Make Ahead

Seeded Whole-Wheat Banana Bread

February 28, 2018
11 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Makes One 8 1⁄2 × 4 1⁄2-inch (22 × 12-cm) loaf
Author Notes

I absolutely LOVE banana bread, but so often it’s as sweet as a cake and too oily. That’s good for special occasions, but for weekday mornings, I want a slice that feels mostly wholesome. While coming up with a loaf that had classic banana bread flavor for my cookbook, Healthyish, I settled on a balance of less sugar than normal whole-wheat flour, and two kinds of seeds for more fiber, and a pretty seeded crust.

Featured in: A Healthyish Banana Bread Full of Seeds & Personality. —Lindsay Maitland Hunt

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup neutral-flavored 
oil, such as canola, vegetable, or grapeseed, plus more for the pan
  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pan
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana, from about 3 really ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 350º F(175°C).
  2. Oil and flour a 8 1⁄2 by 4 1⁄2-inch (22 by 12-cm) baking pan and set aside.
  3. Mix together 2 teaspoons each of the poppy and sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1⁄4 cup each of the poppy and sesame seeds, the baking powder, and salt.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, the remaining 2⁄3 cup (135 g) sugar, and the vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the pecans or walnuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the reserved poppy-sesame-sugar mixture evenly over the top of the batter.
  6. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a rack to cool completely. If you feel comfortable, carefully invert the loaf over the sink to catch any loose seeds and sugar.
  7. The loaf will keep at room temperature, well wrapped, for 3 days. To freeze the loaf, cut it into 3⁄4-inch-thick (2 cm) slices. Put in a zip-top bag with a piece of parchment paper between each slice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Katie Hornstein
    Katie Hornstein
  • Suse
  • Lindsay Maitland Hunt
    Lindsay Maitland Hunt
  • Hanna

12 Reviews

Katie H. June 29, 2023
The only change I make to this wonderful recipe is to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat flour. I don't know if this makes a huge difference, but that's what I had on hand. The results are divine: the crumb is light and airy and the seeds add a nuttiness; I have used pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios. I also like to use sparkling sugar for the top instead of regular sugar. I've made this about five times now and I love it.
Hanna March 20, 2020
Very good "canvas" for everyone's own creativity - or whatever needs using up from the pantry! I didn't have poppy seeds nor walnuts and replaced with some pistachios, sunflower seeds, linseed (shredded), chia seeds and TJ's cocoa nibs. Inspired by a previous review to add spices, I added 1.5 teaspoons pumpkin spice (yes, it's March but it's cold and gray out). Thought about adding extra liquid because of the linseed and chia, but didnt and the consistency turned out great. - Super-tasty! (My neighbors agreed.)
Toni6 July 5, 2019
I can't see whether this oven temperature is adjusted for a fan oven. In fact it is not mentioned in any of the recipes. Could you pl,ease advise?
Lara September 30, 2018
I put in only half of the sugar and salt. I also used 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, rather than walnuts, since my son is allergic to tree nuts. I baked them in muffin cups. They were a perfect morning muffin for me, nicely seedy and whole grainy without being dense. My husband thought it was tasty, but not a treat, since he likes sweeter muffins.
CARLOS P. May 18, 2018
Do you think I could use whole milk Greek yogurt instead of some or all of the oil? If so, in what proportions? I’m just trying to think of how to incorporate it given that it adds moisture and density to other banana breads I’ve baked. Thanks!
Claire May 15, 2018
I would love to bake this for my husband who loves "healthy food" but you have given the recipe in cups not grams. I live in France and here cups come in many sizes! Could someone please tell me the size of a US cup?
Suse July 26, 2018
In the U.S. a cup of liquid is 8 ounces. Dry ingredients should not be measured in a cup meant for liquids, as their weight depends on how dense they are. Here's a converter
Laurabee March 18, 2018
This is such an easy recipe...and it results in an interesting and delicious and satisfying loaf. The generous amount of seeds and nuts provides texture, the 100% ww flour creates a nice, dense chewiness. Love this. Will probably make my second loaf day after I made my first one.
Salio March 5, 2018
This was fantastic! I didn't have poppy seeds, but replaced with hemp and sunflower seeds. Added 2 tsp of turmeric, 1/2 tsp each nutmeg, clove & cinnamon, splash of almond extract along with bigger splash homemade vanilla extract. Coated both the bottom and top with sesame seeds. Super! Thank you!
Lindsay M. March 6, 2018
I'm so glad to hear you liked it! I have been planning to try with hemp seeds. :)
Dawndusk March 2, 2018
The amount of sesame seeds is not listed in the ingredients list.
Lindsay M. March 2, 2018
Sorry about that! Added now.