The Best Variations On Banana Bread And 4 Easy Substitutes

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Last Updated on December 3, 2022

Today, we’ll explore some amazing variations on banana bread that few people try. It’s a great way to enhance the flavor or add some texture.

Some of our alternatives today are merely a flavorful substitute for banana in this loaf. But others will function as an additional flavoring to make this bread a lot more unique and interesting.

Determining The Variations On Banana Bread You Can Make

Before just making any substitute or variations on banana bread, it’s important to understand what the functions of bananas are in banana bread. This will help you better understand what you are substituting or changing. And ultimately, whether or not the change you are making will work.

Banana has four main functions when used to make banana bread. These functions are all performed simultaneously. Banana bread adds flavor and moisture while acting as a binding ingredient and adding texture.

So, if you are making a variation to the recipe, you need to think about how it will affect these functions.

Let’s say for example you use gluten-free flour instead of regular flour. This will change the flavor and texture of the banana bread loaf. Gluten-free flour creates much denser loaves and absorbs a lot more moisture.

So, to counter this, you’ll need to add more moisture (water, cream, milk, etc.) And, to make sure the flavor remains equally banana-like, you can use riper bananas or add banana extract.

Below, we will look at some banana substitutes and other variations on banana bread that you can try at home.

What Is A Good Banana Substitute? 

So, let’s start with some banana substitutes in banana bread. Most of these substitutes will functionally work as a binding ingredient, one that adds moisture, and one that adds a similar texture.

But, if you still want a banana flavor, you will need to add some banana extract, essence, or concentrate. You only need to add a couple of drops. These flavorings won’t affect the texture of the loaf at all.


Plantains are hands-down the best substitute for bananas in any recipe. They are a species of banana that is found in some parts of Africa, Asia, and South America mostly.

They are much larger than bananas and are sold in ripe or unripe form. You have to buy ripe plantains (their peel will be completely black).

Plantains aren’t very expensive if they are available in your area. They are even more creamy than bananas and have a slightly less sweet flavor. But, they have an authentic banana flavor.


Applesauce has always been a great alternative for bananas in most baking recipes. That’s because it has a similar thick consistency to banana bread, is packed with moisture, and helps add density to the loaf.

The only thing it lacks is a banana flavor. Luckily, you can easily add banana extract to add that flavor. Applesauce does have a neutral flavor that can easily be overpowered with an extract.

Vegetable Puree

There are a couple of vegetables you can use to create a similar puree to that of bananas. Some that immediately come to mind include pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree, and zucchini puree.

Unfortunately, vegetables often have a more prominent flavor. So, just adding an extract won’t create an overwhelming banana flavor. That doesn’t mean that the loaf won’t be delicious. It just means it won’t be overwhelmingly banana.

What is a good banana substitute

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu does work as a substitute for bananas in baking, but it also forms part of many great variations on banana bread recipes you can try. Again, it won’t add a banana-like flavor. But, it has a pretty neutral flavor itself. So, a little bit of banana essence or extract will do the trick.

Silken tofu is a fantastic vegan alternative that is high in protein and contains a surprising amount of fiber.

Can Yogurt Replace Bananas In Baking?

Yogurt can work as a substitute for bananas in baking. But only if you are using Greek yogurt (full-fat, double cream, or double thick). 

This type of yogurt has a similar consistency to mashed ripe bananas. It is thicker in consistency, but that only adds more creaminess to the baked item.

Plain yogurt options will also add a slightly tangy flavor while acting as a tenderizer. And finally, it is very easy to add banana extract or essence if you’d like to still have a banana flavor. If not, then you can use any flavored yogurt you’d like.

Yogurt not only works as a substitute for bananas in baking but can create a ton of variations on banana bread.

How Do I Make More Flavored Bread?

It depends on what flavor you would like to add. If you want a more prominent banana flavor, your best option is to add banana extract, essence, or concentrate. But, you can also substitute some of the ingredients with banana-flavored ones.

For example, if your recipe calls for cream, use banana-flavored yogurt instead. If your recipe calls for water, use banana juice (or a tropical fruit juice with a banana in it).

There are hundreds of variations on banana bread you can try that will enhance the banana flavor.

But, there are also some variations on banana bread that will add other flavors. Below are some of our favorite (and easy-to-apply) ideas.

What to add to bread to make it more interesting?

Now, when looking at variations on banana bread rather than a substitute for banana, the possibilities broaden quite a lot.

Arguably the best way to add more flavor to your banana bread is by adding flavorful ingredients. The best options are ones that won’t change the consistency of the bread batter.

These are ingredients like chopped nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, pretzels, flavored sugar, dried fruits, shredded coconut, and even whole pieces of fresh fruit.

You can also add more flavor by adding spices to the dry mix. Always use ground spices and make sure their flavors blend well.

Then, you can also substitute some ingredients with more flavorful ones. For example, if the recipe calls for water, use milk or cream instead. You can even use fruit juice.

Another few fantastic variations on banana bread we love are adding peanut butter (the chunky one), maple syrup, and cocoa powder. These all add a ton of flavor while barely changing the consistency of the loaf.

Can yogurt replace bananas in baking

Wrapping Things Up

Hopefully, our variations on banana bread have inspired you to experiment with different flavors and textures. While banana bread on its own is already pretty great, there is always room for improvement.

Let us know what your favorite substitution of alternation is for banana bread.

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