Healthy Zucchini Banana Bread (No Added Sugar)

The BEST healthy zucchini banana bread — lightly sweet, perfectly moist, and bursting with banana flavor. This delicious loaf is loaded with fresh zucchini and overripe bananas and has no refined sugar. Best of all, you can make it in the blender!

If you’ve been around a while, you know I’ve made my Healthy Banana Bread for years. It’s a beloved bedtime snack and no-fuss breakfast in our house. So I make it pretty much every week. 

But one day, as I was grabbing an egg in the fridge for our weekly loaf, I spotted a sad-looking zucchini in the crisper.  You know — slightly shriveled and spotted. Just sad. 

So you know what I did? I’ll give you a hint. 

Ok, so the first loaf did not look this luscious. In fact, it was wet and mostly inedible — but I persisted.

I dialed back the banana, increased the leavening, and even squeezed the zucchini (one of my least favorite things to do). By the fourth try, I got four enthusiastic thumbs-ups from the fam. 🙌🏻

This healthy zucchini bread is sweetened only with bananas. It’s slightly sweet and has no added sugar —just bananas, baby.

Sure I throw in some semi-sweet chocolate chips, which negates the ‘no added sugar’ aspect, but chocolate chip mix-ins are just how we roll around here. 

When I get sidetracked and forget the chocolate chips (it happens), I whip up a little honey butter (literally just honey + butter whipped with a hand mixer for a minute), and we spread that on instead. 

SO GOOD.

Even naked.

But the chocolate chips or honey butter make it… chef’s kiss. I promise you won’t miss the heaping cup (or more) of sugar in nearly all other banana bread recipes. 

Ingredients for Healthy Zucchini Banana Bread

Here’s what you need to make this zucchini banana bread recipe: 

  • Overripe mashed banana: The browner, the better. You can skip the mashing and measuring and toss the bananas right into the blender if you have a digital scale. Fresh or frozen and thawed, both work! More on using frozen bananas below.
  • Grated zucchini: Just give it a good squeeze to remove excess moisture. 
  • Egg: Other readers have substituted a flax egg to make vegan zucchini bread. 
  • Oil: I prefer to use a neutral- to light-flavored oil like avocado oil or melted coconut oil.
  • Cinnamon
  • Baking powder
  • Pure vanilla extract: I’ve only used pure vanilla extract, but if you want to enhance the banana flavor, try it with banana extract. 
  • Kosher salt: I use kosher salt in all of my recipes, but table salt or sea salt would also work. Since table salt is much finer than kosher salt or sea salt, I’d recommend reducing the amount of table salt by just a smidge.
  • Flour: I use white whole wheat or a 50/50 mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, but 100% all-purpose flour would work fine.  

Tips for perfect zucchini banana bread

Weigh your bananas and zucchini. Bananas and zucchini are both fairly wet ingredients, and having too much of either can make for a soggy loaf. The easiest way to ensure you’ve got the perfect amount of bananas and zucchini is to weigh them with a digital kitchen scale. I’ve been using this for nearly ten years now (!!), and I highly recommend it. I promise, once you’ve experienced baking with a digital scale, you’ll never go back. Not only is weighing ingredients more accurate, but it is also so much easier, faster, and less messy than measuring everything in cups.

Let your frozen bananas come to room temperature, and keep the liquid. I cannot emphasize this enough. If your previously frozen bananas are still cold, your bread will not bake properly. The outside will be burnt before it’s cooked all the way through. So whatever you do, DO NOT USE COLD BANANAS. Comprende? 

Expect a bit longer baking time if you’re adding mix-ins. Adding mix-ins like chocolate chips or walnuts will increase the baking time slightly. 

Test for doneness in a few different spots.  Dense banana breads can be deceiving, so I always test for doneness in 2-3 other places between the center and the ends with a toothpick or wooden skewer. If any batter sticks to the toothpick, pop the loaf back in for another 4-5 minutes and check again. It’s easier to undercook than overcook this loaf, so if you’re not quite sure, cooking it for a few extra minutes is your best bet.

How to freeze banana bread

Banana bread freezes amazingly well, and this one is no exception. 

If you use very overripe bananas and live in a warmer or more humid climate, this bread may not last more than a couple of days on the counter. (Trust me, we’ve learned the hard way.) Freezing (or refrigerating) the loaf will keep it fresh significantly longer. Frozen banana bread is best when eaten within 3-4 months. 

You can freeze banana bread in slices, half loaves, or whole loaves. 

  • How to freeze slices: Let your loaf cool completely and cut into 1” slices. Wrap each piece individually in foil or plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag (these Stasher bags are our favorites), pressing out as much air as possible before sealing tightly. Place the bag in the freezer and remove slices as needed for a quick and easy breakfast or snack.
  • Freezing half or whole loaves: Allow the loaf to cool completely. If you want to freeze a portion, slice the loaf in half. Wrap it tightly in foil and store it in a freezer bag, pressing out as much air as possible before sealing it. 

How to thaw frozen banana bread

To thaw frozen banana bread, remove the banana bread from the freezer bag. With the foil on, let it come to room temperature —around 20 minutes per slice, 2 hours for a half loaf, or approximately 3-4 hours for an entire loaf.

You can also defrost frozen banana bread in the microwave using the Defrost function if you’re short on time. Because all microwaves are a bit different, read your microwave instructions to determine the proper setting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is banana bread without added sugar still sweet? 

It is! The key is using enough overly-ripe bananas. Overripe bananas have more fructose (sugar) than the lesser ripe ones we all love to eat, making them perfect for baking. 

Can I use frozen bananas? 

Yes, absolutely! I rarely have enough fresh bananas to make this bread, so I typically use a mix of fresh and frozen. See the Tips section above for using frozen bananas.

What are the best mix-ins? 

Some of my favorite mix-ins include walnuts, raisins, or chocolate chips. If you are avoiding added sugar altogether but want to add a bit of chocolate, Lily’s baking chips and Trader Joe’s Cacao Nibs are great options with no added sugar.

Other favorite quick breads and muffins you might like:

Closeup photo of sliced healthy zucchini banana bread with melted chocolate chips
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Recipe

Healthy Zucchini Banana Bread (No Added Sugar)

This healthy zucchini banana bread is loaded with fresh zucchini, overripe bananas, and has no refined sugar.

  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes
  • Total Time:
    85 minutes
  • Makes:
    12 slices 1x
  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes
  • Total Time:
    85 minutes
  • Makes:
    12 slices 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 1 ½ cups (180 g) grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
    • 1 ¾ cups (440 g) mashed overripe banana (approximately 4 medium) 
    • 2 tablespoons (30 g) melted coconut, avocado, or vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg (see notes for vegan option)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups (265 g) white whole wheat flour (see notes) 
    • 3 teaspoons (13 g) baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ cup chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips (optional; see notes)

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven & prepare the pan(s). Set oven to 350F and lightly grease a loaf pan (9×5 or 8 ½ x 4 ½-inch both work) or three mini loaf pans (5 ½ x 3-inch).
    2. Remove excess liquid from the shredded zucchini. Give the zucchini a solid squeeze to remove excess water and set it aside.
    3. Combine your dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
    4. Mix the mashed bananas, oil, and egg. Combine the mashed bananas, oil, and egg in a large bowl. Mix with a whisk until fully incorporated. Tip: If you have a food scale, you can skip the mashing and pop the bananas, oil, and egg in a blender and blend until smooth.
    5. Stir in the dry ingredients, zucchini, and mix-ins. Add the dry ingredients, shredded zucchini, and mix-ins to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. Pour batter into your greased loaf pan(s).
    6. Bake and cool. Bake approximately 60-70 minutes for a large loaf or 35-40 minutes for mini loaves, or until a toothpick inserted into the center and 2-3 other spots come out completely clean. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool another 15-20 minutes before slicing.
    7. Slice, serve, and store. Once completely cooled, wrap the bread loosely in aluminum foil, leaving a little hole on the side or top for moisture to escape. The bread should stay fresh for 1-2 days on the counter or up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

    • Bananas: The browner, the better. Fresh or frozen and defrosted, both work! If using frozen, let them defrost and come to room temperature. Your bread will not cook properly if the batter is cold.
    • Egg: For a vegan zucchini banana bread, substitute one flax egg for the standard egg.
    • Flour: If you don’t have white whole wheat flour, you can also use a combination of 1 cup all-purpose +1 cup whole wheat flour.
    • Mix-ins: Mix-ins generally increase baking time. If adding, expect your loaf to take closer to 70-75 minutes to bake. Most chocolate chips contain added sugar, so if you add them, your bread will have some added sugar, but still far less than the average loaf. Lily’s baking chips and Trader Joe’s Cacao Nibs are sugar-free options.

    Ingredient Prep

    • Mash the bananas; refrigerate for up to 2 days 
    • Measure your dry ingredients.

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating while increasing appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help: 

    • Toddlers: Help with peeling and mashing the bananas, grease bread pan with a paper towel and a dollop of oil; whisk ingredients together, stir in flour, and mix-ins
    • Little Kids: Peel and mash the bananas, measure ingredients; pour batter into the pan
    • Big Kids: All of the above

    Nutrition

    Nutrition info based on 1, 3-ounce slice made with coconut oil; mix-ins not included

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 3/4″ slice
    • Calories: 137
    • Sugar: 5
    • Sodium: 209
    • Fat: 3 g
    • Saturated Fat: 2 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 1 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 25 g
    • Fiber: 4 g
    • Protein: 4 g
    • Cholesterol: 15 mg

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    Overhead shot of 2 slices of healthy zucchini banana bread with the rest of the loaf on a white marble background with title text overlay

    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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