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Sweet Bread Machine Banana Bread with Yeast: A Ripe Banana Recipe

Preview: Sweet Bread Machine Banana Bread with Yeast is a healthier substitute for traditional banana bread. This stuff is irresistible!!

Break out of your same old banana bread routine. Use those ripe, dark, and soft bananas to make this healthy Banana Yeast Bread with some whole wheat flour. It’s slightly sweet with an optional sugar-cardamom mixture sprinkled over the top.

What do you do with ripe bananas? I peel mine, throw them into small plastic bags in the size needed for my favorite recipe, and freeze them. I don’t know about you, but I swear those little bags have babies once they get into the freezer.

This is my answer to the problem. It’s not an excuse to eat cake (like traditional banana bread). Eat it for breakfast, make a jelly sandwich for lunch, eat it with chicken salad for a light supper, then make sweet cinnamon melba toasts with leftovers the next day.

This bread gets most of its sweetness from the fruit. Leave it out if you’re not a fan. Your bread will still be fantastic.

No worries if you don’t have a bread machine. See the recipe notes for how to make this recipe with a stand mixer or by hand.

a slice of Healthy Banana Whole Wheat Bread next to some mini-loaves.
This is my #1 ripe banana recipe.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • FLOUR: I love that this recipe calls for part whole wheat flour. More fiber and protein never tasted so good. Bread flour constitutes the rest of the flour requirement. You could use all-purpose unbleached flour instead of bread flour, but you may need to add an extra tablespoon. Decide that after you start mixing the dough and check the dough consistency.
  • MILK: I used milk for years. But since yogurt has taken over my life, I substitute it whenever I can.
  • BANANAS: If your bananas are not very soft, you may need to add some extra water.  Peek at the dough after the bread machine has been running a few minutes to determine if more is needed. 

    If you are a little short on bananas, add extra milk or water. If your banana is a little too large, reduce the liquid to compensate. See this post for how to adjust the dough if it is too dry or too wet.
  • HONEY: Because of the dried fruits and bananas in this recipe, you could leave the honey out. If you don’t have honey in the house, maple syrup will work.
  • YEAST: Use instant or bread machine yeast (no difference) as specified by the recipe. You can now substitute active dry yeast without dissolving it first. Be aware it may be a little slower to activate and make your bread dough rise.
  • NUTS: Pecans or almonds are specified in the recipe. Walnuts or macadamia nuts would make a good substitute. Be sure to toast the nuts for maximum flavor. It’s easy to toast nuts with a paper plate in the microwave.
  • DATES AND RAISINS: You can leave out either of these ingredients if you prefer. They add quite a bit of sweetness though. Chopped dried figs could be subbed for the dates.

    If your dried fruit is a dry, plump it up by soaking the fruit in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Drain well.
  • CARDAMOM: Fragrant cardamom comes in pods or seeds. For this recipe, you want the green seeds in the powdered form. This spice is pretty easy to find at the grocery store. If you are wondering what to do with the rest of the jar, here are 25 Suggestions for Ways To Use Cardamom from the Cooking Channel.

    Since you are only sprinkling it on top of the bread, it can be left out.


Banana-Pecan Yeast Bread: Replace the whole-wheat flour with a cup of bread flour or unbleached flour. Replace the honey with 1/4 cup of sugar.

Can I make this ahead of time?

This bread is best eaten the day it’s made. Unlike store-bought yeast bread, there are no preservatives.

If you can’t eat it all the first day, I have two suggestions:

  1. Slice the bread. Wrap the slices individually in plastic wrap. Store in the freezer. When you need a snack or a jelly sandwich, take a couple of slices out to thaw for a few minutes. Delicious snack.
  2. If you find your bread has gone a bit stale a day or two later, make Cinnamon Crispy Toasts.

How to make a 3-strand braid:

banana bread dough divided into 3 equal pieces
Divide dough into 3 equally-sized portions.
How to braid whole wheat banana bread mixed and kneaded in a bread machine
Roll each ball into a long, skinny log. Braid as shown above.

More Tips and Recipes for Bread Machines

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If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or email me: paula at

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Yield: 1 braid

Sweet Bread Machine Banana Bread with Yeast

braided whole wheat banana bread

Break out of your same old banana bread routine. Use those old bananas to make this Banana Whole-Wheat Yeast Bread in your bread machine. It's slightly sweet with a sugar-cardamom mixture sprinkled over the top.

Prep Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes



  • 1 large egg (50 gr)
  • 1/3 cup warm milk (76 gr) or yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey (21 gr)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (3 gr)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut up (28 gr)
  • 1 small ripe banana, mashed (approximately 1/2 cup, 5.3 ounces or 150 grams) (see notes in the post if you have more or less)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (120 gr)
  • 1 3/4 bread flour (can substitute all-purpose unbleached) (210g)
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) bread-machine or instant yeast
  • 1/2 c. (65 g) toasted pecans or almonds
  • 1/3 c. (50 g) raisins
  • 1/4 c. (45g) chopped dates


  • 1 tablespoon milk (14 gr)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (12 gr)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (1 gr)


  1. Combine all dough ingredients (except the nuts, raisins, and dates) into a bread machine pan in the order given. Set on the DOUGH cycle. When the machine signals it's time for "add-ins", add nuts and dried fruit.
  2. At the end of the cycle, if the dough has risen to double its size, remove dough from pan. If not double, leave the dough in the machine until it has doubled. Remove to a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Allow dough ball to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Divide into 3 equal portions. Form into 3 cylinders each about 12 inches long. Braid as shown in the picture, tucking the ends under.
  4. Transfer to a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Let rise for about 45 minutes covered with a soft tea towel.
  5. (If the idea of braiding intimidates you, divide the dough into three balls and place side by side in a loaf pan.)
  6. Brush milk lightly over raised loaf. Combine sugar with cardamom and sprinkle on top of the braid.
  7. Bake at 375˚ F for 30-35 minutes or until done.
  8. Note: You may need to cover the loaf with foil halfway through to protect the top crust from over-browning before the loaf is cooked in the middle. If you have a quick-read digital thermometer, which I recommend if you intend to make very much bread, the temperature should be close to 190°F


Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:

  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using the dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic about 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in the recipe

Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. There is no longer any need to dissolve it. Be aware that it may be a little slower acting than instant yeast, but it'll get there.

    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:


    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 85mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 4g

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


    Monday 8th of August 2011

    I made this bread today and it is wonderful. I chased my kids (college age- and home for the summer) off telling them that it was for supper. Then I couldn't resist and cut into it myself. Luckily they ran out to the store so there is no one here to see the scene of the crime. I did put a very, very light glaze over the top. Great recipe!!! Now I have to figure out how to disguise the fact that I ate some already.


    Thursday 4th of August 2011

    I will try it today .Do you know the calories and nutrition .?


    Thursday 4th of August 2011

    Calories are listed at the end of the post.


    Thursday 3rd of February 2011

    I made this and we really loved it....and the recipe was easy to use too. I made it the traditional way, instead of using a bread maker.

    I am going to make variations of this recipe. I am thinking I could use applesauce instead of bananas, and then use finely diced apples, cranberries, and nuts.....

    Or pureed pumpkin instead of the bananas, and then use raisins, dates or figs, and nuts, and maybe cinnamon instead of cardamom.

    Thx for a great recipe.


    Friday 5th of February 2010

    I made this last night - it was really good! I didn't put in the dates or the nuts, and didn't have cardamom, but we still enjoyed it.

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