!
Lisade February 9, 2014
Simple and delicious! Thanks for awesome recipe.
Rita November 24, 2013
My son can't stand the taste of almonds and seems to taste it even when it's hiding amongst other flavours. Do you have any other suggestions for the almond four? Thanks.
Michelle June 13, 2014
Ground up sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds have always worked beautifully as an almond substitute.
Rita June 13, 2014
Thanks - will give it a go. Cheers
Daphne October 17, 2013
I have made this at least five times now, and it never fails. Delicious and easy - the only "prep" is buying bananas in advance and waiting for them to ripen. Thanks for this great recipe.
Julie H. October 10, 2013
Oh my yumminess!!! I was drooling reading the ingredients!!! If only I knew where to buy half of them, though!!! :( Iowa is so slow to progress!!!!!
soleilnyc September 23, 2013
Yes, need to point out the cinnamon omission as well! Would love to know how you prefer it, Shauna!
NoONE October 13, 2014
I like to add grated fresh nutmeg!
Daniella P. September 22, 2013
Is there a substitute for arrowroot?<br />
jillcarsonie September 18, 2013
when you first click on the link for this recipe it calls for 1/4t cinnamon. however, when you click the "save and print" link to get the full instructions to make the bread, the cinnamon is omitted. I made the bread from that link and thus omitted the cinnamon. It was DELICIOUS, however, when I make it again I will definitely add the cinnamon!
Rebecca September 15, 2013
Shauna, thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! We are gluten free and mostly dairy free and moving more and more towards grain free. My whole family loved this bread! My kids don't like nuts in their baked goods so I used chocolate chips instead. Oh so good!
GoodFoodie September 12, 2013
As a follow up, I made this earlier today and brought it to a gathering. Followed the recipe pretty much to the letter except I needed to add some almonds to get to the 3/4 cup of nuts. It was a big hit, so moist and not too sweet. And 6 hours later, it's still moist and yummy. Yay!
GoodFoodie September 10, 2013
Shauna I am thrilled that you are moving away from refined carbs in your recipes. I too am coming to the realization that I don't feel great after refined gluten free flours. And people, no one will ever confuse a nice 'sweet' bread from a savory one. Ya gotta have a little sweetness in your life!
jblock August 30, 2013
I have this recipe in the oven. Can't wait to try it. I think of the recipes on this website as a "baseline" for my own experimentaion. The fact that Shauna went to the trouble of sharing is much appreciated, and good enough for me. I will experiment with sweeteners, etc., as I see fit, and hold Shauna and her opinions and comments about such, as interesting, perhaps helpful, however, inconsequential to my personal taste, experience, and most important, free will. If one does not agree with someone's approach to a recipe, they should keep it to themselves, it takes the fun out of the whole purpose of this website! There is a place for helpful and casual comments, but, where has common courtesy gone? I say, thank you to Shauna, and I will let you know how my bread turns out!!
DeliciousBaby August 30, 2013
I have one child who is Gluten Free and two who are not. It has been tricky to find baked goods that they all enjoy. I'm happy to say that this recipe knocked the ball out of the park - I made it as mini muffins and the kids devoured the whole batch before they had time to cool.
Valerie August 30, 2013
I made this last night, and we are all enjoying it for breakfast this morning. My 2 1/2 year old cannot eat gluten, and I really appreciate your website and recipes for giving me the confidence to bake and cook gluten-free. Thank you!
nycnomad August 28, 2013
Seriously awesome! I added agave instead of maple syrup, and a little less than the recipe called for primarily because I like things a little less sweet but still, truly divine!
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 27, 2013
Goodness, I sit down to the computer for the first time today and find a firestorm of comments! Good. Conversation is the point here. <br /><br />First of all, I probably don't have to say this, but I certainly haven't deleted any comments! I don't have access to the system here. I merely wrote the recipe and sent it to my editor. Nor would I delete a comment about maple syrup. <br /><br />To answer the question about maple syrup, I don't believe it's any healthier than refined sugar. Sweeteners are sweeteners. There are many folks who talk about the fact that maple syrup still has some vitamins and minerals, while refined sugar has none. I don't get my vitamins from maple syrup, however. If you choose to make a baked good, for the most part you need a sweetener. (You're free to try a baked good without one. Let me know how it works!) And so, I like the maple syrup here because I like the flavor of the maple with the almonds and the bananas here. As I wrote, this is really about the flavors. <br /><br />In fact, as you will see if you look at the headnote again, I never said this banana bread was healthier than a banana bread made with sugar. I wrote that I like the flavor better. <br /><br />Healthy is a subjective term. A vegan wouldn't believe that a meat eater's diet is healthy. Someone who eschews all sweeteners, including fruit, would never approve of this recipe. Recipes are really just offerings. If it appeals to you, then make it!
Kaye August 27, 2013
Thank you for addressing this, Shauna. I guess what I found confusing was that in that blog post you wrote that you "threw sugar out" and later "I'm done with sugar." (paraphrasing)<br /><br />This seems at odds with still using maple syrup and possibly other sweeteners. I hope you can see how a reader could become confused over what you are saying. You are done with sugar, but maybe you meant white sugar, but then you just said that all sugars are essentially the same (which is correct, they're all simple carbs and none of them are very good for us). <br /><br />If you still want to have the occasional sweet bite, fine, but when you also say that you've quit sugar, it seems a bit disingenuous.
Gwyneth August 28, 2013
I'm confused by this passive-aggressive aside: "You're free to try a baked good without one. Let me know how it works!"... there are tons of wonderful savoury baked goods recipes out there that don't call for any sweeteners at all. <br /><br />Do you mean trying to make *sweet* baked goods without any sweeteners?
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 28, 2013
Kaye, even if I am avoiding too many sweets or baked goods my days, I still bake for other people, including my daughter and husband.
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 28, 2013
Gwyneth, it wasn't meant as a passive-aggressive aside. I'd like to see someone make a banana bread without added sweeteners! That's what I love about baking: the creativity, the experimenting. I think that any baker will tell you that sweeteners in a banana bread are for more than flavor. They add structure to the baked good. Since this is a banana bread recipe, I was certainly talking about making a banana bread without sweeteners.
Liz August 28, 2013
Gwyneth, I often make banana bread that's grain-free, gluten-free, and uses only fruit as sweeteners. The trick is using super-ripe bananas and measuring a set amount of mashed banana as opposed to adding a specific number of them. If added sweetness is desired, I add half a cup of date puree made by soaking dates in water and then zapping them in the food processor. Or, for some variation, you can omit dates and use almond or sunflower seed butter. Or you can add homemade apple sauce, freshly squeezed orange juice, etc - you'd have to play with the recipe to adjust accordingly, but it can be done. Cinnamon, cardamom, etc also help bring out the natural sweetness of the fruit.<br /><br />If you've been avoiding non-fruit-derived sugar for a little while, it's plenty sweet, and has a great texture as well. It definitely looks and feels like a baked good, albeit a gluten-free one. Not quite the same as the stuff you'd buy at your regular bakery, but I got over that three years ago when I gave up gluten. You can't go into this expecting to see, for lack of a better word, mainstream banana bread. But you can go in expecting to get a yummy, wholesome, and, yes, sweet treat that has a mouthfeel much like bread. <br /><br />My final two cents: I think this just comes down to the definition of "sweetener". Fruits, whether dried, fresh, or juiced, are all sweeteners. The argument is they are metabolized in a healthful way and come with the added value of vitamins and nutrients.
Kaye August 28, 2013
One more thing that I should have mentioned before but I guess I forgot about it: what set the tone for me when reading this was this line toward the end and I think it was in a tweet that you tweeted about this Food52 column:<br />"The fact that it's gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free?" To me that implies that being free of refined sugar some how makes it nutritionally better than the same recipe with refined white sugar. If all sweeteners are pretty much the same thing nutritionally, as you have said here, then why the need to point out that there's no white sugar in this recipe?
NoONE October 13, 2014
I use the full flavor, not the light agave in my Banana Bread, and it comes out perfect.
gentianviolet August 27, 2013
Please use volume measurements, at least for liquids. A cup of water is a cup of water. A 1/2 cup of coconut oil is a 1/2 cup of coconut oil. I can go either way on measuring flours by volume or by weight, I don't have a preference because my baked goods come out great no matter how I measure them. However, I really appreciate it when recipe writers include both weight and volume measurements for dry ingredients. That way, nobody is left out.
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 27, 2013
You know, I bake by weight. Once the scale is out, it's much easier to measure the amount of coconut oil by weight. And the water. Fewer dishes! I don't use cups anymore. If you the measurements of ingredients like coconut oil or water are standard, then they should be pretty easy for you to find.
SuzyQueu August 27, 2013
I wonder why they allow comments if they don't respond to the questions...
SuzyQueu August 27, 2013
I tried posting my question under the Questions tab to see if I get a response
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 27, 2013
I was away from the computer and just sat down to these questions. There was no refusal to answer. It's August and we took a day off work.
SuzyQueu August 28, 2013
Sorry, I'm a newbie to gluten free baking and got so excited about the prospect of GF pumpkin bread that I lost my manners. I hope you had a fabulous day off!
Kaye August 27, 2013
I was just saying that maple syrup is not significantly different from refined white sugar as far as nutrition goes, but many people seem to think that it's superior. Same thing with honey and other "natural" sweeteners. Both my comment and someone else's on the subject disappeared. Are substantive discussions not allowed on this site?
Slimfender August 27, 2013
Kaye,<br />I sometimes have trouble with my comments being posted, content isn't an issue. It's just a glitch in the system! :) Substantive discussions are very allowed!<br />I was wondering the same thing... and infact, thinking about substituting agave for the maple syrup, just because it's not quite as rich. What do you think?
Kaye August 27, 2013
Oh ok, it just seemed odd because there was also another question about the sugar thing right after mine and that disappeared, too, but all the general comments were still there. As for agave, it's also a simple carb and really no better than white sugar. I don't about substituting it, my issue is with bloggers implying that alternative sweeteners are somehow more healthy for you than white sugar. They're not.
Slimfender August 27, 2013
I think maybe what she was saying is that white sugar is refined and processed, where as sweeteners such as agave, honey, raw sugar, maple syrup etc. are less processed or "refined" and thus still contain some of their natural health benefits, for example... raw honey, which contains additional benefits which refined sugar does not. I absolutely agree with you, however... there isn't a difference in how the body processes it. It would be interesting to see what this recipe tastes like without ANY sweetener. I think bananas are pretty sweet themselves, don't you agree?
Slimfender August 27, 2013
I also think it's important to note that the recipe's author said "Without the refined sugars, this banana bread tastes more of bananas than sweetness. You taste the nuts and their fats. You taste bananas and almonds and maple syrup."<br />This statement says nothing of health benefits of maple syrup vs refined sugar, but of a difference in taste. I don't know that it was her intent to imply that maple syrup is by any means healthier. I think what she's saying is that it has it's own flavor component, which it adds to the bread, where as white sugar just adds sweetness.
Kaye August 27, 2013
Slimfender, if you read this in the context of her blog, then it does take on a different meaning. One of her recent blog posts was all about cutting sugar out of her diet and how much better she feels as a result. So when she points out that this recipe is free of refined sugar, it seems not so much that she is saying that the flavor is enhanced by maple sugar, it's that somehow maple sugar isn't as bad as white sugar. But they're basically the same thing, which is a simple carb. They boost your blood sugar the same way and then burn out quickly the same way. <br /><br />Glutenfreegirl isn't the only one who seems to believe that alternative sugars are more healthy than refined sugar. There is an epidemic of it lately in the blog world.
Atlanta August 27, 2013
I use a sugar substitute because I don't metabolize sugars well. However, this was a somewhat recent discovery after a blood test. At the time had it been implied to me that maple syrup &c. was a good "substitute" for refined white sugar I'd have used it thinking that I wouldn't get sleepy and tired as usual (and then would have been frustrated when I did anyways). The discussion here indicates that Shauna is being unclear as to why she is making subs for regular sugar. Is it for taste? Or does she persist in attributing a health benefit to non-refined sugars? She has no nutritional (or culinary) training, it should be noted--just a note to be wary for anyone who like me has health vulnerabilities relating to sugar!
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 27, 2013
Some people really don't like agave. It's a funny thing. Some insist maple syrup or honey or coconut nectar or agave are the healthiest sweetener. I tend to think they are all sweeteners and make the choice based on flavor and texture of the baked goods.
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 27, 2013
If you read the blog post I wrote about cutting down on my sugars, you'll know that I wrote "However, I do not believe that my path to better health is to switch that deeply ingrained need for sweetness to all-day treats with alternative sweeteners. I’m still only eating something sweet at the end of the evening. Most of the time, it’s a ripe peach, a handful of blackberries, or cherries off the tree. When you give up sugar, you can taste how sweet a roasted beet actually is." If I do decide to eat a baked good, I make it as good as I can to make it worth the work and the sweeteners.
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 27, 2013
This comment confuses me. Not only do I make it clear in the headnote that I chose maple syrup for its flavors, but I also wrote here in the comments that I don't think maple syrup is any healthier than refined sugars. Sweeteners are sweeteners. My discussion on it is pretty darned clear! I'm sorry that you have found you have health vulnerabilities relating to sugar. But since this is a baked good recipe, there are going to be sweeteners involved.
Kaye August 26, 2013
Why was my comment about sugar deleted?
Gwyneth August 28, 2013
It had an "accident," no doubt.
Kaye August 28, 2013
I think I figured it out. There are two pages for this thing--the blog page and a separate recipe page. On the blog page right now there are 18 comments, some of them I think the same as on the recipe page but the recipe page has a lot of comments that aren't on the blog page. This really should be consolidated. Also, the blog page is very hard to find! You should be able to get to it by clicking on shauna's name at the very least. And as of this moment it is not even showing up when you click on her column.
Becky August 26, 2013
I made this today and it is wonderful. Very moist and rich tasting. This is my banana bread recipe from now on.
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 27, 2013
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
Janne B. August 26, 2013
Yes please can we have volume measurements
cathy August 26, 2013
Your recipes always sound so good..wish you would include ounces as a measurement.
Kim August 26, 2013
How much cinnamon? It's mentioned in the directions but not the ingredient list.
Author Comment
shauna.ahern August 27, 2013
I can't figure out how to add it to the ingredient list here, since I don't know this website's system well. So I took the cinnamon out instead. However, if you'd like to put some in, I'd use about 1/2 teaspoon.
Amanda H. August 27, 2013
Shauna -- let me know if you'd like me to add back the cinnamon. I can do it!
SuzyQueu August 26, 2013
Pumpkin bread is my favorite... what flour would you recommend using for pumpkin bread?