Cherry-Walnut Banana Bread

by on April 13, 2006
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What do you do when the bananas are so over-ripe that they’re practically inedible? In my house, there are basically two choices: freeze them for smoothies or make banana bread. So I put it to a family vote, and the response was unanimous: Banana Bread!

I’ve been making the same banana bread for years. The recipe comes from my dog-eared, much loved copy of Laurel’s Kitchen, the very first vegetarian cookbook I ever bought. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, and the book’s margins show it. There are notes giving the nutritional values with oil and with butter (from before I was vegan) and with reduced amounts of oil, butter, and light margarine. But there are no notes about completely eliminating the fat; I usually make the recipe for guests, and I tend to allow a little oil or margarine when cooking for others. I wanted to make it fat-free this time, so I looked for guidance in another old, but new to me, book that I picked up last week at an antique store: the 1994 edition of Fat-Free Baking by Sandra Woodruff, RD. It’s not a vegan cookbook, but its recipes really are fat-free and many look to be low in sugar, too. So I looked at what I like about the Laurel’s Kitchen recipe and I looked at Ms. Woodruff’s recipe, and I sort of combined the two.

And then I threw in my own twist: dried cherries. This was a last minute decision on my part. I was trying to decide whether or not to include dates when I remembered that I had a package of dried cherries I’d bought to make Pop-Ems. So I threw them in. Feel free to throw them out, but be warned–you’ll be missing a treat if you do. The cherries add a wonderful sweet-tart taste to the bread that you might not want to miss.

Cherry Walnut Banana Bread

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SusanV August 1, 2009 at 8:11 am

Here are the comments that were lost when the blog was moved:

KaiVegan said…

Looks and sounds good!
Another must try for me. As usual, I’ll let you know how it turns out for us.

12:19 PM, April 13, 2006
primaryconsumer said…

My sister always brings home overripe bananas (at one point last summer she brought home over 80!) so I normally make banana bread. Our favorite recipe is the Banana Bonanza Bread recipe over at Vegweb, but I’ll have to give this one a try, as it sounds delicious. (I can’t eat nuts because of my braces, but the rest of my family can enjoy it.) By the way, I have both of the books you mentioned! 🙂

12:21 PM, April 13, 2006
primaryconsumer said…

Ooops, now that I’m looking at the recipe I see you can leave the walnuts out.

12:39 PM, April 13, 2006
Julie said…

Looks great and easy! 😉

1:22 PM, April 13, 2006
Alanna said…

You’ll laugh at how prosaic this is: my Mom used to add maraschino cherries to banana bread … and so do I! (And poppy seeds!) I throw ripe-til-they’re-black bananas, still in their skins, into the freezer all the time — smoothies, yes, but banana bread and banana cake and banana muffins and banana pancakes and … too.

2:00 PM, April 13, 2006
Nancy said…

This looks wonderful! Since my dogs discovered bananas I never have any around long enough to get banana bread ripe. I need to get them off their banana habit 😉

1:37 AM, April 14, 2006
Katie said…

This was so good! I baked a loaf to take when my boyfriend & I took a weekend road trip — it stayed nice & moist the whole time, and gave us a tasy breakfast or snack when we were driving.

11:08 AM, September 05, 2006
Anonymous said…

Susan, this is probably my favorite recipe I’ve made from your blog. I just made it again today… It’s so good!

9:48 PM, December 20, 2006
Anonymous said…

I made this bread today and I have to say it is delicious! (I know, I really wanted to wait and eat it for breakfast tomorrow, but I just couldn’t resist trying on tiny slice! :-D)
I just replaced the cherries with cranberries which in my opinion tasted really good (I love the combination of the sweet bananas and the sour cranberries)

9:15 AM, January 19, 2007
Anonymous said…

I made this bread today and I have to say it is delicious! (I know, I really wanted to wait and eat it for breakfast tomorrow, but I just couldn’t resist trying on tiny slice! :-D)
I just replaced the cherries with cranberries which in my opinion tasted really good (I love the combination of the sweet bananas and the sour cranberries)

9:16 AM, January 19, 2007
sikegami said…

Thanks for the recipe! I usually use ripe bananas for smoothies. Since it has been so cold in SoCal, this bread was the perfect way to use my bananas!

2:29 PM, January 30, 2007
julie said…

I’ve often come to your blog recently and I must say you have great recipes. I made this banana bread yesterday and it is delicious, you couldn’t tell it’s vegan (I’m no vegan) or fatfree, thanks for sharing!

7:43 AM, February 16, 2007
Miriam said…

this was lovely! so light and moist. I subbed chocolate chips for the cherries and walnuts. I was skeptical about the fat-free part but it was great.

8:36 PM, March 10, 2007
Chongston said…

inspiration susanv, inspiration! i made this two nights ago and it was so grood (great & good).

american needs susanv to PUT THEM BACK INTO SHAPE

5:43 PM, April 01, 2007
shan said…

just want to let you know that i have been using this recipe every single time (okay, maybe not EVERY) i have overripe bananas in my house. in fact, sometimes i find myself using not overly ripe bananas. no i’m not joking.

this is just terrific stuff, and everyone always loves it.

11:37 PM, August 20, 2007
Anonymous said…

ahh, i made this two days ago and have been eating it for breakfast. it is delicious! [: i replaced the walnuts and cherries with prunes, dried apricots, raisins and hazelnuts.

11:07 AM, November 06, 2007
Dayna D. said…

What a terrific find! I wanted to make something sweet for my vegan boyfriend and he loved it! I decided to see if it would pass with my meat-loving family and they also loved it had no idea it was vegan.

However, I did use one cup white flour and one cup wheat to make the bread a little less dense. Worked great!

10:33 AM, March 19, 2008
Shauna said…

This looks heavenly!! You should enter it in this banana bread contest:

The prize is a $50 Sur La Table giftcard. There aren’t very many people that have entered the contest either, so it would be pretty easy to win!

I could do the wrong thing, and enter it myself, but that would be bad karma!!! 🙂

9:11 AM, June 06, 2008
Mary Rose said…

Your cherry-walnut banana bread has been popular on my Yummy Northwest site. Thanks so much for giving me permission to publish it there. Some of my readers still can’t believe vegan is tasty. We’ll show ’em!

3:26 PM, June 06, 2008
Anonymous said…

I know this sounds silly, will this work in a 9×5″ loaf pan? 🙂

8:02 PM, June 14, 2008
Anonymous said…

We made this and it was fabulous. The dried cherries really worked nicely in it.

7:02 AM, July 16, 2008
lea said…

I do a lot of baking and this is by far the best banana bread ever! I used dried sour cherries and it was so yummy!

6:36 AM, August 23, 2008
Anonymous said…

This seems like it will turn out really good – I think I will use juice sweetened dried cranberries instead of cherries; the ones at our local Co-Op are great.

2:55 PM, December 30, 2008
ellie said…

What do you think about using fresh (overripe) cherries (pitted) INSTEAD of dried ones?

3:11 PM, July 15, 2009
SusanV said…

Ellie, I think they’d be delicious. I would drain any liquid out of them first and probably not use more than a cup.

3:58 PM, July 15, 2009


2 amby September 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Made this today using cranberries instead of cherries along with the citrus bread. They both smell amazing!!! After reading what u said about fat free bread tasting better after it cools were gonna wait and have them for breakfast tomorrow. Thanks yet again for the great recipes.


3 Laloofah October 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm

I had some really ripe bananas that were just perfect for baking banana bread, so I ditched my pumpkin-cranberry bread plans and checked FFV for a banana bread recipe (I ALWAYS check here first!) 🙂 I wasn't sure about this one, but decided what the hey. And just like Amby, I used fresh cranberries instead of cherries. I also used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, and sucanat for my sweetener. I baked it in a silicone loaf pan (no oiling necessary, I adore silicone bakeware) and let it sit for a few hours before digging in. OH MY!!! We have a new favorite sweet bread now!! This is just divine! It never would have occurred to me to put cranberries in banana bread, but that combination is sublime! Thank you yet again, Susan, for another brilliant recipe! (You haven't failed me yet!) 🙂


4 *Naomi* October 16, 2009 at 8:07 am


prrinting NOW!


5 Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Could you make these in muffin form? Or is that a crazy idea? Also, would it be suitable for freezimg?


6 SusanV February 9, 2010 at 6:19 pm

It seems like most of my breads do fine as muffins, so you could try it that way (less baking time, though). And yes, it should freeze just fine, either way.


7 lovemyfamily February 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm

made these as muffins and cooked for about 20 minutes at 350 and the recipe made about 18 muffins, but if you want bigger muffins than it would make a dozen. I also did 1/4 brown sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup instead of 1/2 cup brown sugar


8 Angela March 31, 2010 at 10:48 am

This is the most tasty bread I have had ina long time. A huge favorite in my house. I cannot wait to try the blueberry version!


9 lea April 16, 2010 at 11:47 am

This is the best banana bread ever! So moist and delicious. The cherries really make it so don’t leave them out. No one would ever know it’s fat free.


10 VK July 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Hi Susan,
I made this today and it is absolutely delicious. I have never been successful in baking anything except the cake mix in the box. This was very easy. I made it as per your recipe except I used dried cranberry instead of cherries. Thanks very much for this recipe



11 MSG July 31, 2010 at 11:51 pm

this looks fantastic! do you have a calorie count per serving? i’m trying to bake healthy things for my mom who’s losing weight but she likes to know the count for her program.


12 katie September 8, 2010 at 9:07 am

Yummy muffins! (I made 12 mini muffins and 6 muffin tops with this recipe.) They were a little sweet to me, but that may because I haven’t had any baked goods for the last month — trying to eat very healthfully and have successfully shed many lbs — so I may halve the sugar next time.

Any info on fat/calories?


13 SusanV September 8, 2010 at 9:41 am

Katie, I just added the nutritional info, along with a printer-friendly page. (You may need to refresh the page to see it.) I’m glad to hear you liked the recipe. They’ll be even healthier with less sugar!


14 Kelly September 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Hi Susan, I’ve made a number of your recipes with success, but this one I just can’t get right. I have made it twice, and both times I have added at least 10 extra minutes to the cooking time, I let it cool, then enjoy. Both times there are gooey sections in the bread. Any thoughts on this? Maybe a higher oven temperature? I am in a coastal area and the humidity is high, so this may be an issue . . . ideas?? The flavor is awesome, so I would love to perfect the ‘bread’ part 😉


15 Megan October 17, 2010 at 11:52 am

I made these as muffins with 1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup spelt flour. Really yummy! I’ve been making banana-walnut bread for years, but I love adding the cherries. Good sweet/tart/crunchy balance. Another great recipe, Susan!


16 Carlyn January 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I noticed that this recipe and the recipe for your blueberry banana bread is very similar. They both look so great, which one do you like better? Also, for the blueberry banana bread could I make it but just use buttermilk instead of the soymilk/lemon juice combo? (I realize this makes it nonvegan)
Thanks for the help! (and all these great recipes!!)


17 SusanV January 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm

You’re right–the recipes are very similar, and I really like them both equally. You can use buttermilk instead of the soy milk and lemon juice if you like. Hope you enjoy whichever one you make!


18 angie148 February 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Just made this bread but could not wait to try it. It is delicious. It is amazing that a bread tastes so good without eggs, milk, or oil. I didn’t have three bananas so used two and doubled the applesauce. This bread will be made again and again. I am slowly trying to eat less meat, become a vegetarian and my ultimate goal is to eat mostly vegan style. Can’t wait to check out more recipes . Thank you for this great website.


19 Elaine Clark April 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Thank you for all your yummy recipes. When I make them, my husband is always surprised that they are fat free AND vegan. My son even appreciates most of the recipes. The only one that was not a hit was the chocolate beet cake. I couldn’t fool them with that one.


20 Sandi July 27, 2011 at 11:09 am

Susan, do you think oatmeal might work instead of flour?


21 SusanV July 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

I think it would be more like baked oatmeal than a bread if you used oatmeal. It could be good, but I think I would try experimenting with a baked oatmeal recipe rather than risk wasting all the ingredients on this.


22 Sandi July 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

OK, I usually avoid flour; just thought oatmeal might work. But you’re right…thanks, Susan.


23 Azahara Ruiz July 31, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Can I use agave, like in your Blueberry-Banana Bread recipe?



24 SusanV July 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm

You may need to increase the flour a little if you use agave, but it should work. The batter should be very thick.


25 Whitney August 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Long time reader, first time commenter here!

I’ve been using your blog for recipe suggestions and inspiration, and have enjoyed it a great deal (thank you — what a great resource!) …

I made this bread a couple weeks ago and loved it. I haven’t had banana bread since I was a kiddo, when my mom made (a non vegan) one that tasted heavily of old ‘nanners and nothing else. This one’s way better! (Sorry, ma.)

I subbed 2/3 cup white flour for 2/3 of the wheat (I was running out), put in a little extra dried cherries and walnuts, and then added about 2 t cinnamon, 3/4 t nutmeg, and a hearty 10 or so shakes of cloves (A creature of habit, I tend to toss this trio of spices in most of my desserts and treat breads) …

and it was deelishious. I just popped Loaf No. 2 in the oven!

Thanks much.


26 KMB November 29, 2011 at 4:51 am

This bread turned out fantastic! I had a pile of over-ripe bananas that I was searching out a good recipe to use in. Glad I made a double batch, because the loaf I took to work didn’t last long! My husband would have been very disappointed if I hadn’t had some saved for us! I made a large loaf and 8 mini loaves with doubling. I did used frozen cherries, as I had only those on hand, and it worked just fine. Also, I tossed in dark chocolate chips in some of the mini loaves. Yum! Good both ways! Thanks for a new favorite banana bread recipe! (my previous was a peanut butter banana bread-hard to top!)

P.S. Even my bosses dad, a retired baker, complimented it!


27 andreea December 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Thank you so much! This is the first vegan fat free cake that really works!
I made it twice already and it’s great!


28 Martina January 4, 2012 at 7:55 am

Just made it, it’s still warm, but already delicious.
I made a few adjustments, as my hubbie doesn’t like cherries – i used dried cranberries instead. I also used just 100g sugar 50% brown and 50% birch-sugar.
and, just because i already had it at home, rye-wheat instead of wholegrain.
i hope it gets more chewy tomorrow, like that better 🙂
i’m just vegetarian, not vegan but i try to use as few eggs as possible, so i’m very much into vegan baking.
thanks for this wonderful reciepe!


29 cjlamar January 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Mmmmmm!!! Made it without the cherries and substituted pecans for walnuts. I only had 2 ripe bananas so I added a splash of apple cider for additional moisture. 45 minutes was long enough for the baking time. Loved it! And, I love your blog and recipes!


30 Deena April 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Looks yummy! Must buy too many bananas so I can let them get over ripe!


31 Fiona April 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I just made these, but with cranberries instead of cherries, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar instead of 1/2 cup, and I added a couple T of pecan pieces as well as the walnuts. They are wonderful! I made mine as muffins and mini muffins and they took 21 minutes and 10 minutes respectively. Fantastic! If I were serving to company I would keep the sugar at 1/2 cup though.


32 betty April 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm

This bread is phenominal…..when I was mixing it, I was thinking that this bread is going to need some oil added and I almost added it but I really wanted to cook it exactly the way you said because I really am changing my diet. It was so easy to make. I cooked it in the evening and let it cool completely and did not eat it until next day.

I was so pleasantly surprised. I shared some with my neighbor and she had to call and say it is the perfect bread to eat with coffee because of it not being too sweet. My hubby ate about half of it….I will cook this again over and over because it is so easy to make. Thanks again… It really taste sweet to me. I guess my neighbor eats more sweets than me.
I am vegan with my husband…I am trying to pull out all oil from our diets slowly.


33 Rebecca Bolduc June 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I am so happy to have found your website. My family and friends love this recipe. I use 1 cup ground rolled oats and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. I also have used 2 bananas with 1 cup of mango (which is plentiful right now in So. FL). Bits of crystalized ginger, dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Very delicious!


34 nellie April 6, 2013 at 11:06 am

Look goodddddddd!


35 Sandi April 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Susan, can I use oatmeal instead of flour? Thanks.


36 Sandi April 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Sorry, I just saw that this has been asked before.


37 Susan Voisin April 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Sandi, I don’t think it would turn out well with oatmeal. Gluten-free breads do best with a combination of grain and bean flours.


38 Robin August 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm

This bread was so tasty! We waited a day to eat it so that the flavors would meld and my family was quite impressed that it was vegan. This was my first time making a quick bread and it turned out very well. I used white whole wheat flour, craisins instead of cherries, and nixed the walnuts because ours tasted funky. I also only had two ripe bananas so I added a little more applesauce. When I make this recipe again (there will definitely be a next time) I’ll be sure to use the three bananas to help it stay moist. Yum yum!


39 kim baker November 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Lady, this is a new favorite! It so so delicious!!!!
I am making your thanksgiving : Brussel sprouts w/ mushrooms, Bryanna’s pie and that lovely looking lemon pie, Broccoli rice chick pea creamy casserole: does my collard greens recipe belong to you ?? Wow. I’m in heaven! Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!


40 kim baker November 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

I made the persimmon bread , too, I just didn’t sneak a bite yet 🙂


41 Donna December 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Has anyone tried making this as several small loaves instead of one big one? I would like to know how many small loaves I could make and how long to bake it. or can I make muffins?


42 Rebecca Finch April 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Found this just in time–our produce outlet was selling 10 lbs. of overripe bananas for $2.50. Thus far I have made four large loaves, two from this recipe and two from your original banana bread recipe. Mixed three times what the recipe called for so as to get two very large loaves rather than two medium size ones and that worked perfectly. I did bake the loaves ten minutes longer than called for in the recipe. Next up is to do this recipe again but with pumpkin mixed with plant milk in place of the apple sauce and raisins instead of cherries. Thanks for all you do–your recipes are wonderful.


43 Sharon August 8, 2015 at 11:13 am

I didn’t have a loaf pan so I’m baking them in a muffin pan and a small square pan. I noticed afterwards that you offer a muffin recipe with similar ingredients. What temperature should I cook my banana bread in the muffin pan? I don’t want to burn them. Thanks for your incredible site!


44 Susan Voisin August 8, 2015 at 11:43 am

I would bake them at 350 for about 20 minutes. Start checking them at 15 minutes and go longer if necessary. Hope you enjoy them!


45 Sharon August 8, 2015 at 11:50 am

I was impatient and didn’t really expect an immediate response to the timing question for the banana bread. I cooked them for the 50 mins. that you suggested and couldn’t resist trying one out. Wow! Amazing! They are perfect even as a muffin. Love your site and recipes! Thanks for making it easy to cook healthy, delicious food!


46 Rebecca Finch October 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm

This is a wonderful recipe, but I would like to know why you have salt in it. I have to limit my sodium, so I always leave it out and the bread turns out great.


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