Whole Wheat Bourbon Banana Bread

Whole Wheat Bourbon Banana Bread

Thanks to a splash of bourbon, this healthy whole wheat banana bread is rich in flavor. Made with Greek yogurt, it’s also a healthier choice.

The secret to the best whole wheat banana bread is a splash of bourbon.

Sure, chocolate chips and walnuts are great. But what makes a truly delicious loaf of banana bread is bourbon.

With the help of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract, bourbon adds another layer of complex, warm flavors that makes this bread just different enough from other loaves you’ve had in the past.

And no judgment here if you take a swig while making this healthy banana bread. Afterall, it’s important to know what your ingredients taste like. 

So, if you’re looking for the ultimate cozy baked good that also happens to be lower in sugar and calories, then you’re going to want to whip up a batch of this healthy, whole wheat banana bread! 

Why you’ll love this healthy banana bread recipe.

  • Rich, warming flavors thanks to cinnamon, nutmeg, and bourbon.
  • Made with fiber-rich white whole wheat flour.
  • Uses protein-rich Greek yogurt to replace most of the fat.
  • Less than 200 calories per slice.
  • Lower in sugar than many other varieties. 
  • Goes perfectly with a hot cup of coffee and a smear of cream cheese.
Slice of whole wheat bourbon banana bread with cream cheese

Whole wheat banana bread is a more nutritious alternative to coffee shop varieties.

There are some coffee-shop quick breads that are worth the calories and added sugars.

For example, Stella’s Coffee in Denver has the best zucchini bread.

But in general, I don’t find coffee shop banana breads to be worth the nutrition investment. For example, 1 slice of Starbucks’ loaf contains 420 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat, 52 grams of carbs, and 30 grams of sugar.

30 grams! That’s as much as 3 glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme. 

In contrast, one slice of my healthy banana bread recipe has 155 calories, only 1 gram saturated fat, 29 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of sugar. 

So what makes this bread so much healthier?

  • Cut back on the amount of added sugar.
  • Used Greek yogurt to replace most of the butter.
  • Added bourbon, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to add flavor without adding too many calories or grams of sugar. 

Ingredients Used to Make Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Bourbon:

  • Ripe bananas: As with any banana bread, make sure your bananas are nice and ripe. They should be almost completely brown. I used 3 medium bananas, which when mashed is just under 1 ½ cups.
  • Bourbon: Any bourbon will work. Obviously don’t use expensive, top-shelf, but I also don’t recommend going with the cheapest option either. I usually use Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon. 
  • Plain Greek yogurt: By adding Greek yogurt, we’re able to cut back on the amount of fat needed to make this bread nice and moist. Since it does replace most of the fat in this recipe, I recommend using at least 1% or 2% fat Greek yogurt rather than non-fat.
  • White whole wheat flour: White whole wheat flour is perfect for this recipe as it has all the benefits of whole wheat, but results in a lighter texture. If you don’t have it, you can use all-purpose flour instead.
  • Dark brown sugar: Dark brown sugar has more molasses and a deeper flavor than light brown sugar. However, you can use either interchangeably. I have not tried this recipe using a liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey.
  • Melted butter: There’s still a little butter in this recipe for flavor and texture. If you don’t have butter, avocado or olive oil can be used instead.
  • Egg: Eggs are key for the structure of this bread. I haven’t tried it with vegan alternatives like chia or flax eggs, but if you do please let me know how it turns out!
  • Vanilla extract: Just a splash greatly helps with the flavor of this bread.
  • Baking soda: Helps the bread rise. Do not use baking soda.
  • Nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt: These spices and seasonings fill each bite with warm, cozy flavors. If you don’t have nutmeg, cinnamon on it’s own works too.

How to ripen bananas quickly. 

Don’t want to wait for your bananas to brown? You can actually ripen them in your oven in 15 minutes.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Place bananas (in their peels) on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until peels just turn brown.

Just note that this only works with bananas that are yellow and already starting to ripen. Ones that are still green will not work.

Slice of whole wheat bourbon banana bread

How to Make this Healthy Banana Bread Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare your loaf pan. You can either lightly grease it with oil or butter. Or, use a parchment sling to make it easy to remove from the pan after baking. 
  2. Mash bananas in the bowl of a stand mixer, then add in remaining wet ingredients. Mix until smooth. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour dry ingredients into the banana mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix!
  5. Using a rubber spatula, pour batter into your prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cooled loaf from pan, slice, and serve. 

How to store this healthy quick bread. 

To keep this banana bread nice and moist, store it in an airtight container. 

How long does this whole wheat banana bread keep?

Stored properly, it will last for 2-3 days at room temperature or for up to 1 week in the fridge. 

Whole wheat bourbon banana bread sliced

Tips for making this recipe:

  • Concerned about the alcohol content? No need to worry! While the bourbon does add a bourbon-y flavor this bread is perfectly safe for kids and women who are pregnant. However, if you don’t want to add bourbon, feel free to leave it out.
  • Ripe bananas = sweeter, moister bread. I know it can be hard to be patient for your bananas to turn brown, but trust me it’s worth the wait. Of course you can also use my trick that I mention earlier in the post!
  • Weight out your flour. There’s nothing worse than dry banana bread. One key to success is measuring out your flour using a kitchen scale. 
  • Increase oven temp to 375 if baking at altitude. 

More healthy quickbread recipes to try 

If you tried this healthy whole wheat banana bread, or any other recipe on the blog, let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!

Whole Wheat Bourbon Banana Bread

Thanks to a splash of bourbon, this whole wheat banana bread has all the warm flavors you expect from banana bread with the bonus of being more nutritious.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Healthy Banana Bread, Healthy Banana Bread Recipe, Whole Wheat Banana Bread
Servings: 12
Calories: 155kcal
Author: Kelli


  • 3 medium ripe bananas about 1 1/2 cups mashed
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (150 grams)
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 generous tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (187 grams)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease loaf pan with olive oil or cover with a parchment paper sling (see post).
  • In mixer (or by hand) mash bananas. Next, add in brown sugar, Greek yogurt, and melted butter. Mix until smooth. Add in vanilla, bourbon, and egg until well-combined.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the rest of the dry ingredients. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the banana mixture until just combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Place pan in the center of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Once bread is done, let it bread rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Store bread in an air-tight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or up to 1 week in the fridge.


Nutrition for 1/12 of recipe: 155 calories, 1 g saturated fat, 29 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 3 g protein
Whole Wheat Bourbon Banana Bread Pinterest Image

Add a comment


  • Cindy AvatarCindy5 years ago

    My kind of banana bread, moist and delicious!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast5 years ago

      Thanks Cindy! Hope you give it a try 🙂

  • Kathryn Pfeffer AvatarKathryn Pfeffer5 years ago

    Banana bread, check! Bourbon…yes! Love the unique flavor idea!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast5 years ago

      Bourbon really is such a great winter-weather ingredient! Thanks Kathryn 🙂

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

    Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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