Naturally dairy free gluten free banana muffins made without any butter or oil, but still tender and delicious. One bowl, 30 minutes start to finish!
These muffins freeze really well and are easy to defrost for a healthier make-ahead breakfast for busy school mornings. Just pop each muffin in the microwave for 30 seconds to defrost, or cover and leave on the kitchen counter overnight.
How do you make healthy muffins from scratch?
For as long as I can remember, there have been tips and tricks to making healthy muffins from a prepared cake mix by replacing the butter or oil with applesauce or pumpkin puree. They tend to work well, but you can easily make that same healthier muffin from scratch.
The purpose of replacing the butter or oil in a recipe with applesauce or pumpkin is to remove most if not all of the fat in the recipe. But when you remove the fat, you may end up with a chewy, tough muffin.
The reason the packaged fat-free baked goods of the 1990’s (Snackwells, anyone?) still tasted good and had nice texture was all the added sugar. You see, both fat and sugar are tenderizers in baking. If you remove one, the easiest way to maintain texture is to add more of another.
By making banana muffins, though, we can add more sugar in the form of tons of mashed bananas. The more ripe your bananas are, the better.
But that sugar is paired with all of the fiber, potassium, and antioxidants of whole bananas, so it’s much healthier than refined added sugars. Speaking of sugar…
Can you reduce or replace the sugar in these muffins?
This recipe for naturally dairy free gluten free banana muffins is based on our recipe for classic gluten free banana muffins. Here, we’ve eliminated all of the 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter and reduced the flour, eggs, baking powder and soda, and liquid.
But we’ve kept the same amount of granulated sugar, and the same whopping 2 cups of mashed bananas. The mashed bananas and that granulated sugar really help these muffins stay tender.
To make these muffins more Weight Watchers-friendly (as written, they have 5 WW points each), you’d have to reduce or replace that granulated sugar. I’ve made these muffins with 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar, and the recipe still works but the muffins are more dense and less tender.
If you’ve like to replace the sugar with a granulated sugar alternative, try Lankato brand monkfruit granulated sugar replacement. It tends to be drying, though, so increase the nondairy milk added until you reach the proper consistency as demonstrated in the how to video and photo above.
Keep in mind that replacing the sugar with an alternative may result in a much less tender muffin, since sugar is the main tenderizer remaining in the recipe. If I were replacing all of the sugar, I’d try adding another egg yolk and perhaps a couple of tablespoons of vegan butter.
Ingredients and substitutions
Eggs: There are 2 eggs in this recipe, which is my upper limit for recommending attempting an egg replacement with one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) each.
The eggs are very important to this simple recipe, I’m afraid, with the yolks providing the only fat, so you’ve got your work cut out for you. If you eliminate the eggs, perhaps add a tablespoon of vegan butter.
Corn: Instead of cornstarch, try using arrowroot or even potato starch if you can’t have corn.
Dairy Free Gluten Free Banana Muffins | Low-Fat
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 cups (400 g) mashed ripe bananas (from about 4 medium to large bananas)
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature
1/3 cup (2 2/3 fluid ounces) nondairy milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease well or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside. If you use liners, spray the inside of the liners lightly with cooking oil.
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 mashed bananas, eggs, milk, and vanilla, 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 they’re puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 18 minutes. They’ll be pale on top. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If you’ve used liners, wait until the muffins are cool before peeling back the paper.