This banana date bread is packed with three cups of dates and bananas blended and baked into the base of the bread for a delicious breakfast or snack!
So as many of you know, I’m officially in the third trimester (update coming this week!) And given my history of being overdue (first baby forced out at 41 and 6, second baby labor started 4 hours before scheduled induction time at 42 and 0), I’m thinking about starting all the labor-inducing things a little earlier than recommended. I’m hoping to drink all the red raspberry tea I can stomach (I don’t like tea – I know, naughty dietitian, I always struggle with water consumption, so now you know all my secrets), and incorporating dates, now will have a cumulative effect that will keep me from having to have an induction.
The thing is, I like dates, but I’m sick of them plain. Even when not pregnant, I feel like I’ve overdone dates in the short time I discovered them and started eating them. I was kind of obsessed with their caramel-like flavor at first, but the initial excitement where I could go eat one plain has kind of worn off. So, I’m looking for new ways to eat them all the time, and that’s when date bread popped into my head.
When I looked it up, I saw two methods, one where you make bread and add a bunch of chopped dates and another where you blend the dates right into the base of the bread. Blending the dates in creates a subtle date flavor within a deliciously moist banana bread that is absolutely to die for, especially with some butter slathered on top. But, since this bread has 2 full cups of dates and 1 cup of banana blended into it, it wasn’t the easiest recipe I ever developed. I struggled with it over-browning (due to the high amount of natural sugar) for the first 3 loaves (I still ate around the crust because it was delicious) until I finally listened to both my MIL and chef/Dietitian friend at school, who both repeatedly said to turn the oven down. It only took me five loaves to listen. Stubbon-a$$ pregnant woman is what I am. I’m glad I finally listened because this bread came out DELICIOUS! Let me know if you try it!
How to Make Banana Date Bread
This recipe can almost entirely be made in the food processor for the win! The only pre-work you need to do is soak the pitted dates in hot water for 10 minutes to soften them up. I used water from the Keurig, so not boiling but pretty hot.
Next, I blended the dates in the food processor. I made this bread many times, and each time I left it a little chunky than I did the time before. This allowed some date “chunks” in the final bread product. But, if you want no date chunks, blend them until very smooth. Then add the remaining wet ingredients and blend again until just blended.
Next, add the dry ingredients and pulse until combined. Be careful not to overmix or over blend. Stop mixing the minute the mixture is fully incorporated. It should be 10-20 seconds of blending max. Overmixing will cause a lot of tunneling in your bread.
Baking Tips: Pan Type & Oven Position
Look, I’m no professional baker, not even close. In fact, the whole idea of weighing ingredients and talking about metal vs. glass pans annoys me, I’m no baker, and I’m sure as heck not a pastry chef. I’m just a dietitian that can’t follow other people’s recipes and gets bored with the same food quickly, hence the food blog. But, my goal with the food blog is to create no-fuss recipes that don’t require a lot of nuance for the beginner.
That being said, I think most people should probably bake in a nonstick baking pan (or at least that’s what I’ve been told), but most people actually bake in the pyrex glass dish I showed. In short, this recipe has a decent amount of natural sugar from the two cups of dates and one cup of banana. It is subject to browning faster than you want, especially on the bottom of the bread, but also on the top a little bit. To bake this bread in a glass pan, I ended up having to decrease the heat significantly and watching it like a hawk when it got close to being done. If you have a nonstick baking pan, it may be able to tolerate 350F without over-browning. Maybe. Oven temperatures vary along with altitude effects, etc., so watch your bread closely!
Also, ensure your bread is placed horizontally on the true middle rack. And follow the advice closely for tenting the bread and when to remove it from the pan.
Swaps and Substitutions
- Medjool Dates – do not sub. You could probably use deglet noor dates, you just may need to soak them a bit longer as they tend to be a more chewy, less soft date variety.
- Hot Water – do not sub. I used one cup of water heated in the Keurig, so not boiling but pretty hot.
- Banana – the browner, the sweeter. I tried this will all types (yellow to almost fully brown), and they were all delicious.
- Vanilla Extract – optional, do not sub.
- Eggs – To make this egg-free, you could try substituting flax eggs, but I have not tried it.
- Sweet Cream Salted Butter- You could use regular salted butter, coconut oil, or ghee. If you use coconut oil or ghee, increase the salt by 1/4 tsp. The salted sweet cream really takes up the flavor a notch, though!
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – I love using whole wheat pastry flour because it gives a light texture, is more similar to all-purpose flour, and is less dense than regular whole wheat flour. You can, however, sub whole wheat flour (the finished product will be denser) or use gluten-free 1:1 flour. I would advice against trying alternative flour like oat flour or almond flour in this one. It was finicky enough to start with.
- Salt – do not omit.
- Baking Powder – do not omit or sub.
- Baking Soda – do not omit or sub.
- Cinnamon – optional, may adjust to fit taste preferences.
How to Serve Banana Date Bread
My kids ate this recipe cold, but I preferred mine microwaved with butter. You could also slather with creamy peanut or other nut butter for some healthy fats!
How To Freeze and Store
To store: Let cool completely on a cooling rack. Store on the counter up to 3 days and in the refrigerator for up to a week (maybe two, but none of my loaves lasted that long.) I wrapped mine in saran wrap to store.
To freeze: Let cool completely on a cooling rack. Wrap in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost under refrigeration.
You May Also Like:
The following recipes are more banana bread variations:
The following recipes are filled with delicious dates:
- 3 Ingredient Date Caramel
- Healthy Cinnamon Rolls (uses a date-pecan filling)
- No Bake Mint Chocolate Protein Bars (dates for sweetener)
- Seed Cycling Balls (Flax and Hempseed energy balls)
- No Bake Red, White, and Blue Flag Cookies
Banana Date Bread
- 2 cups medjool dates pitted, about 16 dates
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup mashed banana the more brown the more sweet, about 2 medium bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup sweet cream salted butter or salted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
- 1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp if using unsalted butter or coconut oil
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a glass bread pan with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil. Place dates in a bowl and cover with hot water for 10 minutes to soften.2 cups medjool dates, 1 cup hot water
- In a food processor, pulse dates until a chunky paste forms. Add bananas, vanilla extract, eggs, and melted butter to the food processor. Process until smooth.1 cup mashed banana, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup sweet cream salted butter
- Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon) and process until smooth. Don't over-mix. Process until just combined, then stop.1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Pour batter into the prepared bread pan and on the middle rack, bake for 30 minutes uncovered, and then tent with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5-15 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Checking on it every 5 minutes until done. Let cool for 20 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack for 30-60 minutes.
How To Freeze and StoreTo store: Let cool completely on a cooling rack. Store on the counter up to 3 days and in the refrigerator for up to a week (maybe two, but none of my loaves lasted that long.) I wrapped mine in saran wrap to store. To freeze: Let cool completely on a cooling rack. Wrap in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost under refrigeration.