Banana Carrot Bread

It’s taken me years to try this recipe (my sis-in-law gave it to me probably eight years ago and even posted it on her recipe blog she keeps up with her sisters). And I’ll freely admit the only reason I gave it a go now (what can I say, bananas and carrots don’t really call to me as epic combination of the year) is because during our recent move, this recipe literally fell out of my recipe binder and into my hands as I was unpacking, and in light of the fact that the only other things to fall randomly out of boxes were dead spiders and dirty little boy socks that never seem to make it into the laundry basket but somehow found their way into moving boxes, I realized it could only be fate and decided to live on the edge a little and finally try it, especially since I woke up to three very nasty-in-a-good-banana-bread-way bananas staring me in the face.

I couldn’t leave well enough alone, of course. I wanted to healthify it just a tad so I cut the oil back from 3/4 cup to 1/3 cup (and used coconut oil but you could certainly stick with vegetable oil), added a bit of unsweetened applesauce to help it stay moist, cut the sugar in half and tweaked a few other minor things.

Banana Carrot Bread

What I ended up with is a lightly sweet banana bread reminiscent of a tender, luxurious carrot cake without all the guilt (and without any frosting, of course, but as I type this out loud, I’m kind of thinking that a smidgeon of decadent cream cheese frosting on this banana carrot bread would not be a bad thing, not a bad thing at all).

I keep thinking I don’t really need any other banana bread recipes (certainly not after my favorite buttermilk version and this crazy good cream cheese banana bread) but perhaps the lesson learned here is that you really can’t have too many variations of banana bread. And certainly this banana carrot version should be right at the top of the banana bread recipe you try next. The fact that carrots play a leading role (equal parts banana and carrots!) is just the sort of justification I need to brag to everyone within shouting distance (which if you want to know, is only Maggie the dog and Cam the toddler right now) that I just ate vegetables in the dreamiest form possible.

P.S: I think I might need to enter a Parentheses Anonymous support group. I just can’t stop. Sorry.

One Year Ago: Big Fat Greek Tacos
Two Years Ago: Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins
Three Years Ago: Cheesy Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Banana Carrot Bread

Yield: Makes 1 9X5-inch loaf

Banana Carrot Bread

Try to use the ripest bananas (brown spots are good!) as possible - it will help the natural sweetness of the bread. Also, don't overflour! If you have a scale, use it to get the 10 ounces, if not, make sure the flour is lightly measured into the cup before leveling off. Too much flour packed into the measuring cup and the bread will be dry.

Also, this bread can be baked as muffins - check them after about 15-16 minutes (and you may need to grease the muffin liners since I reduced the oil in the recipe).


  • 2 cups lightly measured flour (10 ounces) - see note above
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 very ripe medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup no-sugar added applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots (no need to peel beforehand)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9X5-inch loaf pan with a rectangle of parchment. Grease the bottom and sides really well with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. In a medium bowl or in a large liquid measure, whisk together the bananas, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the carrots. Fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Don't overmix!
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe my sister-in-law, Erin posted on The Sisters Cafe years ago (reduced the oil by 2/3, added applesauce, reduced the sugar by half, added vanilla, weighed the flour)

61 Responses to Banana Carrot Bread

  1. Vicky says:

    I made this recipe gluten free and vegan substituting 1:1 with gluten free flour, flax instead of eggs (2 tbls Flax, 6 tbls water) and used pineapple puree and its great, not too sweet, wonderfully moist!

  2. Tubby McMuffineater says:

    Great recipe! I made them as muffins and tweaked the recipe to my liking, as always. I cut the recipe in half; I used coconut manna, coconut oil, and avocado oil (equal parts); and I added a 1/4 cup scoop of dark chocolate chunks. Baked @ 350 for 18 minutes. Makes 6-9 muffins, depending on how full you fill the cup. Next time I will use the normal amount of applesauce. They were delicious! I will definitely make these again 🙂

  3. Christelle says:

    Hi! Do you think I could bake it in a 8×8 round pan? And how long? Thanks

  4. […] and the fact that it’s healthier than usual makes it all the better. Adapted and tweaked from Mel’s Kitchen, it’s a recipe I make year round when we have company, or don’t! This Banana Carrot […]

  5. Gaba says:

    Oh my salivary glands!! The preparation is very quick, it bakes extremely well, no surprises and the taste is to die for! Mine grew a bit more than original and it’s both light and thick – magic 😀 Best banana bread I did. I’m from Europe and it often happens that the recipes just don’t go well with our products and measures but this one is perfect. It’ll stay with me forever. Just got it from the oven but I already think about doing second one tomorrow because I have so much overripe bananas 😀

  6. Jill says:

    Have you tried making this in muffin tins by chance? The kids and I are re-stocking our breakfast stash this afternoon and all of my loaf pans are being used. I want to keep powering through.

  7. Linda Ball, RD, LD says:

    I am a Registered Dietitian who would like to use this wonderful recipe at a healthy food demo. Will credit you for it and provide the link to your site. Please let me know if it is okay to use it. Thanks!

  8. Vi says:

    Do you know the calories in this wonderful blend?

  9. Kira says:

    Loved this recipe. Simple. Delicious. Perfect balance of sweetness. I was happy to find another alternative for using ripe bananas. Usually I make your whole wheat banana and blueberry muffins, which we also love. Since I still had a dozen in the freezer, I opted for something new. Glad I did. Will be adding this to the rotation for old bananas. Another great recipe. (I baked the recipe in 3 mini loaf pans for 32 minutes-in case anyone wants to use those.) I did like the idea of adding some walnuts 🙂

  10. Carolyn says:

    This is AMAZING! I found this recipe 2 weeks ago and have already made it four times! It never stays around for long! I use half wheat/half white flour and double the cinnamon. I also add dark chocolate because, well, it’s delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Shala says:

    Very good. I used a little bit of whole wheat flour, avocado oil instead of coconut oil (or butter), a little less sugar and threw in a small handful of walnuts and raisins. My husband and son are going to be happy when they wake up for breakfast!

    Also, not too sweet! I definitely don’t feel guilty!

  12. Thandy says:

    I didn’t have enough carrots so added some grated pumpkin. I increased the sugar to 1 cup, increased the spices by a 1/2tsp and added ½ tsp baking powder, omitted the applesauce since I didn’t have any on hand. It took about 1hr 10mins to bake. The bread came out nice and moist.

  13. Michelle says:

    Hi Mel,

    Is it possible to further healthify this recipe by using whole wheat flour? Thank you and LOVE all your recipes!!!!

  14. Aubri says:

    I made this for an after school snack. I did 2 oz white flour and 8 oz freshly ground white wheat. It’s delicious! Perfect amount of sweetness, and great for a snack or breakfast or any time! Thanks!

  15. Anna says:

    This recipe makes the best muffins! I use a combination of hard white wheat flour and barley flour. I love how they are not too sweet. Perfect with the spices. Thanks!

  16. pamela says:

    hey there! thanks so much for this recipe, i really appreciate it. my toddler eats a piece every morning as i have tweaked it a bit to even healthier….i put half the sugar and double the carrots or add a cup of zuchinni, i add flax and bran…..i always add more spices like ginger, cloves, cardamon and a full tsp of cin and nutmeg. I also half the flower for chickpea flour, rice or coconut flour.

  17. Sue Jean says:

    i’m going to make this for my son’s first birthday – it seems like a great recipe for a healthy “smash cake”. do you have any recommendations or recipes for a healthier / lower-sugar frosting that i could use?

    • Mel says:

      You might try googling “healthier cream cheese frosting” and see where that takes you. Maybe sub in yogurt or just use yogurt? Not really sure. Good luck!

  18. Jen says:

    Would you recommend storing the bread in the fridge overnight? I just made this bread last night (had one piece and it was delicious) and left it on the counter in a sealed container. This morning, there are bright green flakes throughout the bread. I have no idea what happened!

    • Mel says:

      Sounds like some type of oxidation with the carrots – I haven’t experience that but maybe storing in the fridge might help.

  19. Heidi H says:

    Just made this–it’s yummy! I think I added the oil with a heavy hand, but it was worth it. 😀

  20. I made this on Thursday night for a Saturday brunch potluck and it was a HUGE hit, there was just one uneven slice leftover after I had already doubled the recipe and made it in a greased and floured 9″ tube pan.

    I also used frozen over-ripe bananas I’d been hording and creamed them with my stand mixer while 1/2 frozen before adding the wet ingredients because I didn’t want them to stay frozen and make squishy banana blobs in the cake. Yum! Now I just want to eat creamed banana all the time, I guess that’s what the 1-ingredient ice cream trend is all about!

    What a healthy and forgiving cake, I also love that it’s only 4 PP in Weight Watchers, thanks for posting this healthy treat!

  21. […] from the Banana Carrot Bread recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.3.2.2807 […]

  22. Michelle says:

    I was looking for a good, healthy quick bread that would satisfy my love of banana bread/ carrot cake, and also be something I could share with my toddler – this looks great! I am thinking of throwing some zucchini in as well. Not sure what that’ll do to the moisture level, but we’ll see!

  23. Afton LeSueur says:

    This was so good! I uses whole wheat flour and it was perfect. We actually had it for dinner; I mean, whole wheat and carrots? Totally a good dinner!

  24. Jessica Garrett says:

    I’ve been really interested in grinding my own grains for flour and I was lead to your blog…amazing info. BTW!! Sooo, outta curiosity as I see your “grinding flour” blog was from a while back, did you use fresh grounded flour in this recipe? Really my hope is that changing to fresh grounded flour will still lead to great tasting and beautiful looking recipes 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jessica! Whenever I use whole wheat flour in my recipes it is always flour I’ve freshly ground myself. So my somewhat biased opinion is that you CAN make great tasting and pretty foods with home ground whole wheat flour. Good luck!

  25. Beth says:

    I really liked this. I’ve made it twice. It’s nice to have another variation to deal with all the bananas (I suppose I could also buy less bananas).

  26. Paula says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂 I have it to my grandmother and she knew what to do with it 😛 I only wanted to add a useful advice about carrots that is very important in recipes like this – don’t store them with apples or else they will become bitter. Found it here:
    Best wishes!

  27. JG says:

    Absolutely delicious! I just put 1/4 cup of sugar in, and I think next time I will cut it out completely. Perfect sweetness with just the applesauce and bananas! The spices really give it a great flavor too! Baked the muffins in a silicone muffin mold which I highly recommend for muffins and cupcakes. You never have to grease the tin again!

  28. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this! My thirty-something husband was just told his cholesterol levels are “quite high” so I’ve been looking for tweaks to some of his favorite things to add in more fruits and veggies and lower the fat. This is perfect!

  29. Sarah says:

    Delicious, especially still warm.

  30. ped Victor says:

    Wow, I have got to try this one. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Rosana S Moraes says:

    I am impressed with your ideas for one dish meals, as well with your simple, tasty and easy to prepare recipes.
    Thanks for sharing them.

    Rosana Moraes

  32. Tami says:

    I made this last night-YUM! Thanks for the healthy recipe. Now if I can just keep from eating the whole loaf……

  33. Stacia says:

    Hi. Making this today….. Welcome to the area! I’m in south meridian. People are great and life is good here!

  34. This sounds pretty fantastic. Way better than dead spiders 😉

  35. Sheila says:

    Sounds delicious — carrots, bananas, and limited sugar. I’m overwhelmed right now with a huge home project, working, and other things so we are eating a whole lot of Mel freezer meals. The light at the end of my tunnel is coming back to these recent posts that I can only drool over right now and excitedly making them for my family. Thank you for all the hard work you do that wonderfully feeds my family through “thick and thin”. 🙂

  36. Michelle says:

    I made this today, since I was already planning on turning on the oven to make some zucchini bread to freeze. It came out great!! I used half all purpose & half white wheat flour. I love how the bread is tender & slightly sweet- but not desserty sweet. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Danielle says:

    You should try the M-dash. It makes you feel more sophisticated and it’s fun to use. 🙂

  38. Delicious! Have never made or eaten banana carrot bread before but it sounds fantastic! A little bit of cream cheese frosting… Mmmm what a treat!

  39. This looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it! I’ve never added carrots to banana bread before but it sounds like a great idea!

  40. Deb says:

    Can whole wheat flour be used?

  41. Teresa says:

    This bread was delicious, Mel. I made it today with great success. It was so moist, but not oily at all, and just sweet enough. I had a banana carrot bread at a B&B years ago and loved it. This tastes just like I remember. I am so glad I had ripe bananas and carrots. I am going to try a piece for breakfast with just a smear of plain cream cheese — yum. Thanks so much. PS – I would love to see an updated picture of that cute little Maggie!!!

  42. Heather bell says:

    I have been on a new recipe kick lately and it has been so much fun. Will def try this soon, even though I never make other banana bread besides my own:) just saw Julianne today. Wish I were related to her! Well pretend:)

  43. Amy says:

    This is getting some raisins! 🙂

  44. Kim in MD says:

    This looks delicious, Mel. I hope you and your family are settling into your new home! 🙂

  45. Mel I feel like you are reading my mind! Yesterday I was staring at some “nasty-in-a-good-banana-bread-way bananas” and thinking that I needed to make some banana bread to use them up. But I am tired of traditional banana bread and was trying to think of some new ideas. This recipe is perfect timing and looks like the perfect twist on traditional banana bread!

  46. heather says:

    This sounds so yummy. I have not found a banana bread recipe that the family likes yet, and my son is in a crazy for carrots mode — as in, how about carrot lemonade? DUNK, carrot stick on the bottom of his glass — so this is perfect.

    Can’t wait to try it!!

  47. Julie T says:

    Will definitely be trying this. Do you squeeze the water out of the grated carrot before adding to the batter?

    • Mel says:

      Julie T – Nope, I just throw the carrots right in. I suppose if you’ve grated them in advance and liquid has pooled beneath, you might want to drain any excess liquid; I didn’t notice much if any.

  48. Jan H says:

    I love that you included a weight measurement too . I have started using a scale for recipes
    to see if this will help me with my Heavy Hand it when it comes to baking .Thanks ….

  49. This looks delicious Mel! I love carrot cake and banana bread and this is the best of both worlds!

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