Ovenly’s Whole Wheat Banana Bread

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Made with flax meal and maple syrup, this whole wheat banana bread is earthy and comforting.

Slices of whole wheat banana bread on a cutting board.

While drinking my morning coffee the other day, I came across a heartbreaking article in the New York Times about the shuttering of Ovenly, a beloved Brooklyn bakeshop known for its savory-sweet treats and socially-conscious business credo. This led me down an Internet rabbit hole, first to Ovenly’s website and Instagram page, then to Amazon to buy the Ovenly cookbook on my kindle. Before I knew it, I was pulling ingredients out of the fridge to bake Ovenly’s whole wheat banana bread and salted peanut butter cookies, to-do list be damned.

Lucky for me, this type of “procrastibaking” still counts as work, and I’m excited to share the recipes with you. Made with flax meal and whole wheat flour, this banana bread is earthy and wholesome-tasting — and it’s a great way to up your family’s intake of healthy fiber. Using maple syrup as some of the sweetener adds a lovely flavor. It is best served slightly warm from the oven, when the crust is crisp and the bread is tender, but it keeps well on the countertop for several days.

What You’ll Need To Make Whole Wheat Banana Bread

whole wheat banana bread ingredients

STEP-BY-STEP INstructions

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

dry ingredients in bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked dry ingredients in bowlIn a large bowl, combine the maple syrup, eggs, oil, brown sugar and vanilla extract.

wet ingredients in mixing bowl

Whisk well.

whisked wet ingredients in mixing bowl

Add the sour cream and mashed banana.

adding sour cream and bananas to wet ingredients

Whisk until smooth.
banana and sour cream whisked into wet ingredients

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

adding dry ingredient mixture to wet ingredient mixture

Fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix.

mixed whole wheat banana bread batter in bowl

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
whole wheat banana bread ready to bake

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

whole wheat banana bread fresh out of the oven

This is best served slightly warm from the oven, when the crust is crisp and the bread is tender, but it keeps wrapped in foil on the countertop for a few days.

Slices of whole wheat banana bread on a cutting board.

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Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Made with flax meal and maple syrup, this whole wheat banana bread is earthy and comforting.

Servings: One 9 x 5-inch loaf
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes


  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ¼ cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup maple syrup (see note)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup sour cream (preferably full-fat)
  • 1 cup mashed bananas, from 2 to 3 brown, spotty bananas


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack to the middle position. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, eggs, oil, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Add the sour cream and mashed banana, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. This is best served slightly warm from the oven, when the crust is crisp and the bread is tender, but it keeps wrapped in foil on the countertop for a few days. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, wrap it securely in aluminum foil, freezer wrap or place in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  7. Note: The original recipe calls for ½ cup maple syrup. My family prefers it a bit sweeter, but for a less-sweet banana bread, use the original amount.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 216
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Sugar: 16 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 266 mg
  • Cholesterol: 34 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Deceptive title. Half of your bread has all purpose flour.

    • — Avy on February 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Way too much batter for the loaf pan 🙁

    • — Sarah on January 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • Mine overflowed in the first 10 minutes — followed the recipe to a T 🙁

    Waiting to see how it will turn out and thankfully got a cookie sheet in in the rack below to catch the dripping batter 🙁

    • — Sarah on January 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Could I substitute the sour cream with oat milk?

    • Hi Anny, oat milk won’t work here but buttermilk would. (Keep in mind that it will give the bread a slightly different texture.)

  • Hi Jenn,

    I don’t have canola nor vegetable oil
    on hand. Can I use olive oil or 1/3 cup of melted butter?



    • Yep, either will work well. 🙂

  • This banana bread recipe sounds healthy and delish! For someone who needs to avoid dairy, what can replace the sour cream?

    • — Teresa from Canada
    • Reply
    • Hi Teresa, you can replace the sour cream with non-dairy sour cream or non-dairy yogurt. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

  • Hi Jen, can I substitute flax seed for flax meal? or is better to grind the flax seed in a food processor and try to obtain flax meal? Thank you.

    • Hi Ana, I’d grind the flaxseed before incorporating it into the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

  • What a wonderful recipe, this will be my new go to banana bread. I went with 1/2 c. of maple syrup and used 2% plain yogurt in place of the sour cream. As much as I love King Arthur’s whole wheat flour, I used my Odlums Course Wholemeal flour instead and absolutely loved the taste and texture it provided. Finally, I always keep bags of cranberries in the freezer because I like to add halved cranberries to banana or apple cinnamon bread to offset the sweetness, and that sealed the deal. Thanks so much for sharing this fabulous and simple recipe!

  • what would happen if I used what I’ve got on hand (light sour cream or n/f yogurt instead of the full fat sour cream)?

    • Hi Susan, I haven’t tried it but I think you can get away with it. Please LMK how it turns out!

  • Made as per the recipe, using the original 1/2 cup maple syrup and a few grates of whole nutmeg because it makes me feel fancy : ) Outstanding. Will be my go to. Thanks for another winner Jenn.

  • I usually follow your recipes to the letter, and I love so many of them! For this banana bread, I decided to experiment because I have to be super careful with sugar and white flour. So this is what I did, and the results are incredible! I used only whole wheat flour (1 1/2 c), cut the maple syrup to 1/3 c. (I left out the brown sugar entirely), and used olive oil instead of vegetable. I also used three bananas and didn’t measure them. I meant to mix in a few dark chocolate chips, but I forgot so I sprinkled some on top. Plenty sweet and very moist…I learned somewhere else that when using only whole wheat flour, to let the batter rest for a little while before putting in the oven, so I did that for about fifteen minutes first. So delicious!

    • Can I substitute milk for the sour cream?

      • Hi May, buttermilk will work here if you have that (though it may change the bread’s texture a bit) but unfortunately, regular milk won’t work.

      • Hi Jenn! I made this recipe and it came out bitter! Any idea what could have caused it? Could my bananas have been too ripe?

        • — Suphada Rom on March 3, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Suphada, I’m sorry this tasted bitter! It wouldn’t have to do with the bananas. That taste likely came from the baking soda; this can happen if the dry ingredients are not thoroughly combined and small clumps of baking soda remain.

          • — Jenn on March 3, 2023
          • Reply
  • I’ve made tons of banana bread recipes and this is by far the best! I appreciate that its on the healthy side but it doesn’t taste too healthy. Its also moist but not too moist. This bread was almost gone in 24 hours – everyone loved it. I couldn’t stop myself, I had 3 slices when I first tried it. This recipe is the one I will be making over and over again.

  • Hi Jennifer,
    I love all your recipes. Thank you for all your hard work testing and trying different recipes. I tend to reduce the sugar in most recipes and only used 1/2 cup maple/honey mix this time plus 1/4 cup brown sugar. The bread seems too salty to me and I am wondering if 1 tablespoon of baking powder with 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda seems a bit much?
    P.S my daughter dumped dry rosemary into the banana mix! Lol I stopped some out but not all. It seems kind of interesting

    • Hi Maria, So glad you like the recipes! I think the bread tasted too salty because you cut back on the sugar. If you make this again, I’d cut back on the salt a touch (I wouldn’t reduce the baking powder or baking soda. (And that’s funny about the rosemary — while unintended, sounds like an interesting tweak!) 🙂

  • I love this banana bread. Make it often and have shared with friends. Yesterday I made as muffins. Turned out perfect. 17 muffins. Increased the temp to 375 25 minutes worked great for my oven.

  • This was sooo good! I used 3 bananas (which was a little more than a cup) and 1/2 cup of the maple syrup. My husband says it’s his favorite banana bread now. I’m waiting for more bananas to brown so that we can make this again ASAP!

  • Tried the banana bread as an alternative to my standard recipe. The family really enjoyed it and didn’t realize it was “healthier”. I ground whole flax seeds in a spice chopper. I had everything else on hand. The crust was delicious. ..next time I will try mini loaves.

  • Hi! If I were to make muffins using this recipe, how long would they need to bake? Thanks!

    • Hi Micah, I’d start checking them at 20 – 23 minutes. Please LMK how they turn out!

  • This bread turned out delish as always! Just for fun, I substituted purple ube yam 🍠 for banana 🍌 . 😀

    • — Laurie Hoffman
    • Reply
  • This banana bread is delicious! Earthy and wholesome tasting is a perfect description. I did not have flaxseed meal on hand, but found it incredibly satisfying to grind flax seeds in my mortal and pestle. Jenn, I’m wondering if I could have substituted wheat bran for the flaxseed meal?

    • Hi Laura, so glad you liked us! I think it would be fine to substitute with brown for the flaxseed meal.

  • Thank you Jennifer for a wonderful healthier version of banana bread. I have made it multiple times in a loaf pan and would like to know if it would work as muffins instead.

    • So glad you like it! Yes, I do think you could make muffins with this recipe. 🙂

  • Hey Jenn, I don’t have maple syrup. Could you please suggest a substitute. Can I use honey, or granulated sugar in it’s place?

    • Hi Saloni, I’d recommend replacing the maple syrup with half honey and half sugar. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

    • Love it! The addition of the flax meal and the maple syrup as a sweetener definitely makes for the earthy tasting banana bread that was promised 😋 delicious!

  • I think I did something wrong, because my loaf almost overflowed the loaf pan and has formed a rather ugly top crust.

    • Sorry you had a problem with this, Elsa! Is there any chance you may have made a measuring mistake?

      • hi Jenn I’m sorry to say that I had the same problem of Elsa. My loaf overflowed the pan and sink in the middle. I even used 1/2 cup of maple syrup so less quantity then in your recipe. Is it 1tbsp of baking powder the correct amount ?
        P.S. I wish it would be technically possible to upload a picture of the loaf…..

        • Hi Cinzia, I’m sorry you had a problem with this! Did you use a 9 x 5“ loaf pan? And yes, the 1 tablespoon of baking powder is correct. If you’d like to send me a picture, just email it to me at jennifer@onceuponachef.com. Happy to try and help troubleshoot.

        • Hello Cinzia,
          I had the same problem, so I just put 1 teaspoon of baking powder next time I baked. And it worked.

          • — Anastasija on August 20, 2022
          • Reply
  • I’ve been feeding my kid baked goods for breakfast a lot and wanted a banana bread I could feel better about. This came out so well! Great texture and flavor! I used a combo of plain yogurt and sour cream because that’s what I had. I did drain the plain yogurt through a paper towel and strainer to thicken the texture. I used 1/2 cup maple syrup and added chocolate chips. The sweetness was just right. I ground whole flax seed in my blender and that worked out just fine. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  • I have made this bread multiple times in a regular loaf pan and my entire family fights for the crust side. For my peace and sanity, I plan to bake these now in mini loaf pans with cavity size of 3.8 x 2.5 in. Can you please suggest if I need to lower the baking temp and after how much time should I start checking? Thank you again!

    • LOL – you’ve come up with a good solution! It sounds like your mini loaf pans are pretty small; I’ve never used loaf pans that size so it’s hard to say for sure, but I’d start checking them at about 25 minutes. (Please keep a close eye on them because this is just a guesstimate!)

      • Just wanted to report back that I was successful in maintaining peace among the family members. Baked them in mini loaf pans and they were perfectly done at 25 mins. Everyone got their own crust. Best part is that my family still doesn’t believe that this recipe has whole wheat flour and flax-seed in it.

        • So glad! Thanks for reporting back (and happy to hear there’s peace in your house)! 🙂

  • Amazing flavor! My loaf didn’t come out of the pan very well. A small piece stuck on the bottom and the side were crumbly. The only changes I made were the addition of walnuts and convection setting on my oven. Maybe I didn’t let it cool long enough in the pan? Gave it 10 minutes.

    • Sorry to hear it stuck! That’s strange as most banana breads generally don’t stick. Next time, I’d line the bottom of the loaf pan with parchment paper. Also, I test all of my recipes using the regular setting in the oven so for the most predictable results, I’d stick with that. Hope that helps!

  • Love this banana bread Jenn!! So moist and rich…made a nice big loaf as well. I didn’t have flax seed, so used chia seeds and walnuts for my hubbie, and half cup of maple syrup so it wasn’t too sweet…perfect!
    Thanks so much for sharing this
    recipe…I took a few slices to my neighbour who isn’t feeling well, so spreading the love Jenn.

  • Hi Jenn. I didn’t have flax seed and used a bit of extra flour as you suggested. I added some chopped pecans and used yogurt instead of sour cream. It was delicious!

    • So glad it worked out well! 🙂

  • Thank you so much best banana bread I’ve ever made. Have tried a lot of your very welcome recipes and have enjoyed sharing with my daughters too in these hard times. You and your recipes are a little piece of joy in these dark times.

    • Glad you enjoyed it! ❤️

  • Hi Jenn:

    I made your Ovenly recipe yesterday; worked out beautifully! I added a walnut/maple syrup and butter crunch topping that I have to say really completed it!
    Thanks Jenn, your recipes are always the Best!

  • Thank you for sharing the recipe. Just got it out from the oven and I can say I have found my only banana bread recipe I will ever need. The crumb was spot on. So glad that it has ‘healthy’ factor tied to it because I do not think I can stop eating it.

  • This was delicious even though my store was out of whole wheat flour. The flaxseed is the secret ingredient for the earthiness! I’m wondering though if there’s a way to sub out the oil with something healthier like milk?

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Val! I wouldn’t recommend swapping the oil out for milk – sorry!

  • Thanks for another great recipe. As usual I made these into muffins. I left out the sugar and used 1/2 cup maple syrup. I also used buttermilk which I needed to finish rather than opening up a tub of sour cream. Was sweet enough for us. It was moist the next day but still great.

  • Thank you so much for letting us know about Ovenly. Couldn’t find their cookbook anywhere in Australia so bought it on Kindle. I think they’re reissuing an updated version in 2021…hopefully that’s still in the cards! And thanks for your incredible recipes, photos, writing. I’ve never written a review for you before but want you to know your recipes are used in our home regularly and they always turn out perfectly.

  • I have a deadly allergy to eggs. I am going to replace the eggs with yogurt and see how that works. Any other suggestions for a replacer?

    • Hi Elaine, Two of the best substitutes I’ve heard about (I haven’t personally tried either of them) are a combination of water, oil and baking powder and carbonated water. Scroll down to the bottom of this article for more information about both. I would assume many baking recipes would also work with some kind of store-bought egg substitute. Please LMK how it turns out! 🙂

  • Hi Jenn,Can I use 100% whole wheat flour?I don’t want to use white flour.Thanks.

    • Hi Eileen, I’ve never tried this with all whole wheat flour. I suppose you could, but it will definitely make the texture different (it will be denser). PLease LMK how it turns out if you try it this way!

    • I’ve made it with all whole wheat flour and it came out fine. I also substituted chocolate chips for the maple syrup 🙂

    • I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of white flour. It was yummy! The best banana bread ever!

  • Thank you! In a sea of banana bread recipes, I’ll count this one as “essential”. I changed a few things to suit our taste and pantry – only 1/3 cup of maple syrup, eliminated the brown sugar, MCT oil for the vegetable oil, Bob’s Red Mill Paleo flour substituted for the white flour and Odlums Coarse Wholemeal used for the wheat flour. Came out plenty sweet, moist, and with great texture. Agree that the crustiness out of the oven trumped the softened version a few hours later but still great.

  • Flavor, texture, and color were great however I messed up the recipe and it didn’t rise! I substituted chia seeds for ground flax and spelt flour (since there’s no whole wheat flour to be had in Portland, OR ! :). My theory is that’s why it didn’t rise-Jenn, do you think that’s the case? Should I not have used either ingredient?

    ps. I love your recipes, have been making them for years!!

    • — Jessi Frothingham
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the recipes! Yes, I do think that your substitutions are what had an impact on the rise — sorry!

  • Hi Jen

    I don’t have flax meal on hand but have flax seed. Wondering if I could ground it in a food processor and If it will be the same as flax meal.? Your recipes are wonderful. I have made so many if them and had great success of every single one I’ve made. They are all delicious. Keep them coming. Thanks for all you do Jen!! Greatly appreciated!

    Thank you

    • Hi Janelle, You can definitely use ground flax seed. So glad you enjoy the recipes! ❤️

  • Hello Jennifer,
    The recipe sounds wonderful. Unfortunately, I don’t have sour cream. Any suggestion on a substitute?

    • Hi Anne, Plain yogurt would work in place of the sour cream. Buttermilk will also work, but may give the bread a slightly different texture. Hope that helps!

  • Sounds wonderful. Is ground flax seed the same as flax meal?

    • Hi Debby, Yes 🙂

      • Hi Jenn, I do not have flax meal on hand. Is there a suitable substitution or can that be omitted somehow? Thank you!

        • Hi Iliana, I’d replace it with equal parts whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour (so two tablespoons each). Hope that helps!

          • Thank you! I am only now seeing your reply, and in the meantime, I made your classic banana bread, which was devoured in no time. Your recipes are magical and have been keeping my whole household beyond happy during these times. We bought your cookbook, too. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating and sharing such wonderful recipes! You are absolutely the best source for fine-dining creations at home!
            Kind regards,

            • — Iliana K

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