Well, I blinked and it’s the holiday season and holy cow, I have ALL THE THINGS to do! Not that this is particularly different from any other time of year, but somehow it all feels a bit more pressing when this season comes around. It may have something to do with two kids who seem a bit like elves on speed. Not sure.

Anyway, baking delicious loaves of banana bread serves many purposes at once. The act of baking it soothes my frayed nerves. It uses up the ridiculous number of bananas that somehow went brown and spotty all at once. It makes my house smell AMAZING. And it provides nourishment to the ravenous elves bouncing around my house. I have another banana bread recipe that I really like, but this one has surpassed it. The loaf itself is excellent, the topping is out of this world, and the combination is perfect.

This is what I would consider one of those “in between” baked items. Healthy-ish enough thanks to its whole grain nature that you don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying it for breakfast, but not so virtuous that I would actually call it healthy outright. It is undoubtedly irresistible enough that it is fully worthy of gifting the second loaf if you can bring yourself to share. The streusel topping is out of this world. Don’t skip it! You might notice, it is the very same one that topped a cranberry pie last week. If you need a nut-free version, a reader wisely suggested using ground biscoff cookies in place of the pecans. I haven’t tried that myself but it sounds like a delicious alternative!

  • Prep about 20 minutes
  • Cook 50-55 minutes
  • Yield 2 loaves


For the bread: 

  • 4 cups (452 grams) white whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp. (16 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (226 grams) butter, softened
  • 2 cups (426 grams) light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 28 oz. very ripe bananas (peeled weight), or about 6 medium bananas
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • ¾ cup (85 grams) pecans
  • 2/3 cup (66 grams) rolled oats (or ½ cup / 46 grams oat flour)
  • ½ cup (56 grams) white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (71 grams) light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp. (85 grams) butter, melted


  • 01

    Heat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two 9.5 x 5 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pans with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg, and whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating each until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until lumpy but not fully crushed. Add the mashed bananas to the bowl with the batter and fold in gently with a spatula. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Divide the mixture between the prepared loaf pans and spread into an even layer.

  • 02

    In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pecans about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Set aside to let cool. If using rolled oats, grind them in a food processor until finely ground to a powder. To make the topping, combine the oat flour, white whole wheat flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Add the pecans to a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the pecans to the bowl with the other dry ingredients. Add in the melted butter and stir together with a fork until it forms a crumbly mixture. Evenly sprinkle the mixture over the batter in the two loaf pans. Gently press down to help the streusel adhere to the top.

  • 03

    Bake the loaves for about 50-55 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool 15-20 minutes before removing the loaves to cool completely.

  • 04


    • White whole wheat flour is pretty widely available but if you can’t find any, no worries. Use a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose, or solely all-purpose.
    • This makes quite a lot of streusel topping. I used most but not all of mine. Don’t stress about it. Too much streusel isn’t a thing.
    • The recipe halves easily if so desired. But why make one loaf when you can have two? Share the second  or freeze for easy snacking or breakfasting later.