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Classic Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Classic Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Moist, tender and fluffy gluten free banana muffins in the classic style, made with plenty of mashed ripe bananas and buttermilk for the perfect texture.

Moist, tender and fluffy gluten free banana muffins in the classic style, made with plenty of mashed ripe bananas and buttermilk for the perfect texture.

Banana muffins and banana bread

Banana bread is not banana muffins. Either that sounds completely crazy to you, or you’re rolling your eyes 🙄because it’s so obvious. Either way, allow me to explain why I have separate recipes for each, and consider each essential.

My recipe for gluten free banana bread calls for sour cream in the batter. It’s a lovely recipe, perfect in its simplicity. I’ve been making it, in one version or another, with nearly-overripe bananas for over a decade. I highly recommend your giving it a try. But a few things have changed in this perfect gluten free banana muffin recipe.

Moist, tender and fluffy gluten free banana muffins in the classic style, made with plenty of mashed ripe bananas and buttermilk for the perfect texture.

This recipe for gluten free banana muffins calls for buttermilk, which is considerably thinner than sour cream, of course. Both buttermilk and sour cream will tenderize the heck out your baked goods, but buttermilk has more liquid.

If you tried to make my already-tender banana bread recipe with buttermilk, it would sort of cave in on itself during baking, and be rather difficult to slice. But muffins, being the miniature quickbreads they are, can handle that extra moisture.

Sometimes when I bake banana muffins, I even place a thin slice of banana baked right on the top of the batter in each well. It adds some extra moisture, so plan to bake the muffins for another couple of minutes. But these little workhorses can handle it!

How to make banana muffins

When I shared my recipe for easy mix-in gluten free muffins, we talked about how that’s the perfect “plain” muffin recipe. It can easily handle mix-ins that don’t add extra moisture, like raisins and chocolate chips—or even a crumble topping (the best!).

But recipes like this for banana muffins or a blueberry muffin recipe are different, and need their own special recipe. Adding bananas or blueberries just changes the moisture balance a ton.

This recipe is easily made in one bowl, which is part of the reason that it specifies butter that’s been melted and cooled, rather than at room temperature. That allows the wet ingredients to be added one at a time into the dry ingredients, rather than being mixed separately first.

All this simple recipe takes is to place the dry and granulated ingredients (flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar) in a large bowl. Whisk to combine them. Take a spoon and create a well in the center so that the wet ingredients don’t just sit on top when they’re added.

Then, add the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and mashed bananas) one on top of the other in the center of the well you created. Mix the batter until it’s just combined. It will be thick, but soft.

Moist, tender and fluffy gluten free banana muffins in the classic style, made with plenty of mashed ripe bananas and buttermilk for the perfect texture.

You can bake these muffins in a tin that is simply greased, or one that is lined with muffin liners. The top photo in this post is of the muffins when made without a liner. They bake into a slightly higher dome shape when you use a liner.

Temperature is everything

As with all baking, the temperature of your ingredients makes all the difference when making banana muffins. All of your ingredients in this recipe should be at room temperature, or they won’t combine properly.

I’ve only specified the temperature of the wet ingredients like butter, eggs, and buttermilk since those are the ingredients that are stored in the refrigerator to prevent spoiling. The butter in this recipe is melted and then cooled to prevent cooking the eggs.

If you’ve forgotten to leave your eggs out on the counter to warm to room temperature, there’s an easy fix. Just place them in a bowl of warm (not hot) water and allow them to sit for about 15 minutes.

If your buttermilk is cold, try microwaving it in 15-second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between to prevent overheating. If you do overheat the buttermilk, just allow it to cool on the counter for a few minutes until it’s no longer hot to the touch.

Moist, tender and fluffy gluten free banana muffins in the classic style, made with plenty of mashed ripe bananas and buttermilk for the perfect texture.

A few general banana notes

As long as you have a freezer, never worry about buying too many bananas. Like avocados, bananas ripen and demand to be eaten or they’ll go bad.

But unlike avocados, they can be peeled, sliced and frozen, then stored until you need them. I freeze bananas in a single layer on a lined baking sheet, then pile them into a zip-top bag and return them to the freezer.

Frozen banana chunks are perfect for defrosting to make gluten free banana muffins like these and banana bread. Defrost them on the counter, or in the microwave at 50% power. They’ll seem to have a lot more liquid than fresh, mashed bananas, but don’t drain them! Just bake with them as is.

Frozen banana chunks make lovely n’ice cream. Don’t have any proper, ripe bananas? You can ripen them in a hurry, like this.

Moist, tender and fluffy gluten free banana muffins in the classic style, made with plenty of mashed ripe bananas and buttermilk for the perfect texture.

Ingredients and substitutions

I’ve made these muffins dairy-free and corn-free, but never egg-free. Here are my notes and best guesses to help you bake along if you have these other dietary restrictions.

Dairy-free: To make this recipe dairy-free, you have to replace both the butter and the buttermilk. For the butter, my favorite substitute in this recipe is virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled. I like the triple-filtered kind (I buy mine at Trader Joe’s) because it doesn’t have any coconut flavor. I love coconut, but that’s not the flavor we’re going for in this recipe.

For the buttermilk, my favorite way to substitute it is by mixing 1/2 cup (about 130 grams) dairy-free plain yogurt with 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) nondairy milk. In fact, when I don’t have buttermilk on hand, that’s the dairy sustitute I use and it works great.

Corn-free: The cornstarch in this recipe is added, rather than just adding more all purpose gluten free flour, because it adds tenderness and lightness to the recipe. It helps keep the muffins tender and not heavy, even though there are 4 mashed bananas in the batter.

You can easily replace the cornstarch with an equal amount of arrowroot. I’ve also made it with potato starch in place of cornstarch, in a pinch, and had no issues. If you’re using a higher starch flour blend like Cup4Cup, replace the cornstarch with more Cup4Cup.

Egg-free: Making this recipe egg-free is a tough one, as there are 3 whole eggs in the recipe. Once a recipe has more than 2 eggs in it, my confidence in the likely success of using an egg replacer decreases!

You can try using one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) in place of each egg. I’m honestly just not that optimistic that it will work that well.

Moist, tender and fluffy gluten free banana muffins in the classic style, made with plenty of mashed ripe bananas and buttermilk for the perfect texture. #glutenfree #gf #muffins #banana

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 16 muffins

Ingredients

2 1/3 cups (327 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

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

1/3 cup (48 g) cornstarch

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (400 g) mashed ripe bananas (from about 4 medium to large bananas)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and mashed bananas, and mix until just combined. The mixture be lumpy because of the bananas, and thick but soft.

  • Fill each of the wells of the muffin tin, and shake back and forth to evenly distribute the batter in each well. Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the muffins spring back when pressed gently in the center, 20 to 22 minutes. They’ll brown nicely around the edges, but not much on top. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining muffin batter.

  • Recipe originally published on the blog in 2016. All images new, recipe the same, but scaled up for larger muffins.

Love,
Nicole

Comments are closed.

  • Lea
    August 27, 2018 at 6:31 PM

    I accidentally made it without eggs and they turned out fabulous! I also happened to use Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose b/c I was out of rice flour. Happy accident!

  • Cherie
    August 27, 2018 at 1:34 PM

    Funny about the bananas! I always just freeze them with the peels on in a freezer bag! I think it might be better Nicole’s way as they are a sticky mess to peel!

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 27, 2018 at 4:07 PM

      Oh my gosh definitely peel and chop them first, Cherie! That way you can use what you like, rather than having to defrost and use an entire banana—and struggling with the peel. ☺️

  • Pam Bettendorf
    August 26, 2018 at 10:29 PM

    Thanks for the tip, Nicole, regarding greasefree liners, I had never heard of them. Just an update, after making these this morning, I keep going back and having another :-) and another :-) well, you get the idea. They are amazing, and great all day, not just for breakfast! I absolutely love all your recipes, thank you so much for your attention to detail and delicious creativity.

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 27, 2018 at 4:08 PM

      That’s great, Pam! Thanks for letting us know. And yes, greaseproof liners are essential. I’m not really sure how I ever used the ones from the grocery store shelves. They always stick!

  • Pam
    August 26, 2018 at 11:52 AM

    I made these this morning and I am really happy with the final result. I thought the batter was a little bland, and I added 1/2 t cinnamon and 1/2 cup of toasted, chopped pecans. The only problem I ran into was getting the liner to separate from the muffin. I used Wilton paper liners. Next time, I will use cooking spray on the liners before I add the batter. I also used the large ice cream scoop and it filled the liners about 3/4 of the way and it was perfect.

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 26, 2018 at 12:16 PM

      You really need to use greaseproof liners or they do tend to stick. I like “PaperChef” brand “culinary parchment” liners. I get them online. Glad you liked your modifications.

  • Michelle
    August 26, 2018 at 9:13 AM

    I need to eat yeast free ,which means nothing fermented like yogurt or buttermilk. What do you suggest for this recipe?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 26, 2018 at 12:09 PM

      There’s no yeast in yogurt or buttermilk, Michelle. If you mean cultured, I’m afraid I don’t really know what you could use in its place in this recipe. You need something thicker than milk. There’s an almond and cashew nondairy milk blend (I think the brand is Diamond?) that you might try, but you may need less of it. You’ll have to experiment!

  • Linda
    August 26, 2018 at 8:04 AM

    I love your recipes! I’m wondering if there is any way you could include nutritional information?

  • Emily
    August 26, 2018 at 7:58 AM

    What size disher do you use for muffins?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 26, 2018 at 8:06 AM

      Hi, Emily, unfortunately, it’s not one of the numbered ice cream scoops but it’s the absolute perfect size and I use it every time I fill muffin tins. It’s an OXO “large” cookie scoop. I just measured and weighed the amount of water it holds, and it’s equivalent to a #24 scoop, which holds 1.5 fluid ounces of liquid (or 3 tablespoons). Hope that helps!

  • Andrea Hylton
    August 25, 2018 at 1:01 PM

    The recipe makes mention that ripe bananas can be frozen burn avocados can not. I just wanted to mention that avocados absolutely can sliced and frozen. They are an excellently dairy free addition to smoothies that helps to make them creamy without any added taste.

  • Jan
    August 28, 2016 at 5:26 PM

    Could I use soy cream in place of the buttermilk as I too am dairy free. Ex

  • Michelle Hannah
    August 28, 2016 at 2:27 PM

    Could you make them without the buttermilk? I’m dairy free, so is there something else I could use or just omit it all together?

  • Wilma Murphy
    August 28, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    Thank you for the recipe, I am so glad I came upon your blog. I have tried several gluten free recipes in the past and most of them taste like cardboard or sand. These muffins looks great and I am definitely going to try that. I just want to let you know that I have successfully freeze avocados and used them in my smoothies

  • Jodie Mcdonough
    August 24, 2016 at 11:19 PM

    if I wanted to use a spelt flour for this would I still need the gum?

    • August 26, 2016 at 9:33 AM

      Spelt is an ancient form of wheat, Jodie, so I don’t bake with it at all. I don’t think you’d need to use a gum with it in baking, since it’s gluten-containing, but I don’t know. Sorry!

  • Carole
    August 24, 2016 at 2:26 PM

    Can I substitute milk and lemon juice for the buttermilk ??
    Thanks for the info on freezing the bananas. I always smashed them and froze them and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

    • August 26, 2016 at 9:34 AM

      I’m sure you can, Carole. That will have more moisture than a store-bought buttermilk, so maybe use a touch less. I’d pay close attention to the consistency of the batter as you add buttermilk, and compare it to the photo.
      That’s actually very funny about mashed frozen bananas. I can just imagine!

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