Cinnamon Swirl Gluten Free Banana Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Gluten Free Banana Bread

This cinnamon swirl gluten free banana bread is naturally dairy free—and it’s incredibly moist and tender. The cinnamon-sugar just seals the deal. It’s going to become your new favorite way to save those dying bananas!

This cinnamon swirl gluten free banana bread is naturally dairy free—and it's incredibly moist and tender. The cinnamon-sugar just seals the deal. It's going to become your new favorite way to save those dying bananas!

Banana bonanza (too much?)

My one bowl gluten free banana bread recipe is easily one of my favorite recipes in the history of ever. Whenever we talk about it on Facebook, so many of you say (sometimes as a sort of confession, but there’s no shame needed here!) that you make that banana bread once a week—at least!

We eat a lot of bananas in my house. Well, with 3 teenagers, we eat a lot of everything in my house!

But about a year ago, I finally got a little hook that sticks on to the underside of a kitchen cabinet to hold bananas so they don’t ripen unevenly. It even folds up and out of sight when it’s not in use.

I don’t care for those enormous “banana trees.” I can’t dedicate that sort of counter real estate to one fruit. But this hook is awesome. And my ripening bananas are always front and center!

This cinnamon swirl gluten free banana bread is naturally dairy free—and it's incredibly moist and tender. The cinnamon-sugar just seals the deal. It's going to become your new favorite way to save those dying bananas!

Banana bread variety is the spice of life

Many of you have said that you add chocolate chips to your banana bread. Well, of course that’s genius. Chocolate and bananas are a match made in heaven, and I’m only ashamed that I never thought to try that myself.

Another match made in heaven is cinnamon-sugar and bananas. The cinnamon swirl flavors every bite, but of course is concentrated on the top and toward the center, as that’s where we put the swirl mixture.

Every single crumb of the banana bread itself is fork-squish tender (that’s a thing, right?), but the swirl itself is just on another level entirely. But somehow it doesn’t make the slices delicate or prone to falling apart.

This cinnamon swirl gluten free banana bread is naturally dairy free—and it's incredibly moist and tender. The cinnamon-sugar just seals the deal. It's going to become your new favorite way to save those dying bananas!

How to make that cinnamon swirl

When adding a cinnamon swirl, I’ve found that virgin coconut oil works better than butter. That meant that, if I just used a dairy-free plain yogurt, this entire gluten free banana bread recipe would be safe for my dairy-free daughter.

Whenever you’re swirling batter with a cinnamon-sugar mixture, the enemy is a too-stiff batter that doesn’t want to, well, swirl. Melted virgin coconut oil is thinner than melted butter, and suddenly the entire recipe becomes easier to handle.

When you add melted coconut oil to the cinnamon sugar swirl, too, it tends to stay in place rather than melting throughout the batter like it would if we were using butter. A crumble, which has flour in it, is quite different from a swirl as a crumble has its own structure.

I’ll leave it there since we’re getting into the ingredient-and-recipe-development weeds, and I’m fairly certain I’m the only one still interested. Just trust me that you want to use melted coconut oil in this recipe where it’s called for, even if you’re not dairy free!

This cinnamon swirl gluten free banana bread is naturally dairy free—and it's incredibly moist and tender. The cinnamon-sugar just seals the deal. It's going to become your new favorite way to save those dying bananas!

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: This recipe is already dairy-free, and I really recommend that you use the virgin coconut oil and not substitute it with butter. It helps keep the batter the proper consistency for swirling.

If you don’t have a problem with dairy, you can replace the plain yogurt with an equal amount, by weight, of sour cream or regular dairy-containing Greek-style yogurt.

Eggs: Since this recipe calls for 2 eggs, you should be able to replace each of them with a “chia egg,” which is just 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds mixed with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water and allowed to gel. I haven’t tried that substitution, though, so you’ll have to experiment.

Coconut oil: Even though I believe that coconut oil is the very best fat to use in this recipe, you may not be able to use it. If you don’t care for the coconut flavor in coconut oil, try “triple-filtered” coconut oil, which has absolutely not coconut aroma. My local Trader Joe’s has it.

If you have to replace the coconut oil, I recommend using Spectrum brand non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening. I often get a lot of push-back when I recommend using Spectrum, but it’s not Crisco.

Spectrum shortening is made from sustainably produced palm oil that is free of hydrogenation and trans fats. Crisco is hydrogenated vegetable shortening, made from soybean oil and hydrogenated palm oil.

Bananas: Just kidding! We’re not making banana bread banana-free, silly! If you don’t like or can’t have bananas, try one of the many other gluten free quick bread recipes here on the blog.


This cinnamon swirl gluten free banana bread is naturally dairy free—and it's incredibly moist and tender. The cinnamon-sugar just seals the deal. It's going to become your new favorite way to save those dying bananas! #glutenfree #dairyfree #bananabread

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 loaf banana bread


For the batter
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup (150 g) thick non-dairy plain yogurt, at room temperature (my favorite brand is Anita coconut yogurt)

1 cup (200 g) ripe bananas, peeled and mashed lightly (from about 2 medium-size bananas)

For the swirl
2 tablespoons (28 g) virgin coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a standard 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, then the yogurt, mixing until just combined after each addition. Add the mashed bananas and mix them carefully into the batter, taking care not to further mash the bananas. Transfer half of the banana batter to the prepared loaf pan and spread it into an even layer with a wet spatula. Set both aside briefly.

  • Make the swirl. In a small bowl, place all of the swirl ingredients and mix to combine well. It will be a thick mixture. Place about one half of the swirl mixture on top of the batter already in the loaf pan and spread it gently into an even layer. Top with the remaining banana batter and spread that with a wet spatula into an even layer. Finish with the remaining swirl batter and spread again gently into an even layer. With a butter knife held perpendicular to the bottom of the loaf pan, swirl the batter from one short side to the other of the pan, back and forth in looping pattern (watch the video for a visual demonstration!). Smooth the top of the swirled batter into an even layer once more.

  • Place the pan in center of the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. The loaf should be until golden brown on top, and mostly firm toward the center. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F and continue to bake until completely firm when pressed lightly in the center, another 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Leftovers can be wrapped very tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, and frozen for longer storage.


Comments are closed.

  • Alene
    January 23, 2018 at 10:19 AM

    I just wanted to add, in case anyone was wondering, I am almost done with mine, made 5 days ago. I kept it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Toward the end, I found that toasting a slice in the toaster oven brought it back to perfection!

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 24, 2018 at 9:17 AM

      That’s great to know, Alene. Thanks for sharing that info!

  • Dee Graber
    January 20, 2018 at 12:52 PM

    Thank you so very very much for your hard work in this recipe it is delicious I had to substitute the yogurt with applesauce and it still turned out yummy so thank you very much

  • Alene
    January 19, 2018 at 12:49 AM

    I made this banana bread tonight. Absolutely delicious! Moist, and great cinnamon sugar taste. I ran out of coconut oil in the middle and augmented the recipe with nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, about 2 of the 8 tablespoons. I did use the coconut oil for the swirl. And I didn’t have the yougurt and substituted it with lactose free sour cream. It came out fine. Mine was browner on the outside than yours, but crispy outside, unlike any other g.f. banana bread I’ve made. Many, many thanks for all your hard work.

  • Linda Lundberg
    January 17, 2018 at 5:42 PM

    Absolutley perfect! This banana bread is the bomb. It is moist and reminds me of my mothers pound cake. Thank you Nicole for another awesome recipe!
    Linda L.

  • Rebecca
    January 15, 2018 at 6:45 PM

    Just made it today and it is absolutely delicious!

  • Kathy
    January 14, 2018 at 7:46 PM

    Help! I was so thrilled when the bread rose so beautifully! I baked it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and then 15 minutes at 325 degrees, as the recipe stated. It seemed fairly firm, bounced back when I pressed on it. I didn’t do a toothpick test. When it cooled for 10 minutes, it fell about 1/3 down from when I took it out of the oven. When I sliced it warm, as recommended, I was totally gummy inside! ; – ( I have arthritis in my hands, so I used a mixer… did it mix too much? The batter seemed just right and I watched the video before preparing. The flavor is delicious and I’d love to try again, if you can give me some pointers. Thank You!!

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 15, 2018 at 8:58 AM

      Hi, Kathy, since you baked it for so long, it sounds like perhaps your oven wasn’t hot enough. Do you use an oven thermometer? Most ovens are off by at least 25°F, often as much as 50°F. Usually they run hot, but it does sound like perhaps yours runs cold. That’s a long time to bake it and have it raw inside. The only other question I have is whether you made any substitutions in the ingredients, including using a flour blend other than one I recommend.

  • Ellen
    January 14, 2018 at 12:37 PM

    Actually Nicole, I love your explanations of the ‘ingredient and recipe development weeds’! It helps to figure out why some things work and why some things don’t! They are quite interesting and helpful!

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 14, 2018 at 7:22 PM

      That’s good to know, Ellen! It’s messy and I think most people aren’t that interested. But it fills a lot of my days! Glad it’s helpful to know some of it. :)

  • Deborah
    January 14, 2018 at 10:34 AM

    Can dairy Greek yogurt be used successfully instead of the nondairy version?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 14, 2018 at 11:14 AM

      As I say in the post, Deborah, yes, you can use plain Greek yogurt in place of the nondairy yogurt if you don’t have an issue with dairy.

  • Carmen
    January 14, 2018 at 6:32 AM

    I want to try the banana bread, but I am allergic to cinnamon. Can it be replazed?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 14, 2018 at 10:07 AM

      Hmm, Carmen, I’ve never actually had that question in all my years of blogging, so I’m really not sure! You could try ground nutmeg, but that much nutmeg doesn’t sound too appetizing to me, and it doesn’t have the bite of cinnamon. Maybe just go with my regular 1 bowl gluten free banana bread? It’s linked to in the post.

  • Sally
    January 13, 2018 at 6:55 PM

    Has anyone made this egg free sucessfully? If so what did you use for the egg substitute?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 13, 2018 at 7:23 PM

      Please see the section on ingredients and substitutions, Sally. All of the guidance I can give is already right there!

  • Alan LeBlanc
    January 13, 2018 at 4:33 PM

    You know what would make this recipe even better? Find a substitute for the granulated sugar. How about turbinado sugar, or agave syrup or maple syrup?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 13, 2018 at 6:28 PM

      Hi, Alan, Turbinado sugar is really just sugar, it’s not much better than granulated sugar. And I’m afraid you just can’t replace a granulated sugar with a liquid one. I think you might prefer my Paleo banana bread. Please use the search bar to find it.

  • Lynda
    January 13, 2018 at 3:15 PM

    Nicole, this sounds and looks absolutly delicious! As a vegen on a low carb diet, du you think one can substitute some of the flour with almod, sesam and coconut flour? do you also think it possible to subsitute some of the suger with stevia and for the swirl with yukkon or mesquite? I am sorry for wanting to adapt your recipe, but I have a need sometines for sonething sweet, but without all the guilt. This sounds like the perfect banana bread!

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 13, 2018 at 6:28 PM

      Hi, Lynda, I’m afraid you can’t replace an all purpose gluten free flour with any of those flours. They are not at all interchangeable. Please use the search bar to find my recipe for Paleo banana bread.

  • Kimberly Harp
    January 12, 2018 at 8:19 PM

    Not naturallu dairy free … yogurt?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2018 at 8:56 PM

      Please see the recipe, Kimberly. It calls for nondairy yogurt, which is something I discuss throughout the post as well. It’s all there!

  • Leanna Crist
    January 12, 2018 at 7:16 PM

    The recipe calls for “all-purpose gluten-free flour” is your Mock Better Batter Blend the preferred blend?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2018 at 8:57 PM

      If you’re building your own blend, Leanna, I’d usually recommend my Better Than Cup4Cup blend (unless you intend to use it to build my bread flour blend). But as I don’t typically blend my own all purpose gluten free flour, I use Better Batter in this recipe more often than not!

  • Carole
    January 12, 2018 at 3:37 PM

    You make it sound so wonderful that I’m going to try again. Normally I make banana muffins since the center of my gluten free banana bread never seems done. And my husband always puts butter on the bread but not on the muffins. My goodness your children are really growing up, all teenagers now. Pretty soon we’ll be hearing about college.

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2018 at 3:52 PM

      Make sure your oven isn’t running hot, then, Carole. And definitely don’t bake in a dark loaf pan or a glass pan, both of which will accelerate browning on the outside too quickly. And yes, the kids really are growing up! My oldest is in 10th grade, my son in 8th and my youngest is in 7th. She’s only 12, though, as she’s young in her grade, so I overstated the “all teens” thing for the sake of simplicity—and also she eats like a teen for sure! :)

  • Ada
    January 12, 2018 at 3:13 PM

    Can I use other than coconut oil. Thanks

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2018 at 3:16 PM

      Hi, Ada, You can try nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, melted and cooled. But I haven’t used that as a substitution, so you’ll have to experiment.

  • Erika
    January 12, 2018 at 2:20 PM

    We go through a lot of bananas in our house too. Where did you find this banan tree? Can i see a picture!?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2018 at 3:19 PM

      Hi, Erika, I bought it on Amazon.com (here’s a link). It’s just a few dollars, and is freakishly strong!

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