Sourdough Banana Bread (vegan)

a loaf of vegan sourdough banana bread on an oval plate

This post has been updated as of August 2021

After going on my sourdough brownie quest last year, I then ended up adding sourdough starter into other bakes to see what would work. The next thing I tried was a banana bread – I subbed some into Milli Taylors IG-famous banana bread but it didn’t seem right in the context of such a buttery loaf. I then tried it out in my regular banana bread which I thought was a much better fit. By that point, I had run out of bananas and completely abandoned my banana bread experiment!

unbaked sourdough banana bread batter topped with slices of fresh banana

Fast forward to now when everyone is baking either sourdough or banana bread and it seemed like it would be the right time to pick my testing back up. I used a vegan banana bread recipe from my first book and altered things to make use of my discard which had been collecting in the fridge. It worked amazingly and I tried it a few more times, changing and testing a few things along the way. So, I have some notes!

a few slices and a loaf of vegan sourdough banana bread

  1. You can bake this as a loaf or as muffins. I think I prefer muffins as loaves can sink in the middle a bit. Also loaf tin sizes vary WILDLY so the baking times can vary a lot more (In the UK, a standard loaf tin is 2lb). Muffins seem to be more consistent but it’s up to you and your preferences/which baking tins you own. If you’re a beginner baker and have a muffin tin, I would opt for them first, then try a loaf out another time.
  2. You can leave the batter in the fridge to actually ferment. Leaving it for ~6 hours seems to make it taste sweeter but an overnight rest (8-12 hours) means you get more of a tang in there.
  3. You can use many types of flour in the batter, as long as your sourdough is a mostly wheat-based starter (I use a 50:50 white wheat flour : dark rye flour blend for my starter). I’ve tried this with just buckwheat, a mixture of buckwheat & gram flour, and just straight up plain white flour and they all worked well.
  4. I like to decorate the top of a banana bread loaf with a sliced banana which is definitely optional and is mostly for aesthetics. I also sprinkle the top with demerara sugar for that crispy crust and that’s also optional (but recommended!!) – make sure you sprinkle a good amount on the sliced banana surface so they get nicely caramelised in the oven.
  5. This is the best vegan banana bread you may ever make. I know I’m tooting my own horn here but since posting the recipe, this is the feedback I’ve had on this loaf. It’s so moist and soft with a perfect cakey texture! You really won’t miss the butter or eggs.
sliced sourdough vegan banana bread

Sourdough Banana Bread (vegan)

A soft, sweet vegan banana bread made using sourdough discard! This makes my favourite vegan banana bread EVER - no egg substitutes or vegan butter needed.
4.68 from 59 votes
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Course: Quick Breads (Non-Yeasted) & Scones
Cuisine: American
Special Diet: baking, banana bread, cake, quickbread, sourdough, vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 1 (2lb) loaf

Ingredients

  • 220-240 g overripe bananas (peeled weight) (2 medium or 3 small * see notes for cups and for if you don't have enough banana)
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, granulated sugar or caster sugar
  • 90 g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine table salt
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard (100% hydration)
  • 120 g (1 cup) plain white flour (see notes for subs)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Topping (optional):

  • 1 small banana , peeled & halved down its length
  • 2 tbsp demerara (raw) sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (350°F) fan. Grease a 2lb loaf tin with some oil and line with a sling of baking paper.

Hand mixing method:

  • Peel the bananas and place onto a large plate or cutting board. Use the back of a fork to mash them until you get a glossy paste which only has a few small lumps remaining. Scrape all of the mashed banana into a medium bowl.
    220-240 g overripe bananas (peeled weight)
  • Add the sugar, oil, cinnamon and salt. Stir together until smooth.
    150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, granulated sugar or caster sugar, 90 g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp fine table salt
  • Add the sourdough starter, flour and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to the bowl. Stir together until combined but try not to overmix.
    150 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard, 120 g (1 cup) plain white flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Food processor mixing method:

  • Add the bananas, sugar, oil, cinnamon and salt to the bowl of the food processor. Blitz until smooth. Add the sourdough starter, flour and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and blitz until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure everything is incorporated
    220-240 g overripe bananas (peeled weight), 150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, granulated sugar or caster sugar, 90 g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp fine table salt, 150 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard, 120 g (1 cup) plain white flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Bake the loaf:

  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. If using the toppings, decorate the top of the loaf with the sliced bananas (placing them on cut side-up) and sprinkle the top of the batter all over with the demerara sugar. Put the loaf tin on a baking tray (I like to do this just in case any batter overflows).
    1 small banana, 2 tbsp demerara
  • Bake for 55-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean - try to avoid the sliced banana on top when inserting the toothpick so you're only testing the batter. If the loaf looks like it's browning too much but is not cooked through yet, tent the top with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking.
  • Allow to cool before removing from the tin, slicing and serving.

For muffins:

  • Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper muffin liners. Divide the batter among the muffin liners. You can sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar and coins of banana, if you'd like.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean

Notes

Mashed bananas - cups measurement: the volume of banana needed, once mashed into a glossy paste, should be around 3/4 cup plus 2 or 3 tablespoons (i.e. a scant cup).
If you don't have enough banana, make up the missing weight/volume with some yoghurt (non-dairy if you're vegan).
Fermented version: if you want that tang of sourdough here, combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the bicarbonate of soda as instructed. Leave the batter for 8-12 hours in the fridge. Once ready to bake, preheat your oven and stir the baking soda into the batter. Bake as usual. The resting period allows the sourdough microorganisms to ferment the sugars in the batter to form acid which will give your loaf a bit more tang!
Non-Vegan option: use 100g butter, melted, in place of the oil.
Flour: you can use a blend here or even an alt flour. I've used all buckwheat flour and all chickpea flour before which has worked well. I think rye or spelt flour (and obviously wholemeal pastry flour) would also work. The main flours I would avoid for this would be any type of bread flour which will make the loaf too dense. Please ask me if you need help with substitutions!
Sourdough starter: I have a 100% hydration, wheat & rye sourdough starter. 100% hydration simply means that the starter is fed with equal weights of flour & water (e.g. 50g flour + 50 g water). I save up the discard in the fridge for a few weeks and then bake with it for this banana bread (so your starter doesn't need to be recently fed in order to make this recipe).
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!

52 thoughts on “Sourdough Banana Bread (vegan)”

  1. Wow, I just made this and it was fabulous! I’m always sad to discard my extra starter, so I’ll be doing this again and again ? Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Becky! I knowww same, hence why I like to save up my discard and make things like this banana bread with it 🙂

    1. I’m not sure as coconut flour has a completely different absorption rate to other flours. If you’re experienced in using it and subbing it into recipes successfully then give it a go. Other wise, only sub for the flours I recommend!

  2. This is so good! Second time I’m making it in a week. I added a teaspoon of ground ginger as well for a little extra kick ?

    1. YUM! Great addition, I’ve heard a pinch of ground cloves is also really good in banana bread as it enhances the banana-y flavour 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Made this today and it’s glorious. I used brown butter instead of oil (because I’ll put butter in anything) and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours which was so worth it. Unfortunate I need to build up my sourdough discard to make it!

  4. Julie Gibbon

    5 stars
    Thank you so much Izy, another great recipe. I regularly make the muffins and they are so tasty…..

  5. Hey! This looks like a great bendable recipe. I plan to make it today! I really hope my mom loves it. I was just wondering can I use 100% whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour? How will that effect my bread? Thank you.

  6. 5 stars
    This made lovely cupcakes earlier this week,thank you! I reduced the sugar to 120g, used a blender for the first half of the recipe, and used all gram flour as per your notes in place of plain but otherwise no changes to recipe. Half the mixture I added chopped chocolate which worked fine but didn’t feel it added anything. More like cupcakes than muffins in texture but imagine would be more muffin-life if I’d mashed by hand instead of blended – it made really light fluffy cupcakes! I already have a vegan banana bread recipe I love that makes a muffin texture so this is perfect. Me and partner both loved them. Already made a second batch today (doubled in order to freeze some) missing out the banana dice on top (tasted great but meant they didnt keep as well) and imagine will become a favourite recipe. First time using gram flour in a sweet recipe so looking forward to experimenting more with it. Thanks for excellent recipe!

  7. Heya,
    This looks very temtpting.
    Can i use sourdough starter discard thats is not yet ready? currently its one week old, live and bubbly but not strong enough to pass the float test.
    secondly, I have approx 40 gms of discard. Can i increase the amount of water and flour in my next feed and then use the discard from that feed to match up for this ratio? Or is there some other way around it?

    1. Yes you can! It’s not being used for leavening here (just for the flour + water content) so it doesn’t need to be active/strong
      And yes you can just increase the quantity of the next feed so you get enough starter to bake with when you do the feed after that.

  8. Tasty bread, unfortunately leaving in the bread for the prescribed time at 400 F (with a no fan oven) left my loaf blackened. Didn’t stop me from devouring the inside 😀

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I’ve updated the recipe to only include fan temp now (since I don’t have a non-fan oven) so others can use their judgement based on their own oven to choose the temp.

    1. I haven’t tested it with those flours but I think as long as your starter contains gluten-containing flours, it should be fine!

  9. I’ve never left a recipe review before, but this is the best banana bread I’ve ever made! The texture is incredible and the flavour is amazing. Thank you for sharing this x

  10. This is the recipe I am looking for ! Time to use up my discards.

    Just wondering if I can cut back on the sugar – will it affect the bread ?

    Thanks

    1. You can cut back the sugar, it will affect the texture of the bread though (will make it less soft and less moist) – I haven’t tested with less sugar though so it’s hard to say what the precise effect will be

      1. I have made this 4 times already, any time bananas get to “that stage”, I go for this recipe. I have successfully baked it with half the sugar quantity, using coconut sugar and it has been delicious! Sweet enough for my taste and texture was still great. Also added chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips 😉

  11. These are delicious! I just baked them and used one half cup AP flour and one half cup of spelt flour. They’re light and fluffy with a lovely sweetness!

    Next time I’m going to add some more mix ins and I think this would be great as a carrot or morning glory muffin too. And since we always have sourdough discard we’ll be making these frequently. Thank you for sharing!

  12. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made this into muffins and added some walnuts and cardamom into the batter 🙂 they came out very soft and fluffy. Didn’t know sourdough starter could be used for banana bread so this will definitely be a recipe to use in the future, thank you!

  13. Works beautifully! I often swap the banana for tinned pear and it is really good as well. Have tried today with peach and coconut…..smells good!

  14. I made these as muffins this morning (started last night). They were really excellent. I’ve only ever liked one banana bread recipe before and I have to admit, I think this one is better. It’s light and fluffy but still tastes like banana! I like that they’re vegan. I’m an omnivore but it’s great to have another vegan recipe to use for friends, plus another way to use the discard I’m drowning in. I didn’t do the banana coins but I did sprinkle the demerara sugar on top. mmm.

  15. Hi,
    My sourdough starter is 2 months old and I have kept it in the fridge. Can I still use the starter for making the bread.
    Hoping to get a reply from you. Thanks!

    1. you *can* but if it’s that old, it might impart quite a funky/alcoholic flavour to your banana bread. It’s better to use starter which is up to 2 weeks old (refrigerated)

  16. 5 stars
    So good!!!! Very moist, dense, and flavorful. Added vegan chocolate chips and baked in a ceramic Pampered Chef loaf pan. Will be a staple in our house for sure.

  17. Just made this recipe– super delicious!! Made some adjustments and it came out super fluffy and soft. Huge hit! I replaced all the sugar with Monkfruit sugar 1:1 replacement. I also used sprouted spelt flour in place of regular flour and it wasn’t dense at all. Can’t wait to make this again:)

  18. I made this recipe a few times and love it! Very simple, easy to play with, and very delicious. I made it with tea masala spice mix, with walnuts, and it has always worked. Thank you!

  19. 5 stars
    Whoa. this was fabulous!! I am forever searching new banana bread recipes but this one is going to tempt me to not search any further. It is such a wet dough I was worried. A delicate crumb, and fab flavor. I used 100g coconut sugar 50g. brown sugar…ww spelt flour…and 45g sunflower oil 45g olive oil.

  20. 5 stars
    It doesn’t contain butter, egg, milk, and best of all, helps me to use my sourdough discard. It is a well tested recipe, thank you Izzy. I used 60g of pastry flour and 60g of whole wheat flour, reduce sugar to 100g but I think it can be further reduced as I added chocolate chips. The crumb is so tender. There is no baking soda taste or after taste.
    I used a Combi oven to steam bake at 350F with 50% steam. The result is excellent.

  21. 5 stars
    This was an excellent banana bread recipe. I used sourdough discard (mostly – had to make up with a bit of fed sourdough) and added walnuts.

    Delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  22. 5 stars
    This isn’t just make use of the discard, but it’s like the best banana bread recipe, ever! I reduced the sugar by half and used half spelt flour. It turned out to be delicious and light! Thanks for this great recipe! I wish I can send you a picture the the bake! lol

  23. Anything that’s made of banana is healthy and delicious. With this Sourdough banana, it can’t go wrong either.
    Good post!

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