These healthy banana muffins are so sweet and moist. You won’t believe that they are sweetened only with dates and bananas. And you won’t miss refined sugar in this one. Start your morning tasty and wholesome!
Healthy Banana Muffins
Anyone who loves baking knows how important sugar is to baking. How it contributes to the texture and taste. So, baking with other sweeteners often meets with less than satisfying results.
But these date-sweetened banana muffins solve an important problem. How to satisfy the sweet tooth, without depending heavily on refined sugar! An absolute must try for anyone who loves sweet mornings and baking.
I was amazed with the results. The banana muffins rise nicely, are moist and have a great texture. You really can’t tell there is no refined sugar in these muffins. So easy to make too.
Nourish your body while pleasing your senses, with these healthy banana date muffins.
- Flour: Use all purpose flour or whole wheat flour .
- Oats: Rolled oats give a wholesome texture.
- Bananas: Choose very ripe bananas. You can freeze over-ripe bananas and use as needed. If they are not ripe enough, bake them at 350 degrees F for 6 to 8 minutes until the skin darkens.
- Oil: Use any oil that does not have a strong flavor. You can’t skimp on the oil though, or the muffins will be dry.
- Dates: Choose soft and plump medjool dates as they are easy to work with.
- If dates are too dry, then place in saucepan, add small amount of water (as needed), heat at medium high and when bubbles appear, lower the heat and simmer. Cook it until soft, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
- Ready-Made Date Paste: This is available at middle eastern stores or online, but make sure to remove any pits or fragments. Use 300 grams (about 10 ounces) for this recipe. The date paste can be sticky, so work with it using food prep gloves or oiled palms.
- Dark Chocolate Chips: These add some bursts of sweetness. Use raisins as a substitute.
- Walnuts: Toast nuts at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes, cool and chop them coarsely.
- Flavors: I use cinnamon and vanilla. Adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of freshly ground green cardamom is also nice. A few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg may be good too.
- Milk: Whole, reduced fat or low-fat dairy or non-dairy milk will work.
- Other Ingredients: Egg, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt.
How to Make It
Brief overview below. *Full recipe for healthy banana muffins at the end of blog post.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dry Ingredients: In a food processor, pulse walnuts into big pieces. Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats and pulse. Transfer to a bowl.
- Wet Ingredients: Process dates with milk into a paste. Add oil and pulse. Then add egg, vanilla and pulse. Add bananas and pulse until smooth.
- Combine: Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips if using.
- Bake: Spoon batter into muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees F.
Use Ripe Bananas: This is an absolute must. Ripe bananas are sweeter and more flavorful.
Thick Batter: The batter consistency should be in between that of cake and drop cookies. Thick enough to mound. Adjust with flour if needed.
Domed Muffins: Don't hesitate to fill the muffins pans, for nice domed muffin tops.
Hot Oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and then lower it to 350 degrees F before baking. This will help the muffins rise better.
Raisins, other dried fruits and dark chocolate chips are some ways to adjust sweetness in muffins.
Below are some suggestions, but I have not tried some of these.
Gluten-Free: Be sure to use certified gluten free oats and substitute all purpose flour with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour.
Nut-Free: Skip walnuts or use pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes.
Dairy-Free: Instead of dairy milk, use nut based milk, soy milk and such.
Egg-Free: Use flax or chia eggs in place of regular eggs. Combine 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
Vegan: Try flax or chia eggs, use non-dairy milk and vegan chocolate chips.
Other Sweeteners: You can try using about ¾ cup of maple syrup or honey instead of the dates. Another option is to try our oatmeal banana muffins.
Combine dry ingredients and have them ready. Make the date paste ahead.
Banana date muffins are best for 1 to 2 days at room temperature. They can be frozen in freezer safe bags or containers.
What to Serve Along
Enjoy these healthy banana muffins with milk, tea made with our homemade tea blend, hot chocolate or coffee.
Why Are These Healthy?
The muffins are made with the following ingredients.
Rolled Oats: Are whole grain and a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have a lower glycemic load, releasing sugar slowly from the carbohydrates and keeping you satisfied longer.
Bananas: These sweeten the muffins. And are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium.
Dates: They are high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and a good source of niacin, calcium, phosphorus, iron and polyphenols. Therefore are a wholesome alternative to refined sugar.
Olive oil: It makes the muffins moist and is a great source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats.
Walnuts: A great source of omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of healthy fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, protein and antioxidants.
Dietary fiber, protein and fat, in the muffins are all nutrients that help moderate blood sugar levels.
Why Bake With Dates?
Compared to sugar, dates come with a lot of beneficial nutrients. One date provides almost 2 grams of fiber or 8% of the daily value. Plus they are also a source of nutrients that support good health and lower risk of diseases.
The dietary fiber in dates can slow the absorption of carbs and therefore reduce blood sugar spikes. In fact, some research has shown that people with diabetes did not experience significant blood sugar spikes after consuming certain number of dates.
Dates have a low glycemic index (foods with low GI cause less significant changes in blood sugar levels). However dates are also a rich source of carbohydrates and calories, so always moderation is recommended.
And when we look at another measure, glycemic load, which considers the amount eaten, then 2 dates would be of medium glycemic load.
More Banana Recipes
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
Date-Sweetened Banana Muffins
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup rolled oats old fashioned
- 1 cup chopped medjool dates packed tightly, see note
- ¼ cup milk whole or reduced fat, or buttermilk
- ⅔ cup olive oil or any neutral oil, see note
- 1 egg large
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
- 3 bananas very ripe, large
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips or raisins
- butter, flour or muffin liners as needed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take walnuts in a food processor and pulse into large pieces. Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pulse. Then add oats, and pulse just to combine. The oats should remain whole and walnuts as pieces. Transfer dry mix to a bowl.
- In the same food processor, take dates with milk and process into a smooth paste. Add oil and pulse. Then add egg, vanilla and pulse, just to incorporate. Finally add chopped banana and pulse few times until smooth.
- Then add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and pulse just to moisten, making sure the oats remain whole and walnuts as pieces. Stir in chocolate chips if using. Make a thick batter that forms a mound with a scoop (see note for tip).
- Prepare a muffin pan, by applying butter in the wells, sprinkle flour all over and dust off excess. Or line with paper muffin liners.
- Spoon the batter almost full into the prepared muffin cups. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until a cake tester inserted comes out clean and the muffin tops are golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove muffins from the pan and let cool.
- Choose soft and plump medjool dates. Use more dates for sweeter muffins.
- If dates are too dry, then place in saucepan, add small amount of water (increase as needed), heat at medium high and when bubbles appear, lower the heat and simmer. Cook it until soft, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
- Ready-Made Date Paste: Available at middle eastern stores or online. Be sure to look for any pits and remove. Use 300 grams (about 10 ounces) for this recipe.
The date paste can be sticky, so work with it using food prep gloves or oiled palms.
- Oil: Since we don’t use sugar, oil is necessary for optimal moistness. You can try lowering it to ½ cup but the muffins will be less moist.
- Batter: Adjust the thickness of batter with flour if needed.
- Make Ahead: Combine dry ingredients and have them ready. Make the date paste ahead.
- Storage: These are best for 1 to 2 days at room temperature. They can be frozen as well.
- Add-ins and Toppings: Chocolate chips, dried fruits, nuts, oats, shredded coconut.
- Traditional Method: Process dates with milk into a paste. Using a fork, mash bananas very well and stir it in. Add oil, egg, vanilla and whisk into a smooth mixture. In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats, chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients, to make a thick batter that forms a mound, and with no lumps. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan and bake.
- Nutrition Facts: Without walnuts and chocolate chips - 249 calories, 32 g carbs, 3 g protein, 13 g fat, 3 g fiber, 14 g sugar.
- For more information on ingredients and variations (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free nut-free and other sweeteners) scroll up the page to the blog post.
Can this be made using unsalted butter instead of olive oil?
The muffins just came out of the oven and WOW!
Since I had 3 dead ripe bananas, some dates that had been here more than a minute as well as an oversupply of walnuts I did a search and your recipe popped up. I wasn't looking for healthy. I wasn't looking for a well written recipe (so hard to find!). I wasn't even letting my science bias steer me to solid ingredient measures in mass instead of volume. I found all of those things in your muffin recipe (using your metric switch got the mass measures) so there was no chance they'd be good, right? As they baked the aroma wafted up the stairs and had my wife bounding down to see what smelled so amazing.
As evidence of how impressed I am, I have NEVER subscribed to a food blog site and I use them almost every day. I just subscribed to yours. You now have a very high expectation bar though. All of your recipes will have to be that good! I'm smiling because I fully expect them to be. Nicely done!
Thank you John for taking the time to write such a lovely and helpful feedback.