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Gluten-free Banana Nut Bread

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My youngest asked me to not just make plain gluten-free banana bread, but instead to include some nuts. I created this gluten-free banana nut bread with chopped pecans in it and it was a huge hit! My son declared it the best gluten-free banana bread ever and has requested I make it again this week.
Gluten-free Banana Pecan Bread

This banana bread recipe is just slightly adapted from one I was making before my celiac diagnosis. My notes say that it was our family favorite in June 2009, which was one year before my celiac diagnosis. It’s been tucked away since and I just pulled it out a few weeks ago to give it a try with my gluten-free flour blends. Happy that it worked just perfectly.

Why didn’t I already have a good moist gluten-free banana bread recipe on my site? Mainly because I always make these gluten-free banana muffins – I love how convenient they are for freezing and then putting in my kids school lunches.

But my kids aren’t in school right now, and they both wanted gluten-free banana bread with nuts, so I made it for them! Also I did make a batch without nuts and it was excellent as well, so feel free to make this banana bread without nuts too!

Ingredients for gluten-free banana nut bread

Notes on ingredients and substitutions for this gluten-free banana bread recipe:

  • Bananas – be sure to use very ripe bananas. One mostly covered with black spots or even almost all the way black. The number of bananas you will use will depend on the size of your bananas. I used three in order to get the 1 cup mashed banana I needed.
  • Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand you can either use 1/4 cup milk or non-dairy milk alternative with 1  tsp lemon juice mixed in or use buttermilk powder, following the package instructions for how to replace 1/4 cup buttermilk with it.
  • Butter: This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter which is 1 stick of butter or 8 Tbsp. You can also use 1/2 cup shortening. I have made this with shortening and it works well. You can use Crisco but I prefer this organic vegetable shortening. 
  • Baking powder and baking soda – no substitutions! I want to point out that yes you are using both of these! Don’t omit!
  • Gluten-free Flour: Use your favorite good quality gluten-free flour blend (i.e. no bean flours, not only rice flour, and is certified gluten-free). I tested with King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour with great results and then the next time with Authentic Foods Multi-Blend Flour. Other blends that I always highly recommend are gfJules and Cup4Cup.
  • Pecans: While I used pecans, you can absolutely choose to use a different nut. People commonly make banana bread with walnuts, and almonds are another option. You can also omit the nuts completely. You could even use chocolate chips instead!

I bought my pecan pieces at my local store because I was out and needed them today, but I usually order them from nuts.com here because they’re so good! I did chop them up into smaller pieces as my family prefers that.

Chopped pecans for gluten-free banana bread

Can this gf banana bread recipe be made dairy-free?

Yes! This recipe can be adapted to avoid dairy by using shortening, and by making your own buttermilk substitute with 1/4 non-dairy milk plus 1 tsp. lemon juice. The gluten-free dairy-free version of this bread will taste great too!

Mixing gluten-free banana nut bread

How to make gluten-free banana bread:

  • You’ll just need two bowls, some measuring cups, and a mixer (stand or hand mixer).
  • In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the sugar and the room temperature (slightly soft) butter or shortening for 1 minute. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  • Add the mashed bananas and buttermilk and mix.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture about a third at a time, mixing on low between additions.
  • Next you stir in the 1/2 cup pecan pieces.
  • Spread the batter into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 
  • Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes – until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs only – no wet batter. The baking time will vary depending on the size of your pan. For my 9x4x4 pan in an electric oven, it took 65 minutes.
  • Remove pan and place on cooling rack. Wait to slice and serve until completely cooled or it will fall apart.

You’ll notice I give a range for the baking time and tell you to rely more on the toothpick method instead of the exact time. The main reason for this is that there isn’t really a standard size for loaf pans. I have 6 in my cupboard and they’re 5 different sizes. There is a large range of length and widths, and some pans flare out while others have straight sides. Try to pick one that is roughly 8-9″ long by 3.5-5″ wide. If yours is much bigger, then yours will be flatter and cook quicker. If your pans are smaller, then you might need to divide this batter into two pans so your pan doesn’t overflow.

The loaf pan I used for this is one of my favorites for tall loaves that bake evenly. It is this USA loaf pan that has straight sides and measures 9x4x4″. If that one is out of stock, I also recommend the classic USA loaf pan – it’s a similar size just doesn’t have the straight sides – it has a little flare instead like many loaf pans have.

Gluten-free Banana Bread with Nuts loaf in pan

I have two of the loaf pans since my gluten-free zucchini bread makes two loaves. If you have two, you can also double this easy gluten-free banana bread recipe to make two loaves.

If you make two loaves, or even if you just make one loaf of this but want to save half for later, you can definitely freeze this. Let cool first and then wrap the loaf with aluminum foil and then place in a freezer bag.

You can also cut into slices and freeze each slice in plastic wrap and place all slices in a freezer bag that way you can pull out one slice at a time for a snack.

If you have more ripe bananas on hand, be sure to check out all of my gluten-free banana recipes here.
GF Banana Bread with Pecans
We thought slices of this bread were even more flavorful on day 2 and 3. It was all finished off early on day 3!

Gluten-free Banana Nut Bread Recipe:

Yield: 1 loaf

Gluten-free Banana Nut Bread

Gluten-free Banana Pecan Bread

This recipe makes one loaf of gluten-free banana nut bread. Feel free to double to make two loaves if you have enough ripe bananas. You can omit the nuts for a delicious gluten-free banana bread too! Or you can add chocolate chips if you'd like!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp.) butter or shortening (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 very ripe bananas)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups good quality gluten-free flour blend
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (if needed, see note)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the sugar and the room temperature (slightly soft) butter or shortening for 1 minute.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time on medium just until mixed in.
  4. Add the mashed bananas and buttermilk and mix on medium for 1 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture about a third at a time, mixing on low between additions.
  7. Add the chopped pecans and either stir by hand with a spatula, or for a short time with your mixer on low. Just until pecans are mixed in.
  8. Spread the batter into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. My pan is 9x4x4". Choose a pan that is about 8-9" long and 3.5-5" wide.
  9. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes - until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs only - no wet batter. The baking time will vary depending on the size of your pan. For my 9x4x4 pan in an electric oven, it took 65 minutes.
  10. Remove pan and place on cooling rack. Wait to slice and serve until completely cooled or it will fall apart.

Notes

If the gluten-free flour blend you use already has xanthan gum or guar gum in it, then omit the xanthan gum called for in this recipe.

See blog post for recommendations for ingredients and substitutions and for information about loaf pans.

These can be made dairy-free by using shortening, and by making your own buttermilk substitute with 1/4 non-dairy milk plus 1 tsp. lemon.

If you double this to make two loaves, or even if you just make one loaf of this but want to save half for later, you can definitely freeze this. Let cool first and then wrap the loaf with aluminum foil and then place in a freezer bag.

You can also cut into slices and freeze each slice in plastic wrap and place all slices in a freezer bag that way you can pull out one slice at a time for a snack.

Recipe adapted from an old blog called Good Things Catered that I found in 2009 that is no longer online.

Pin this to your gluten-free recipes board on Pinterest:

Loaf of Gluten-free Banana Nut Bread

I hope you and your family enjoy my version of gluten-free banana bread as much as my family has enjoyed it. If you make it, would you please come back and leave a 5 star rating and any comments on your experience? Thank you!

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J

Thursday 7th of April 2022

This recipe is wonderful! It has become our go-to whenever we have overripe bananas. I always use my extra-tall bread pan, specifically made for GF and it turns out perfectly every time. If I didn't know it was GF, I wouldn't be able to guess. I have made it with Better Batter flour, Cup4Cup, and a homemade flour. It has worked well with all three. Also, the warning about not cutting into it until it's completely cool is 100% accurate. LOL Tried it once because the kids were whining for some. Won't do it again.

Lisa

Friday 25th of March 2022

This turned out so perfectly, it's delicious and it has a perfectly moist crumb. My problem with GF banana bread in the past was that the texture would be really dense, but this is excellent, thank you so much! FYI for those wanting to try it, it worked perfectly with Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 flour.

Elizabeth

Thursday 10th of March 2022

This Banana Bread is better than most wheat flour versions! I’d like to make in muffin and mini loaf amounts. Any guidance how long for standard 12 muffin pan? How about mini loaf pans? Many Thanks!

Shirley Mary

Thursday 3rd of March 2022

Finally I can hand over a banana bread without saying “so sorry about the wee squishy bit in the middle” Quite a heady experience and all down to your wonderful recipe and instructions!

Thank you so much for the secret ingredient of adding lemon to the milk which replicates buttermilk. As a Scot I had no idea how to find buttermilk. Have never heard of that but have seen it in baking recipes. It’s amazing how happy baking something fluffy and non dense can make you!

Teresa

Thursday 10th of February 2022

I used Glutino bread mix for the gluten free flour and honey instead of the sugar (about 1/4-1/3 cup), good vanilla, oat milk with a 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to replace some of the ingredients. I basically just winged it since also d not do dairy and sugar. This was the best bread I have ever had...of any bread. Maybe the vinegar interacting with the soda? It was dense but not heavy and sweet but not too sweet. The rest of the ingredients I kept the same. Yum!

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